[Election-Methods] IRV ballot is at least as fair as FPTP ballot

Kathy Dopp kathy.dopp at gmail.com
Wed Dec 26 15:41:47 PST 2007

> Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2007 19:33:27 +0100 (CET)
> From: Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
> Subject: [Election-Methods] RE : Re: IRV ballot is at least as fair as
>         FPTP    ballot
> > >  Yes some voters have second-choice considered but they are all still
> > > treated equally.

So, you "define" equal as your ballot's first and second choices
count, but someone else's first and second choices do not.

I and many others may disagree with your definition of "equal"
treatment and I hope that the courts do too since IRV may often elect
the candidate not favored by most voters.

> But it does this according to what it believes each voter wants. If your

Well I don't want some voters' second choices given consideration but
not all voters' second choices given consideration.  Will it take what
I believe into consideration?  No.

> first preference wins the election, then you don't want your second
> preference to be counted. If your first preference is a very weak
> candidate, then you want him to be eliminated so that your second
> preference can be counted.

One problem is that my second choice candidate may be eliminated in
the first round and my first choice candidate not have success either
- despite the fact that my second choice candidate is the most popular
among all voters.

For instance, this example, which is one of countably infinite
examples where IRV elects the candidate not supported by most voters:

	Republican	Libertarian	Progressive	Democrat
1st choice	4	3	3	2
2nd choice	1	2	1	7
3rd choice	1	1	6	1

I.e. in this example with 12 voters, the Democrat loses in the first
round, even though the most number of persons supported the Democrat
overall - letting the Republican win, even though the Republican (in
this example) is not as widely supported as to other candidates.

I created a list of the 12 voters and their choices in a spreadsheet.
I suggest you do a little experimenting on your own because I do not
have time to do the analysis for you  because I am too busy to spend
my time disabusing you of a fiction you hold. I am working on other
more critical matters.  Please do the analyses yourself with a
spreadsheet so you can see how trivially easy it is to make IRV put
the wrong candidate, not supported by most voters into office.

For example in Florida, what if the true first choice of most
Democratic voters had been Nader in 2000, then IRV would have
immediately knocked the Democrat out of the race, enabling the
Republican to win.  (BTW, Nader had virtually nothing to do with Gore
losing Florida in 2000 - there was 1. electronic fraud in one county
that robbed thousands of votes from Gore temporarily, 2. tons of
illegal undated military ballots sent into election offices during the
election contest and when the Dems tried to challenge the illegal
ballots, they were intimidated by being told they were not patriotic,
and 3. Katherine Harris removed thousands of legal voters off the
rolls primarily in Black Democratic districts.  IRV would have made
sure that Gore didn't win, even without all those other election
frauds or voter disenfranchisements.

IRV is factually just not capable of doing what it claims to be able to do.


> For this reason it's not obvious which voters are put at a disadvantage.
> > IRV not only treats voters'
> > ballots very differently, it ensures that there are numerous ways that
> > a candidate is declared a winner who is supported by fewer voters
> > overall than a candidate who loses in the first round.
> >
> > This fact is irrefutable, obvious and simple.  Just try some scenarios
> > out in any spreadsheet.
> It is a valid criticism that IRV can elect a candidate with less "support"
> than some other candidate.
> This makes me wonder what election methods you do like, since
> first-preference plurality voting already has the same issue. Just because
> the plurality ballot doesn't ask for "support" doesn't mean the concept
> doesn't exist.
> In any case, people on this list who dislike IRV still would not want to
> argue that it should be illegal, since this could set a precedent that
> prevents other, arguably better methods from being adopted.
> > IRV would only be fair and treat all voters equally if all first AND
> > second choices of all voters were tabulated, with the second choices
> > being given some weight less than the first - ONLY then would IRV not
> > routinely allow numerous ways to declare a candidate a winner who is
> > supported by fewer voters than the candidate who loses in the first
> > round.
> That sounds like Borda, not IRV. Borda would be terrible in public
> elections. Maybe you would like Bucklin, in which all voters' subsequent
> choices are added in until somebody has a majority.
> It's worth noting, about these, that an IRV advocate can argue that it is
> unfair for a vote for a second preference to cause one's first preference
> to fail to win.
> What do you think of top-two runoff, as in Louisiana? In the
> three-candidate case IRV is the same method as this, except that the second
> round is performed automatically according to the rankings.
> If my candidate is eliminated in the first round of a top-two runoff, so
> that I am forced to vote for a different candidate in the second round, do
> you feel I have been treated unequally?
> Alternatively, if my first choice makes it to the second round but loses,
> have I been treated unequally because I never had a chance to vote for my
> second preference?
> I guess one could hold such opinions, but top-two runoff is not such a rare
> method in the world.
> Kevin Venzke

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