[Election-Methods] RE : Re: IRV ballot is at least as fair as FPTPballot

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Thu Dec 27 11:36:39 PST 2007

On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 12:14:56 -0000 James Gilmour wrote:
> Kevin Venzke  > Sent: 27 December 2007 02:16
>>--- James Gilmour <jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk> a écrit :
>>>As I have said
>>>before, and in other EM threads, the preferences recorded on an IRV 
>>>ballot are CONTINGENCY choices.  It would be a great help to all these 
>>>discussions if both proponents and opponents of IRV would recognise 
>>>this historical fact.
>>It doesn't seem to me that one would need to understand the 
>>mentality or history behind an election method in order to 
>>judge it against other methods. It isn't really "the thought 
>>that counts" with election methods.
> Kevin      
> OK, but that was not the criticism that was being made of IRV.  I am very happy to agree that in some circumstances a Condorcet
> voting system may give a "better" result than IRV, but Condorcet is a different voting system from IRV and the preferences on
> Condorcet ballots would be marked by the voters who were aware that the votes would be counted by Condorcet rules.  One crucial
> feature of IRV is that the Returning Officer can give each and every voter an absolute guarantee that under no circumstances will a
> later preference ever count against an earlier preference.  (This does seem to be important to UK electors  -  I cannot speak for
> electors elsewhere.)  When the Condorcet winner and the IRV winner are different, it is at least debatable that in the Condorcet
> count a voter's later preference has counted against that voter's earlier preference.  In system like Borda, where all the
> preference information is used simultaneously, that criterion goes right out window.
Condorcet promises that EVERY preference indicated by a voter's ranking is 
counted equally, whether by ranking either or both candidates.

These are combined with ALL the references ranked by ALL other voters, and 
usually clearly indicate a winner.

Finally, if this provides conflict as to clear winning among three or more
candidates, Condorcet systems offer a formula for resolving the conflict.
These choices offer room for debate as to whether they are "best", or
whether a runoff might be better.
>>Maybe pointing out IRV's strategy advantages (i.e. lower 
>>preferences are "contingency choices") would paint a broader 
>>picture about IRV, but the fact that e.g. Dave Ketchum 
>>doesn't value these advantages, doesn't in my mind undermine 
>>his criticisms.
That they are "contingency choices" is fine, but Condorcet's advantage is 
honoring ALL that the voters say, unlike IRV's noticing only the tops of 
the lists.
> Dave's criticism was that IRV did not use all the preference information on the ballots in the way that Condorcet and some other
> voting systems do.  That is not a valid criticism.  IRV "does exactly what is says on the tin".  In IRV, the preferences on the
> ballots are contingency choices  -  no other interpretation is possible in IRV because that is the way IRV works.  So it is not
> valid to say that IRV fails to make use of "all" the information on the IRV ballots when that voting system was not intended or
> designed to do that.  And crucially, the voters would know that when marking their preferences on the IRV ballots.

Agreed that the criticism may not be valid as stated.

Perhaps a truer criticism would be based on IRV's failure to recognize 
voters' true stated preferences.
> It is, of course, perfectly valid to say that there are better ways than IRV of deciding the winner in a single-winner election.
> And some of the alternatives will require the voters to mark preferences on the ballot papers which will then be counted in some way
> differently from how the preferences on IRV ballots are counted.  But that is a totally different comparison of two (or more)
> different voting systems.

Many of us claim that Condorcet is a better way.

Condorcet wants ballots to be marked in the way that IRV claims to want, 
and offers less encouragement to voter tricks than IRV.
> James
  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                  If you want peace, work for justice.

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