[Election-Methods] Fwd: FYI - FairVote MN Responds to LawsuitAgainst IRV

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Thu Dec 27 13:00:27 PST 2007

On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 15:33:37 -0000 James Gilmour wrote:
> Juho Laatu  > Sent: 27 December 2007 07:36
>>Condorcet methods are not very widely used today.
> Juho
> Are Condorcet methods used for any public elections today?  Have they ever been used for any public elections?  I ask only because I
> am not aware of any examples, for public elections, and it would be very helpful to know if there were some.
If those who back IRV had chosen to back Condorcet, we could all be better 
>>Another reason why Condorcet methods are not used in wide scale today  
>>is that there are quite number of them and it is not quite obvious  
>>which one to take into use.
> In terms of achieving practical reform it is a serious problem that that there are several methods and that there is no consensus on
> which to use.  I would add, that all of the completion methods are complicated and would be much more difficult to explain to
> ordinary electors than, for example, the basic Condorcet principle of pair-wise comparisons.
>>But Condorcet methods have the  
>>interesting property that in some situations A may be preferred to B,  
>>B to C and C to A. 
> The possibility of such cycles is a very real problem (despite the plethora of completion methods available).  This possibility, no
> matter how rare in practice, is likely to be ceased on by politicians and party activists who are opposed to any reform of FPTP
> (simple plurality).  One simple and practical solution might be to revert to IRV to break the Condorcet cycle, but I suspect that
> suggestion would go down like a lead balloon among the proponents of Condorcet (and the proponents of other non-IRV voting systems).
Two thoughts are important here:
      Most elections will not produce cycles, and they are simple to describe.
      Even producing cycles has separated those candidates most desired 
from the trash, as above.  While the rules for resolving cycles need to be 
  decided in advance, voters do not need to understand them in detail 
until wanting to understand how an election involved in such actually got 
resolved.  There is little, if anything, any single voter can do to cause 
or avoid a cycle.

Reverting to IRV could sound tempting but:
      Condorcet properly sums results from such as precincts, without 
recording what IRV demands as input.
      If IRV is so great, why are we doing Condorcet?
      Most Condorcet completion formulas are not complex - the complexity 
is in deciding which one to implement.
>>I listed some of the problems of Condorcet methods above, but in  
>>general Condorcet methods are really good general purpose single  
>>winner methods for typical political elections.
> One further practical problem that you didn't mention is the "political acceptability" to the electors of a Condorcet winner who has
> very little first preference support.  Where the three front-runners are fairly evenly matched, it is a completely different
> situation and I think it would be possible to persuade the electorate that the result was "better" when the third-placed "everyone's
> second choice" Condorcet winner took the seat.  But I would doubt very much if we could persuade UK electors that the result was
> "better" if that Condorcet winner had very little first preference support.  I cannot speak for the likely response of electors
> elsewhere, but I have come to this view based on many years of promoting practical electoral reforms to UK electors.

This sounds like an education topic,  Lean on:
      Why should a candidate be dropped for lack of first preference 
support, and another win for the first preference while lacking true wide 

> 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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