[EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km-elmet at broadpark.no
Thu Dec 4 00:17:29 PST 2008

James Gilmour wrote:
> Abd ul-Rahman Lomax  > Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 10:52 PM
>> The tragedy is that IRV is replacing Top Two Runoff, an older
>> reform that actually works better than IRV.
> I have seen statements like this quite a few times, and they puzzle
> me.  I can see the benefit in TTRO in knowing before voting at the
> second stage which two candidates will actually be involved in the
> run-off.  But what concerns me is the potential chaos in getting to
> that stage.  The French Presidential election of 2002 is a good
> example of the very bad results that can come from the first round of
> TTRO.  And we have seen similar problems in some of the mayoral
> elections in England where the so-called Supplementary Vote is used
> in which the voters can mark their first and second preferences but
> only the second preferences for the first stage Top-Two candidates
> are counted.  In such circumstances the outcome from TTRO is very bad
> and I should have thought that an IRV election would have given a
> much more representative result.  Condorcet might be better still,
> but that's a different debate.

I'm not Abd, but I think the argument goes like this: in TTR, if a 
(usually) third candidate gets enough FPP votes to make it to the second 
round, that candidate has a real chance of winning, since the second 
round will be focused on those two candidates alone, whereas, on the 
other hand, if it's IRV, then IRV's chaos may deprive the candidate of 
its rightful victory, and even if it wouldn't, people can only vote for 
the third candidate that would become the winner as one of many, not as 
one of two.

If that's right, then the Supplementary vote should give significantly 
worse results than TTR, simply because people can't discuss and realign 
between the first and second rounds.

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list