[EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 2

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km-elmet at broadpark.no
Wed Dec 24 05:51:53 PST 2008

James Gilmour wrote:
> Kristofer Munsterhjelm  
> Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 9:54 AM
>> Perhaps real world implementation of Condorcet 
>> systems would have a "first preference" threshold, either on candidates 
>> or on sets: anyone getting less than x% FP is disqualified.
> I have not seen any advocate of Condorcet make such a suggestion, but
> it has been made for IRV, though not taken up by any serious
> IRV advocates, so far as I am aware.
> The weak Condorcet winner is, in my view, the political Achilles'
> heel  of the Condorcet voting system. The corresponding political
> defect in IRV is that it can eliminate a Condorcet winner (whether
> that is common or not is irrelevant - it is possible). But we
> know from experience that real electors and real politicians will
> accept that political defect in IRV - evidence: IRV has been
> used for public elections for many decades in several countries. In
> contrast, despite having been around for about 220 years, the
> Condorcet voting system has not been used in any public elections
> anywhere, so far as I am aware. That could perhaps change if a
> threshold were implemented to exclude the possibility of a weak
> Condorcet winner AND if a SIMPLE method were agreed to break
> Condorcet cycles.

Technically, Condorcet methods have been used in public elections. 
Nanson's method (below-average Borda-elimination) was used in a town in 
Michigan. That's one place against IRV's hundreds, though, so I see your 

A less "arbitrary" or "hacked upon" manner of fixing your problem might 
be to have two elections. The second is between two "winners": the 
winner of a Condorcet election, and the winner of a Condorcet election 
with a quite high threshold (or the IRV winner, or FPP winner - probably 
should be a summable system).

If there's a CW and it's the sincere CW, the second round is pointless. 
Otherwise, if people really prefer someone with a certain amount of 
first preference votes, not all is lost.

That might be too complex, though, and one of the points of Condorcet is 
to not need to have multiple rounds.

As for a simple method, I think Ranked Pairs (or MAM, rather) is quite 
simple. Juho thinks Minmax would work, I'm a bit too picky about 
criteria; but if it does, that is about as simple as you get.

Schulze is complex but has "precedence" (history) in organizations: 
mainly technical/computer-related organizations, but also Wikimedia and MTV.

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