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

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Dec 28 12:54:23 PST 2008

At 07:38 PM 12/27/2008, James Gilmour wrote:
>Most UK organisations, large and small, from national trade unions 
>to local badminton clubs, would follow essentially the same
>procedures, particularly with regard to making no provision for 
>"write-ins" and requiring written confirmation by each candidate of
>consent to nomination.

What are the standard rules of procedure? What manual, if any, is the 
most common used? In the U.S., the most common rules for 
nongovernmental organizations are based on Robert's Rules of Order, 
which was based on the rules for the U.S. House, which rules also 
descended from English procedure. There is another parliamentary 
manual that is common for New England Town Meetings, Town Meeting Time.

>So there you have it  -  but I don't think it provides many (any ?) 
>useful pointers for a robust "write-in" procedure.  "Write-ins"
>are just not part of our political culture, but I do understand and 
>do appreciate that, in their various forms, they are very much
>part of the political culture in the USA.

They are also part of standard balloting procedure under Robert's 
Rules. U.S. elections actually had, long ago, no printed names on the 
ballot. Rather the voter would write in the candidate's name. I would 
assume, then, that "write-in votes" continued to be allowed, that 
it's quite possible that the practice of printing major candidates on 
the ballot was only acceptable because of this continued possibility. 
(Even with write-ins, being on the ballot confers a huge advantage, 
but the *possibility* of write-ins allows the public to fix egregious 
problems with the nomination process, with the list of those on the 
ballot, and it does work that way from time to time.)

Under Robert's Rules, by default, all elections must be won by a 
majority of votes, the basis for the majority being all ballots with 
some mark on them that might possibly be a vote. Blank ballots are 
"so much scrap paper," but marked ballots count. In other words, 
"None of the above" has always been an option under the Rules. If 
there is no majority, the election *fails* and is effectively moot, 
except that the electorate is now much better informed as to the 
situation and as to possible compromises.

It's been considered impossible to do this with public elections; 
however, with internet voting, it *could* become possible. Asset 
Voting, though, makes something *almost* as democratic -- possibly, 
in some senses *more* democratic -- possible. Same rules, majority 
required (for single winner, quota for multiple winner), but a 
greatly reduced electorate which votes in public, and therefore the 
process becomes far less cumbersome.

(More democratic, because being able to designate a proxy is a 
*freedom,* and increases the power of the client, the one 
represented. In some Asset implementations, any voter willing to vote 
in public can register to receive votes, and then participate in 
subsequent process, so it truly is a freedom and not a restriction.)

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