[EM] Does IRV elect "majority winners?"

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Thu Jan 1 22:06:45 PST 2009

Terry and Abd look set to duel forever.

Conduct of elections is a serious topic, but both of them offer too many
words without usefully covering the topic.

They offer RRONR as ammunition in a war it was never intended for:  Over
100 years ago General Robert had to chair a meeting.  As an army general he
should be able to handle such a task?  After doing it he decided there
better be batter directions put together for the future.  The resulting
rules continue to be used by many.

RRONR has a few pages about elections.  Unlike some of their directions for
new meeting chairs, these are not designed for blind obedience.  Their
major direction is that whoever does serious elections had better decide
carefully and formally agree as to how they will do such.

Meaning of 'majority' is their big dispute.

IRV documentation claims its found winner has a majority (with no attached 
statement of what this means) and Terry defends this usage.

Abd claims this is deception, if not worse:

Majority means more than half and, without qualification, means of the 
whole thing measured.
      Blanks are excludable - presumably their voters chose not to 
participate in deciding whatever is voted on.
      Exhausted ballots are not excludable - those voters certainly 
participated, though for other candidates.  But IRV, claiming a majority, 
has to be excluding these since IRV only has a majority between the last 
two candidates considered.

Therefore Abd complains since:
      Deciders can be sold IRV based on the Fairvote claim of majority.
      Anyone looking close will disagree due to failure of IRV to produce a 
true majority.

On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 18:59:09 -0500 Terry Bouricius wrote:
  > I take offense at Abd repeatedly suggesting I am a liar or am engaging in
  > deception. We have a legitimate difference of opinion about the
  > appropriate use of the term "majority" and interpretation of RRONR.
  > ----- Original Message -----
  > From: "Abd ul-Rahman Lomax" <abd at lomaxdesign.com>
  > To: "Terry Bouricius" <terryb at burlingtontelecom.net>;
  > <kathy.dopp at gmail.com>; <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
  > Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 11:55 PM
  > Subject: Re: [EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 2
  > At 08:50 PM 12/29/2008, Terry Bouricius wrote:
  >>Kathy Dopp wrote:
  >>since "abstentions or blanks" are from those who have not voted.
  >>I believe my interpretation of Robert's Rules of Order is correct. In
  >>order for a ballot being reviewed by a teller to be "blank," and thus
  >>excluded from the majority threshold calculation, as directed by Robert's
  >>Rule of order, the voter must certainly have submitted a ballot paper.
  > Bouricius, you are totally off, stretching, trying desperately to
  > find ways to interpret the words there to mean what you want them to mean.
  > And now the kicker: we have explained -- and I could cite word for
  > word, and have in many places -- the explicit language of Robert's
  > Rules of Order on this. Bouricius has just said the exact opposite of
  > the truth. What he is proposing as the meaning of "abstention," and
  > the basis for majority, is totally contrary to the plain language of
  > RRONR, not to mention the "usual interpretation."
  > Usual interpretation by whom? By FairVote activists and those duped by
  > them?
  > I'm saddened, to tell you the truth. This is the absolute worst
  > argument I've ever seen from Bouricius, it's word manipulation to try
  > to take a text and make it say the exact opposite of what it plainly says.
  > I'd thought that he was above that, but, apparently not.
  > The public will *not* be fooled when the issues are made plain and clear.
    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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