[EM] Does IRV elect "majority winners?"

Paul Kislanko kislanko at airmail.net
Fri Jan 2 11:51:42 PST 2009

I think the cited text provides an important distinction we need to use on

In theory, we want to discuss election methods based upon how they collect
and count ballots, which is "analytic" in some sense. As soon as you
introduce real candidates and party politics (i.e. "strategies") we get a
real mess that is not so easily analyzed.

This is relevant to the "how do you define majority?" question because if
the denominator doesn't include all of the non-voters who dis-approve of
EVERY alternative it's not a "majority of stakeholders" and in some sense
you need to count the non-voters, especially if the method discards ballots
in its "counting rounds."

So, just from a logical perspective a claim to "always select a
majority-approved winner" must define "majority" in terms of Eligible
Voters.  Or at least define "majority" in terms of voters in the first
round. So, an IRV winner with 47 votes out of 100 originally cast is NOT a

Bucklin is a method that identifies the rank for which a Majority agrees the
alternative should be ranked at least that highly. No information is
discarded in the counting process, and no ballots are ignored just because
the ballots' #1 isn't a plurality winner.

If we make the reasonable assumption that majority be defined in terms of
the number of eligible voters who cast any (ranked-) ballot at all, we'd
prefer counting methods that do not discard any of those ballots.

Just my opinion.

-----Original Message-----
From: election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com
[mailto:election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com] On Behalf Of Jonathan

>In the immortal words of Jim Hightower, "If the gods had meant us to  
vote, they would have given us candidates."

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