[EM] Does IRV elect "majority winners?"

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sat Jan 3 10:15:23 PST 2009

At 05:40 PM 1/2/2009, Jonathan Lundell wrote:
>On Jan 2, 2009, at 2:26 PM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
>>Elections aren't merely picking some ideal best winner in a bad
>>situation, they are seeking, if a majority is sought, one who will
>>be accepted, *at least*, by most voters.
>That may well be a desideratum, but it's not the case in real
>elections. I've certainly contributed (or tried to contribute) to
>majorities by voting for a less-unacceptable candidate. It's rational,
>but it doesn't constitute "acceptance" except in some weak sense,
>perhaps acquiescence.

You made the choice to accept. Compromises are part of any 
single-winner democratic process. It's possible to reduce compromise 
to a minimum with Asset Voting (and with certain rules, the 
compromise only applies to representation in deliberation); 
otherwise, it will always be there.

There are no public elections, i.e., submitted to the general 
electorate, where majority acceptance is required. It is simply 
approached by some methods, not in general use. In particular, TTR is 
most often not used for partisan elections; probably the excuse for 
this is that the party primary systems, or party nominations systems, 
creates a kind of two-round system (where the primary rounds are distinct).

I don't see "contributing to a majority" as, in itself, a legitimate 
goal, unless you really are accepting that candidate as a reasonable 
compromise. Otherwise, it's a faux majority, caused by severe 
compromise as a strategy. Election by plurality would at least be honest.

There is only one system which would fully satisfy the desire to vote 
with complete sincerity, and that would be Asset. I think it a waste 
to use Asset for only individual single-winner elections (if you are 
going to create this body of public voters, why not put it to more 
uses), but it would be simple enough and would, in fact, produce 
results where the result was accepted *by a majority of the voters or 
by someone the voters freely chose to represent them, publicly, in 
that process.* And, of course, anyone could become a public voter. So 
the only compromise involved, even in the extreme case -- don't trust 
anyone except yourself -- is with practicality, and that becomes an 
individual choice.

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