[EM] Does IRV elect "majority winners?"

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Jan 4 19:28:36 PST 2009

On Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:16:14 -0500 Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
> At 07:44 PM 1/3/2009, Dave Ketchum wrote:
>> BTW, I would not do runoffs with Condorcet, even with cycles - promise 
>> of no runoffs can encourage more careful preparation for the primary 
>> vote where Condorcet allows complete ranking.
> Perhaps. Perhaps not. That can be a *lot* of preparation, and people are 
> busy, many don't already, find time for voting. Bullet voting is simple, 
> it can be relatively easy to know who your favorite is.

Agreed that bullet voting is often appropriate.

Only occasional elections provide reason for some voters to do more ranking.

Even if runoffs are possible/expected, it is wise to vote carefully in the 
primary to minimize possibility of bad choices getting to the runoff.
> And when it isn't easy to know, having trouble deciding between two, 
> Open Voting (Approval) allows a simple option: vote for both!

What is important is that Condorcet, unlike Approval, permits voting for 
both Good and Soso, while indicating that Good is preferred.
> If any Condorcet method is used, it should allow equal ranking, because 
> this *allows* more sincere voting, in fact.

AGREED that equal ranking should be permitted.
> However, majority vote and avoidance of all runoffs are two incompatible 
> goals. So the question is, how important is it that a majority of those 
> voting support the winner?

The CW has been compared with EACH other candidate, and found better liked 
in every case.  However this does not guarantee a majority, since voters 
are not each required to rank all candidates.

When there is a cycle its 3 or more members would each be CW if compared
only with non-cycle members.  For this I claim near-ties since their
strengths overlap.
> I'd say it is a bare minimum! We have a defective democracy when we 
> elect with other than a majority, either of voters directly, or through 
> chosen representatives. Where representation is involved, we have a 
> defective democracy even with a majority!

Plurality NEEDS majority for, if top candidate gets less, another could 
deserve the win and these voters cannot completely express their desires in 
their votes.

Condorcet has less need, for its voters can rank all the candidates they 
approve of.

Therefore I recommend careful thought as to when runoffs may be worth their 

BTW - cost of ballot support for complete ranking can tempt limits on 
Condorcet ranking.  How bad should we complain if offered 3 as in RCV?
  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.

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list