[EM] Does IRV elect "majority winners?"
juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Jan 5 14:46:22 PST 2009
One comment on concerns related to IRV's
decision between the last two candidates
on if that decision is a majority decision.
Many ballots may have exhausted before the
last round. As a result one may claim that
the last round decision was not a majority
The point is that in all elections that
have numerous candidates there is a risk
that voters will not properly indicate
their preferences on those candidates that
turn out to be the strongest competitors.
Typically methods have some agreed way of
handling those unrated/unranked candidates
(or alternatively they require full ratings
/rankings). The typical rule is to consider
those candidates to be at the shared last
Also in IRV one could say that those votes
that were eliminated before the last round
did take position. They said that those two
candidates are both at shared last position.
This may have happened because the voters
really felt so, or since the voters thought
(erroneously) that these candidates had no
chances to win.
How should we see other methods like Range
and Condorcet in this light? If there is a
default handling of candidates that were
not rated/ranked should we say that there
is something wrong with the winner if there
are many votes that did not take position
on the competition between the winner and
its strongest competitors?
It is possible that the voters would have
liked to take position but for some reason
did not know which candidates would be the
strongest in this election. This situation
is the same for all methods. A second round
could improve things. But it may be that
it is enough if the method offers the
voters the option to indicate their opinion.
This should be fair enough, at least if the
number of the candidates is reasonable (not
e.g. 100) or the leading candidates are
well known so that all voters can evaluate
those key candidates if they want to do so.
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