[EM] Does IRV elect "majority winners?"

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Tue Jan 6 20:03:59 PST 2009

At 05:58 AM 1/6/2009, James Gilmour wrote:
> > > --- On Tue, 6/1/09, James Gilmour <jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk> wrote:
> > > "If the vote for any one candidate equals or exceeds
> > > the votes of all the other candidates combined, that candidate shall
> > > be declared elected."
> >
> > > Here you will see there is no reference to "a
> > > quota", nor is there any reference to "a
> > > majority" of any kind.
>Juho Laatu  > Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 10:31 AM
> > Good definition. One could use also term
> > "majority" in the definition but maybe better not.
>Juho, most certainly NOT.  The whole point of that wording in the 
>ERS IRV (Alternative Vote) rules is that it completely avoids the
>word "majority" which can be given a variety of different 
>meanings.   As we can see from some of the posts to this lists even today,
>there are those who completely reject any idea of the winner having 
>a "majority" in any IRV election.

I haven't noticed that. I certainly don't believe that, and if James 
has been reading carefully, he'd know that. If the winner of an IRV 
election has received, either in the first round, or after transfers, 
a vote from a majority of ballots cast, the winner is a majority 
winner. Most IRV elections do produce majority winners, unless there 
are very large numbers of candidates.

>The ERS wording also makes it clear that the comparison to be made 
>is of the numbers of votes for the candidates at the CURRENT
>stage of the count.  This is the correct approach because this is an 
>STV election in which the preferences marked on the ballot
>papers are contingency choices.  So if at stage 2 or some later 
>stage, some who voted at stage 1 now opt out and do not indicate any
>further preferences, they are, in accordance with their expressed 
>wish, left out of the decision-making process about the remaining

A lack of a vote is not an "expressed wish." If the voter truncates 
with some mark that indicates that, if the voter has explicitly 
indicated that they may be excluded from the majority, this, then, is 
an explicit abstention and, indeed, it would be legitimate to exclude 
such an exhausted ballot. It could be done.

Otherwise a ballot with a vote is not an "expressed wish" to be "left 
out," or abstention, we do violence to the language to claim it is.

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