[EM] Report on the 2006 Burlington Mayoral election.

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Jan 7 18:15:53 PST 2009

I should say at the outset that I will email a spreadsheet with the 
vote data, on request. It's on the web site I pointed to, but it's a 
pile of individual files and a little nuisance to download and 
convert and combine.

At 08:56 AM 1/5/2009, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
>To my knowledge, Loyal Ploof is (Green).

I should verify that. Ploof claimsed to be a Green, but there are 
signs that the party doesn't recognize him. If this is actually an 
official Vermont Green web site:


On the home page, we find:

>This Burlington Green Party is a legally established political party 
>that is filed with the Vermont Secretary of State. You may confirm 
>this fact at 802-828-0771. Please regard all other "official" 
>Burlington Green sites by Owen Mulligan, Rene & Jeanne 
>Kaczka-Valliere, Annette Urbschat, James Vos, Loyal Ploof, Frank 
>Haddleton, Sean Starfighter, Hillary Weeks and Patrick Stanton to be 
>a fraudulent and illegal representation of their Lyndon LaRouche 
>cult leader Craig Hill from Montpelier.

Wow! Is the "Burlington Green Party" a different party from the 
Vermont Greens? Could be! My recollection was that party affiliations 
weren't listed for Ploof or the other candidate, they were considered 

There is a post made by Ploof to 
http://www.iburlington.com/article.php/ploof4mayor where he gives a URL:


It's a dead link, the whole domain bgreens.org is gone.

Whom did the 3809 Progressive Party voters (C03, Bob Kiss) choose in 
lower ranks?
C01 197 Beaudin
C02 708 Curley, Republican
(1 vote was C02=C05 C01 C04)
C04 2111 Miller, Democrat
C05 252 Ploof
C06 86 Write-in
none 454

 From this, Ploof doesn't look like a Green, if I assume that the 
Vermont Progressive Party is a progressive party! Unless I my memory 
is off, the ballot didn't show a party affiliation. It's important, 
many voters will vote based on party affiliation. The small vote for 
Ploof could easily be explained by voters who saw him call himself a 
Green, or who simply liked the crazy name!

>Not all five mayoral candidates were invited to participate -- 
>Independent Louie "The Cowman" Beaudin claims he had to "twist some 
>arms" for a seat at the table. But once the debate begins, its 
>inclusiveness works to Miller's advantage. The candidates speak in 
>the order in which they're seated, and Miller is sandwiched between 
>Beaudin and Independent candidate Loyal Ploof.

Not to be considered a Green, I'd say. The Vermont Green Party 
website, http://www.vermontgreenparty.org/, has been hacked, 
apparently, currently it is a page in Cyrillic. It is, apparently, 
Russian, translating to an article on some kind of garden....

>Fearless Pete's crystal ball has Mrs. Miller finishing first, Kiss 
>second and Curley third. But Hinda doesn't break the 50 percent 
>threshold on the first round. IRV kicks in, eliminating the two 
>"fringe" candidates. No change in the order.
>The Curley supporters, we predict, will ignore their candidate's 
>advice and make Hinda, instead of Bob the Prog, their second choice. 
>Many, after all, think of her as a Republican deep down inside her 
>stock portfolio. That should end it all.

"Fearless Pete" was wrong, Bob won the election. He was right that no 
change in the order took place from vote transfers.

Before transfers: Kiss:Miller, 3809:3106, 55.1% Kiss (relative to sum 
of Kiss and Miller)
After transfers: 4761:3896 55.0%

This constancy of vote relationships even with transfers is a 
phenomenon that I see commonly with nonpartisan elections. It's not 
just that plurality would have produced the same result, it is that 
the ratio of the frontrunners to each other remains constant. It's 
looking to me like the Burlington election was more about the 
candidates than about parties, and, given that Burlington is a 
relatively small town, that's not surprising at all.

Was "Fearless Frank" right about the Republican voters?

1st     2nd     3rd     4th     5th
2609 votes for C02 (Curley), eliminated, transfers:
         exh 768 inc one overvote
         C01 286 eliminated, transfers:
                 exh 89
                 C03 57
                 C04 42
                 C05 88 eliminated, transfers:
                         exh 33
                         C03 37
                         C04 18
                 C06 10 eliminated, transfers:
                         exh 5
                         C03 4
                         C04 1
         C03 675
         C04 720
         C05 103 eliminated, transfers:
                 exh 19
                 C01 50 eliminated, transfers:
                         exh 8
                         C03 28
                         C04 14
                 C03 20
                 C04 13
                 C06 1 eliminated, transfers:
                         exh 1
         C06 57 eliminated, transfers:
                 exh 28
                 C01 12 eliminated, transfers:
                         exh 3
                         C04 2
                         C05 7 eliminated, transfers:
                                 exhausted 2
                                 C03 4
                                 C04 1
                 C03 8
                 C04 6
                 C05 3 eliminated, transfers:
                         C01 3 eliminated, transfers:
                                 exh 1
                                 C04 2

Republican votes for the top two:
Rank:           2nd     3rd     4th     5th     TOTAL
Progressive:    675     85      69      4       833
Democrat:       720     61      35      3       819
Exhausted       768     136     50      3       958 

total                                           2609

Overall, the Curley voters did not follow Curley's advice. If we look 
at the split, in votes that went to Kiss vs. Miller, it's Kiss 50.4%. 
In a nonpartisan election, we'd have expected a 55% ratio to Kiss, 
based on the first preference votes and the theory that the 
supporters of one candidate in an election, who don't truncate at 
that candidate, are typical of all voters as to their preferences 
between the remaining ones. Obviously, this breaks down when partisan 
affiliations are involved or if voters follow a recommendation from 
their favorite or otherwise are atypical.

In this case, it looks like traditional party closeness (Republicans 
being closer to Democrats than Progressives, and Miller being called 
a Republican light by the Progressives) was a factor, but not a huge 
one. The vote still went to Kiss by a small margin.

The Republican voters (i.e., voters preferring the Republican 
candidate, they are not necessarily "Republicans") could have turned 
the election to Miller if they had voted consistently.

The final result was Kiss, 4761, Miller, 3986. That's a margin of 775 
votes. More Republican votes were exhausted than that.

One lesson: political parties and candidates don't own voters. They 
can recommend vote transfers, and it may have some effect, but not 
necessarily a large one.

>Some more information on this data set, according to my election program:
>Schulze returns C03 > C04 > C02 > C01 > C05 > C06. So does minmax, 
>Borda, Vote For and Against (1, 0, 0..., -1), and Nauru Borda.
>Plurality returns C03 > C04 > C02 > C01 > C06 > C05. So does Hare 
>(IRV) and Carey.
>Antiplurality returns C03 > C02 = C01 > C04 > C05 > C06.

The only reason that C05 beats C06, I think, is all those voters who 
voted with full ranking *excluding* write-ins. C06, though, would be 
a multiplicity of candidates, many unique, possibly many not even 
intelligible. Nobody bothers to count these more specifically, since, 
even if they were all one candidate, that candidate can't win. 
*However*, of course, it does happen that write-ins win elections; 
when the write-in vote gets high enough, they have to look more closely.

This was not a difficult election, it's pretty straightforward. 
That's why all methods produce almost the same result, differing only 
down in the difference between the write-ins, considered as one, and 
Loyal Ploof.

In the data above, you can see that some voters who voted for Kiss or 
Miller in *fifth position* had that vote counted. (4 votes for Kiss, 
3 votes for Miller). They didn't rank the other frontrunner (which 
follows), hence these were 4 Kiss > Miller votes and 3 Miller > Kiss 
votes, but they voted indicating that every other candidate, plus a 
write-in, were better than the candidate who got their vote in the 
last round. 4 of them voted for the winner. Were these votes sincere? 
Did they really think that the Cowboy and Loyal Ploof were better 
than Kiss? Did they realize that ranking Kiss last (on the ballot) 
was still a vote for him?

I see quite a few signs that voters didn't understand the method. One 
of the most remarkable phenomenon to me is the overvotes. They mostly 
make sense, they probably were intentional. Did the voter know that 
these would void that rank and all ranks below, under some 
conditions? (If more than one candidate involved in the overvote is 
still active when that rank is reached, the ballot is considered 
exhausted, as I recall.) So your overvote might count, or it might 
not, you don't necessarily know. Most of the overvotes were buried 
under frontrunner votes, so they didn't actually cause exhausted 
ballots. Overvotes in first position did.

>All positional methods are whole.
>The Condorcet matrix is
>    0  1289   804  1161  2028  3290
>5165     0  3397  3556  5136  5875
>6961  5730     0  4763  7027  7351
>6747  5545  3991     0  6790  7336
>1869  1318   603   987     0  3094
>  431   311   194   323   510     0
>(row beats column), and the WV basis is thus:
>    0     0  0     0  2028  3290
>5165     0  0     0  5136  5875
>6961  5730  0  4763  7027  7351
>6747  5545  0     0  6790  7336
>    0     0  0     0     0  3094
>    0     0  0     0     0     0
>which means that C03 is the CW.
>(If my program has bugs, there will be errors in the above.)

Now, let's look at San Francisco!

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