[EM] Report on the 2006 Burlington Mayoral election.

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km-elmet at broadpark.no
Thu Jan 8 01:31:28 PST 2009

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
> 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.
Or just use the file I've included, where I transformed the ballots into 
A > B > C type format.

> 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:
> http://www.burlingtongreenparty.org/
> 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 
> "independents."
> There is a post made by Ploof to 
> http://www.iburlington.com/article.php/ploof4mayor where he gives a URL:
> <http://www.bgreens.org/loyal.htm>http://www.bgreens.org/loyal.htm
> It's a dead link, the whole domain bgreens.org is gone.

That's a lot more complex than I thought. There seems to be (or have 
been) three "Green" party sites: bgreens.org, vermontgreenparty.org, and 

I've looked at the bgreens.org pages by using www.archive.org, and those 
  look quite simple, so you're probably right and it isn't a "real" 
Green party. See e.g 

The main page of bgreens.org (from 2005) also states:

Loyal Ploof for Mayor
Owen Mulligan for Inspector of Election
Sean Starfighter for Inspector of Election

all of which are referred to in the burlingtongreenparty.org "fraudulent 
and illegal representation" notice.

> "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.

Do you think that would happen with Condorcet as well? In other words, 
is that something only a runoff can fix?

>> 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.

If C05 *should* be ranked above C06, that's another point (albeit a weak 
one) against IRV, since it ranks C06 > C05.

> 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?

Maybe they were misinformed. Maybe it was a stick-it-to-the-system 
all-independents-are-better vote. Maybe they liked the candidates' weird 
nicknames. Who knows?

> 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.

This would support the idea that voters start off not knowing much about 
the method and just vote according to preference, then learn later.

> Now, let's look at San Francisco!

Okay, though SF is artificially limited.
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