[EM] IRV proponents figure out how to make IRV precinct-summable

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km-elmet at broadpark.no
Tue Mar 17 16:09:39 PDT 2009

Kathy Dopp wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 1:19 PM, Dave Ketchum <mail.clarityconnect.com> wrote:
>> There has been a lot of guessing - let's see if I can do better, though
>> wishing to move to Condorcet:
>> Precinct-summable IRV is not reachable.  The first counts of top ranks have
>> to be centrally summed to identify certain losers.  Then for each ballot of
>> such a loser the next-ranked not-yet-lost candidate must be reported.
>>  Choices here are:
>>      Have precinct do it, since they have the ballots.
>>      Have had ballot images forwarded so central can do the count.
> I agree with you David. And BTW, I also agree with most of what
> Kristofer said and in retrospect did not mean that his software idea
> was "vaporware" so much as that it would take at least 4 years to be
> federally certified at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars
> just for the certification so that it is "vaporware" only from that
> sense of not being available for most states to use for a long time.

I would say that the only way to make it summable is to do it my way, or 
at least emulate my way. From what you say, it seems that they make it 
"summable" by eliminating all but two candidates and then seeing which 
one wins; that is, they run a "fake first round" for all possible 
combinations of winner candidates. Then a Plurality count determines who 
those two winner candidates are. My claim is then that of some winner 
set {X, Y} of two candidates (possible two round result), X wins iff 
c[X, Y] > c[Y, X]. That means that their method is a hackish variant of 
mine, where the hack is required because they're stuck with currently 
certified voting machines.

By the way, I don't see Dave's post to which you replied. Is it just me?

> The federal-state voting system certification process is a mess and
> the entire voting machine industry is a mess because they use
> proprietary standards and so voting system component are not
> interoperable, and the flawed design of voting machines makes it
> extremely difficult to check to see if the systems are producing
> accurate vote counts or not.

To the extent of my knowledge, I agree. I think that having the machines 
be engineered around a summable method would help a lot - then the 
machines could be, to quote someone whose name escapes me at the moment, 
"expensive pencils". A Condorcet counting machine simply has to do the 
very simple job of iterating through the ranks; a Range counting machine 
  just has to turn optical scan configurations into numbers ("he filled 
in three circles of ten for candidate X" to "X: 3/10"). You're left with 
a small amount of information - the sum of the array or matrix - that 
can be made public.

That may sound more vaporware-ish, but what I'm trying to say is that: 
if we could only have one change, let that be that rank order machines 
use a format that is summable and can be used by a variety of methods. 
Condorcet matrices fit (most Condorcet methods only need the matrix). 
Weighted positional methods (Borda, etc) can all use another kind of 
matrix ({x,y} contains the number equal to how many times candidate x 
was voted in yth place). And so on... what you have to decide is what 
format to use.

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