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

Kathy Dopp kathy.dopp at gmail.com
Tue Mar 17 17:34:37 PDT 2009

On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
<km-elmet at broadpark.no> wrote:
> 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.

That is not quite what they do. They count the first round at the
central office by counting only the 1st choice votes, and eliminate
all but the top two 1st choice vote winners.  Then, they count the 2nd
and last round in the polling places.  I can see poll workers waiting
around in the polls until perhaps as late as 11 p.m. waiting to get
the first round results so that they can begin counting the second

They can of course eliminate the majority-favorite candidate in the
first round this way, since this uses the typical IRV method for
counting the 2nd, 3rd choices of only some voters depending on if
their first or second choice is one of the top two or not.

> 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.

Let's hope that your method is better than theirs since theirs is
nonmonotonic and does not find majority-favored winners.

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

I included it in my email. He may not have sent it to the list.

> 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.

Yes. I agree that any of those methods are simpler to count then IRV
and produces far more fundamentally fair, desirable results.

> 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.

I would think that the particular programming method would have to be
unique for the method and yet we need to use a summable method.

Lucky for North Carolina that their State election statutes prohibit
voting methods that cannot be counted in the precincts so that they
are seemingly saved from the vagaries of IRV.



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