# [EM] I need an example of Condorcet method being subjected

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Fri Jan 22 09:39:32 PST 2010

```At 12:03 AM 1/22/2010, Kathy Dopp wrote:

>Terry, just do not imagine that people do not see the "trick" you use

The biggest is "majority," which has been redefined to mean something
very different, which is then justified on a bogus analogy with real runoffs.
"majority" has always been shorthand for "containing a vote from a
majority of ballots cast in an election," but this gets slipped into
"majority of ballots containing a vote for one of the top two
remaining after eliminations."

And the dirty little secret is that in most elections where there is
no majority in first preference, i.e., when the sequential
elimination retabulation is done, there is no majority -- real
majority of *voters* -- after retabulation.

If the Robert's Rules method is followed, the elimination continues
one more step in that case, to find if there is a majority of votes
who have ranked the candidate instead of refusing to vote for the
candidate. Education on IRV doesn't say, unfortunately, that ranking
a candidate is a form of vote for the candidate, and many or most
voters imagine that ranking a candidate "last" is a vote against the
candidate. Because it is actually a vote for the candidate against
all the write-ins or minor candidates who can't be ranked, if the
ranking is eliminated.

No, if you want to vote against a candidate without taking a stand on
every possible write-in, don't rank the candidate at all.

That's why this "majority" redefinition is so pernicious; without
realizing it, voters approving IRV have eliminated a majority
requirement without being aware of it, having bought the propaganda
that IRV "guarantees" a majority result. Top two runoff does
guarantee a majority result (if write-ins are not allowed; if they
are, it's possible for majority failure to occur, though rare).

The classic case is in San Francisco, where the voter information
pamphlet panel gave a "neutral" description of the measure that
claimed something like "winners will be required to gain a majority

It's very difficult to interpret that in a sane way to make it the
truth, it's a deceptive statement, and it was, I'm sure, based on
the effect would have been very different.

opponent after the rest of the candidates and ballots which don't
rank them have been eliminated. Mathematically, this is a "majority,"
not of "the votes," but of "votes remaining after all but two
candidates are eliminated and the ballots not ranking those two are
eliminated as well."

"Will be required" sounds like some standard which must be reached --
and thus which could fail -- and, since this redefined "majority" is
a tautology, a mathematical construct of the method, that's deceptive.

As I've pointed out, use the Robert's Rules method of counting, which
continues to the last elimination, not terminating when there are
only two candidates left, but seeking to find a complete majority,
and we could then make a parallel claim. "Candidate must receive

In Brown v. Smallwood, the Minnesota court noted, with approval,
prior judgement in another state that wrote about the issue being a
"majority of voters" rather than a "majority of votes." Or was it
"plurality" or language like that, I forget. It's too bad that they
didn't follow what they apparently did not understand and failed to
apply. Bucklin seeks to find a majority of *voters* who have approved
a candidate. Not a majority of "votes." The number of voters is the
number of valid ballots. If the ballot is valid, votes on it are then
considered, and if a majority is required, a winning threshold is
established that then must be found or the election fails. Or the
election is decided by plurality.

IRV, in every implementation so far in political elections, is being
decided by plurality, in most of the elections that go to "instant runoff."

But FairVote, even after all of this has been made abundantly clear,
continues to promote the deceptive arguments, even if modified
cleverly to make them not-exact-lies. That is, if you know the truth,
you'd have to say that the FairVote propaganda is true, as to literal
fact, but only deceptive as to impression created. And, of course,
individual activists continue to promote the deceptive impression,
probably not realizing that they are lying, or not caring. We will
see that FairVote has turned the corner when it becomes willing to be
"fair." Thus Kathy's Fairytale Vote is quite on point. FairVote is
selling false hopes, fairytales, based on a collection of
misinformation and deceptive political argument, designed to play on
voter ignorance of the complex issues of voting systems. And, long
ago, Rob Richie indicated his contempt for the "ivory-tower
theorists" who objected to his deceptions, on the basis that they
were not "practical" and not "politically realistic." Which means,
boiled down, that, in his view, to be politically successful you have to lie.

That's not reform, that is the same old shit. With lipstick on it.
Looks good, if you don't look and smell too closely. Bite into it and
swallow it and pay attention to what happens.... what happens?

That's why studying actual IRV performance is so important. I didn't
get half or more of the problems with IRV until I started studying
actual results and comparing with top two runoff results.

TTR has its defects, for sure, though not as many as FairVote has
alleged, their campaign has, almost entirely, been against top-two
runoff, and, as a result, they have reduced election fairness in the
actual jurisdictions they have targeted, based on deceptive arguments
about cost, and plastering over the "majority" issue. Those
jurisdictions, all of them, thought finding a majority was important,
so the cost of runoffs was worth it. Obviously! But tell them,
deceptively, that you can find a majority without the expense and
inconvenience of a runoff, why, sure, what a great idea!

But it was a lie, originally, and it remains as deceptive propaganda
that is turned into lies by those who don't understand it.

Terry, as long as you support this, you are properly tarred with the
same brush. If you don't like the tar, stop supporting the spewing of
deceptive propaganda by FairVote. Take a stand on it, both within
FairVote and in public fora.

There are preferential voting methods that clearly will improve
voting system performance, or, at worst, do no harm. Take top two
runoff, and use an advanced preferential voting method for the
primary, seeking a true majority (or possibly some lower criterion
that solidly predicts that a majority would be found in a runoff, not
the naive "40%" which does no such thing), and then use the method
also, possibly with reduced ranks, for the runoff. Use an intelligent
method for finding the best two candidates for ballot position, and
allow write-in votes in the runoff, using a spoiler-free method in
the runoff (so that write-ins can't spoil the election through
vote-splitting, unless the voters really can't stomach voting for the
lesser evil as well, in which case a majority failure indicates a
real failure. As you know, Robert's Rules would continue seeking a
majority, it is an unconditional requirement unless bylaws permit an
election by plurality, which parliamentarians strongly discourage.)

Stand up for the best. You can still argue, at this point, that IRV
is a better method than plurality, but only with partisan elections.
Kiss was a better result than Wright, and Wright *might* have won
under Plurality, and Wright was the worst result (though not by a
large margin compared to Kiss). But in nonpartisan elections, there
is no longer any reasonable argument that IRV is better for the

Stand up to the FairVote ideologues and demand that FairVote start to
work for real reform. Insist that FairVote cooperate with the voting
system expert community. Insist that FairVote support and aid in
reasonable implementation of other alternatives than IRV, and you
will find that the expert community will be far more moderate about
STV used for proportional representation, which was the original goal
of the predecessor organizations to FairVote. STV is reasonable for
PR. I'd argue that there are better methods, but I'd be thrilled to
see an STV-PR proposal on the ballot or in legislation, and I'd
support it, even though I know it is not ideal.

But IRV on a local ballot, in nonpartisan elections, is actually
worse than plurality at much higher cost, and I have come to the
position of strong opposition (from an initial support), based on
study of actual elections. In partisan elections? I'd be more
divided, but, given the Burlington results, the claim that the
pathological behavior of IRV would be rare -- often it was claimed
that there were no examples, but the reality was that there wasn't
the data, Australia did not disclose the necessary ballot data to do
real analysis -- can be seen to be false. And there is no reason not
to use, instead, the much better performing American Preferential
Voting, as it was called in the political science literature of the
time, instead, plus if jurisdictions want a majority, they can use
APV (Bucklin) in a runoff voting context, it will avoid many or most
runoffs, reducing cost and inconvenience. It works better at finding
majorities than IRV, because it does count all the votes. If IRV is
going to be used, it should be in a runoff voting system, and top-two
is lousy with IRV, if it means that lower-preference votes can't be
counted. IRV with all votes counted would be far better for this purpose.

Later-no-harm makes sense with multiwinner elections, to a degree.
Single-winner, it is a pernicious criterion, one much better off
violated than respected. Allowing equal ranking with IRV would allow
the voter to decide which they prefer: protection of the favorite, or
casting an effective vote for a major candidate. But once we are
going to do that, why not go all the way, and use instant runoff
approval, which has a very solid theoretical basis in repeated
election theory, a sliding down of approval cutoff to find a
compromise? Instant runoff approval is a closer simulation of
repeated balloting without eliminations, the basic Robert's Rules
method, than is sequential elimination. IRA? Also known as Bucklin.
That is exactly what it is.

Support experimental use of other methods, particularly ones which
are low-cost, as any approval method on the table is, without question.

If you don't do this, Terry, fine, it's your right. But since you
have entered this arena and have publicly supported IRV, and even
incorporated some of the deceptive propaganda into the Vermont
legislation you introduced, we, as well, have the right and possibly
the obligation to expose your behavior and that of FairVote.