[EM] Legal brief vs. San Francisco limited IRV
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Mar 7 18:08:11 PST 2010
At 12:39 AM 3/7/2010, Kathy Dopp wrote:
>I've posted the latest plaintiffs' legal brief here. Plaintiffs
>attorneys are brilliant and this brief is actually fun to read the way
>plaintiffs' attorneys expose all the disinformation told the court by
>the defendants' attorneys and use Fair Vote's own words and the words
>of the Minnesota Supreme Court Judges against the restricted San
>Francisco rank only three version of IRV.
It is actually brilliant. Yes; limited. My view is that IRV is
generally constitutional. I.e., if top two runoff is constitutional,
full-ranking IRV is constitutional. They've hit on a technicality,
the loss of equal treatment of voters if the voter can't rank enough
candidates, but as they point out, the deprivation of equal treatment
can be quite small and be unconstitutional.
And there is a quick fix, of course. Instant Runoff Approval Voting.
Allow the voters to mark as many candidates as they choose in each of
the three ranks. Then use Bucklin procedure. And make this a primary
round, hold a runoff if there is no true majority found. What this
will do is to eliminate *most* runoff elections. Not all. It's just a
more efficient way of finding a majority in the primary. The same
trick could be done with IRV, but, note this: IRV no longer would
satisfy later-no-harm, and IRV does not count all the votes. Unless
all the votes *are* counted, which would mean that one would count
lower ranked votes against non-eliminated higher-ranked candidates.
Bucklin does it much better and because there are no eliminations in
the primary rounds, it finds a candidate who is supported by more
voters than any other. Because of the runff, voters need not, in the
primary, support someone who is the "least evil." They can vote
sincerely. They can bullet vote if they want. They can add alternate
preferences if they'd prefer these to a runoff (or if they'd want to
see them get into a runoff). They choose.
From my analysis, IRV, however, would not find a majority in most of
the elections that went to instant runoff in San Francisco, and
Bucklin would find it it in maybe half. But Bucklin is far less
expensive to count, it's precinct summable, just count all the votes
in each rank (typically three ranks were used) and report them
separately. They can then be added together.
Bucklin was used in a lot of places in the U.S., at one time, pushing
100. The actual method was only found unconstitutional in one place,
Minnesota, is a decision that was aware it was idiosyncratic. It was
popular, the Minnesotata Supreme Court decision was quite unpopular,
the court notes that in its reconsideration. My guess is that
political forces were operating. Some people did not want a good
voting system, it's more difficult to manipulate.
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