[EM] A turd by any other name

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km-elmet at broadpark.no
Wed Mar 24 01:30:12 PDT 2010

Brian Olson wrote:
> Someone needs to tell Thomas Friedman that "Alternative Voting" (IRV)
> isn't all it's claimed to be. 
> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/opinion/24friedman.html

It appears that FairVote's strategy is working, for some value of 
working at least. In so insistently giving the impression that ranked 
ballot is for IRV and IRV is for the ranked ballot, they're succeeding 
in making people equate the two.

In effect, they're playing high stakes. By attaching IRV to the sensible 
idea of a ranked ballot, they can get others to swallow the idea of IRV, 
the method, more easily. However, this is indeed high stakes, because if 
IRV fails (and as you point out, it's not very good), then that failure 
can be transported over to the idea of ranked balloting itself. After 
all, if IRV is ranked balloting and ranked balloting is IRV, then a 
failure in one is a failure in both.

It appears that Friedman is more confused than actively championing the 
IRV cause: common sense says that the advantage of a ranked ballot is 
that you *can* make contingent choices, you can prefer one party (or 
candidate) to another without causing a spoiler. However, (as we know,) 
a ranked ballot helps little unless it's combined with a good method.

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