[EM] Burlington versus Aspen in Declaration

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Sat Apr 7 23:12:44 PDT 2012

On 4/8/12 12:00 AM, Richard Fobes wrote:
> On 4/6/2012 12:45 PM, robert bristow-johnson wrote:
> ...
>>> Question 5. If you have not signed the Declaration, why?
>> i had a couple of problems. two that i remember is that it cited the
>> 2009 Mayoral election in my town, Burlington Vermont, as an example of
>> the failure of Instant Runoff Voting, and, indeed IRV *did* fail that
>> year (and has been repealed the following year, by a small margin). but
>> the reason given for the dissatisfaction of Burlingtonians mentioned in
>> the declaration is not accurate. the Burlington voters are not as
>> sophisticated as folks on the election-methods list or otherwise engaged
>> in election reform. the reason given is more of a reflection of what
>> persons who study these different methods have for rejecting IRV, but
>> voters that voted to repeal IRV in Burlington believed (incorrectly,
>> IMO) that IRV robbed the Plurality winner of his legitimate election.
>> most of us on this list understand that the root to the failure of IRV
>> that year was that the Condorcet winner (a.k.a. the "pairwise champion")
>> was not elected.
> Should the example in the Declaration be changed from Burlington to 
> Aspen?
would it be more accurate with Aspen?  it says:

"In some elections IRV has prematurely eliminated a candidate who would 
have beaten the actual winner in a runoff election.  This disadvantage 
may be why several cities, including Burlington, Vermont, repealed IRV 
and returned to plurality voting."

It doesn't make logical sense.  It says that because IRV failed to elect 
the Condorcet winner (the "candidate who would have beaten the actual 
winner in a runoff election") that these cities repealed IRV and 
returned to plurality.  Why return to Plurality to address the problem 
of failing to elect the pairwise champion?  I would expect that 
returning to Plurality would address the perceived "problem" of failing 
to elect the FPTP winner.

What was the issue with the Aspen election?  What year and what race was 
IRV used for, and who got elected?  Was it a case where the Condorcet 
winner was not elected and people bitched about that problem or was it 
more like that the Plurality winner was not elected and that was 
perceived as the failure?  just curious.
> This question applies to all signers, not just Robert.

just to be clear, i am not (yet) a signer.  maybe i should be, but i 
really can't get behind any solution other than a Ranked-Choice voting 
(Condorcet preferable, IRV maybe acceptable).  i really can't get at all 
behind promoting Score nor Approval nor Asset nor SODA for governmental 
elections.  They're just too messy.  (Approval isn't messy, but I don't 
think it will nor should catch on because of the need for "expressivity" 
for voters where we want to be able to separate our first and second 
choices *and* separate our second and last choices.)


r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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