[EM] Advocacy. Compromise.

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 12:32:00 PST 2012

On 12/2/2012 11:50 AM, Michael Ossipoff wrote:
> ...
> Voting system reform can only happen as part of a larger package of
> improvements that will come by electing a non-Republocrat party to
> office. Preferably a progressive one. That would be the Greens, the
> most winnable progressive party. FairVote says that the LIbertarians,
> like the Greens, favor IRV.

Richard Fobes replied:

The Green party _claims_ to support IRV.  Yet they do not use it to
elect their internal party delegates.


The Greens, from my experience, use a consensus process for their
internal decisionmaking. I don't agree with that process. I feel that
its result is that the most aggressive or pushy person gets their way.
But that's how they make internal decisions, based on my experience
with them.

That doesn't make any less genuine their support for IRV for official
public elections.

Fobes continued:

  And I haven't heard of the Green
party putting any effort into using IRV in their primary elections.


But isn't the voting-system of the government-run primary already
decided? If a state uses Plurality for its elections, does a party
have a way to use IRV for their primary, when using the official
government primary process. I don't think that that choice is up to
the Greens, when they use the government's official primary process.

To use IRV in their primaries, wouldn't the Greens have to somehow do
the primaries on their own, maybe by website? Well, maybe they could
do that. It might be a good suggestion to make to them. Maybe, now,
the web makes it possible for a party to conduct its own primary, by
any method that they choose.

If they -- or any party -- did use IRV, then I and many other voters
would support more of their candidates.

Richard quoted me, and replied:
> ...
> So then, how can we get a better voting system? Vote for the Green
> nominee in every official public election, starting with the next one.

Michael also had what I think is a better idea: vote for a third-party
candidate for Secretary of State.


But what could be better than the immediate election a party, such as
the Greens, which offers remedies to most of the things that people
complain about?

If everyone merely read the platforms, and then voted for what they
actually prefer, I suggest that the Greens would win the presidency
and most of Congress.

And, among the many improvements they propose, would be IRV as the
voting system. As I said, with the more open media and more responsive
government that would come with the Greens, there would be plenty of
opportunity to soon get a better voting system, such as Approval or

(Or even a rank method, if people could ever agree on which one--not
likely. But the relatively complex, and much more labor-intensive,
count of Condorcet methods would probably be prohibitive).

Sure, if a state's Secretary of State were a Green, that could help
state electoral reform. But the Secretary of State is a major office,
and it might be difficult to get lesser-of-2-evils voters to vote
Green for that office.

My suggestion was to ask people to vote Green for the _least
important_ state office, in each state, just to get a measure of what
percentage of the voters prefer the Greens. If that looks like enough
to outpoll the Republicans, then even the more timid voters would know
that they can vote for the Green for the most major offices.

For clarification, Secretary of State
is the official who handles a state's election.  Such votes would
hopefully express a desire for election reform.

Fobes continued:


I also agree with Kristofer's statement about usage being very
important.  People need to try something on a small scale before they
are comfortable with trusting it at the large scale.  Where will that


Not likely until there's some agreement, among voting-system reform
advocates, regarding what the method should be. Then there could be
some powerful unified advocacy.

That's the problem. We're all advocating different methods,
recommending different methods.

Few of us agree on which one is best.

My own opinion on what is best:

In important ways, Approval is best, because of its social
optimizations, and its simple, easy count.

But, the way people vote, they'd probably do better with Score, with
its easy built-in fractional ratings.

But, if we disregard the problem of a complex and labor-intensive count:

Symmetrical ICT essentially has the same important strategy criterion
compliances, and same u/a strategy, as Approval. But it additionally
brings CD compliance, and the automatic avoidance of the chicken

Yes, if fails Participation, Consistency and IIAC, but those
criterion-failures aren't associated with real problems in use. And
Symmetrical ICT's automatic chicken dilemma avoidance is a lot to
offer in return for those loss of Participation, Consistency and IIAC.

So: If I could decree what the voting system would be (and if it were
certain that a handcount could and would be done problem-free), then
I'd decree Symmetrical ICT.

But of course none of us can decree. It's a matter of compromise,

Approval and Score are my compromises.

That's important to emphasize: When I advocate Approval or Score, I'm
not pushing my favorite. My favorite is Symmetrical ICT.

I'm compromising. That's all I ask others to do.

What better compromise than the simplest and most minimal improvement
on Plurality? The minimal elimination of Plurality's one serious
problem, its requirement that the voter bottom-rate all but one
candidate--its blatantly undemocratic "forced falsification"

In other words, what better compromise than Approval?

I suggest that Approval is the natural and obvious compromise for all
of us voting-system reform advocates. We all advocate and prefer
various different methods, mostly rank methods. What can we all
compromise on?

Mike Ossipoff

 More importantly, _when_ will a U.S. third party wake up and
adopt better ballots and a better counting method for electing party
officials, the way the Pirate parties already do?


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