[EM] Election-Methods Digest, Vol 92, Issue 17

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Thu Feb 2 11:31:29 PST 2012

> On 2/2/12 11:39 AM, David L Wetzell wrote:
>> I wanted to mention that Approval-voting enhanced IRV and STV could be
>> tabulated at the precinct level.  You let everyone rank up to 3 candidates
>> and then you use these rankings to get 3 finalists.  You then sort the
>> votes into ten possible ways people could rank the 3 finalists.
> there are 9 possible ways of ranking 3 candidates, unless you're counting
> "none of the above".  i guess that would make it 10.
> in general, for N candidates and IRV, the number of piles you need to sort
> to is
> If we take a two stage approach then we don't need to do it for the
general case...
We can keep N down to S+2, or the number of contested seats plus two...,
which leads to (N+2)^2+1 piles.

> the number of piles grows pretty large for IRV, which is why we normally
> call it "not precinct summable".  essentially a physical instrument (like a
> thumb drive) that contains the information for each and every ballot must
> be (securely) transported from each voting place to the central tabulation
> facility (like City Hall).
> folks like Kathy Dopp understandably complain about the lack of
> transparency about such, while i didn't see it as too bad of a problem for
> a small city like Burlington.  however IRV was passed (and vetoed by the
> guv back then) in Vermont for the gubernatorial election, and that
> centralization of counting would be even more of a problem.  i just can't
> see some Town Clerk driving up from Bennington VT to Montpelier to deliver
> the opaque physical instrument representing all those votes.  that would
> smell bad.

Hence, the need for 2 stages...
Dopp herself admitted this would work.

>   But if the third or fourth most often ranked candidates were within a
>> small percent of each other then it would not require a manual recount.
>>  The IRV cd be done with two sets of 3 candidates so there'd be twice as
>> much sorting in the 2nd round and then there'd be a manual recount if and
>> only if there's a different outcome in the two sets of candidates, which is
>> not likely.
> with FPTP, there need be only one team of counters (but more teams will
> divide the labor and the results are perfectly summable) and that number
> does not grow with N.  a team will normally have 4 people that are known
> supporters of the different candidates.  there are two "callers", they
> simultaneously examine each ballot, one at a time, and call out the name of
> the voted candidate.  there are two "counters" that rack up the counts.
>  for every block of 50 or 100 ballots, the counts (between the two
> counters) are compared and if there is any discrepancy, that block is
> recalled and recounted.
> for IRV, this can be done with a single team or multiple teams (to divide
> the labor) but the piles (a function of the 1st-choice vote or the
> remaining 1st-choice vote) need to be separate so that when a candidate is
> eliminated, the votes are "transferred" (as in "STV") at the end of the
> pass or round.  then there is retabulation and this recounting cannot be
> done in parallel, it must be done sequentially, up to the final round.

If you have S+2 finalists candidates, after the first stage, with S being
the number of seats then you can sort the votes into (S+2)^2+1 piles in a
way that lets the transfer to take place and this only needs be done once

> for Condorcet, if the labor is divided, there needs to be a team for every
> pair of candidates (essentially the number of piles divided by two:
> N*(N-1)/2 ).  each team is concerned only for its assigned pair of
> candidates (who is ranked above who) and the ballots are passed from one
> team to the adjacent team.  but there is only one pass.  if the number of
> teams is not available, it can be done with a single team sequentially, but
> would be multiple passes and would be laborious.

Which is why I like Condorcet for when there are relatively few voters and
candidates and the voters are very knowledgeable about all of the

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