rbj at audioimagination.com
Tue Jan 31 13:29:37 PST 2012
On 1/31/12 3:23 PM, David L Wetzell wrote:
> STV requires much more work on the part of the voter - ranking all
> the way down to a candidate likely to be elected, instead of just
> one. That probably means a much larger ballot and/or an arbitrary
> cutoff between ballot-candidates and write-in candidates.
this is *not* just STV. it is ranked-choice voting (i would use the
acronym RCV, but i think there were some places out west that they
attached the label "RCV" to what we have been commonly calling IRV. and
i don't think it requires any more work on the part of the voter than
that of deciding whom the voter would vote for in a runoff if their 1st
choice was not in the runoff. but it requires the voter to make up
his/her mind about the candidates by Election Day, and i have never
understood why that is such a burden (but the voting-reform opponents
here in Burlington surely bitch about that).
the ballot meaning and rules are exactly the same, with one exception.
for some ranked-choice methods, such as Condorcet, there is no
restriction against equal ranking of any candidates. for STV, equal
ranking is a problem because we don't know how to promote (or
"transfer") the pair of equally-ranked votes if some higher-ranked vote
> In the FPTP case, it trims the ability of dissenters to move the de
> facto center towards the true center. In the IRV case, it does the
> opposite, it penalizes the major parties when they do not move enough
> towards the true center.
again, that was not the case in Burlington. the center party was
"squeezed" (as Jameson would say). the candidate in the center received
nearly all of the 2nd-choice votes from voters who ranked one of either
the left or right wing candidates 1st. it was relatively rare that the
left-wing voter ranked the right-wing candidate as their 2nd choice and
also vise versa. but the center candidate did not benefit from that
because IRV is opaque to your 2nd choice if your 1st choice has not been
eliminated. but, under Condorcet-compliant rules, the center candidate
would have benefited greatly (and would be elected), so it can be said
that Condorcet tends to favor the center candidate more (than either IRV
or FPTP) whereas IRV tends to favor the largest subgroup (i.e. the
Progs, in Burlington in 2009) of the majority group (liberals). and, we
know, that FPTP gives the minority candidate the best chance they have
of winning (they need a 3rd-party or 3rd independent candidate to draw
votes away from what would be their majority opponent if the spoiler was
> Most rational choice models implicit here take as fixed the position
> of candidates/parties on the spectrum, when in real life, this can be
> changed somewhat. This reduces the "badness" of strategic voting. It
> becomes less important thereby to devise an election rule that doesn't
> give any incentive to anyone to vote strategically.
the reason why i have never agreed with that is because people *resent*
being saddled with the burden of voting tactically and particularly
resent finding out ex-post facto that their sincere vote served their
political interests more poorly than the tactical vote (the most common
tactic is "compromising"). that resentment has consequences, one of
which is a cloud hanging over the elected candidate as not being
entirely "legitimate", not being the "true" choice of the electorate.
but the worse consequence is that of holding back what would otherwise
be viable independent or 3rd party candidates, sometimes leaving the
voters with a choice between Dumb and Dumber. that is the *main* evil
we're trying to avoid with voting system and ballot reform.
we are *now* experiencing some of these consequences in Burlington. the
Progs have decided not to run a candidate (the current mayor is or was a
Prog and is not running for re-election). it looked for a while that
there would be only two (Dem and GOP), but recently an independent
candidate emerged and her political appeal is a lot like a Prog
candidate (the Progs are not ashamed of sticking up for the poor and
powerless whereas, ever since Reagan, Democrats have modified their
rhetoric to be for "the middle class" so as not to sound "socialistic"
or too "liberal", both were bad words and continue to be used
disparagingly in American politics). so we are going to have an
interesting test case for the election coming up March 6. we might very
well get an elected candidate with 41% of the vote.
now the Progressive party in Vermont is declining *rapidly*. Burlington
is the most populous town in the state (but Vermont has the the least
populous largest city of all 50 states) with a population of about
42000. we have about 9000 voters in a mayoral election. the Democratic
caucus had over 1000 valid voters showing up. the Prog caucus (which i
attended as an observer, so also did another EM lister, who i just
discovered has a Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Bouricius but he was a voting
attendee) easily had less than 2 dozen voting members. 2 of the 14
Burlington city councilors are Prog. *any* of the state legislators
have been forced to identify themselves as dual affiliated, Dem/Prog, in
order to get elected.
i truly fear the demise of what was once identified as the most
successful third party in the United States.
i'll keep you guys informed. we have an interesting real-world election
r b-j rbj at audioimagination.com
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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