[EM] Better runoffs

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Tue Jul 10 11:19:19 PDT 2012

On 7/10/12 6:51 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
> When runoffs are subjected to criterion analysis, one usually 
> considers voters to vote in the same order in each round. If they 
> prefer A to B in the first round,

now how is this known, without a ranked ballot?

> and A and B remain in the second round, they'll vote A over B in the 
> second round.

that is, if nothing changes their mind.  during our big IRV slugfest we 
had in 2010 (as a consequence of the 2009 IRV election), one of the 
points of the opponents of IRV was that they felt they deserved the 
right to make up or even change their minds about A and B.  even if they 
voted for A or B in the first round.

i, of course, felt it is a reasonable requirement that voters make up 
their minds about candidates by Election Day and that the downside of 
delayed-runoffs exceed this nebulous "freedom to change my vote" that 
the opponents touted.  (one argument these folks made was that if their 
favorite candidate was eliminated in the first round, these voters would 
like to know who, of the remaining candidates in the runoff, their 
candidate might favor.  i still don't see that as a compelling argument 
for delayed runoff.)

> This may not necessarily fit reality. Voters may leave or join 
> depending on whether the second round is "important" or not, and the 
> same for later rounds in exhaustive runoff.

and this can be adequately dealt with using a ranked ballot.  as long as 
all of the candidates are in the race up to Election Day, if it's 
important enough to vote during *any* round, it's important enough to 
rank it on a single ballot.

i know there is more to your post, Kristofer, but i have to decode more 
of it before i can say anything about it.  at least in my experience, 
all non-IRV elections were either straight plurality, or had a top-two 
runoff.  and, besides the problem of greatly reduced turnout for the 
runoff, it is not clear that the top-two vote getters should be the 
candidates in the runoff.  indeed, my argument to Democrats who voted 
against IRV (to return us to plurality/runoff) is that the candidate who 
should have won the 2009 race (who was the Dem candidate, so we Dems 
felt screwed) would *not* have ended up in the delayed runoff, had that 
been the law at the time.  so voting against IRV and returning to 
delayed runoff did nothing to solve that problem.

so i dunno how we do "better" delayed runoffs without using a ranked 
ballot in the first round to begin with.  and if you do that, then 
what's the point (other than allowing voters to change their mind after 
Election Day)?



r b-jrbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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