[EM] Historical perspective about FairVote organization

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Mar 13 14:48:39 PDT 2013

At 03:16 PM 3/13/2013, Richard Fobes wrote:
>For the benefit of those who don't understand why FairVote promotes 
>IRV (instant-runoff voting) in opposition to many forum participants 
>here, I'm posting this extract from an excellent, well-written, long 
>message by Abd.
>On 3/13/2013 11:46 AM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
>[not copied]

>I'll add that in Canada the FairVote group directly advocates STV 
>and European-based PR methods, not the stepping-stone IRV path.
>(BTW, please don't confuse the similarly named FairVote and VoteFair names.)

I certainly won't.

Yes, STV is a far more sensible method, under certain multiwinner 
conditions. However, the essential problem does remain, premature 
elimination as a result of vote-splitting in first preference, 
further, there is the problem that Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) identified 
in the 1880s, that voters don't necessarily have adequate information 
to properly rank more than one candidate. Hence he proposed what we 
now call Asset Voting, as a tweak on STV.

With Asset Voting, candidates aren't actually eliminated; rather, 
they aren't elected yet, but they can exercise the votes they hold, 
to create winners, thus converting the voting system into a 
*deliberative process.* In theory, if two candidates are holding 
votes for the last seat, and can't come to an agreement, they can 
choose *someone else*, who might not have been a candidate at all!

The Election Science Foundation, an informal ancestor of the Center 
for Election Science, held an Asset election a few years ago, and it 
demonstrated the power of Asset. It was amazing to watch, and very 
different from what might have been expected, yet, -- except for one 
voter who has later said he was disappointed because -- horrors! -- a 
candidate who was the leading unelected candidate, after two had been 
elected, *gave his votes to another to create him as a winner.*

Every other voter accepted the result, and this one exception *did 
not actually object to the result,* but to the behavior of one 
candidate. Apparently he had the idea that this person was supposed 
to fight to the bitter end or something. Whatever happened to the 
idea that people offer to serve, but actually care more about the 
purposes and unity of the organization, than about *personal control*?

Just as IRV can fail to elect a candidate who would win, hands-down, 
in a pairwise contest with the IRV winner, STV can do something 
similar for representatives, it just happens less often and with less harm.

There are other PR methods which are less problematic. Asset could be 
the simplest to canvass, but is untried in public elections. I highly 
recommend using Asset for non-public elections, where one wants a 
truly representative assembly or council or committee. I'd be glad to 
assist with any implementation. Asset does something that could bring 
major benefits all by itself, the establishment of "electors" or 
"public voters" who can create -- or re-create, if needed, a 
representation of the *entire membership* with only consensual 
compromise. No votes need be wasted.

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