[EM] MUMA with runoffs?

Rob Lanphier robla at robla.net
Sun Oct 2 16:55:58 PDT 2016

Hi everyone,

My apologies for the list flakiness and Electowiki.  I admittedly have only
been skimming the list every so often, and I'm considering other mediums
for discussion.  Migration of the wiki software is on the table, too.  I
just need to make the time to play around with all of this.

Jameson's email below prompted me to say something I've been thinking about

Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com> wrote:

> It is my opinion that runoffs are in some cases a healthy addition to a
> voting system. You shouldn't waste time with a runoff if the winner is
> clear, but if it's a close race, focussing attention on only the
> most-viable seems like a good idea.

I agree with this wholeheartedly.  I'm not yet familiar with MUMA, so I
can't speak to the dynamics it introduces.  I'm also looking at this with
reasonably fresh eyes.  That may mean my instinct is lacking nuance y'all

Jameson, I'm also not responding to your suggested algorithm just yet.  On
first skim it looks plausible and very good at a technical level, but I
haven't entirely thought through how the complexity is a necessary product.

Here's the simple two round I would propose for U.S. presidential elections:
Round 1: Simple up/down vote on all candidates (approval ballot)  All
candidates over a reasonably high threshold (e.g. 40%) advance to the next
round.  If no candidate reaches 40%, then only the top two advance.
Round 2: Robust single winner system.  Approval would be acceptable, the
various Condorcet-compliant versions, etc.

What voters would be answering in the primary is "is this a viable
candidate that belongs on the debate stage?"  Those candidates who make it
on through the first round would be presumed eligible for debate

The effect: well, it might be messy involving cases where people aren't
stingy enough with their votes, and allow crackpots through the first
round.  Over time, with enough election experience, primary voters would
learn who to approve.

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