[EM] MUMA with runoffs?

Rob Lanphier robla at robla.net
Sun Oct 2 22:30:37 PDT 2016

On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 6:35 PM, Michael Ossipoff <email9648742 at gmail.com>

> I like a 1-stage system, whether Approval, Score, 3-Slot ICT (Deluxe
> Approval), or Bucklin, etc., or something fancier.
> Half the cost. ...& it seems to me that, when we discussed it before,
> there were other advantages to a 1-stage election.

We've both been advocates for over 20 years, and I used to be convinced of
the mathematical advantages of a single stage election.  However, now that
we all have witnessed the IRV dynamic in more and more settings (e.g.
Burlington 2009), I think I've become convinced that a 2-stage process has
big advantages for making good decisions in high stakes elections.  It's
good to have a first stage for democratic vetting to weed out dangerously
flawed candidates (and to make it possible for the non-crackpots to rise
above the noise created by the crackpots).

The trend in user interface design is toward "anticipatory design"[1] (not
overwhelming the user with too many choices).  As advocates, we have touted
the benefits of more choices, but that hasn't helped us.  The problem:
*  An election can have 1 clear frontrunner ("establishment candidate"), 2
other viable choices, and 5 extremists
*  The frontrunner can lump his/her opposition in with the extremists, and
occupy "the center"
*  The viable opposition can't raise any more money than any of the
"extremist" candidates
*  The voters don't have the mental energy to tell the difference between a
viable choice and an extremist
*  The frontrunner wins without having to win on merit.

I'm still not an advocate for IRV, but it's also become clear to me that
some of the problems with IRV in practice aren't with the tally method.
I'm living in San Francisco now, and I'm finding that decision fatigue in
elections is also a problem.  An incumbent has an *enormous* advantage in
the general election with a ranked choice ballot, because the opposition
has a difficult time consolidating around a viable alternative.[2]


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