[EM] MUMA with runoffs?

Juho Laatu juho.laatu at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 00:19:09 PDT 2016

Let's start from the assumption that having two rounds is good because it improves the quality of the judgement that the voters will make. My first thought is that if Condorcet is a good method for the final round, it could be used also at the first round. One approach would be to replace the first round with one or multiple (official?) polls. It could make sense to arrange the preliminary rounds electronically (in the internet?) to avoid costs and voters getting tired. It is important for a working democracy to maximise the number of voters at the final round.

Arranging multiple similar rounds with the same method has the problem that risk of strategic voting may increase, if the voters and parties know in detain what the current opinion distribution is. One can however fight that by having some time between the rounds. Opinions typically change sufficiently to make at least typical Condorcet strategies difficult to apply.

If the method used in the first round is different from the method used at the final round, then the first round method could be designed so that it has a tendency to introduce new candidates that might be weak signals that will grow before the final round. Your proposal included approval. Approval could be a nice method if voters use it in the spirit of "let's list all the candidates that could be reasonable choices". That could allow weak signals to pop up. One risk is that large party voters would bullet vote for their own candidate in order to eliminate any risk of lifting up new competitors. (Small party voters might be more likely to vote also for some other small party candidates in addition to their favourite candidate.) If voters are dishonest in this way, Condorcet could carry more information, e.g. by pointing out potential midsize compromise candidates. Anyway, slightly different criteria may apply to the first and final rounds.

In many places money appears to be one critical factor in getting someone elected. My preference is to reduce the influence of money. At the internet age there is actually no need for expensive media campaigns. In principle one could distribute all the necessary information to the voters using one official web page that gives sufficient space to all the candidates (and their dynamic debate too). Maybe one round of ads in all newspapers (paid by government?) in addition to that, and maybe one set of street ads next to each polling station, to contact also those voters that are not connected to internet. Few TV debates and interviews (for all candidates, or for those candidates that the first rounds pointed out) would also be good. Multiple rounds means more money spent and less visibility to potential good candidates that are not promoted by some large party or other rich supporters (or huge number of average income supporters).


> On 03 Oct 2016, at 08:30, Rob Lanphier <robla at robla.net> wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 6:35 PM, Michael Ossipoff <email9648742 at gmail.com <mailto:email9648742 at gmail.com>> wrote:
> 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]
> Rob
> [1]: http://qz.com/429929/the-next-design-trend-is-one-that-eliminates-all-choices/ <http://qz.com/429929/the-next-design-trend-is-one-that-eliminates-all-choices/>
> [2]: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-Mayor-Ed-Lee-may-have-no-challengers-in-5940768.php <http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-Mayor-Ed-Lee-may-have-no-challengers-in-5940768.php>
> ----
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