[EM] hmmm. Maybe I missed something before SF passed IRV then called it RCV?

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at t-online.de
Wed Jul 5 02:39:52 PDT 2017

On 07/05/2017 09:52 AM, robert bristow-johnson wrote:
> ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
> Subject: Re: [EM] hmmm. Maybe I missed something before SF passed IRV
> then called it RCV?
> From: "Kristofer Munsterhjelm" <km_elmet at t-online.de>
> Date: Tue, July 4, 2017 7:43 pm
> To: "Sennet Williams" <sennetwilliams at yahoo.com>
> "election-methods at lists.electorama.com"
> <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> The blowup scenario could go like this:
>> - IRV is used in more and more places
>> - Voters think it's now possible for a third party to grow
>> - Third parties grow until they're competitive with the two main parties
>> - IRV gets confused in an election and elects the wrong candidate
>> - There's a backlash and IRV is repealed
>> - Voting reform in general suffers for a long time, because it's
>> associated with IRV. E.g. in the fashion of "Oh, you want a better
>> voting method? Like IRV? We all saw how that turned out".
> thanks for expressing how at least one Burlingtonian (that voted no on
> the repeal IRV ballot question) feels.

Though I guess the Progressives were already established in Vermont 
before IRV entered the scene. Is that right?

>> If the blowup scenario is realistic, then it doesn't matter whether IRV
>> has momentum. If anything, focusing on just one method is bad, because
>> if it fails, the backlash will be all that more severe. It would be
>> better to try a variety of methods: Range in one place, Condorcet
>> somewhere else, IRV a third place; and see how they do before going
>> national.
> i still think Range asks too much from the voters and they're gonna
> simply saturate their vote for their favorite.  it will be like
> Plurality scaled by 10.

I agree with you. I'm much more in favor of MJ myself. But if Range is 
used on a small scale and rapidly degrades into Approval, and then the 
Approval version fails due to the chicken dilemma, then we have concrete 
evidence of Range and Approval's failure modes. And if it never fails, 
then all the better, no?

The real problem is if Range (or Approval, or IRV, ...) seems to work 
well at a small scale, and the failure only happens once it's become 
large enough to affect the dynamics. Like how IRV works well in a two 
party plus fringe situation, because it's obvious whom to eliminate, but 
then blows up once the fringe parties are real contenders. Then the 
backlash would be all the more severe and could hurt general electoral 

I guess "let's try it out somewhere safe and see if it works" is the 
lower risk strategy, while "trust us, the mathematics says it's not 
going to blow up" is the higher risk strategy.

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