[EM] IRV / RCv advances

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Fri Jul 13 11:27:39 PDT 2018

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------

Subject: Re: [EM] IRV / RCv advances

From: "Richard Lung" <voting at ukscientists.com>

Date: Fri, July 13, 2018 2:53 am

To: "Sennet Williams" <sennetwilliams at yahoo.com>

Cc: "Election-Methods at lists.electorama.com" <Election-Methods at lists.electorama.com>



> It is ironic that the world seems to have this electoral reform battle

> of the big-enders versus the little-enders (from Gullivers Travels).

> That is to say the collectivist Europeans and their outliers, back a

> proportional count with party lists - such as sabotages individual

> choice, without a ranked choice for voters. While the good ole US of A

> does not forget individual representation with a ranked choice, but

> forgets equality of representation with a proportional count. The only

> exception is Cambridge Mass. using STV, and one or two minor cases of

> STV in Minnesota, I believe.

> One EM member says STV is BAD. As the ignored inventor of FAB STV, I

> know the limitations of traditional STV but essentially it is on the

> right lines, laid down by the original inventors, Carl Andrae and Thomas

> Hare, namely the quota-preferential method, as the Aussies pithily

> describe its essence.


> As for ranked pairing, my understanding is that it is not an independent

> method at all, but a means of cross-referencing a ranked choice

> electoral system.
i was referring to the Tideman Ranked-Pairs method, which is a Condorcet compliant method of RCV.


> As previously mentioned to this email group, I wrote a

> supplemetary chapter on this, in my book FAB STV: Four Averages Binomial

> Single Transferable Vote.

Richard, I think i found this e-book at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/806030 .
There are a couple of observations (or criticisms, sorry about that):
1. RCV advocates have trouble convincing people that just insist that a ranked-ballot is too
complicated.  No matter *how* the ranked-ballot election is tallied, they complain that instructions which are anything more than "Mark your choice with an 'X'." is too complicated.  I really disagree, but that is a reality that we voting-reform advocates have to deal
2. I **do** think that Score Voting (I like that term for it, rather than "Range Voting") is too complicated and that both Score Voting and Approval Voting are **inherently** presenting voters with a tactical decision, which is: What do they do with their 2nd-choice
candidate?  I want to remove any pressure for tactical decisions.  And when it comes to a binary decision ("Do we elect A or B?"), I fundamentally want each voter's vote count equally.  This is one basic reason I'm for Condorcet.
3. IRV (or STV or, nowadays,
"RCV") advocates say to me that "Condorcet" is too complicated.  I disagree emphatically in the case of no cycle in which I think that Condorcet is far **simpler** than IRV.  All Condorcet simply says is "If more voters mark their ballots preferring Candidate A
over Candidate B than voters marking their ballots to the contrary, then Candidate B is not elected."  That's **all** it says and, with one-person-one-vote as an electoral dogma, I cannot see how anyone can disagree with that.  The **only** thing that makes Condorcet appear
complicated is: "What to do in the case of a cycle?" and Ranked-Pairs is the **simplest** meaningful rule to answer to that.
4. Even looking at your online book that I note above, I cannot figure out what FAB-STV is.  With study, maybe I *can* figure it out.  But because of
its inherent complexity, *selling* this method to a legislature or a voting public appears to me to be dead-in-the-water.  If it's complicated, it will never-ever-ever be adopted for governmental use, and that is because we want elections to be transparent to the public.  The public needs
to know **exactly** how and why some particular candidate won the election, and it must not be obfuscated behind an opaque or hard-to-understand algorithm for tallying votes and picking the winner.
5. There are several reasons why STV is a problem and I doubt, once I understand what FAB-STV
is, that these problems will be surmounted.  e.g. Is FAB-STV precinct summable?  Or do all of the ballots (or electronic facsimiles of the ballots) have to be transferred from the precincts to a central location where the tabulation is done and after each round, votes are transferred from
one pile to another according to the FAB-STV rules?  If that problem doesn't go away, there will always be election integrity advocates (as well as conspiracy theorists) that will suspect that maybe some monkey business happens when the ballots are transferred from the precincts to the central
location, or maybe the code at the central location got hacked, and there is no immediate way to check that out.  Precinct summability is an important safeguard that the resistors to change (those who support keep First-Past-The-Post) will use to beat over our heads.  And with today's STV
(and I assume also with FAB-STV) they can still bonk us over the head with that.
6. Lastly, I am not (yet) venturing into the multi-winner election problem.  I realize that with multi-winner elections (often multi-seat legislative districts or city councils with large districts or
at-large councilors), that STV might be the simplest way to get to proportional representation (PR).  And despite the precinct-summability problem, STV might be preferable to other methods (but it seems to me that the ranking that happens from Ranked-Pairs *might* work for multi-winner). 
So when I say "STV --> BAD", I mean that principally for single-winner elections.


r b-j                         rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/attachments/20180713/de8294c5/attachment.html>

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list