[EM] IRV / RCv advances

Richard Lung voting at ukscientists.com
Mon Jul 16 12:34:20 PDT 2018

Thankyou for troubling to make so many comments. Have never heard of 
Asset, even if it goes as far back as 1880. Have heard Charles Dodgson 
mentioned but forget (am old). Indeed am unfamiliar with the host of 
variations on methods. But have a few basic guidelines, which I trust. 
(It surprises me but does not perturb me that many experts don't think 
so.) A single-order vote, the x-marks the spot vote is not sufficient 
for effective voting. A many-order vote (ranked choice) is essential. 
Likewise a single majority count is far less accurate than a 
many-majority count (like the Droop quota). You will perceive a pattern 
here: the general system is a many order vote for a many majority count.

On 15/07/2018 19:08, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
> On 7/14/2018 10:08 AM, Richard Lung wrote:
>> [...] Agree completely about score voting. I can't help but feel 
>> approval voting is essentially a rebranding of cumulative voting. In 
>> about 1867, John Stuart Mill knew it was only a trifling improvement 
>> on plurality counting but at least opened peoples minds to alternatives.
> I'd question that simply counting all the votes would be a "trifling 
> improvement." It would have flipped the US presidential election in 
> 2000, almost certainly, and is a no-cost improvement, simple to 
> implement and easy to understand. In a two-round system, it can 
> provide substantial flexibility, perhaps even allowing runoffs to have 
> a third candidate. Counting all the votes would be, again, an 
> improvement over IRV, allowing voters to equal-rank. But the IRV 
> method, by discarding votes, is intrinsically flawed, and Bucklin 
> actually worked when used. The arguments that it didn't work were 
> based on the fact that it wasn't magic pixie dust. The only system 
> that fixes about everything is Asset, which hardly gets any 
> consideration at all. My suggestion has been for EM reformers to 
> suggest Asset for NGOS, since it's really simple, as well, and creates 
> a deliberative structure, which is far more flexible -- and 
> functionally democratic -- than pure amalgamation. To be fail-safe, it 
> could be used in a nomination process, to be actually ratified for a 
> final result.
> Approval -- and most methods -- are plurality methods unless a true 
> majority of the votes is required for a result. In Australia, in some 
> places they accomplish that by making it illegal to not completely 
> rank. In other words, to make a result more "democratic," coerce the 
> voters. Ah, the things people do to preserve the way things are!
>> Re 3.
>> Weighted Condorcet pairing arguably offers a back-door that partly 
>> gets round the Laplace criticism of Condorcet pairing, that it does 
>> not establish the relative importance of higher and lower 
>> preferences, in the over-all election count.
>> I see Condorcet pairing primarily as a research tool for 
>> cross-referencing the results of an at-large election with the 
>> results from sub-elections of one-to-one contests or less minimal 
>> partitions. Ideally, we would have an election system that does not 
>> have to watch its back for a Condorcet paradox.
> A condorcet paradox is an indication of an incomplete process. 
> Depending on preference strength, which some Condorcet methods attempt 
> to estimate, it might be meaningless. But to truly analyse election 
> returns requires preference strength information. Borda, again, 
> estimates it with an assumption of full ranking, such that with many 
> candidates, the "rank distance" would approximate a measure of 
> preference strength.
> But the only ballot that actually allows the voters to directly 
> express preference strength is a score ballot. And then some advocates 
> of other systems point out Condoret failure, as if that matters when 
> preference strength is obviously low. It doesn't. And then it is 
> pointed out that voters may vote "strategically," as if that is 
> dishonest or bad. In a Score system, there is never any incentive to 
> reverse preference. Voters decide what preferences matter to them, and 
> will vote accordingly, and a good overall system will detect 
> situations where is ambiguity, perhaps due to inaccurate perception of 
> probable results, and will then set up a runoff.
> Instead of working together to create a system that will actually 
> improve and foster full democracy, we don't, it seems, trust the 
> people and want them to conform to our own ideas. In other words, same 
> old same old. The problem with democracy is the damn people!
> But democracy is still government by consent, and whenever that fails, 
> oppression is inevitable. It's only a question of how bad it gets. The 
> logic that captured me, so many decades ago, is that we need 
> representation by consent and choice, not by "winners" and "losers." 
> And that appears to be doable. But who cares enough to try it?
> Some. Not yet enough, but it's possible any day. It might only take 
> one person to make a proposal and carry it through, in one place.
>> Even an admittedly crude election like IRV (Alternative Vote), 
>> according to this group, has only come-up with the Burlington case. 
>> That may have been politically unfortunate. But, if about 150? 
>> elections have not suffered the paradox, that incidence is not 
>> statistically significant.
> It is possible to show that about one-third of IRV results were not 
> optimal. This is done by comparing IRV results with top-two runoff 
> results. If a full-information ballot were used with IRV (it could be 
> done! Easily!) we would then know. However, actually collecting the 
> data to determine, definitively, if a voting system is actually 
> working is not a part of any reform proposal I have seen. The 
> collecting of information is confused with and considered less 
> important than creating a result, and I can easily see the 
> counter-argument: what if this causes the result of an election to be 
> called into question? Won't this damage our trust in government? I 
> think I have actually seen that argument.
> If our trust in government is based in ignorance, it's worse than a 
> bit of trouble. A simple, coarse-score ballot, with explicit approval 
> cutoff, would be cheap and easy, and how the actual result is 
> determined could be explicity declared on the ballot. Providing the 
> additonal information would be optional. One could vote the ballot, if 
> one chooses, as vote-for-one. It would all generate useful 
> information, and could guide future election method decisions.
>> The real comparison is how many "Bush beats Gore minus Nader" 
>> contests are there?
> In a two-party system. Duverger's law and party attempts to corner the 
> electorate create many of them. Look at any close election and at the 
> participation of minor parties in it. There may be hundreds of these a 
> year. As well, the existing system tends to suppress minor party 
> participation. New York has Fusion voting, a step in a direction of 
> improved democracy. It was proposed for Massachusetts and lost. Who 
> opposed it?
> The "Democratic" party, of course! It lost. So why did people vote 
> against it? Well, perhaps they trusted their party. After all, isn't 
> our party the Good Guys? If it's bad for them, surely we don't want 
> it! It all makes sense until and unless one starts to look more 
> closely, which most people don't do. And realizing that, Dodgson 
> proposed Asset, which actually creates, very simply, representative 
> government, with the good stuff associated with that, while allowing 
> low-level decisions, by ordinary people who don't want their lives to 
> be about politics, to be useful and effective.
>> And how many simple plurality elections make voters act as their own 
>> returning officers in an implicit ranked choice election, where the 
>> voter excludes his first preference for Nader, and counts it for 
>> second preference Gore?
> My sense is that many would vote for a third party candidate if they 
> did not know it would be a wasted vote. It could be trivial to fix 
> that problem. But we obviously care about something else more. about 
> what?
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