[EM] Party-based top two with approval

Kevin Venzke stepjak at yahoo.fr
Thu Mar 1 23:34:05 PST 2018

Hi Rob,
It sounds like under your system parties need to be able to control who can run on their list. I think this moves more of the selection process to prior to the voting. If parties don't want to offer a variety of options under their label then other candidates could be forced to stand as their own party. This might be perfectly viable for them, since you can get one of the top two slots by winning on approval. But if your hope is to get to the final two without being overall approval winner, then you need to run on a list that will get more party votes.
The finalists are selected basically by two separate contests: One finalist is from the list containing the approval winner, and the other from the list with the most party votes. Except, that a list that satisfies both of these has to forfeit one position to the second place party list, so that we can have a second round. I understand why it works that way, and it probably makes the results better, but I think it could seem unfair.. 
Couple of method ideas that occur to me for this setting (no party lists though):1. Round one is an approval ballot. Advance the approval winner, against the candidate with max AO against him. That is, remove the ballots approving the winner and advance, as challenger, whoever is the new approval winner. This doesn't require a first-round auto-win rule (but could support one too, I guess).2. Vote for one favorite and any number of approved. Majority favorite wins. Otherwise, advance the first-preference winner and then, as above, remove ballots that approved this candidate, advancing as challenger the new approval winner.
I guess #1 probably offers more incentive to appeal to the median voter in the first round.
And this next one may be my favorite two-round method these days, though it's probably not as good at addressing concerns about vote-splitting:3. Round one determines by some reasonable method a tentative winner. No one is eliminated. Round two asks whether any of the first-round losers are preferred by a majority to the tentative winner. (Looks basically like an approval ballot, minus one candidate, plus a checkbox to say "none of these are better.")
I would love to have a method that determines a victorious "half" of the voting spectrum in round one, and then in round two lets everyone pick the best candidate from that half. It's hard to see how to make that work though.


      De : Rob Lanphier <robla at robla.net>
 À : Election Methods <election-methods at lists.electorama.com> 
 Envoyé le : Jeudi 1 mars 2018 0h25
 Objet : [EM] Party-based top two with approval
Hi folks,

The top two jungle primary system we use in California has a lot of folks on edge.  The worry among Democrats and Republicans is that, in some districts, Democrats fear that we'll split the vote and end up with two Republicans.  Republicans fear splitting the vote and ending up with two Democrats in the general election.

One possible alternative that seems more robust to me: for each office, have a ballot as follows:

For Representative from [District X]:

Your preferred party:
[ ] Republican
[ ] Democratic
[ ] Libertarian
[ ] Green
[ ] Socialist

Candidate(s) you approve of:
[ ] Aaaaa (Republican)
[ ] Bbbbb (Republican)
[ ] Ccccc (Democrat)
[ ] Ddddd (Democrat)
[ ] Eeeee (Socialist)
[ ] Ffffff (Libertarian)

The candidate election would be approval based.  The single candidate with the highest approval rating (regardless of party affiliation) would be guaranteed to make it to the general election.  The ballots would also be divided by party preference, such that each party's preferred candidate would be declared the party nominee.  The party with the most votes would be able to choose whether they want to advance their nominee to the general election.  If they opt out (or if their top choice is the same as the overall approval winner), then the next party gets to choose, until a second candidate is chosen.  

As an example, let's say we have 100 people voting with the ballot above.  We end up with this:

Aaaaa  45 votes (by 30 Republicans and 5 Libertarians and 10 Democrats)
Bbbbb  20 votes (by 15 Republicans and 5 Libertarians)
Ccccc  60 votes (by 35 Democrats, 15 Republicans, 5 Socialist, 5 Green)
Ddddd  50 votes (by 30 Democrats, 10 Socialists, 10 Green)
Eeeee  45 votes (by 10 Socialists, 30 Democrats, 5 Green)
Ffffff   30 votes (by 15 Libertarians, 15 Republicans)

The party split:
30 Republican
35 Democratic
15 Libertarian
10 Green
10 Socialist
Ccccc would advance as the general winner.  The Democrats have the most votes, so they have the option of advancing their top vote getter.
Aaaaa 20
Bbbbb 0
Ccccc 35
Ddddd 30
Eeeee 30
Ffffff 0

The self-identified Democrats also pick Ccccc, so we move to the next party.

There are 30 voters who self-identified as Republicans for this election.  Their approved nominee:
Aaaaa 30
Bbbbb 15
Ccccc 15
Ddddd 0
Eeeee 0
Ffffff 15

Among those 30 voters who self-identify as Republican, Aaaaa is the winner.  We now have two candidates to face off in the general; the rest are eliminated.

What is peculiar about this contrived example is that Ddddd has a higher approval rating than Aaaaa.  However, Ddddd would lose the "instant primary" for the Democratic nomination to Ccccc in this example.

I've been mulling this over in my head for the past 2-3 days, and it seems like a way of getting the "top two" aspect of jungle primaries while also forcing a little diversity via party choice.  In this particular example, the 65 voters that declared themselves either Republicans or Democrats approve of at least one candidate that advances to the general election (and additionally, another 5 Libertarians, 5 Socialist, and 5 Green also approve of one or both of the candidates, for a total of 80 voters seeing an approved candidate advance).  If Ddddd had advanced instead (who had a higher overall approval), it would have been only 70 voters seeing an approved candidate advance (since 15 Republicans and 15 Libertarians didn't approve of either choice).

Turning the party choice into a jungle primary means that Democrats and Republicans aren't *guaranteed* to get the top two slots.  It could mean than a Democrat and a Socialist get the top two.  It could also mean that a Republican and a Libertarian get the top two.

Does this seem vaguely plausible as a system?  Is there some way of gaming this system I'm not thinking of?  Are there plausible scenarios where over 50% disapprove of both candidates who advance?  Are there any "false flag" attacks (i.e. for a "Democrat" to declare themself "Republican" to screw up their nomination), or would the balancing act be too complicated for most voters to try?


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