[EM] Burlington VT reconsidering IRV 10 years after IRV failed to elect the Condorcet Winner

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at t-online.de
Fri Dec 6 01:42:13 PST 2019

On 06/12/2019 03.50, Greg Dennis wrote:
> Agreed.
> It seems like a bit of revisionist history to portray the cause of the
> repeal to be the failure to elect the Condorcet candidate. As has been
> noted, the repeal effort was led by the Republican Wright and his allies
> who felt that he should have won because he had the most first choices.
> Among the three leading candidates Wright was the Condorcet _loser_; his
> supporters wanted a plurality result, a result even further removed from
> any sense of majority. By electing Kiss, at least IRV chose a candidate
> in the smallest mutual majority set.
> Wright supporters didn't like the idea of a winner who in their mind
> "came in second," and you wouldn't have placated them by electing
> someone who (again, in their mind) "came in third." If anything, you
> probably would have been in a more precarious political situation.

On the other hand, when the method fails to elect the CW, it gives
opponents a group of allies almost immediately: namely, the majority who
preferred the CW to whoever *was* elected. If the CW is elected, there
is no such majority (by definition), and anti-repeal forces would have
to compose multiple majorities together.

The point that the recall was a "hit job" kind of reinforces the point.
If Montroll was a better liked candidate in the Condorcet sense, then it
would presumably have been harder to arrange a hit against him.

> For what it's worth, there have been about 250 IRV elections in the US
> since San Francisco started using it in 2004, many of which were highly
> contested between three or more candidates, and that Burlington 2009
> race remains the one and only one where the Condorcet candidate was not
> elected. It seems to me that if you care about the Condorcet candidate
> winning, IRV is a big step forward to that end.

A Condorcetist would probably say that this only supports his point. If
the chance that IRV is repealed is lower whenever the CW is elected,
then it's important to elect the CW, so why not ensure that the CW is
elected whenever he exists?

(There are two not very complex ways of doing so, as this thread has
shown: Benham and BTR-IRV. So I don't really see the reason not to. Is
this about later-no-harm?)

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