Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at t-online.de
Sat Dec 14 07:00:12 PST 2019

On 12/14/19 5:39 AM, Rob Lanphier wrote:

> If you're interested in the details, I encourage you to read my longer
> history on Electowiki, but here's the abbreviated timeline:
> * 1992 - "Center for Proportional Representation" (CPR) is formed
> * 1993 - CPR changes its name to "Center for Voting and Democracy" (CVD)
> * 1993 - Report published, calling it "preference voting" (in a nod to
> Australia)
> * 1997 - first use of "Instant Runoff voting" that I could find
> * 2000 - http://fairvote.org/irv URL goes live on CVD's website
> * 2004 - CVD changes its name to "FairVote"
> * 2006 - http://fairvote.org/rcv URL goes live on FairVote's website,
> in cooperation with the Arizona League of Women Voters
> * 2013 - FairVote starts referring to IRV primarily as "Ranked Choice Votting"
> What happened between 2006 and 2013 is left as an exercise for the reader.
I'm thinking something that happened in 2009 was influential :-)

> At any rate: is this a problem worth worrying about?  Should we just
> do what all of the cool kids are doing, and start referring to it as
> "Ranked Choice Voting"?  I mean, come on, Jennifer Lawrence and Krist
> Novaselic are on board (ok, since Jennifer Lawrence was born in the
> 90s, I have no problem referring to her as a "kid", but Krist
> Novoselic is older than I am, so should I be respecting my elders?)

 From a purely descriptive perspective, "ranked choice voting" is voting 
which involves choices arranged in ranks, so pretty much every kind of 
ranked ballot would count. I'd be inclined to suspect that FairVote 
calls IRV RCV to try to cement a link between ranked voting (the ballot 
format) and IRV (their method).

I don't see that there's a reason to do this. I'd suggest that RCV or 
Ranked choice voting direct to some page about ranked balloting, and 
then have a Wikipedia-style disambiguation line at top saying something 
like "This is about the ranked ballot format, to see the method FairVote 
calls Ranked Choice Voting, go to [Instant Runoff Voting]".

To try to be generous to the other side, I could say that some methods' 
names aren't entirely descriptive (e.g. Ranked Pairs), and that "ranked 
choice voting" (why not just "ranked voting"?) is an odd term for the 
general concept of ranked balloting. Such arguments would strengthen the 
case for letting FairVote use RCV as a brand name for IRV/STV. But on 
the balance, I think doing so gives FairVote too much of a say in just 
what method ranked balloting should use.

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