[EM] re Burlington

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Mon May 20 13:12:42 PDT 2019

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

Subject: Re: [EM] re Burlington

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

Date: Mon, May 20, 2019 11:52 am

To: rbj at audioimagination.com

election-methods at electorama.com

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


> "But it is only Condorcet that elects the candidate that is explicitly

> preferred by voters over every other candidate."


> I wonder tho, whether that satisfies the requiremant for one candidate

> (of their number) to be preferred over a whole range of candidates?

i am not sure exactly what you mean, here, Richard.
if there are more than two candidates, while it might be possible for a single candidate to be preferred over the union of all the other candidates, that this single candidate has a *majority* of the vote, more first-choice votes
than the sum of first-choice votes of all other candidates, while it may happen (and if it does happen, that single candidate must surely be elected given **any** deterministic voting system), but  i don't expect in a 3-way or 4-way race (or more) for that any candidate will satisfy that
is that what you're asking about?
but the Condorcet criterion simply proposes that if more voters mark their ballots preferring Candidate A to Candidate B than the number of voters marking their ballots to the contrary, then Candidate B is not elected.
i like to compare
it to a mathematical proof by contradiction: If a Condorcet Winner exists and your election method does not elect the CW, then who did you elect?  You elected someone when more voters explicitly marked their ballots that they preferred some other **specific** candidate.  How can that be an
expression of the will of the electorate?  That's the problem with IRV or Borda or Bucklin (or some other RCV that someone cooks up).  Most of the time it may elect the CW.  Then great!  No one is complaining.  But when it doesn't, how possibly can the winner claim to have
the democratic support of the electorate (even though we don't demand a majority of first-choice votes, since that demand is unrealistic in a 3-way or 4-way race) when the voters explicitly say "Give us this other candidate that we like better!" ??
it's sorta like this stupid
Electoral College thing we have in the U.S.  if the Electoral College elects the same candidate as the Popular Vote does, we say that the E.C. does a pretty good job.  but when it *doesn't* elect the winner of the popular vote, it **never** brings legitimacy to the elected president and
r b-j


> On 19/05/2019 01:30, robert bristow-johnson wrote:


>> okay, Sennet, I am posting this to the EM mailing list.


>> ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------

>> Subject: Re: re Burlington


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

>> Date: Sat, May 18, 2019 12:50 pm

>> To: "robert bristow-johnson" <rbj at audioimagination.com>

>> --------------------------------------------------------------------------


>> > yes, I meant to put that in the email.  you are free to post it to

>> the list.

>> > As I probably typed before,  the problem with Condorcet is that it

>> would be "practically" impossible to count by hand.


>> No, Sennet, it isn't.  It's straight forward, but laborious. If doing

>> this by hand, you would need a team of 4 (2 callers and 2 counters)

>> for each pair combination of candidates.  If you had 2 candidates,

>> that's one pair (and it's just like FPTP)..  If you had 3 candidates,

>> it's 3 pairs.  If you had 4 candidates, it's 6 pairs.  If you had 5

>> candidates, it's 10 pairs.  The counting could be done simultaneously

>> if you had sufficient people or serially, in turn, if you don't have

>> more enough for simultaneous counting.  all ballots would be handled

>> by each counting team once.  and it is precinct summable so the burden

>> can be distributed to many precinct locations.  unlike IRV, the

>> counting need not be done at a single central location.


>> but for a lot of candidates, like a dozen, IRV would be faster to do

>> by hand, but still practical.


>> >  In real elections, IRV, and Condorcet will have the same results: 

>> The winning candidate will be the one who has the broadest preferred

>> support.


>> No, Sennet, that is decidedly false.  This is why i asked you if you

>> really "understand what the difference is between IRV and Condorcet?" 

>> When you make claims like that, it makes me wonder.  It's simply a

>> demonstrably false assertion.


>> The Burlington mayoral election in 2009 was a "real election". Someone

>> **really** got elected to office in that election.


>> And IRV and Condorcet would have clearly gotten different results in

>> that real election.  The IRV elected Bob Kiss.  And Condorcet would

>> have elected Andy Montroll.  (And plurality of first-choice votes

>> would have elected Kurt Wright.)  But it is only Condorcet that elects

>> the candidate that is explicitly preferred by voters over every other

>> candidate.



>> >

>> > On Friday, May 17, 2019, 11:40:35 AM PDT, robert bristow-johnson

>> <rbj at audioimagination.com> wrote:

>> >

>> >

>> > hi Sennet,

>> >

>> > can we post this to the list?  i didn't wanna do that without your

>> consent.  it's just that maybe we can get someone else besides the two

>> of us to pipe in on the conversation.

>> >

>> >

>> >

>> > ---------------------------- Original Message

>> ----------------------------

>> > Subject: re Burlington

>> >


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

>> > Date: Thu, May 16, 2019 8:54 pm

>> > To: "rbj at audioimagination.com" <rbj at audioimagination.com>

>> >

>> --------------------------------------------------------------------------

>> >

>> >> well, I have no idea what IRV system Burlington used.

>> >

>> > it's the same IRV as in every other governmental RCV election except

>> we had 5 ranking levels and 5 candidates.  so no one was

>> "disenfranchised".  you could have ranked the candidates in opposite

>> order of their expost facto popularity, and you would still be able to

>> weigh in on the IRV final round that actually selects the mayor.

>> >

>> > here is an analysis of what went

>> wrong: https://rangevoting.org/Burlington.html

>> >

>> > here's

>> another: http://bolson.org/~bolson/2009/20090303_burlington_vt_mayor.html

>> >

>> > essentially, we had 4 strong candidates going in.  3 were all

>> plausible winners.  the GOP candidate had the Plurality, the Prog

>> candidate wonthe IRV, and the Dem candidate was the pairwise

>> champion.  the Dem would have beaten **any** other candidate in the

>> IRV final round had he been able to advance to the final round.  that

>> IRV eliminated him in the semi-final round was the execution of this

>> inherent flaw of IRV.

>> >

>> >

>> >> The problem we have had in SF, Berkeley and Oakland is that each

>> voter can only select three candidates, and the number of exhausted

>> ballots exceeded the winning margin in at least several elections.

>> >

>> > yes, that's a known problem with **any** RCV if the number of

>> candidates on the ballotexceeds the number of ranking levels.  you

>> need more ranking levels than 3 and you need stronger (or stricter)

>> ballot access requirements so that fewer candidates get on the ballot

>> and only those that are plausible winners.  i think 5 levels is

>> enough, and the number of signatures on apetition needed to get on the

>> ballot can be adjusted by law in response to the usual number of

>> candidates that make it onto the ballot.  if there are consistently

>> more names than ranking levels, the legislative body has the

>> information and the authority necessary to increase the number

>> ofrequired signatures to have candidate access to the ballot.

>> >

>> >

>> >> Most clearly in the Kaplan/Quan/Perata mayor's contest (Oakland''s

>> 1st IRV election)  There were also six "minor" candidates.  Kaplan

>> was  almost surely the most preferred, but Quan gamed the system by

>> mortgaging her house and spending a lot asking casual voters to"make

>> me 2nd.  The winning margin over Kaplan was very narrow but the number

>> of exhausted ballots was very large because most of the minor

>> candidates were black while none of the big three were.   A lot of

>> people blamed the IRV system for electing Quan, who was

>> basicallyincompetent, but there has been no serious attempt to repeal IRV.

>> >

>> >

>> >

>> > Ranked-Choice Voting will not stop bad politicians that are good

>> salespersons from winning office.  But it is intended to stop spoiler

>> candidates from preventing the candidate with the actual popular

>> supportfrom winning.

>> >

>> >

>> >> When CA gets statewide IRV, we would presumably Maine's system and

>> all counties will be given new equipment so all candidates can be ranked.

>> >

>> > In Burlington we didn't need new equipment.  just new software.  the

>> optical-scan machines were the same machines, but they had to

>> beprogrammed slightly differently.

>> >

>> > Sennet, do you understand what the difference is between IRV and

>> Condorcet?  What it is that we on the list bitch about regarding IRV.

>> >

>> > Our issue is not that we don't like RCV, we **want** Ranked-Choice

>> Voting, we just want the rules reformed so thatthe pairwise champion

>> is always elected.  IRV will do that *most* of the time, but it does

>> not always do that.  and like the Electoral College, when IRV fails to

>> elect who we all know should have been elected, it never brings

>> legitimacy to the election.  failure to elect the pairwisechampion

>> will only harm voting system reform.

>> >

>> >

>> >

>> > --

>> >

>> > r b-j                         rbj at audioimagination.com

>> >

>> > "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

>> >
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