[EM] I could use some help with advocacy.

Rob Lanphier roblan at gmail.com
Thu Apr 15 12:17:18 PDT 2021

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 12:54 PM robert bristow-johnson
<rbj at audioimagination.com> wrote:
> But the voters of the City of Burlington *did* pass the Charter Change
> returning RCV to Burlington after 11 years and uncorrected.  Same old Hare
> RCV that FairVote sells everyone else. [...] When this Charter Change becomes
> a bill and is introduced to the legislature, it will be directed to the
> Government Operations Committee. [...]  As soon as I find out more about
> when this Charter Change comes up, I will contact y'all and we can discuss
> what we can do.  But feel free to contact me or even post here on the list
> what you might be thinking about this and how best to advocate.

Thanks for the background.  It seems to me that the strategy with the
best odds of working would be to ask the Government Operations
Committee to send the bill back to the Burlington City Council for
modification.  We make sure that the Government Operations Committee
is aware of the 2009 election, and suggest the smallest possible tweak
to the language that was approved in the Charter Change.

The tweak that I would propose: when the winner of the Hare RCV
election is NOT the undefeated pairwise winner, then the candidate who
WAS the undefeated pairwise winner has the legal right to issue a
"pairwise challenge".  A pairwise challenge would be a runoff election
between the pairwise winner and the Hare RCV winner.  So (for example)
in 2009, Andy Montroll would have had the right to file for holding a
pairwise challenge election to Bob Kiss.  Importantly, Kurt Wright
would NOT have had the right to hold a pairwise challenge, since (in
2009) Wright had pairwise losses to both Montroll and to Kiss.

My proposed tweak would probably not deal with the case where the
Smith Set has three or more candidates in a pairwise loop.  That seems
okay to me; I don't think we should let the perfect be the enemy of
the good.  I'm not aware of any real-world election that had three or
more members in the Smith Set.  However, I am aware of at least two
real-world elections (Burlington 2009 and Debian 2003) where Hare RCV
and a CWC-compliant method resulted in a different winner.  (Note:
"CWC-compliant" is "Condorcet-winner-criterion compliant").  Moreover,
it seems very likely that there will be many others if we keep
gambling with Hare RCV.

Robert, if you're able to give me a link to the text of the Charter
Change, then I'll take a crack at crafting some legalese to describe
my proposed tweak.  The goal of crafting the legalese would be to have
something to present to the Burlington City Council, should the State
of Vermont Government Operations Committee send the bill back to the
Burlington City Council.  If nothing else, I'd personally feel more
comfortable testifying if I had the text of the Charter Change (and a
minimal proposed change) in my back pocket.

Sound reasonable?

p.s. we need a less-nerdy way to describe the "Condorcet-winner criterion"

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