[EM] Can anyone help with straight-ahead Condorcet language?

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Wed Sep 1 08:12:23 PDT 2021

responding to both Forest and Kristofer...

> On 09/01/2021 6:13 AM Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at t-online.de> wrote:
> On 9/1/21 6:44 AM, Forest Simmons wrote:
> > The version of point (3) that you are not satisfied with:

well, i am not sure i said i was not satisfied with it.  but, in truth, i am not entirely satisfied with it.  but what i am fishing for are ideas to make it better.

> > (3) If no candidate receives a majority of first preferences, a 
> > Condorcet-consistent retabulation shall be performed by the presiding 
> > election officer.  The candidate, who is the Condorcet winner, is 
> > elected if the rankings on all of the ballots indicate that this one 
> > candidate defeats, by a simple majority of voter preferences, all other 
> > candidates when compared in turn with each other individual candidate.  
> > A selected candidate defeats another candidate by a simple majority when 
> > the number of ballots marked ranking the selected candidate higher than 
> > the other candidate exceeds the number of ballots marked to the contrary.
> > 
> > My suggestion:
> > 
> > (3) If it is determined that no single candidate is ranked ahead of 
> > every other candidate on more than half of the valid ballots,

what's a "valid" ballot?

> > then 
> > pairwise tallies of head-to-head comparisons of candidates will be 
> > examined to verify the existence (or lack thereof) of a candidate who is 
> > ranked ahead of any other individual candidate on more ballots than not, 
> > i.e. on more than half of the ballots where one of them is ranked ahead 
> > (above) the other. If such a pairwise (head-to-head) beats-all 
> > candidate exists, then it shall be elected.

i sure as hell am staying away from the term "beats-all candidate".  i don't think "pairwise champion" or even my neologism "consistent majority candidate" will do either.

> If we can define terms, then perhaps something like this would be shorter?

the form of the language i wrote is in the form of the IRV language that was put on the ballot for voters to vote on.  i added a few defining terms.  but the real legislation **will** break out definitions into a section of the bill.  see page 6 in https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/H-0236/H-0236%20As%20Introduced.pdf 

but the IRV template language (which is page 3 of https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/H-0448/H-0448%20As%20Introduced.pdf) looked more like this with some important definitions/clarification is at the bottom here.  That language is what I modified for the BTR-IRV but I am trying to see what it might look like for a straight Condorcet election.

> - A candidate is considered to be the victor of a head-to-head against 
> another candidate if the first candidate is ranked ahead of the second 
> candidate on more than half of the ballots.

"more than half of the ballots"???  as in an *absolute* majority??

> - If a candidate is determined to be a victor in every head-to-head 
> against another candidate, that candidate shall be elected.
> - Otherwise, [fallback method here].
> I don't know if legislative language allows for intermediate definitions 
> like that, though.

the final legislation will actually put in needed definitions early in the language.  but this template is more abbreviated.

Now, I understand that we could spell out the pairing of candidates, but then it starts looking like a mathematics paper:

"The ballot shall list N candidates (including Write-in) and there shall be N(N-1)/2 unique pairings of candidates (including combined write-in).  In each pairing of two candidates, if the number of ballots ranking a selected candidate higher than the other candidate is less than the number of ballots marked to the contrary, then the selected candidate is marked as defeated.  The candidate who is not defeated in any pairing shall be elected."

What I am looking for is language without outside references (like references to the Schulze method or Tideman Ranked-Pairs), without neologisms, and can define the method procedurally in normal English.

I confess that what I want to do is present legislators with straight Condorcet language along with the BTV-IRV language to compare to the IRV language (below) in the same template form.

Thank you, everyone.


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

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."


The IRV language slightly modified by me to define and clarify a couple of terms:

All elections of [office] shall be by ballot, using a system of ranked-choice voting without a separate runoff election. The presiding election officer shall implement a ranked-choice voting protocol according to these guidelines:
  (1) The ballot shall give voters the option of ranking candidates in order of preference. Lower ordinal preference shall be considered higher rank and the candidate marked as first preference is considered ranked highest. Equal ranking of candidates shall not be allowed. Any candidate not marked with a preference shall be considered as ranked lower than every candidate marked with a preference.
  (2) If a candidate receives a majority (over 50 percent of all ballots) of first preferences, that candidate is elected.
  (3) If no candidate receives a majority of first preferences, an instant runoff retabulation shall be performed by the presiding election officer. The instant runoff retabulation shall be conducted in sequential rounds. A "continuing candidate" is defined as a candidate that has not been defeated in any previous round. Initially, no candidate is defeated and all candidates begin as continuing candidates.
  (4) In each round, every ballot shall count as a single vote for whichever continuing candidate the voter has ranked highest. The candidate with fewest votes is defeated in the current round.
  (5) The aforementioned instant runoff retabulation, eliminating one candidate each round, shall be repeated until only two candidates remain. The remaining candidate then receiving the greatest number of votes is elected.
  (6) The [governing jurisdiction] may adopt additional regulations consistent with this subsection to implement these standards.

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