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

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Sun Sep 12 08:49:06 PDT 2021

> On 09/12/2021 9:59 AM Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at t-online.de> wrote:
> Perhaps this could work:
> - 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 ballots than the second is ranked ahead of the first.
> - If, on a ballot, a candidate is left unranked, that candidate is 
> considered to be ranked below every ranked candidate.
> Your "marked to the contrary" definition would also work, I think.

I hope so.  It was meant to reduce word count.

> >> - 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."
> Yes, that seems to be a bit on the verbose side.

It's almost as concise as the original that I posted.  But putting in math into the legislative language is a bit iffy.

> I also think that the best candidate Condorcet methods (if you want a 
> pure Condorcet method) would be one where the Condorcet criterion is 
> automatically satisfied, rather than the method having to be prefixed by 
> "if there is a CW, elect that candidate, otherwise..."
> So possibly something like minmax or Ranked Pairs. Not Black or 
> "Condorcet else IRV".
> However, you then have to deal with not only defining whether X beat Y, 
> but also how decisively X beat Y. Winning votes resists strategy better, 
> but margins is considerably easier to define.

I am actually fiddling around with creating plausible language for RP.  But right now I am trying to show to legislators how *simple* in concept Condorcet is.  So I am less concerned with the fallback language in case there is no CW.

Then I will present the BTR language (which is "one where the Condorcet criterion is automatically satisfied") as the other alternative for legislators to consider.  Now, *complete* legislative language *will* be several pages with definitions and the like, but this template (which fits on 1 page) is pretty much exactly like the template that the IRVers had put on the ballot (well it wasn't *on* the actual ballot, but in an addendum to it) for Burlington to adopt and sent to the legislature.  So, within that template, is how I want to compare Hare-IRV, BTR, and straight-ahead Condorcet (the latter is the simplest).

I am *still* convinced that my original language is the most concise that is also sufficiently complete.  Repeating it here, just for all of our information:


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 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 first preferences, that candidate is elected.
  (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, every other candidate 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.
  (4) If no Condorcet winner exists in step (3), then the candidate with the plurality of first preferences is elected.
  (5) The [governing jurisdiction] may adopt additional regulations consistent with this subsection to implement these standards.

Now, I am not too worried that guideline (4) is crappy.  It's just a placeholder for the fallback method.  This fallback method is short and simple.

What I want is for the language to be complete in description (maybe not procedurally complete, but that is what guideline (5) is for).

Then, after completeness, I want, for the most part, normal English language and usage.  No special words (other than the word "Condorcet"), nor jargon, nor acronyms.

Then conciseness.  Make this template short as reasonably possible.

Complete, normal language suitable for legislation, and conciseness.  I still think the language above is better than the suggestions so far, but I can be convinced that something else is better.


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

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."


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