Discussion:
IRV's "majority winner". What if we let the people choose?
MIKE OSSIPOFF
2004-05-15 04:53:59 UTC
Permalink
The "majority winner" that IRVers so often boast of will often have another
candidtate preferred to hir by a majority. Avoidably choosing someone in
violation of voted majority wishes. A peculiar notion of a "majority
winner".

But what if we let the people choose between IRV's winner and the CW when
they differ. You know what will happen. The CW will win every time.

Once, in an Internet committee, we had to take a vote on something, and
some proposed Condorcet, and some proposed IRV. I pointed out that we could
count the rankings by both methods, and then let the membership vote between
the winners of the 2 methods. An obvious and reasonable suggestion. But an
IRVer named Jim Lindsay objected and accused me of using Condorcet's
standard, which, he claimed, made my proposal unfairly biased in favor of
Condorcet.

So letting the public choose is Condorcet's standard? If so, then it's odd
that Jim & other IRVers can try to justify disregarding Condorcet's
standard.

Mike Ossipoff

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James Gilmour
2004-05-15 22:45:55 UTC
Permalink
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2004 5:54 AM
But what if we let the people choose between IRV's winner and
the CW when
they differ. You know what will happen. The CW will win every time.
I wonder. Consider:
35 A<C<B
33 B<C<A
32 C<B<A

IRV winner = B; CW wiener = C
I suspect most electors would be happy to accept C as the "winner" of this election.

Now consider:
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner" if this were an election for
Sate Governor, much less for a directly elected President of the USA. If anyone has evidence to the
contrary I'd like very much to see it.
James Gilmour





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James Green-Armytage
2004-05-16 00:21:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner" if
this were an election for
Sate Governor, much less for a directly elected President of the USA. If
anyone has evidence to the
contrary I'd like very much to see it.
James Gilmour
Well, if the votes were sincere to begin with, then it is axiomatic that
C will win a runoff election against B. That is, 51 prefer C to B, and 49
prefer B to C. If I prefer B to C, and they are in a runoff election
against each other, of course I will vote for B, even if I would have
rather had A.
I'd agree with Mike to the extent that whenever there is a sincere
Condorcet winner (wins all pairwise comparisons) who differs from the
sincere IRV winner, the Condorcet winner should always be expected to win
a runoff election against the IRV winner, because s/he necessarily has a
pairwise win against that candidate.
However, if there is no clear Condorcet winner, I mean if there is a
cycle and a completion method needs to be used, then the completion method
winner will not necessarily have a pairwise beat against the IRV winner,
and hence will not be expected to win in a runoff. Just for example:

18: A>C>B
15: A>B>C
18: B>A>C
14: B>C>A
20: C>B>A
15: C>A>B
100 total

IRV
A B C
33 32 35
+18 eliminated +14
51 49
A wins

pairwise comparisons
A:B = 48:52
A:C = 51:49
B:C = 47:53

No Condorcet winner, weakest defeat is A:C 51:49, therefore C wins
minimax etc.
So the IRV winner is A, the minimax winner is C, and A beats C in
pairwise comparison.

Now, I don't mean to imply by any means that IRV is better than minimax,
or that Condorcet should be completed by IRV. I'm just responding to what
people have said.

my best,
James





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James Gilmour
2004-05-16 06:42:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gilmour
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as
the "winner"
Post by James Gilmour
if this were an election for Sate Governor, much less for a directly
elected President of the USA. If anyone has evidence to the
contrary I'd like very much to see it.
James Gilmour
James Green-Armytage replied: >
Post by James Gilmour
Well, if the votes were sincere to begin with, then it
is axiomatic that C will win a runoff election against B.
But if you did decide this by a separate run-off election, I should not be surprised to find large
numbers of voters changing their preferences in that run-off election, and in so doing, reject the
CW. Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really have had four years of
President Nader? This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying "the most
representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which are expressed in different
dimensions from those used to measure representivity.
James Gilmour


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Adam Tarr
2004-05-16 06:56:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gilmour
Post by James Green-Armytage
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
Well, if the votes were sincere to begin with, then it
is axiomatic that C will win a runoff election against B.
But if you did decide this by a separate run-off election, I should not be
surprised to find large numbers of voters changing their preferences in
that run-off election, and in so doing, reject the CW.
You realize the sophistry in that argument, don't you? You're essentially
saying that those preferences shouldn't be respected, since the people
wouldn't actually express them if they had thought they mattered.
Post by James Gilmour
Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really have
had four years of President Nader?
OK, explain to me how, in your "real life" scenario, every Bush and Gore
supporter liked Nader more than the other guy. Every one of them!

If you're going to transpose this into a "real-life" scenario, then pick
someone who would actually be perceived as a moderate, in between Bush and
Gore, such as John McCain.
Post by James Gilmour
This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying
"the most representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which
are expressed in different dimensions from those used to measure
representivity.
I don't understand this. Are you trying to say that people might not vote
in a way that pairwise counting measures meaningfully? If so, could you
justify that?


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James Gilmour
2004-05-16 11:27:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam Tarr
Post by James Gilmour
Post by James Green-Armytage
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
Well, if the votes were sincere to begin with, then it is
axiomatic that C will win a runoff election against B.
But if you did decide this by a separate run-off election, I should not be
surprised to find large numbers of voters changing their preferences in
that run-off election, and in so doing, reject the CW.
You realize the sophistry in that argument, don't you?
No, there is no sophistry in my argument.
Post by Adam Tarr
You're essentially
saying that those preferences shouldn't be respected, since
the people
wouldn't actually express them if they had thought they mattered.
No. that is not what I am saying. I am suggesting they would vote sincerely but then reject the
outcome of their own actions when they saw the consequences and all the evidence. I am also
suggesting that if they fully understood that such outcomes were possible, they would reject a
voting system that could produce such an outcome. IRV has a similar problem the other way up, but I
don't think IRV's problem would lead to its rejection (see below).
Post by Adam Tarr
Post by James Gilmour
Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really
have had four years of President Nader?
OK, explain to me how, in your "real life" scenario, every
Bush and Gore
supporter liked Nader more than the other guy. Every one of them!
If you're going to transpose this into a "real-life"
scenario, then pick
someone who would actually be perceived as a moderate, in
between Bush and Gore, such as John McCain.
Thanks for the corrections. Over here all we heard about when it came to the actual election were
Bush, Gore and Nader - with Nader as the spoiler, having a very small percentage of the votes in a
very close election. (We heard about hanging chads too, but that's another story!)
Post by Adam Tarr
Post by James Gilmour
This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying
"the most representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which
are expressed in different dimensions from those used to measure representativity.
I don't understand this.
That is exactly the problem. NB nothing personal, just a general observation about much of the
discussion on this list.
Post by Adam Tarr
Are you trying to say that people might not vote
in a way that pairwise counting measures meaningfully? If
so, could you justify that?
I'm not sure how people might respond in such a Condorcet election, but my main point is that once
they appreciate such an outcome is possible they would never accept the Condorcet voting system.
There may be good intellectual arguments that the 3/49/48 CW is the most representative candidate of
the voters, but all my political experience leads me to believe that such a result would provoke a
massive public outcry and demands for immediate changes to the voting system.

As others have appreciated, such a response operates on a different dimension from that used to
assess "representativity" as defined by the comparisons of Condorcet, IRV, etc. You may think this
contrary, but we know from political surveys that real people are quite capable of holding contrary
views and even mutually incompatible views. So while they might accept the CW on one dimension,
they will reject the outcome of the election on another dimension. I don't have a neat definition
for that dimension, but it is characterised by the reactions I suggested in the two different
scenarios, ie accept CW if 32/35/33, but reject CW if 3/49/48.

IRV has a similar problem, but the other way up. If the votes are cast
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
I believe most voters would accept the IRV winner, B, as a fair outcome. This is conditioned by the
very low level of first preference support for C. But in the 35/33/32 scenario, I would expect
quite a hullabaloo about the unrepresentative and unfair result of the IRV election. Again, this
response is not operating on the same dimension as that used to assess representativity. Other
values in the total system of values come into play and determine the response.

James Gilmour

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Adam Tarr
2004-05-16 15:34:45 UTC
Permalink
I am suggesting they would vote sincerely but then reject the outcome of
their own actions when they saw the consequences and all the evidence. I
am also suggesting that if they fully understood that such outcomes were
possible, they would reject a voting system that could produce such an
outcome.
I think that such a vote could be "marketed" in a way that would make it
relatively uncontroversial. "In cases with no first-place majority winner,
Condorcet chooses the compromise candidate with the broadest base of
support." If people can accept the Electoral College, they can surely
accept that...
Over here all we heard about when it came to the actual election were
Bush, Gore and Nader - with Nader as the spoiler, having a very small
percentage of the votes in a very close election. (We heard about hanging
chads too, but that's another story!)
McCain was a moderate Republican (some Republicans would probably say he is
barely a Republican at all) who lost to Bush in the primaries. Nader, on
the other hand, is significantly more liberal than both Bush and
Gore. It's hard to imagine Nader getting very many second-place votes from
Republicans or even the more moderate Democrats, but it's fairly easy to
imagine nearly all Bush supporters liking McCain more than Gore, and nearly
all Gore supporters liking McCain more than Bush.

It's also not hard to imagine McCain having a fairly small base of
first-place vote support, especially if he left the Republican party and
ran as an independent in the general election.
I'm not sure how people might respond in such a Condorcet election, but my
main point is that once they appreciate such an outcome is possible they
would never accept the Condorcet voting system. There may be good
intellectual arguments that the 3/49/48 CW is the most representative
candidate of the voters, but all my political experience leads me to
believe that such a result would provoke a massive public outcry and
demands for immediate changes to the voting system.
As others have appreciated, such a response operates on a different
dimension from that used to assess "representativity" as defined by the
comparisons of Condorcet, IRV, etc. You may think this contrary, but we
know from political surveys that real people are quite capable of holding
contrary views and even mutually incompatible views. So while they might
accept the CW on one dimension, they will reject the outcome of the
election on another dimension. I don't have a neat definition for that
dimension, but it is characterised by the reactions I suggested in the two
different scenarios, ie accept CW if 32/35/33, but reject CW if 3/49/48.
You may be right, but I still believe that people could be convinced that
this is the fair outcome with decent marketing. Nobody had a majority of
core support, so we picked the compromise choice that keeps everyone
happy. See, it just rolls of the tongue (or keyboard, whatever).
Again, this response is not operating on the same dimension as that used
to assess representativity. Other values in the total system of values
come into play and determine the response.
I'm sorry, but this choice of words still makes my head spin, even now that
I know what you mean by it. :)

-Adam

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James Gilmour
2004-05-16 16:26:12 UTC
Permalink
Adam
Thanks for your helpful comments.
Post by Adam Tarr
I think that such a vote could be "marketed" in a way that
would make it relatively uncontroversial. "In cases with no first-place
majority winner,
Condorcet chooses the compromise candidate with the broadest base of
support."
Maybe, but I remain VERY sceptical. I would still expect public rejection of any voting system that
elected a compromise candidate who had very low first-vote support. I suspect the fact that IRV
operates the opposite way is one of its appeals and reasons for its intuitive acceptance for public
elections.
Post by Adam Tarr
Again, this response is not operating on the same dimension
as that used to assess representativity. Other values in the total
system of values come into play and determine the response.
I'm sorry, but this choice of words still makes my head spin,
even now that I know what you mean by it. :)
What I was trying to say takes us in realms that are not usually explored here, because I suspect
many members are either not aware of the existence of these "other dimensions" in the world of real
politics or else are aware of them but do not want admit them to the discussion. I don't know how
to express this other than as "other dimensions" in the system of values. I have no problem with
concepts like "n-dimensional space" and I have become increasingly aware that practical debates
about changing voting systems operate along many different dimensions. The dimension that dominates
the discussion on this list is but one of the dimensions operating in the wider field of public
politics. The "acceptable" outcomes along different dimensions are sometimes mutually incompatible.
And electors attach different weights to the different dimensions. So we should not be surprised to
find that systems intellectually accepted by the electors are rejected by the "gut reaction" of
those same electors when they see a particular outcome.

James

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James Green-Armytage
2004-05-17 04:09:37 UTC
Permalink
Dear James Gilmour,

Let's try to follow through with one of these examples until the end.
Let's say that in a presidential election, the ballots cast are

48: Bush > McCain > Gore
3: McCain > Bush > Gore
49: Gore > McCain > Bush

The Condorcet winner is McCain, and the IRV winner is Bush.
Now, let's imagine that there is a runoff election between McCain and
Bush. How do you think that people will vote?
We can probably agree that the Bush > McCain > Gore voters will vote for
Bush. And we can probably agree that the McCain > Bush > Gore voters will
vote for McCain.
It seems that your issue is with the Gore > McCain > Bush voters. You
seem to be saying that some of them will vote for Bush rather than McCain.
And you're saying that they will do so because, although at first they
thought they liked McCain better, they have somehow decided that he
doesn't deserve to win, because he has so few first choice votes. I'm I
understanding your point correctly?
At this point, I'm not quite convinced. It seems common-sensical to me
that the Gore > McCain > Bush people voted that way because they really
don't like Bush, and that if they had to get a Republican they'd rather
have the more moderate and respectable McCain. I don't really see a lot of
democrats voting for Bush based on some that he deserves to win because
other people voted for him.
If anything, I'd expect the opposite, that more democrats would get
behind McCain when it became clear that he was the only alternative to
Bush. Now I know that in the above example it doesn't apply, since McCain
already has 100% second choice support (which I already said isn't so very
realistic), but anyway you get the idea. It just makes sense to me that
the democrats would vote in McCain over Bush, if they knew and accepted
that those were the only two choices available.

********semi-digression*************
The argument that might give me more pause would be the argument that
some of the initial votes were insincere. For example, let's say that the
sincere preference rankings were something like
38: Bush > McCain > Gore
10: Bush > Gore > McCain
39: Gore > McCain > Bush
10: Gore > Bush > McCain
3: McCain > Bush > Gore
, but nobody knew before the election who would win the Bush-Gore pairwise
comparison, and so both the Bush > Gore > McCain people and the Gore >
Bush > McCain people engaged in the burial:reversal strategy in order to
gain a possible edge for their first choice candidate.
I'm not sure how likely that all is, but it constitutes at least some
ground to doubt McCain's legitimacy in the initial example. However, I
still tend to think that a *sincere* Condorcet winner (who wins all
pairwise comparisons) should always be expected to win a runoff election
against any other single candidate.
********end of semi-digression*********

With all that said, I think that it would be interesting if we could get
some empirical evidence for this, I mean actually have a ranked ballot
followed up by a runoff between the IRV and Condorcet (or completed)
winners. Actually, I'm not even sure that that would be such a bad
election method overall. Thanks, Mike.

my best,
James Green-Armytage



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James Gilmour
2004-05-19 22:42:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Green-Armytage
Let's try to follow through with one of these examples
until the end. Let's say that in a presidential election, the
ballots cast are
48: Bush > McCain > Gore
3: McCain > Bush > Gore
49: Gore > McCain > Bush
The Condorcet winner is McCain, and the IRV winner is Bush.
Now, let's imagine that there is a runoff election
between McCain and Bush. How do you think that people will vote?
1. I cannot usefully comment of the likely outcome of this run-off because I don't know enough
about the candidates and the electors.

2. More importantly, changing to a run-off election part-way through and asking questions about
that, does not address the issues arising from the outcome of the Condorcet election. My hypothesis
is that politicians and the general public are likely to reject both the election result and the
voting system if the voting system allows the "weak middle" to come through and win when that "weak
middle" has the first-preference support of only a very small percentage of the voters. They
understand very well all the ideas of "compromise" and "everyone's second choice", but based on
their response on some other "dimension", they will reject the result and the voting system that
produced it.

Trying to guess and analyse what these voters might do in various run-off sub-sets doesn't really
help us to measure their likely response on this "other dimension", except that there is good
evidence that voters (at least some voters) will vote different in an exhaustive ballot (repeated
run-off) from how they would vote if IRV were used. Some analysts see that difference as a good
feature of the exhaustive ballot, others see it as a bad feature. I have in mind here the voting
behaviour of MPs of certain UK political parties who have, in the past, elected their party leaders
by exhaustive ballot. The results from successive stages have shown very clearly that these voters
have changed their "preferences" quite markedly after they have seen the preferences of all the
other voters in the previous stage and stages. In this particular case there may be a strong
element of wanting to be seen to have been "on the winning side" (even when the ballot is secret)
because that is the path to political preferment (high office at the leader's sole discretion).
However, I suspect this is a more general phenomenon. Problem is, we very rarely get relevant data
because no one normally asks real electors to vote the same real election by several different
systems.

James G.



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Dr.Ernie Prabhakar
2004-05-19 23:06:27 UTC
Permalink
Hi James,
Post by James Green-Armytage
48: Bush > McCain > Gore
3: McCain > Bush > Gore
49: Gore > McCain > Bush
My hypothesis is that politicians and the general public are likely to
reject both the election result and the voting system if the voting
system allows the "weak middle" to come through and win when that
"weak middle" has the first-preference support of only a very small
percentage of the voters. They understand very well all the ideas of
"compromise" and "everyone's second choice", but based on their
response on some other "dimension", they will reject the result and
the voting system that
produced it.
That's why I'm having a hard time understanding (perhaps I completely
missed your point about 'other dimension'). I realize the context here
is a 'final runoff', but I think the larger question is 'how do we rate
the validity of IRV's winner vs. Condorcet's winner" - right?

Are we assuming that people are *forced* to specify a full ballot?
Then I can see how people might be unhappy with their second choice
being elected. That's a good argument for allowing partial ballots,
not an argument against Condorcet.

With partial ballots case, if people *really* want their first choice
elected, then it would seem to me that either:
a) they'd bullet vote
b) they'd include a second-choice candidate precisely *because* they're
afraid their third-choice might win, and would thus be relieved that
their second choice prevented it.

Frankly, I think Condorcet is *far* less complicated than the Electoral
College. There was widespread fear that people would be offended and
confused when the electoral vote came out different than the popular
vote, but that turned out not to be the case (yes, people were offended
and confused, but for a very different reason).

My criteria for an election method is that it most efficiently use the
information presented. I haven't found anything more efficient from a
purely information theory perspective than Condorcet, and I think that
such a perspective is far easier to justify that various hypotheses
about likely social utility distributions. I believe the more you
respect people's information, then overall the happier they'll be.

-- Ernie P.

-----------
Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D. <DrErnie at RadicalCentrism.org>
RadicalCentrism.org is an anti-partisan think tank near Sacramento,
California, dedicated to developing and promoting the ideals of
Reality, Character, Community and Humility as expressed in our Radical
Centrist Manifesto: Ground Rules of Civil Society
<http://RadicalCentrism.org/manifesto.html>

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James Green-Armytage
2004-05-20 00:42:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gilmour
My hypothesis
is that politicians and the general public are likely to reject both the
election result and the
voting system if the voting system allows the "weak middle" to come
through and win when that "weak
middle" has the first-preference support of only a very small percentage
of the voters.
I would say that such voters are just not thinking very carefully about
it. Sure, some people might find it strange for someone to win with 3%
first choice, but if they take the time to realize that such a person
would have won a one-on-one election against every other candidate, they
shouldn't feel that way.
Pegging a candidate as 'weak' or 'strong' based on their share of first
choice votes is superficial. Please read my essay "The Value of First
Choice Votes" for an illustration of this.
http://fc.antioch.edu/~***@antioch-college.edu/voting_methods/value_of_first_choice.htm
Voters now are used to plurality, and so they are likely to look at other
systems in a way that is conditioned by the rules of plurality. However,
that doesn't mean that systems that are more similar to plurality (such as
IRV) are better, it just means that they are more readily acceptable to
people who are ignorant of better methods, i.e. Condorcet.
How hard is it to impress upon people the virtues of Condorcet? I don't
know. Surely many people are intellectually lazy about such things and
don't want to bother themselves with thinking about it. However, given the
importance of Condorcet for use in creating social compromise instead of
social bi-polarity, given the importance of Condorcet in creating genuine
competition in multiple-option votes, I think that it is well worth a try.
If IRV is the best we can do in some places, for the time being, I accept
that. It's still better than plurality, and it gets people engaged with
the ideas that different voting methods are possible and legitimate.
However, I'd rather not take the defeatist and elitist attitude that
Condorcet is over everyone's head and that we shouldn't confuse them by
suggesting it as an alternative to both IRV and plurality in the present
day.
Post by James Gilmour
2. More importantly, changing to a run-off election part-way through and
asking questions about
that, does not address the issues arising from the outcome of the
Condorcet election.
I reply:
You seem to have forgotten how this thread began in the first place. Mike
Ossipoff wrote a post on May 14 called "IRV's 'majority winner'. What if
we let the people chose."
http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2004-May/012867.html
In that posting he wrote that in a runoff between the IRV winner and the
Condorcet winner, the Condorcet winner "will win every time."
You then replied in a posting with the same subject on May 15,
http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2004-May/012875.html
and you took issue with precisely this idea. The discussion quickly
became a generic IRV vs. Condorcet debate for most people, but it
nevertheless began with the idea that the Condorcet winner would beat the
IRV winner in a runoff. Hence your dismissal of my postings as somewhat
off-topic is quite topsy-turvy. Actually my inquiry as to the expected
results of a Condorcet/completion winner vs. IRV winner runoff is the
original topic.

James Green-Armytage

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Jan Kok
2004-05-16 19:24:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
[and expressed doubts about whether the public would accept a voting system
that chose C as the winner]

What I see here is a highly polarized electorate. The A-first voters place
B last, and vice versa. Both A-first and B-first voters consider C to be
better than the other alternative. That's exactly what they said on their
ballots!

Personally, if I was an A or a B voter, I would not have a problem with C
being chosen as the winner. I would address those who objected as follows:
Would you rather we chose between A and B with a coin toss? There are some
who might take that gamble, but I suspect most would grudgingly settle for
the compromise candidate.

James G. was groping for a way to describe C using some other "dimension."
In this case, I would suggest that "political experience" or "visibility" or
"viability" might be ways to describe the dimension or issue. That
dimension could explain why there are so few centrist voters voting for C.

McCain was suggested as an example of a C-type candidate. I think Ross
Perot in 1992 and 1996 would be another example. Perot created the Reform
Party and, it seemed to me, tried to occupy a centrist position between the
D's and R's.

Cheers,
- Jan


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James Gilmour
2004-05-16 22:21:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Kok
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
[and expressed doubts about whether the public would accept a
voting system that chose C as the winner]
What I see here is a highly polarized electorate. The
A-first voters place B last, and vice versa. Both A-first
and B-first voters consider C to be better than the other
alternative. That's exactly what they said on their ballots!
Agreed.
Post by Jan Kok
Personally, if I was an A or a B voter, I would not have a
problem with C being chosen as the winner.
OK, but I was not talking about YOU. I am quite prepared to believe that many on this list either
would have no problem with the CW in these extreme circumstances or would be prepared to accept that
outcome while feeling a little uncomfortable.
Post by Jan Kok
I would address
those who objected as follows: Would you rather we chose
between A and B with a coin toss? There are some who might
take that gamble, but I suspect most would grudgingly settle
for the compromise candidate.
This is a very rational appeal, but I would predict a different response: "We reject the Condorcet
voting system but will accept IRV to avoid this problem." I think voters would respond this way
because their rejection of the low first-vote CW is stronger (much stronger ?) than their concern
that IRV defeats the high-first vote compromise candidate who is everyone's second choice.
Post by Jan Kok
James G. was groping for a way to describe C using some other
"dimension."
I may have been groping (and still am), but it wasn't for a dimension on which to describe candidate
C. Rather it was for the dimension on which to measure the voters' "unfairness" response that would
lead voters to reject the CW in the example election.
Post by Jan Kok
In this case, I would suggest that "political
experience" or "visibility" or "viability" might be ways to
describe the dimension or issue. That dimension could
explain why there are so few centrist voters voting for C.
I don't think candidate "political experience" or "visibility" are on that dimension, but
"viability" of the result might well be as one aspect of the intuitive "it's unfair" / "there's
something 'wrong' with this result" response.

James

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Curt Siffert
2004-05-16 07:43:23 UTC
Permalink
In 2000, the nation collectively and clearly preferred Gore to Nader.

The point remains, though, regarding system of values. People like to
circle the wagons and don't like to be wrong. Their preferences can
change due to knowledge of how others have voted. Just look at the
Democratic Primary - a close race before Iowa, but then due to the
widely reported results of two states, it was Kerry all the way, even
when it was still possible for others to win the nomination. It's
negative in some ways (it's as if some people believe they get a prize
for voting for the winner), but the concern remains of a population
feeling cheated after the fact. There can be a collective sense of
injustice even if everyone was individually enfranchised.

Honestly, though, I don't believe the 3/49/48 scenario would ever
happen in a political election. For a candidate to have gathered
enough support to even compete in an election, he or she would have to
have a significant amount of first-place supporters.
Post by James Gilmour
Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really
have had four years of
President Nader? This is about more than voting arithmetic and
measures for identifying "the most
representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which are expressed in different
dimensions from those used to measure representivity.
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James Gilmour
2004-05-16 09:33:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curt Siffert
In 2000, the nation collectively and clearly preferred Gore to Nader.
The point remains, though, regarding system of values.
Exactly.
Post by Curt Siffert
People like to circle the wagons and don't like to be wrong.
I'm not sure I completely understand your meaning - the problem of a shared language! - nor am I
sure why people are likely to have the intuitive response I suggest. But my experience as a
campaigner for voting reform leads me to believe they will intuitively reject the CW who has only 1%
or 2% of the first preferences.
Post by Curt Siffert
Their preferences can
change due to knowledge of how others have voted.
Yes, I think is true and is a major difference between IRV and the exhaustive ballot (run-off with
successive elimination of only the bottom candidate). Some would see the difference as an advantage
of IRV; others would see the same difference as an advantage of the exhaustive ballot.
Post by Curt Siffert
Just look at the
Democratic Primary - a close race before Iowa, but then due to the
widely reported results of two states, it was Kerry all the way, even
when it was still possible for others to win the nomination. It's
negative in some ways (it's as if some people believe they
get a prize
for voting for the winner), but the concern remains of a population
feeling cheated after the fact. There can be a collective sense of
injustice even if everyone was individually enfranchised.
It must be for others your side of 'the pond' to comment on the validity of your example and
analysis, but it fits with what we heard here.
Post by Curt Siffert
Honestly, though, I don't believe the 3/49/48 scenario would ever
happen in a political election. For a candidate to have gathered
enough support to even compete in an election, he or she
would have to have a significant amount of first-place supporters.
Maybe not, but should you implement a voting system in which this COULD happen? And of course, we
don't know where the flip-over point lies between acceptance and rejection. We guess that 32/35/33
would be acceptable. But just how far towards 3/49/48 would an election have to go before the
voting system was rejected?

James (Gilmour - to avoid confusion with the other Jameses)

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James Green-Armytage
2004-05-16 19:48:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curt Siffert
Honestly, though, I don't believe the 3/49/48 scenario would ever
happen in a political election. For a candidate to have gathered
enough support to even compete in an election, he or she would have to
have a significant amount of first-place supporters.
Well, actually what I think is more unlikely about that classic example is
that anyone with only 3% of first choice votes would be a totally
unanimous choice for second choice. In general, it seems unlikely for any
candidate to be either the first or second choice of every single voter.

James

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James Gilmour
2004-05-16 22:31:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curt Siffert
Post by Curt Siffert
Honestly, though, I don't believe the 3/49/48 scenario would ever
happen in a political election. For a candidate to have gathered
enough support to even compete in an election, he or she
would have to
Post by Curt Siffert
have a significant amount of first-place supporters.
Well, actually what I think is more unlikely about that
classic example is that anyone with only 3% of first choice
votes would be a totally unanimous choice for second choice.
In general, it seems unlikely for any candidate to be either
the first or second choice of every single voter.
You can play with the figures all you like, but all you are doing is trying to avoid the real
question of the likely response of real voters in a real public election when the CW has VERY low
first-vote support.
James G.

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Stephane Rouillon
2004-05-17 12:37:48 UTC
Permalink
Among the several ideas I proposed in SPPA,
one consists in using the plurality result to determine the mandate length.

Above 50% the elected person receives a full mandate.
But do you think a president winning with 25% of the votes could be limited
to a two-years mandate instead of four years?

Stephane
Post by James Gilmour
Post by James Gilmour
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as
the "winner"
Post by James Gilmour
if this were an election for Sate Governor, much less for a directly
elected President of the USA. If anyone has evidence to the
contrary I'd like very much to see it.
James Gilmour
James Green-Armytage replied: >
Post by James Gilmour
Well, if the votes were sincere to begin with, then it
is axiomatic that C will win a runoff election against B.
But if you did decide this by a separate run-off election, I should not be surprised to find large
numbers of voters changing their preferences in that run-off election, and in so doing, reject the
CW. Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really have had four years of
President Nader? This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying "the most
representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which are expressed in different
dimensions from those used to measure representivity.
James Gilmour
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Curt Siffert
2004-05-16 01:06:23 UTC
Permalink
I like this example a lot because I think it approaches the nut of what
social choice should actually mean.

The first case is pretty uncontroversial. What makes the second case
interesting is that there's this psychological impact to it.

One good idea to explore is if each individual voter *knows* how the
rest of the population voted. If each voter only knew that the
majority preferred C to B and A, then the population would be pretty
satisfied with C being the winner.

But if they know the full results as stated below; that C had almost no
first-place votes, it's only then that the results become controversial
- even though that fact is irrelevant to Condorcet scoring. The only
reason the result is controversial to the population is because the
population knows how everyone else voted.

I'm not a big math-head and don't know much about Nash, but this does
remind me a bit of how Nash was explained in that movie. That it's not
so much about what is good for the individual alone or the group alone,
as it is about what's good for the combination. Similarly, the social
comfort with a result isn't just feeling like one's individual vote is
counted - it's about feeling comfortable that everyone's vote is
counted. The reason that the second example doesn't feel good to many
is not because someone feels like their own vote wasn't counted; it's
because it's easy to feel that the population got collectively screwed.

I know Condorcet pretty well by now, so in the second example I very
much would accept C as the winner. But it's still clearly an example
where Condorcet doesn't shine, because what the population is really
saying is just that they overwhelmingly want C to come in second, and
can't really decide anything else decisively.

by the way -
Post by James Gilmour
IRV winner = B; CW wiener = C
freudian slip? :-)
Post by James Gilmour
35 A<C<B
33 B<C<A
32 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW wiener = C
I suspect most electors would be happy to accept C as the "winner" of this election.
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner"
if this were an election for
Sate Governor, much less for a directly elected President of the USA.
If anyone has evidence to the
contrary I'd like very much to see it.
James Gilmour
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James Gilmour
2004-05-16 07:06:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Curt Siffert
I like this example a lot because I think it approaches the
nut of what social choice should actually mean.
The first case is pretty uncontroversial. What makes the second case
interesting is that there's this psychological impact to it.
This is the real issue. As Curt says, "it doesn't feel good". There is no question that "C" is the
Condorcet Winner and is 'the most representative candidate', but the real issue is "would such a
result be accepted in a real public election?" We may wish it to be accepted, and we may even
campaign for it to be accepted, but that is something quite different from the public reaction of
the electors to that result. I believe that if such a result were the outcome of a major public CW
election, there would be a public clamour to change the voting system. If anyone has EVIDENCE that
I am wrong in that assessment, I should be very pleased to see it.
James Gilmour

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Bart Ingles
2004-05-17 03:42:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner"
if this were an election for State Governor, much less for a directly
elected President of the USA. If anyone has evidence to the contrary I'd
like very much to see it.
Whether C has widespread acceptability depends almost entirely on
information which is not captured in ranked ballots. At the extremes, C
may enjoy either unanimous popularity, or near total rejection.
Approval voting is able to distinguish between these extreme cases with
ease. Ranked methods can only do so to the extent that they encourage
insincere strategy.

Bart Ingles
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Ken Taylor
2004-05-17 11:54:32 UTC
Permalink
Sorry, but this inspired my sleep deprived brain. Has anyone noticed that
many of the discussions on this list follow a familiar pattern? To wit:

Anti-IRVer: Here is an example that proves that IRV does not select the same
answer as Condorcet, therefore it is highly inferior to Condorcet, which
*does* select the same answer as Condorcet!
Pro-IRVer: No, you've got it wrong! We're not really sure, exactly, *what*
IRV picks, but we're darned sure that whatever it picks is better than
Condorcet!
Approvaler: Will you two stop bickering and see the light? Not only does
approval voting pick the exact correct answer in every situation, but it
also will do all your household chores for you, and it cures cancer!

Just meant to be humorous. Hope I didn't offend :)

Ken

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bart Ingles" <***@netgate.net>
To: "EM List" <election-***@electorama.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2004 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: [EM] IRV's "majority winner". What if we let the people choose?
Post by Bart Ingles
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner"
if this were an election for State Governor, much less for a directly
elected President of the USA. If anyone has evidence to the contrary I'd
like very much to see it.
Whether C has widespread acceptability depends almost entirely on
information which is not captured in ranked ballots. At the extremes, C
may enjoy either unanimous popularity, or near total rejection.
Approval voting is able to distinguish between these extreme cases with
ease. Ranked methods can only do so to the extent that they encourage
insincere strategy.
Bart Ingles
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Brian Olson
2004-05-17 16:53:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Taylor
Sorry, but this inspired my sleep deprived brain. Has anyone noticed that
Anti-IRVer: Here is an example that proves that IRV does not select the same
answer as Condorcet, therefore it is highly inferior to Condorcet, which
*does* select the same answer as Condorcet!
Pro-IRVer: No, you've got it wrong! We're not really sure, exactly, *what*
IRV picks, but we're darned sure that whatever it picks is better than
Condorcet!
Approvaler: Will you two stop bickering and see the light? Not only does
approval voting pick the exact correct answer in every situation, but it
also will do all your household chores for you, and it cures cancer!
Just meant to be humorous. Hope I didn't offend :)
I got a chuckle out of it. I suppose I fit in something like the third
category. (IRNR rulez! ;)

I really do find it odd that the Condorcet argument sometimes sounds
circular, with Condorcet being in the definition of what a voting
system ought to be.

I base my valuation of a voting system on Utilitarian Values. IMFO, the
"best" voting system is the one that most likely makes the most people
the happiest.

My best attempt at getting inside the head of an IRVer is that they
prefer (and think other people operate similarly) each choice HUGE
amounts greater than the next lesser choice. Thus their perfect system
is one that allocates their whole vote to their favorite-at-the-time.
(Never mind that IRV might miss the compromise choice and jump straight
to what some opposing faction prefers.)

Brian Olson
http://bolson.org/

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Dave Ketchum
2004-05-19 12:00:33 UTC
Permalink
THANK You Ken!

I will look at the 48/49/3 example for ammunition, with these platforms
(here C deserves more votes - my main desire was that A and B each have
serious backers and enemies):
49 A<C<B - Make age of consent 35, with stronger penalties (should
reduce population growth, overpopulation becoming a serious problem).
48 B<C<A - Reduce age of consent to zero (misuse of this too often
punishes those who have done no actual harm to willing mature teens).
3 C<B<A - No change to sexual control laws without more mature
thought as to logic and acceptability.
Post by Ken Taylor
Sorry, but this inspired my sleep deprived brain. Has anyone noticed that
Anti-IRVer: Here is an example that proves that IRV does not select the same
answer as Condorcet, therefore it is highly inferior to Condorcet, which
*does* select the same answer as Condorcet!
As a Condorcet backer, I have to use available ammunition to make this one
stronger. MORE voters will be pleased if C is elected than if B is
elected; likewise electing C will please MORE than electing A would.

While the A and B backers can be disappointed at not winning, they should
accept not losing to their worst enemies even though few made C a first
choice.

EASY to pick examples in which IRV's weaknesses are more obvious. Seems
to me the REAL answer to James Gilmour is to educate the nonbelievers.

Cycles make a lot of noise. While methods of resolving these need careful
thought, they are best thought of as near ties - walk one way around the
cycle and your starting point reads as weak; walk the other way and it
reads as strong.

Worth remembering that IRV and Condorcet use identical ballots and usually
assign identical winners - often the same winners as Plurality would.
heir excuse for existing is that Plurality does not reasonably let voters
express their desires when faced with multiple serious candidates
Post by Ken Taylor
Pro-IRVer: No, you've got it wrong! We're not really sure, exactly, *what*
IRV picks, but we're darned sure that whatever it picks is better than
Condorcet!
See above.
Post by Ken Taylor
Approvaler: Will you two stop bickering and see the light? Not only does
approval voting pick the exact correct answer in every situation, but it
also will do all your household chores for you, and it cures cancer!
This example demonstrates an Approval weakness - easy enough to approve
Best and not approve worst. C is trouble, for it is dangerous to vote
C acceptable and thus perhaps cause C to beat Best, or to vote C as
unacceptable and thus risk C losing to Worst.
Post by Ken Taylor
Just meant to be humorous. Hope I didn't offend :)
Ken
--------------------------------------

Some dream that perfect knowledge would inspire different voting under
IRV. I do not see that, for A and B are each so close to winning that
their backers cannot afford to change, while C is so weak in firstplace
votes that there is no reason to vote away from their desires.
--
***@clarityconnect.com people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
Dave Ketchum 108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY 13827-1708 607-687-5026
Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
If you want peace, work for justice.


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Brian Olson
2004-05-19 17:12:54 UTC
Permalink
The controversial example:

49 A>C>B
48 B>C>A
3 C>B>A

Two ways of putting voter's internal preferences behind that (Both sets
of ratings exhibit the above rankings):

*{number of voters} {A's rating}, {B's rating}, {C's rating}:

*49 .03,.01,.02
*48 .01,.03,.02
*3 .01,.02,.03

IRV = B; all others = C

The above example presents a population with very weak differences in
degree of preference between the choices. I believe that a situation
like this is implicitly part of the social assumptions that Condorcet
backers make. Voters would be happy to get their second choice because
there isn't that much of a difference between that and their first
choice. The compromise choice is obviously the right way to go.


*49 1,.01,.1
*48 .01,1,.1
*3 .01,.1,1

IRNR, IRV = B; Condorcet, Borda = C; Raw Cardinal Ratings = A

This example electorate has very strong preferences for a primary
choice over a secondary, and for the secondary over the tertiary. I
believe this is the model assumed by IRV backers.

Under this set of ratings, IRNR emulates IRV, while under the first
ratings it had the same solution as Condorcet. The IRV process
disqualifies C in the first round, those votes then go to B which wins
in the second round.

Raw CR given ratings like this chose the plurality winner. Whodathunkit?


So, under the first set of ratings, IRV is clearly an aberration. The
compromise choice found by every other method is the right thing to do.
Under the second set of ratings, it's not so clear. Depending on the
system, all three results are possible. Which one is the most just? The
straight utilitarian answer goes with Raw CR and Plurality! Condorcet
and Borda disregard the strength of people's desires. IRV is vulnerable
to nasty singularities, is this one of them? IRNR is my pet, why should
any of you like it?

Breakfast for thought, good day. :-)

(results calculated with http://bolson.org/voting/vote_form.html )

Brian Olson
http://bolson.org/

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Adam H Tarr
2004-05-17 04:25:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bart Ingles
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner"
if this were an election for State Governor, much less for a directly
elected President of the USA. If anyone has evidence to the contrary I'd
like very much to see it.
Whether C has widespread acceptability depends almost entirely on
information which is not captured in ranked ballots. At the extremes, C
may enjoy either unanimous popularity, or near total rejection.
A hardcore Condorcet supporter would say that the distinction is irrelevant,
since either way C wins all contests pairwise. To put it another way, C would
win any approval election where the voters have perfect information.
Post by Bart Ingles
Approval voting is able to distinguish between these extreme cases with
ease.
Approval only accurately distinguished between these cases when all the voters
use the same utility-based cutoff. If some voters have different utility
cutoffs than others, or if some of them actually look at the polls before
voting, then the ability of approval to distinguish between the two extremes
becomes a bit muddied.
Post by Bart Ingles
Ranked methods can only do so to the extent that they encourage
insincere strategy.
What strategy would that be? The sincere votes here are already a Nash
Equilibrium. The only thing the outer factions can do is throw the election to
the other outer faction. This is a pretty strategy-free example in Condorcet
voting.

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Bart Ingles
2004-05-19 07:54:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adam H Tarr
Post by Bart Ingles
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner"
if this were an election for State Governor, much less for a directly
elected President of the USA. If anyone has evidence to the contrary I'd
like very much to see it.
Whether C has widespread acceptability depends almost entirely on
information which is not captured in ranked ballots. At the extremes, C
may enjoy either unanimous popularity, or near total rejection.
[AT]
A hardcore Condorcet supporter would say that the distinction is irrelevant,
since either way C wins all contests pairwise. To put it another way, C would
win any approval election where the voters have perfect information.
[BI]
If the voters had perfect information, C would win the IRV election as
well (assuming the voters were willing to use obvious strategy). So the
"perfect info" scenario doesn't provide a strong argument for or against
any particular method.
Post by Adam H Tarr
Post by Bart Ingles
Approval voting is able to distinguish between these extreme cases with
ease.
Approval only accurately distinguished between these cases when all the voters
use the same utility-based cutoff. If some voters have different utility
cutoffs than others, or if some of them actually look at the polls before
voting, then the ability of approval to distinguish between the two extremes
becomes a bit muddied.
I'm assuming that in the two extreme cases, the utilities are high or
low enough to be above or below any reasonable cutoff. I thought this
was especially relevant to the question being raised, to the effect that
voters might not accept the outcome of a Condorcet election.

In less extreme cases-- where voters are fairly ambivalent about their
middle choices relative to the other two-- of course the approval
outcome is less clear-cut. But in that case I wouldn't expect the
voters to be lined up with pitchforks in order to overturn the results
of the election (either approval or Condorcet).
Post by Adam H Tarr
Post by Bart Ingles
Ranked methods can only do so to the extent that they encourage
insincere strategy.
What strategy would that be? The sincere votes here are already a Nash
Equilibrium. The only thing the outer factions can do is throw the election to
the other outer faction. This is a pretty strategy-free example in Condorcet
voting.
By 'ranked methods' I wasn't necessarily assuming Condorcet here.
Although I still believe that a prisoner's dilemma outcome is possible
if C is disliked enough, and if neither of A and B has a clear advantage
over the other. But even if you don't buy that possiblity, my original
point remains-- if there is no insincere strategy, then a ranked method
can't distinguish between the two extreme cases that fit the ranked
example above.
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James Green-Armytage
2004-05-18 01:53:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Gilmour
49 A<C<B
48 B<C<A
3 C<B<A
IRV winner = B; CW winner = C.
I doubt very much whether most electors would accept C as the "winner" if
this were an election for
Sate Governor, much less for a directly elected President of the USA. If
anyone has evidence to the
contrary I'd like very much to see it.
James,
Have you read my essay entitled "The Value of First Choice Votes." It
addresses this supposed "problem" with Condorcet, and spells out precisely
why it isn't actually a problem. Originally a posting to the EM list, I've
revised it just a little bit, and now it exists as a web page at
http://fc.antioch.edu/~***@antioch-college.edu/voting_methods/value_of_first_choice.htm
It seems to be as relevant now as ever.

my best,
James Green-Armytage

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MIKE OSSIPOFF
2004-05-19 02:53:28 UTC
Permalink
James Gilmour said:

But if you did decide this by a separate run-off election, I should not be
surprised to find large
numbers of voters changing their preferences in that run-off election, and
in so doing, reject the
CW.

I reply:

Why should they change their preference, James? So that IRV's winner will
win? If you prefer C to B, and that's why you ranked C over B, you're making
a ridiculous claim if you say that you're now going to start liking B better
than C.

You continued:

Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really have had
four years of
President Nader?

I reply:

Yes we would, if 52% prefer Nader to Gore Bush, and 48 prefer Bush to Nader,
and we held a runoff between Bush and Nader, for a presidential election.
Then yes, James, we'd have had at least 4 or 8 years of President Nader.

You continued:

This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying "the
most
representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which are
expressed in different
dimensions from those used to measure representivity.

I reply:

I have no idea what you're talkling about. Perhaps your "system of values"
happens to coincide with the definition of IRV? :-)

Mike Ossipoff

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Curt Siffert
2004-05-19 03:37:28 UTC
Permalink
Not to defend IRV, but I agree with James on this count. If a thin
majority preferred B to A, but then found after the election that A
received many first place votes, while B received hardly any, I'd bet
money that some people would switch their votes from B to A, possibly
enough to swing the results.

I followed the Dem primary pretty closely and there were a *lot* of
voters that were voting for Kerry even though they liked Dean better -
not for tactical reasons, but simply because it was the thing to do.

I know that it doesn't make sense and isn't rational, but the point is
that people are irrational. And while that doesn't mean that awarding
the winner to the Condorcet Winner is flawed (of course it's not
flawed), there are still weird cases like this one where it could be a
public relations problem. People are used to first place counting for
more than second or third place, and it would be an uphill battle to
convince an unsophisticated population that B is the rightful winner.

It's not a reason to support IRV, but it's definitely reason to try and
include safeguards so an outcome like this wouldn't happen.
Post by James Gilmour
But if you did decide this by a separate run-off election, I should
not be surprised to find large
numbers of voters changing their preferences in that run-off election,
and in so doing, reject the
CW.
Why should they change their preference, James? So that IRV's winner
will win? If you prefer C to B, and that's why you ranked C over B,
you're making a ridiculous claim if you say that you're now going to
start liking B better than C.
Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really
have had four years of
President Nader?
Yes we would, if 52% prefer Nader to Gore Bush, and 48 prefer Bush to
Nader, and we held a runoff between Bush and Nader, for a presidential
election. Then yes, James, we'd have had at least 4 or 8 years of
President Nader.
This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying
"the most
representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which are
expressed in different
dimensions from those used to measure representivity.
I have no idea what you're talkling about. Perhaps your "system of
values" happens to coincide with the definition of IRV? :-)
Mike Ossipoff
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Forest Simmons
2004-05-26 02:08:24 UTC
Permalink
Back when there was a push to get an IRV initiative on the Oregon ballot I
sat in on some of the FairVoteOregon meetings, including the one in which
the final wording of the initiative and the wording of the voter
information pamphlet entry were being hashed out.

All the rhetoric was repetition of the claim that IRV is the method that
picks the majority winner, and that the principle of majority rule is the
foundation of IRV, as well as the foundation of democracy.

So when Mike suggested letting a majority decide between the IRV winner
and the Condorcet Winner, he wasn't unfairly foisting Condorcet standards
on IRV supporters. He was just giving them a chance to practice what they
preach. In essence he exposed their hypocrisy by calling their bluff.

Forest
Post by Curt Siffert
Not to defend IRV, but I agree with James on this count. If a thin
majority preferred B to A, but then found after the election that A
received many first place votes, while B received hardly any, I'd bet
money that some people would switch their votes from B to A, possibly
enough to swing the results.
I followed the Dem primary pretty closely and there were a *lot* of
voters that were voting for Kerry even though they liked Dean better -
not for tactical reasons, but simply because it was the thing to do.
I know that it doesn't make sense and isn't rational, but the point is
that people are irrational. And while that doesn't mean that awarding
the winner to the Condorcet Winner is flawed (of course it's not
flawed), there are still weird cases like this one where it could be a
public relations problem. People are used to first place counting for
more than second or third place, and it would be an uphill battle to
convince an unsophisticated population that B is the rightful winner.
It's not a reason to support IRV, but it's definitely reason to try and
include safeguards so an outcome like this wouldn't happen.
Post by James Gilmour
But if you did decide this by a separate run-off election, I should
not be surprised to find large
numbers of voters changing their preferences in that run-off election,
and in so doing, reject the
CW.
Why should they change their preference, James? So that IRV's winner
will win? If you prefer C to B, and that's why you ranked C over B,
you're making a ridiculous claim if you say that you're now going to
start liking B better than C.
Imagine a "real-life" scenario: Bush, Gore, Nader. Would we really
have had four years of
President Nader?
Yes we would, if 52% prefer Nader to Gore Bush, and 48 prefer Bush to
Nader, and we held a runoff between Bush and Nader, for a presidential
election. Then yes, James, we'd have had at least 4 or 8 years of
President Nader.
This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying
"the most
representative candidate". It brings in systems of values which are
expressed in different
dimensions from those used to measure representivity.
I have no idea what you're talkling about. Perhaps your "system of
values" happens to coincide with the definition of IRV? :-)
Mike Ossipoff
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MIKE OSSIPOFF
2004-05-19 03:19:01 UTC
Permalink
James Gilmour said:

No, there is no sophistry in my argument.

I reply:

Call it what you want. You're saying we shoudn't respect the voted wishes of
those people because you think that they might change their preferences.
Does it occur to you that that is a rather weak argument for disregarding
someone's voted wishes?

Though you're not at all clear about what you mean, you seem to be implying
that you mean that when people find out that C is favorite of fewest, then
people who prefer C to B will feel a need to follow the herd, and the fact
that C is favorite of fewest will make those people begin to prefer B to C,
because B has a higher Plurality score than C does. Whatever reasons made
those people prefer C to B, they'll consider Plurality score to be a more
important thing to judge the candidates by,and so now they'll think that B
must be better than C. Is that pretty much how your reasoning goes?
You're essentially saying that those preferences shouldn't be respected,
since the people wouldn't actually express them if they had thought they
mattered.
You then said:

No. that is not what I am saying. I am suggesting they would vote sincerely
but then reject the
outcome of their own actions when they saw the consequences and all the
evidence.

I reply:

You mean the dire consequence that someone whom they prefer to B mighrt win
instead of B? :-)

What is "all the evidence"? The fact that C doesn't get a high Plurality
score? They're going to judge candidates by their Pluralitly score instead
of by the practical criteria which initially informed their preferences?

You continued:

I am also
suggesting that if they fully understood that such outcomes were possible,
they would reject a
voting system that could produce such an outcome.

I reply:

One issue at a time, if you don't mind. But now you're saying that if they
knew that Condorcet would elect someone whom they prefer more, that would
cause them to reject Condorcet and choose IRV, because it would elect
someone whom they prefer less.
Post by James Gilmour
This is about more than voting arithmetic and measures for identifying
"the most representative candidate". It brings in systems of values
which >are expressed in different dimensions from those used to measure
representativity.
I don't understand this.
I reply:

James was talking gibberish, and I doubt that anyone could know what he was
trying to say.

James replied:

That is exactly the problem. NB nothing personal, just a general
observation about much of the
discussion on this list.

I reply:

What is exactly the problem? The fact that people don't know what you mean
when you talk gibberish, and then fail to explain what you meant?
Are you trying to say that people might not vote in a way that pairwise
counting measures meaningfully? If so, could you justify that?
James said:

...but all my political experience leads me to believe that such a result
would provoke a
massive public outcry and demands for immediate changes to the voting
system.

I reply:

If you want pubic resenrtment of the outcome, then let IRV avoidably elect
someone over whom a majority have expressed preference for someone else.
That majority loser whom IRV elects will never have the legitimacy that the
CW would have.

You continued:

As others have appreciated, such a response operates on a different
dimension from that used to
assess "representativity" as defined by the comparisons of Condorcet, IRV,
etc. You may think this
contrary, but we know from political surveys that real people are quite
capable of holding contrary
views and even mutually incompatible views. So while they might accept the
CW on one dimension,
they will reject the outcome of the election on another dimension. I don't
have a neat definition
for that dimension, but it is characterised by the reactions I suggested in
the two different
scenarios, ie accept CW if 32/35/33, but reject CW if 3/49/48.

I reply:

So you justify your prediction by a "dimension", for which you don't have a
defiintition, except that it is characterized by the prediction which you
use it to justify.

You say that there would be an "outcry" when Condorcet elected C, in your
example. Who is going to do the outrcrying? The majority who prefer C to B,
or the majority who prefer C to A? :-)

Mike Ossipoff

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Curt Siffert
2004-05-19 03:43:23 UTC
Permalink
It looks like you're trying to set up a straw man, but I think the
reasoning is pretty sound. This very thing happened with Dean and
Kerry before the nomination was locked up - people that would "ideally"
prefer Dean to Kerry would vote for Kerry, because the herd was going
with Kerry.

Curt
Post by MIKE OSSIPOFF
Though you're not at all clear about what you mean, you seem to be
implying that you mean that when people find out that C is favorite of
fewest, then people who prefer C to B will feel a need to follow the
herd, and the fact that C is favorite of fewest will make those people
begin to prefer B to C, because B has a higher Plurality score than C
does. Whatever reasons made those people prefer C to B, they'll
consider Plurality score to be a more important thing to judge the
candidates by,and so now they'll think that B must be better than C.
Is that pretty much how your reasoning goes?
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