Discussion:
[EM] new simple legal strategy to get IRV
Sennet Williams
2015-10-01 17:33:29 UTC
Permalink
1- Constitutionally, the govt. cannot give some citizens better voting rights than others. 
***>   2-  Now several states allow overseas military to use IRV ballots for primaries.3- Since some GIs are choosing the IRV ballot, they obviously think that an IRV ballot has an advantage vs the old system.  No judge could rationally reject this fact.4- That means that ANY non-military voter can file suit for the right to request/use an IRV ballot in the primary and only have to vote once, just like overseas military personnel.5- When the judge rules that IRV ballots are superior, this will make national news.  The NYT will evaluate the benefits of IRV.  Political candidates will have an easy issue to promote IRV.  The judge's decision should also explain that the ability to rank all candidates is better than only three.
6- So all we need now is one voter in one of these states to file a suit and show up in court.
     I also want to share another tip that will work after IRV makes your local news.   By scheduling an IRV press conference just before an Oakland special election for city council,  (and inviting most of the candidates), we were able to basically force EVERY candidate to promise that they would support IRV, and after the election we had enough council votes to get a measure approving IRV for local elections on the next ballot. 

      btw,  We might consider keeping IRV distinguished from RCV.   I know that locally (in the bay area), four cities voted for "IRV."   Instead, SF and Alameda county  supervisors bought machines that can only count three rankings, and they call it Ranked Choice, and that is inferior to true IRV where only 3 rankings are allowed.  An anti-IRV  Berkeley council member did his own research study that proved that all rankings should be allowed, but the county made the final decision.  Now it should be obvious that he was right, because both the Oakland and SF mayoral elections were so close that the # of expired ballots vastly outnumbered the top three ranked candidates, so there is no way to know which candidate was actually preferred by the most voters.  (From my observation, the final winner would not have won either election if all rankings had been allowed. 

       That's why we need pressure for the state(s) or feds  to provide all counties statewide with standard equipment, so that counties don't each have to waste a lot of time (it took us 10 years) and money going through the process on their own.   If (we)  write up a ballot initiative to do this, I believe it will be possible to raise the $2,000 filing fee and lots of groups will want to help get signatures. 

(ps:  to get democrat support, it is best to clarify that the best use of IRV to better empower voters is to retains partisan primaries and only use IRV for general elections.  I have discussed this with MANY elected Democrats, and usually they do not support  IRV because they confuse it with PR or they don't want to lose partisan primaries, which CA has recently lost, so now money is more powerful than ever)
-Sand/ ***@yahoo.com
robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-05 21:05:11 UTC
Permalink
btw, We might consider keeping IRV distinguished from RCV.
yes, Sand you might well consider doing that.

might i suggest reading up in Wikipedia (maybe start at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-member_district#Comparison_of_single-member_district_election_methods
) and http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Special:AllPages .

Ranked-Choice Voting (that which we do with a Ranked-Order Ballot) is
*not* the same as IRV despite what apologists at FairVote would suggest.

while IRV may be better than simple plurality voting, it *has* problems
and *has*, at least once, failed seriously in a governmental election
(Burlington Vermont Mayoral 2009) which led to its repeal.

there are better methods than IRV, and every time IRV fails, it sullies
not just IRV but all methods of ranked voting because sometimes ignorant
voters and dishonest advocates conflate "IRV" with ranked voting. same
ballot (or nearly the same), but different methods of evaluating or
tabulating the ballots to discern whom the majority choice of the
electorate really is.
I know that locally (in the bay area), four cities voted for "IRV."
Instead, SF and Alameda county supervisors bought machines that can
only count three rankings, and they call it Ranked Choice, and that is
inferior to true IRV where only 3 rankings are allowed. An anti-IRV
Berkeley council member did his own research study that proved that
all rankings should be allowed, but the county made the final
decision. Now it should be obvious that he was right, because both
the Oakland and SF mayoral elections were so close that the # of
expired ballots vastly outnumbered the top three ranked candidates, so
there is no way to know which candidate was actually preferred by the
most voters.
this has to do with the number of ranking levels available on a ballot
with finite area on paper. 3 ranking levels when there are 20+
candidates is a problem. a voter might well find out after the election
that they "threw away their vote" because none of the candidates they
ranked ended up being one of the top contenders.
(From my observation, the final winner would not have won either
election if all rankings had been allowed.
because you cannot have infinite area on a paper ballot (and i am still
for the killing of trees to leave a paper trail for election integrity),
the only solution to keep the number of candidates from outstripping the
number of ranking levels are reasonable ballot-access laws. if your
ballot has, say, 5 levels of ranking, then the ballot access laws (the
number of petition signatures needed to get on the ballot) should be
sufficiently strict to prevent, in a typical election year, more than 5
candidates (plus one write-in) on the ballot.
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"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Gervase Lam
2015-10-08 18:13:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by robert bristow-johnson
because you cannot have infinite area on a paper ballot (and i am still
for the killing of trees to leave a paper trail for election integrity),
the only solution to keep the number of candidates from outstripping the
number of ranking levels are reasonable ballot-access laws. if your
ballot has, say, 5 levels of ranking, then the ballot access laws (the
number of petition signatures needed to get on the ballot) should be
sufficiently strict to prevent, in a typical election year, more than 5
candidates (plus one write-in) on the ballot.
It seems like a least a few countries have not been deterred from using
massive ballot papers. Google Image search came in very handy. Look
for the images in the following web pages.

<http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/08/23/3832651.htm>

<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2067282/Egypt-votes--woodpecker-pen-tractor-banana-Symbols-ballot-paper-represent-candidates-help-illiterate.html>

<http://easternblot.net/2012/09/12/dutch-elections/>

<http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/why-all-our-top-parties-are-doing-voters-a-disservice-by-cramming-the-european-parliament-ballot-papers-with-the-names-of-no-hope-candidates/>

I get the feeling there are several more countries that could be added
to the above list.

Thanks,
Gervase.

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Juho Laatu
2015-10-09 08:00:12 UTC
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I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".

The ballot could be as small as in the picture and still allow ranking of e.g. 5 candidates.

Juho
Post by Gervase Lam
Post by robert bristow-johnson
because you cannot have infinite area on a paper ballot (and i am still
for the killing of trees to leave a paper trail for election integrity),
the only solution to keep the number of candidates from outstripping the
number of ranking levels are reasonable ballot-access laws. if your
ballot has, say, 5 levels of ranking, then the ballot access laws (the
number of petition signatures needed to get on the ballot) should be
sufficiently strict to prevent, in a typical election year, more than 5
candidates (plus one write-in) on the ballot.
It seems like a least a few countries have not been deterred from using
massive ballot papers. Google Image search came in very handy. Look
for the images in the following web pages.
<http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/08/23/3832651.htm>
<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2067282/Egypt-votes--woodpecker-pen-tractor-banana-Symbols-ballot-paper-represent-candidates-help-illiterate.html>
<http://easternblot.net/2012/09/12/dutch-elections/>
<http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/why-all-our-top-parties-are-doing-voters-a-disservice-by-cramming-the-european-parliament-ballot-papers-with-the-names-of-no-hope-candidates/>
I get the feeling there are several more countries that could be added
to the above list.
Thanks,
Gervase.
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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2015-10-09 10:28:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one
wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of
candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple
numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a
ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
The ballot could be as small as in the picture and still allow
ranking of e.g. 5 candidates.
Schulze also uses a similar ballot format in his proposal for STV-MMP,
e.g. http://m-schulze.9mail.de/schulze5.pdf page 6. The open list
article you linked to shows that it's possible to read number input
since e.g. the Finnish ballot has the voter write down the candidate
numbers of those he votes for, so having the voter fill out numbered
rankings shouldn't be a problem.

That gives two possible ways of setting up the ballot, now that I think
about it. The first would be like Schulze's, where the voter writes down
an 1 next to first place, 2 next to second, etc. The second would be a
table which says (using ASCII art here)


Ranking Candidate number
to be filled in
+------------------+ +---------------+
| 1st rank (best) | | |
+------------------+ +---------------+
| 2nd rank | | |
+------------------+ +---------------+
| 3rd rank | | |
=======================================
=========(more rows come here)=========
=======================================
| 20th rank | | |
+------------------+ +---------------+

where one assumes very few voters will rank beyond 20th rank. This could
be 40th or 80th depending on how many rows fit on the paper.

The dual approach (where candidate numbers are filled in) could be
better in the sense that the candidate numbers could have check digits
or be augmented by some other error-detecting code, and they could also
avoid ambiguous digits like 1 and 7. If the ballots are read by machine,
the machines could flag ballots they can't read for manual inspection.
On the other hand, having to look up candidate numbers is another step
of indirection for the voter and could make voting more of a hassle,
thus reducing turnout.

For equal rank, it'd be possible to expand the table like this:

Ranking Candidate numbers for this rank
to be filled in
+-----------------+ +----------------+----------------+----------------+
| 1st rank (best) | | | | |
+-----------------+ +----------------+----------------+----------------+
| 2nd rank | | | | |
+-----------------+ +----------------+----------------+----------------+

.. etc., the idea being that the voter would fill in every candidate
he'd rank first in the cells of the first row. It is less intuitive,
though. People who are serious about accessibility might want to have
"expensive pencil" type single-purpose (not Turing-complete) voting
machines for printing to this format.

MJ or discrete rated systems could have a multi-page ballot where each
page corresponds to a different grade or rating, and the voter writes
down the candidate IDs for each page. For approval, there's just one
page. Continuous rated systems would pretty much have to use something
like Schulze's format, but instead of filling in numbers, would have
something to the effect of:

"Place a mark on the line corresponding to the rating you want to give.
Further to the right is better."

Candidate 1 worst |-------------------------------------------| best

Candidate 2 worst |-------------------------------------------| best

Candidate 3 worst |-------------------------------------------| best

Candidate 4 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
...
Candidate n worst |-------------------------------------------| best
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Juho Laatu
2015-10-09 20:31:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one
wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of
candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple
numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a
ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
The ballot could be as small as in the picture and still allow
ranking of e.g. 5 candidates.
Schulze also uses a similar ballot format in his proposal for STV-MMP,
e.g. http://m-schulze.9mail.de/schulze5.pdf page 6. The open list
article you linked to shows that it's possible to read number input
since e.g. the Finnish ballot has the voter write down the candidate
numbers of those he votes for, so having the voter fill out numbered
rankings shouldn't be a problem.
In order to avoid any misunderstandings I note that currently one should write the number of exactly one candidate in the ballot in Finland. One could make especially party internal proportionality better in such open list system by allowing ranked votes. One could achieve good party internal proportionality already with a very simple ballots that would allow ranking only e.g three candidates.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
That gives two possible ways of setting up the ballot, now that I think
about it. The first would be like Schulze's, where the voter writes down
an 1 next to first place, 2 next to second, etc. The second would be a
table which says (using ASCII art here)
I used the candidate number option to demonstrate that very simple ballots may be sufficient.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Ranking Candidate number
to be filled in
+------------------+ +---------------+
| 1st rank (best) | | |
+------------------+ +---------------+
| 2nd rank | | |
+------------------+ +---------------+
| 3rd rank | | |
=======================================
=========(more rows come here)=========
=======================================
| 20th rank | | |
+------------------+ +---------------+
where one assumes very few voters will rank beyond 20th rank. This could
be 40th or 80th depending on how many rows fit on the paper.
In an election with say 200 candidates it may be too tedious to rank all the candidates. One party could have tens of candidates, and already that could be too much to the voters. If one tries to improve the existing Finnish system, one could take the approach that votes will by default support one of the parties. It could be natural that ranking would be allowed only within that one party. The voter would thus vote e.g. 123 127 125, where all those candidates belong to the same party. This would mean that this party gets one vote, and within that party the voter may influence which candidates will be elected more efficiently than with a bullet vote. This means something like "STV within each party". From the voter point of view it is important that already a simple vote (bullet vote or three ranked candidates) automatically supports all the candidates of that party (the party inherits the full vote in case none of those three will be elected).

(An alternative would be use of party numbers. Vote "123 127 125 100" would go to party "100" if none of the three candidates (123, 127, 125) will not be elected. This approach would be however quite complex and prone to mistakes when voting. That's why the "STV within each party" approach could work better (in an election with very high number of candidates).)
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
The dual approach (where candidate numbers are filled in) could be
better in the sense that the candidate numbers could have check digits
or be augmented by some other error-detecting code, and they could also
avoid ambiguous digits like 1 and 7.
All elections where voters write the numbers (or names) in the ballot have this problem. Some voters will write the numbers in a hurry, and some votes must can not be read because of this. In Finland the governments tries to remind people to write the numbers carefully, and gives advice on what kind of numbers people should use to avoid any problems. I believe the number of votes lost due to this problem is however quite low, and therefore this problem is not serious.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
If the ballots are read by machine,
the machines could flag ballots they can't read for manual inspection.
On the other hand, having to look up candidate numbers is another step
of indirection for the voter and could make voting more of a hassle,
thus reducing turnout.
In FInland I guess people typically remember the number of their favourite candidate. In addition list of candidates and their numbers is available in the voting booth. Writing more than one number would mean that people generally do not remember all the numbers but would need to check from the candidate list in the voting booth. No big problem, but this would make the voting process somewhat slower. Nowadays people use maybe 10 seconds to vote (inside the booth). Maybe 20 seconds could be more typical for ranking three candidates. Voters would be allowed to write only one number, and that would make voting as fast as it is now. Many voters might do so.

This approach would delay also the vote counting process. Instead of collecting the ballots (with one number each) into piles, one would have to record the few numbers of each ballot into a computer.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Ranking Candidate numbers for this rank
to be filled in
+-----------------+ +----------------+----------------+----------------+
| 1st rank (best) | | | | |
+-----------------+ +----------------+----------------+----------------+
| 2nd rank | | | | |
+-----------------+ +----------------+----------------+----------------+
Yes, but I tend to think that it is not very important to allow equal ranking. People may toss a coin if they can not otherwise decide which one of the candidates is better. Allowing equal ranking would be good since it makes it possible to cast such a vote when the voter feels like having two or more equally good candidates. But on the other hand the complexity of the ballot and voting process might increase.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
.. etc., the idea being that the voter would fill in every candidate
he'd rank first in the cells of the first row. It is less intuitive,
though. People who are serious about accessibility might want to have
"expensive pencil" type single-purpose (not Turing-complete) voting
machines for printing to this format.
MJ or discrete rated systems could have a multi-page ballot where each
page corresponds to a different grade or rating, and the voter writes
down the candidate IDs for each page. For approval, there's just one
page. Continuous rated systems would pretty much have to use something
like Schulze's format, but instead of filling in numbers, would have
"Place a mark on the line corresponding to the rating you want to give.
Further to the right is better."
Candidate 1 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 2 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 3 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 4 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
...
Candidate n worst |-------------------------------------------| best
I note that this format (and also a format where people are allowed to write the rating of the candidate next to the name) could be used also by ranked methods. Some people might like the idea of quickly drawing a mark at some point on the line (see your ballot format image above) without thinking too much about the exact ordering of the candidates. My point here is that this format is good in the sense that it would allow raking of maybe even 100 candidates in less than 30 seconds.

Juho
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-10 21:14:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
"Place a mark on the line corresponding to the rating you want to give.
Further to the right is better."
Candidate 1 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 2 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 3 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 4 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
...
Candidate n worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Score Voting (a.k.a. Range Voting). Warren Smith will like it. it's
what judges at the winter Olympics use for figure skating (and some
other events). but my question continues to be: "how highly do you
score your second choice?" and third choice?

(Condorcet is better.)
--
r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2015-10-10 22:11:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
"Place a mark on the line corresponding to the rating you want to give.
Further to the right is better."
Candidate 1 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 2 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 3 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 4 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
...
Candidate n worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Score Voting (a.k.a. Range Voting). Warren Smith will like it. it's
what judges at the winter Olympics use for figure skating (and some
other events). but my question continues to be: "how highly do you
score your second choice?" and third choice?
(Condorcet is better.)
That's part of the reason I prefer median ratings, because there's much
less incentive to exaggerate.

But if you want Range and don't like strategy, there's always this
DSV variant Warren has referred to in the past.

1. Rearrange the ballots in random order and create a new Range election.
2. Go down the list from first to last ballot.
2.1. Making a transformed version of the current ballot according to the
best Range strategy given the ballots that have already been entered
into the Range election.
2.2. Entering the transformed copy into the election.
3. Note who wins this Range election, or alternately note the outcome
(total score for each).
4. Repeat from 1 a very large number of times.
5. Designate the candidate who won most often as the winner. Or
alternately, perform an ordinary Range election with each iteration's
outcome (from 3) as Range ballots.

The ballot format above could be used for rankings as well (if you're
willing to disregard equal rank) in the same way that you can turn any
rated ballot into a ranked ballot by sorting the candidates by their rating.
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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-10 22:22:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
"Place a mark on the line corresponding to the rating you want to give.
Further to the right is better."
Candidate 1 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 2 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 3 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Candidate 4 worst |-------------------------------------------| best
...
Candidate n worst |-------------------------------------------| best
Score Voting (a.k.a. Range Voting). Warren Smith will like it. it's
what judges at the winter Olympics use for figure skating (and some
other events). but my question continues to be: "how highly do you
score your second choice?" and third choice?
(Condorcet is better.)
That's part of the reason I prefer median ratings, because there's much
less incentive to exaggerate.
But if you want Range and don't like strategy, there's always this
DSV variant Warren has referred to in the past.
1. Rearrange the ballots in random order and create a new Range election.
2. Go down the list from first to last ballot.
2.1. Making a transformed version of the current ballot according to the
best Range strategy given the ballots that have already been entered
into the Range election.
2.2. Entering the transformed copy into the election.
3. Note who wins this Range election, or alternately note the outcome
(total score for each).
4. Repeat from 1 a very large number of times.
5. Designate the candidate who won most often as the winner. Or
alternately, perform an ordinary Range election with each iteration's
outcome (from 3) as Range ballots.
and what legislative body are we going to convince to adopt that?
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
The ballot format above could be used for rankings as well (if you're
willing to disregard equal rank) in the same way that you can turn any
rated ballot into a ranked ballot by sorting the candidates by their rating.
i still don't think it answers my question. for the voter motivated to
see his/her first choice getting elected, but wants to cover his/her ass
with a contingency vote, the question remains: "How highly does one
score their second choice? And third choice?"

it's directly answered with a Ranked-Order Ballot, but not with a Score
Ballot nor with the Approval Ballot. this is why i just can't jump on
Warren's bandwagon. with ranked-choice voting, the voter knows
directly what to do **if** the voter trusts that the tabulation method
does not do something goofy with the marked ballots. if the voter finds
out later that ranking or rating his/her second choice too high hurt
his/her first choice, that voter is still left with tactical thinking in
the voting booth.
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r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-10 21:10:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Post by Juho Laatu
The ballot could be as small as in the picture and still allow ranking of e.g. 5 candidates.
Post by robert bristow-johnson
because you cannot have infinite area on a paper ballot (and i am still
for the killing of trees to leave a paper trail for election integrity),
the only solution to keep the number of candidates from outstripping the
number of ranking levels are reasonable ballot-access laws. if your
ballot has, say, 5 levels of ranking, then the ballot access laws (the
number of petition signatures needed to get on the ballot) should be
sufficiently strict to prevent, in a typical election year, more than 5
candidates (plus one write-in) on the ballot.
--
r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Juho Laatu
2015-10-10 21:30:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Manual scan by default. In Finland the open list ballots (bullet votes) are counted today by hand right after the polling station closes (within say 1 hour). I'd propose to do the same also with the (extended) ranked ballots. With ranked ballots you need to introduce also computers to store the ranked data, and the process takes a bit longer.

Machine scanning could be used too if it is reliable enough. Maybe so that machines use human help for ballots whose interpretation is not obvious.

Juho


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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-10 21:43:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Manual scan by default. In Finland the open list ballots (bullet votes) are counted today by hand right after the polling station closes (within say 1 hour). I'd propose to do the same also with the (extended) ranked ballots. With ranked ballots you need to introduce also computers to store the ranked data, and the process takes a bit longer.
Machine scanning could be used too if it is reliable enough. Maybe so that machines use human help for ballots whose interpretation is not obvious.
listen, here in Vermont, i have worked on a few different election
recounts where we had to examine thousands of ballots by hand. many
people mark even bubble or bullet ballots so poorly that even that fails
machine scanning. i know there is Optical Character Recognition (OCR),
but i would not trust that to recognize numbers written by voters on
ballots. numbers like "3" and "8" get confused. and other pairs, like
"1" and "7" and "5" and "8". or "5" and "6".
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r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Juho Laatu
2015-10-10 21:57:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Manual scan by default. In Finland the open list ballots (bullet votes) are counted today by hand right after the polling station closes (within say 1 hour). I'd propose to do the same also with the (extended) ranked ballots. With ranked ballots you need to introduce also computers to store the ranked data, and the process takes a bit longer.
Machine scanning could be used too if it is reliable enough. Maybe so that machines use human help for ballots whose interpretation is not obvious.
listen, here in Vermont, i have worked on a few different election recounts where we had to examine thousands of ballots by hand. many people mark even bubble or bullet ballots so poorly that even that fails machine scanning. i know there is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), but i would not trust that to recognize numbers written by voters on ballots. numbers like "3" and "8" get confused. and other pairs, like "1" and "7" and "5" and "8". or "5" and "6".
I'd trust humans to be the final judges. Some votes will be rejected because of unclear numbers (or because of additional markings in the ballots), but that has not caused any problems. It is possible that one or two seats will change in the second final check (within next one or two days), but there are never any complaints about the process or agreed outcome. The votes are counted locally right after the election (and checked second time and final results announced later) in the presence of representatives of multiple parties, so there will not be any systematic bias in any direction.

Juho
--
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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-10 22:06:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Manual scan by default. In Finland the open list ballots (bullet votes) are counted today by hand right after the polling station closes (within say 1 hour). I'd propose to do the same also with the (extended) ranked ballots. With ranked ballots you need to introduce also computers to store the ranked data, and the process takes a bit longer.
Machine scanning could be used too if it is reliable enough. Maybe so that machines use human help for ballots whose interpretation is not obvious.
listen, here in Vermont, i have worked on a few different election recounts where we had to examine thousands of ballots by hand. many people mark even bubble or bullet ballots so poorly that even that fails machine scanning. i know there is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), but i would not trust that to recognize numbers written by voters on ballots. numbers like "3" and "8" get confused. and other pairs, like "1" and "7" and "5" and "8". or "5" and "6".
I'd trust humans to be the final judges.
in a recount, yes. but ballots should not be designed to preclude
machine tabulation in normal use. and i don't think that OCR technology
is good enough presently to rely on for governmental elections where the
voting population is large. when elections come out so close that we
wonder who the real winner is, then yes, there should be careful manual
recounts mandated by law with procedures established in advance and put
into law.
--
r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Juho Laatu
2015-10-10 22:21:25 UTC
Permalink
As already obvious from my previous mail (reply to Kristofer Munsterhjelm), I think cooperation of humans and computers could be used to make the process fast and also accurate (if we trust humans to be accurate when computers give up trying to interpret some of the tricky ballots).

Juho
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Manual scan by default. In Finland the open list ballots (bullet votes) are counted today by hand right after the polling station closes (within say 1 hour). I'd propose to do the same also with the (extended) ranked ballots. With ranked ballots you need to introduce also computers to store the ranked data, and the process takes a bit longer.
Machine scanning could be used too if it is reliable enough. Maybe so that machines use human help for ballots whose interpretation is not obvious.
listen, here in Vermont, i have worked on a few different election recounts where we had to examine thousands of ballots by hand. many people mark even bubble or bullet ballots so poorly that even that fails machine scanning. i know there is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), but i would not trust that to recognize numbers written by voters on ballots. numbers like "3" and "8" get confused. and other pairs, like "1" and "7" and "5" and "8". or "5" and "6".
I'd trust humans to be the final judges.
in a recount, yes. but ballots should not be designed to preclude machine tabulation in normal use. and i don't think that OCR technology is good enough presently to rely on for governmental elections where the voting population is large. when elections come out so close that we wonder who the real winner is, then yes, there should be careful manual recounts mandated by law with procedures established in advance and put into law.
--
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2015-10-10 22:00:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 00:10, robert
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one
wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of
candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple
numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a
ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Manual scan by default. In Finland the open list ballots (bullet
votes) are counted today by hand right after the polling station
closes (within say 1 hour). I'd propose to do the same also with the
(extended) ranked ballots. With ranked ballots you need to introduce
also computers to store the ranked data, and the process takes a bit
longer.
Machine scanning could be used too if it is reliable enough. Maybe so
that machines use human help for ballots whose interpretation is not
obvious.
listen, here in Vermont, i have worked on a few different election
recounts where we had to examine thousands of ballots by hand. many
people mark even bubble or bullet ballots so poorly that even that fails
machine scanning. i know there is Optical Character Recognition (OCR),
but i would not trust that to recognize numbers written by voters on
ballots. numbers like "3" and "8" get confused. and other pairs, like
"1" and "7" and "5" and "8". or "5" and "6".
If you have check digits or checksums, that gets rid of most silent
failures; how many they get rid of depends on what kind of errors you
want to correct and how much redundancy you're willing to add to the ID
- e.g using five-digit codes for ten candidates can handle more errors
than using four-digit ones.

The machine could then signal an error if the ID doesn't read as valid
to its software, and then have a manual counter (or multiple) verify the
ID by hand.

I don't know how good handwriting recognition is at the moment, though;
perhaps it would have to be all manual. But there are at least ways to
avoid silent errors like one candidate being mistaken for another. I
also imagine one could not use digits that look too alike, for instance
using only the digits {1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9}.
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Juho Laatu
2015-10-10 22:17:41 UTC
Permalink
I believe computer recognition might work well enough to at least provide assistance to the humans by helping them recording the numbers. For example I might read the numbers myself first, and then check if the computer has the same opinion. If yes, then I press enter to proceed to the next ballot and accept computer's interpretation of the ballot. This would be "computer assisted counting".

I note that some ballots might contain numbers 1 and 7, and another ballot might contain numbers 1 and 7 as well, but the first 1 and the latter 7 might look exactly the same. One would need to make the interpretation based on seeing also the other numbers on the ballot. A different looking 7 would cause the 1 to be interpreted as 1 in the first ballot. The machines should be smart enough to take also this into account. Or alternatively they would just give up and leave the interpretation of these two ballots to humans.

Juho
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 00:10, robert
Post by Juho Laatu
I just note that there can be also simple ballots like in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_list (see the picture). If one
wants to expand that to ranked ballots with high number of
candidates, one could simply allow the voter to write multiple
numbers in the ballot instead of only one. One could thus cast a
ranked vote by writing few numbers, e.g. "23 74 74 5 234 321".
and a machine is gonna scan that?
Manual scan by default. In Finland the open list ballots (bullet
votes) are counted today by hand right after the polling station
closes (within say 1 hour). I'd propose to do the same also with the
(extended) ranked ballots. With ranked ballots you need to introduce
also computers to store the ranked data, and the process takes a bit
longer.
Machine scanning could be used too if it is reliable enough. Maybe so
that machines use human help for ballots whose interpretation is not
obvious.
listen, here in Vermont, i have worked on a few different election
recounts where we had to examine thousands of ballots by hand. many
people mark even bubble or bullet ballots so poorly that even that fails
machine scanning. i know there is Optical Character Recognition (OCR),
but i would not trust that to recognize numbers written by voters on
ballots. numbers like "3" and "8" get confused. and other pairs, like
"1" and "7" and "5" and "8". or "5" and "6".
If you have check digits or checksums, that gets rid of most silent
failures; how many they get rid of depends on what kind of errors you
want to correct and how much redundancy you're willing to add to the ID
- e.g using five-digit codes for ten candidates can handle more errors
than using four-digit ones.
The machine could then signal an error if the ID doesn't read as valid
to its software, and then have a manual counter (or multiple) verify the
ID by hand.
I don't know how good handwriting recognition is at the moment, though;
perhaps it would have to be all manual. But there are at least ways to
avoid silent errors like one candidate being mistaken for another. I
also imagine one could not use digits that look too alike, for instance
using only the digits {1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9}.
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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-10 22:36:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
I believe computer recognition might work well enough to at least provide assistance to the humans by helping them recording the numbers. For example I might read the numbers myself first, and then check if the computer has the same opinion.
that means you have to "price check" your paper ballot before
surrendering it to the ballot box. does not seem to me to be a simple
and direct procedure.
Post by Juho Laatu
If yes, then I press enter to proceed to the next ballot and accept computer's interpretation of the ballot. This would be "computer assisted counting".
yeah, but we should have a reasonably secure method to tabulate ballots
and get "summable" results at each precinct on the evening of the
election just after polls close. it should be virtually flawless if
every voter marked their ballot to within, say, 90% of "par" (to use a
golfing term). this is quite doable for oval or round "bubbles" or
"slots" or other simple binary marking geometries. OCR is not safe
enough without "human assisted counting" which i think should be totally
avoided unless there is a mandated recount.
Post by Juho Laatu
I note that some ballots might contain numbers 1 and 7, and another ballot might contain numbers 1 and 7 as well, but the first 1 and the latter 7 might look exactly the same. One would need to make the interpretation based on seeing also the other numbers on the ballot. A different looking 7 would cause the 1 to be interpreted as 1 in the first ballot. The machines should be smart enough to take also this into account. Or alternatively they would just give up and leave the interpretation of these two ballots to humans.
would this work for an election in, say, India? with something like
10^9 ballots?

recounts are one thing. and a nationwide recount in the U.S. would be
truly a massive and messy thing. this is one reason why the Electoral
College has some supporters (which i am not). if, in 2000, there would
have been a knock-down, drag-out recount fight between Bush and Gore, at
least the fight would have been contained in Florida.

but in the normal vote counting and tabulation in a governmental
election in a democracy, it should be routinely done with mindless (and
bias-less) machines, it should be precinct summable (with precinct
results completely transparent to the media and to partisans), and it
should be decided on the evening of the election unless it's very close
or there are other problems calling for a recount.
--
r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Juho Laatu
2015-10-10 23:06:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
I believe computer recognition might work well enough to at least provide assistance to the humans by helping them recording the numbers. For example I might read the numbers myself first, and then check if the computer has the same opinion.
that means you have to "price check" your paper ballot before surrendering it to the ballot box. does not seem to me to be a simple and direct procedure.
Actually I was thinking about the process of checking the votes, and keeping the vote casting process fully manual. If machines would be used in casting the vote, I might prefer (at least in the Finnish tradition) machines that are like simple mechanic typewriters that allow the voter to type some numbers on the ballot paper. This approach could save some votes that would be otherwise rejected. But that may not be necessary or the best approach since people may prefer manual voting (partly because of the tradition), and only very few votes will be rejected anyway. (If some numbers cause too many problems, one could use also Kristofer Munsterhjelm's trick and not use some numbers that might cause confusion.)
Post by Juho Laatu
If yes, then I press enter to proceed to the next ballot and accept computer's interpretation of the ballot. This would be "computer assisted counting".
yeah, but we should have a reasonably secure method to tabulate ballots and get "summable" results at each precinct on the evening of the election just after polls close. it should be virtually flawless if every voter marked their ballot to within, say, 90% of "par" (to use a golfing term). this is quite doable for oval or round "bubbles" or "slots" or other simple binary marking geometries. OCR is not safe enough without "human assisted counting" which i think should be totally avoided unless there is a mandated recount.
I waas thinking about some STV style multi-winner methods where it makes sense to store the votes one by one and not sum them up in a matrix (as would be practical with typical single winner ranked Condorcet methods).

Bubbles and slots would work too. I just ended up on this line because I started from the idea of using as simple ballots as possible. In Finland votes are counted twice manually to make sure that possible alternative interpretations of the ballots will be pointed out.
Post by Juho Laatu
I note that some ballots might contain numbers 1 and 7, and another ballot might contain numbers 1 and 7 as well, but the first 1 and the latter 7 might look exactly the same. One would need to make the interpretation based on seeing also the other numbers on the ballot. A different looking 7 would cause the 1 to be interpreted as 1 in the first ballot. The machines should be smart enough to take also this into account. Or alternatively they would just give up and leave the interpretation of these two ballots to humans.
would this work for an election in, say, India? with something like 10^9 ballots?
In Finland the idea is that votes are counted locally right after the election, which means that there is plenty of local workforce available, and the process can be real quick. This approach would scale also to India and 10^9 ballots.
recounts are one thing. and a nationwide recount in the U.S. would be truly a massive and messy thing. this is one reason why the Electoral College has some supporters (which i am not). if, in 2000, there would have been a knock-down, drag-out recount fight between Bush and Gore, at least the fight would have been contained in Florida.
The second count in Finland is called a "checking count". It will be done always (maybe the next day), and usually there is no need to come back to the votes after that (not locally nor centrally).
but in the normal vote counting and tabulation in a governmental election in a democracy, it should be routinely done with mindless (and bias-less) machines, it should be precinct summable (with precinct results completely transparent to the media and to partisans), and it should be decided on the evening of the election unless it's very close or there are other problems calling for a recount.
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting representatives of all parties to take part in the vote counting process. I guess the tradition is to not to even start making biased interpretations.

STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and vote buying by recording and distributing ranked votes to the central authority (and who knows even publishing them). I have no good foolproof solution for that right now. Risks to be estimated and appropriate protective measures to be taken (or just stay in some simpler methods).

Juho
--
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2015-10-11 12:11:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting representatives of
all parties to take part in the vote counting process. I guess the
tradition is to not to even start making biased interpretations.
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may lose
also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and vote buying by
recording and distributing ranked votes to the central authority (and
who knows even publishing them). I have no good foolproof solution for
that right now. Risks to be estimated and appropriate protective
measures to be taken (or just stay in some simpler methods).
That brings to mind what I'd call a great open question: is the Droop
proportionality criterion compatible with summability? I suspect not,
and I suspect that a proof would make use of a pigeonhole principle. I
don't have much beyond that hunch, though.
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Juho Laatu
2015-10-11 12:23:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Juho Laatu
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting representatives of
all parties to take part in the vote counting process. I guess the
tradition is to not to even start making biased interpretations.
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may lose
also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and vote buying by
recording and distributing ranked votes to the central authority (and
who knows even publishing them). I have no good foolproof solution for
that right now. Risks to be estimated and appropriate protective
measures to be taken (or just stay in some simpler methods).
That brings to mind what I'd call a great open question: is the Droop
proportionality criterion compatible with summability? I suspect not,
and I suspect that a proof would make use of a pigeonhole principle. I
don't have much beyond that hunch, though.
Do you mean Droop proportionality with ranked votes? I'm thinking about a voter who votes A>B>C>D>E, where candidates A, B, C and D can not win. To pass the vote to E, the vote probably has to be stored as it is.

Juho


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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2015-10-11 12:26:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 15:11, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting representatives of
all parties to take part in the vote counting process. I guess the
tradition is to not to even start making biased interpretations.
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may
lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and
vote buying by recording and distributing ranked votes to the
central authority (and who knows even publishing them). I have no
good foolproof solution for that right now. Risks to be estimated
and appropriate protective measures to be taken (or just stay in
some simpler methods).
That brings to mind what I'd call a great open question: is the
Droop proportionality criterion compatible with summability? I
suspect not, and I suspect that a proof would make use of a
pigeonhole principle. I don't have much beyond that hunch, though.
Do you mean Droop proportionality with ranked votes? I'm thinking
about a voter who votes A>B>C>D>E, where candidates A, B, C and D can
not win. To pass the vote to E, the vote probably has to be stored as
it is.
Yes, I was thinking of ranked ballot DPC. But it's a bit harder than
that because the single-winner analog, mutual majority, is compatible
with summability even though (if I recall correctly) inferring the whole
mutual majority set isn't. That is, summable methods can pass mutual
majority, but they can't let you know the whole minimal mutual majority set.
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Juho Laatu
2015-10-11 13:59:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 15:11, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting representatives of
all parties to take part in the vote counting process. I guess the
tradition is to not to even start making biased interpretations.
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may
lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and
vote buying by recording and distributing ranked votes to the
central authority (and who knows even publishing them). I have no
good foolproof solution for that right now. Risks to be estimated
and appropriate protective measures to be taken (or just stay in
some simpler methods).
That brings to mind what I'd call a great open question: is the
Droop proportionality criterion compatible with summability? I
suspect not, and I suspect that a proof would make use of a
pigeonhole principle. I don't have much beyond that hunch, though.
Do you mean Droop proportionality with ranked votes? I'm thinking
about a voter who votes A>B>C>D>E, where candidates A, B, C and D can
not win. To pass the vote to E, the vote probably has to be stored as
it is.
Yes, I was thinking of ranked ballot DPC. But it's a bit harder than
that because the single-winner analog, mutual majority, is compatible
with summability even though (if I recall correctly) inferring the whole
mutual majority set isn't. That is, summable methods can pass mutual
majority, but they can't let you know the whole minimal mutual majority set.
That may mean that summable methods that meet mutual majority do some sort of an overkill. I mean that having mutual majority depends on the actual votes in the same way as vote transfer did in my A>B>D>C>E example. You can get the same matrix with votes where some mutual majority exists or it doesn't exist. If this is the case, some vote sets that do not have mutual majority will be handled as if they had mutual majority since the (summed up) matrix can not tell us if there was a mutual majority or not.

Juho

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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2015-10-11 18:42:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 15:26, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 15:11, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting
representatives of
all parties to take part in the vote counting process. I guess
the tradition is to not to even start making biased
interpretations.
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One
may lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of
coercion and vote buying by recording and distributing ranked
votes to the central authority (and who knows even publishing
them). I have no good foolproof solution for that right now.
Risks to be estimated and appropriate protective measures to
be taken (or just stay in some simpler methods).
That brings to mind what I'd call a great open question: is
the Droop proportionality criterion compatible with
summability? I suspect not, and I suspect that a proof would
make use of a pigeonhole principle. I don't have much beyond
that hunch, though.
Do you mean Droop proportionality with ranked votes? I'm
thinking about a voter who votes A>B>C>D>E, where candidates A,
B, C and D can not win. To pass the vote to E, the vote probably
has to be stored as it is.
Yes, I was thinking of ranked ballot DPC. But it's a bit harder
than that because the single-winner analog, mutual majority, is
compatible with summability even though (if I recall correctly)
inferring the whole mutual majority set isn't. That is, summable
methods can pass mutual majority, but they can't let you know the
whole minimal mutual majority set.
That may mean that summable methods that meet mutual majority do some
sort of an overkill. I mean that having mutual majority depends on
the actual votes in the same way as vote transfer did in my A>B>D>C>E
example. You can get the same matrix with votes where some mutual
majority exists or it doesn't exist. If this is the case, some vote
sets that do not have mutual majority will be handled as if they had
mutual majority since the (summed up) matrix can not tell us if there
was a mutual majority or not.
Right. My point is that one could imagine this to be the case for Droop
proportionality as well. A person who thinks that you can have both DPC
and summability could say that there might exist methods out there that
elects a candidate from a Droop solid coalition and also elects that
candidate in a case with the same matrix but no Droop coalition. If
knowing the full mutual majority set is incompatible with summability
yet electing from it is compatible with summability, then that might be
the case for a Droop set too.

I don't think so; but because of the equivalence, the proof can't just
be that you don't have enough space to encode that the vote has to be
transferred to E. If it were, it would also prove that electing from the
mutual majority set is impossible because IRV is non-summable.
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Juho Laatu
2015-10-11 22:16:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 15:26, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
On 11 Oct 2015, at 15:11, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Juho Laatu
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting
representatives of
all parties to take part in the vote counting process. I guess
the tradition is to not to even start making biased
interpretations.
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One
may lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of
coercion and vote buying by recording and distributing ranked
votes to the central authority (and who knows even publishing
them). I have no good foolproof solution for that right now.
Risks to be estimated and appropriate protective measures to
be taken (or just stay in some simpler methods).
That brings to mind what I'd call a great open question: is
the Droop proportionality criterion compatible with
summability? I suspect not, and I suspect that a proof would
make use of a pigeonhole principle. I don't have much beyond
that hunch, though.
Do you mean Droop proportionality with ranked votes? I'm
thinking about a voter who votes A>B>C>D>E, where candidates A,
B, C and D can not win. To pass the vote to E, the vote probably
has to be stored as it is.
Yes, I was thinking of ranked ballot DPC. But it's a bit harder
than that because the single-winner analog, mutual majority, is
compatible with summability even though (if I recall correctly)
inferring the whole mutual majority set isn't. That is, summable
methods can pass mutual majority, but they can't let you know the
whole minimal mutual majority set.
That may mean that summable methods that meet mutual majority do some
sort of an overkill. I mean that having mutual majority depends on
the actual votes in the same way as vote transfer did in my A>B>D>C>E
example. You can get the same matrix with votes where some mutual
majority exists or it doesn't exist. If this is the case, some vote
sets that do not have mutual majority will be handled as if they had
mutual majority since the (summed up) matrix can not tell us if there
was a mutual majority or not.
Right. My point is that one could imagine this to be the case for Droop
proportionality as well. A person who thinks that you can have both DPC
and summability could say that there might exist methods out there that
elects a candidate from a Droop solid coalition and also elects that
candidate in a case with the same matrix but no Droop coalition. If
knowing the full mutual majority set is incompatible with summability
yet electing from it is compatible with summability, then that might be
the case for a Droop set too.
I don't think so; but because of the equivalence, the proof can't just
be that you don't have enough space to encode that the vote has to be
transferred to E. If it were, it would also prove that electing from the
mutual majority set is impossible because IRV is non-summable.
Ok, I think I got the point, or at least some part of it.

That led me to playing with the following votes
50: A>B>C
50: C>B>A
In the (typical) matrix all three candidates are identical, but A and C should be elected if there are two seats. The summing process can thus hide quite a lot of information.

What should we learn from this?

Juho


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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-21 00:19:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Juho Laatu
I believe computer recognition might work well enough to at least provide assistance to the humans by helping them recording the numbers. For example I might read the numbers myself first, and then check if the computer has the same opinion.
that means you have to "price check" your paper ballot before surrendering it to the ballot box. does not seem to me to be a simple and direct procedure.
Actually I was thinking about the process of checking the votes, and keeping the vote casting process fully manual. If machines would be used in casting the vote, I might prefer (at least in the Finnish tradition) machines that are like simple mechanic typewriters that allow the voter to type some numbers on the ballot paper. This approach could save some votes that would be otherwise rejected. But that may not be necessary or the best approach since people may prefer manual voting (partly because of the tradition), and only very few votes will be rejected anyway. (If some numbers cause too many problems, one could use also Kristofer Munsterhjelm's trick and not use some numbers that might cause confusion.)
Post by Juho Laatu
If yes, then I press enter to proceed to the next ballot and accept computer's interpretation of the ballot. This would be "computer assisted counting".
yeah, but we should have a reasonably secure method to tabulate ballots and get "summable" results at each precinct on the evening of the election just after polls close. it should be virtually flawless if every voter marked their ballot to within, say, 90% of "par" (to use a golfing term). this is quite doable for oval or round "bubbles" or "slots" or other simple binary marking geometries. OCR is not safe enough without "human assisted counting" which i think should be totally avoided unless there is a mandated recount.
I waas thinking about some STV style multi-winner methods where it makes sense to store the votes one by one and not sum them up in a matrix (as would be practical with typical single winner ranked Condorcet methods).
Bubbles and slots would work too. I just ended up on this line because I started from the idea of using as simple ballots as possible. In Finland votes are counted twice manually to make sure that possible alternative interpretations of the ballots will be pointed out.
Post by Juho Laatu
I note that some ballots might contain numbers 1 and 7, and another ballot might contain numbers 1 and 7 as well, but the first 1 and the latter 7 might look exactly the same. One would need to make the interpretation based on seeing also the other numbers on the ballot. A different looking 7 would cause the 1 to be interpreted as 1 in the first ballot. The machines should be smart enough to take also this into account. Or alternatively they would just give up and leave the interpretation of these two ballots to humans.
would this work for an election in, say, India? with something like 10^9 ballots?
In Finland the idea is that votes are counted locally right after the election, which means that there is plenty of local workforce available, and the process can be real quick. This approach would scale also to India and 10^9 ballots.
recounts are one thing. and a nationwide recount in the U.S. would be truly a massive and messy thing. this is one reason why the Electoral College has some supporters (which i am not). if, in 2000, there would have been a knock-down, drag-out recount fight between Bush and Gore, at least the fight would have been contained in Florida.
The second count in Finland is called a "checking count". It will be done always (maybe the next day), and usually there is no need to come back to the votes after that (not locally nor centrally).
but in the normal vote counting and tabulation in a governmental election in a democracy, it should be routinely done with mindless (and bias-less) machines, it should be precinct summable (with precinct results completely transparent to the media and to partisans), and it should be decided on the evening of the election unless it's very close or there are other problems calling for a recount.
Bias-lessness is achieved in Finland by inviting representatives of all parties to take part in the vote counting process.
we do that, too, in the U.S. both for election night and also for
recounts. but machines are more immune to bias (unless seriptitiously
programmed to be such, but open non-proprietary code should guard
against that).


and the other (non-machine) issue regarding "biasedness" is that because
of Duverger's law favors the two major parties, so the playing field is
not level for third parties and independents.
Post by Juho Laatu
I guess the tradition is to not to even start making biased interpretations.
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and vote buying by recording and distributing ranked votes to the central authority (and who knows even publishing them). I have no good foolproof solution for that right now.
well, i think that is a permanent disadvantage to STV. and IRV
opponents used that as an issue, alluding to the possibility of
something nefarious happening during transporting the voting data (like
in a thumb drive or whatever physical instrument with data from all of
the ballots) from the precinct to the central ballot-counting venue or
something else nefarious happening at a single obscure point (in the
code) at the central counting location (that some inside person could
slip in). this is why precinct-summability is a desirable property of a
voting system.

i suppose that with STV, at each precinct, instead of posting vote
totals as you would for FPTP or Condorcet, you would post totals for
each possible way to mark the ballot. but i don't think that candidate
organization nor the media would want to use those results.
Post by Juho Laatu
Risks to be estimated and appropriate protective measures to be taken (or just stay in some simpler methods).
i think Condorcet is simpler than STV. because it's precinct-summable
and there isn't this kabuki dance of transferred votes.

and Condorcet is even simpler than FPTP with regard to burdening voters
in multi-candidate elections with tactical voting (because of the
ranked-choice ballot). normally the tactic ends up the "compromising"
tactic, but voters should not have to put up with that. this was the
main reason we adopted STV in Burlington Vermont in the first place.
now we're stuck with it again.

L8r,
--
r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Juho Laatu
2015-10-21 10:33:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and vote buying by recording and distributing ranked votes to the central authority (and who knows even publishing them). I have no good foolproof solution for that right now.
well, i think that is a permanent disadvantage to STV. and IRV opponents used that as an issue, alluding to the possibility of something nefarious happening during transporting the voting data (like in a thumb drive or whatever physical instrument with data from all of the ballots) from the precinct to the central ballot-counting venue or something else nefarious happening at a single obscure point (in the code) at the central counting location (that some inside person could slip in). this is why precinct-summability is a desirable property of a voting system.
One can reduce the risk of something happening to the votes during transport by introducing means to check that the information is the same at both ends. Summability helps, since you can see the sums at both ends, and the local sums can be directly summed further to the end results. If the votes are not summable, the simplest approach is to publish the votes. Then the local records can be compared with the records at the central counting location, and final results checked against all the published local votes. One could use also some other compressed results like publishing the results counted from the local ballots (as if the election was local) at both ends. This is of course not fool proof in the sense that the even if this can guarantee the safety of the transport quite well, counters at the central location could still modify the votes after publishing the local results and before counting the final results. But that's another story, and could be fought against by other
means (like allowing the presence of representatives of all parties).
i suppose that with STV, at each precinct, instead of posting vote totals as you would for FPTP or Condorcet, you would post totals for each possible way to mark the ballot. but i don't think that candidate organization nor the media would want to use those results.
This is a working alternative way to sum up the votes if the number of candidates is small enough. I note that I joined this conversation by presenting ways to handle elections with numerous candidates. Having 100 candidates would make it unpractical to sum up the number of all possible candidate orderings, but with 5 candidates it would be easy.
i think Condorcet is simpler than STV. because it's precinct-summable and there isn't this kabuki dance of transferred votes.
and Condorcet is even simpler than FPTP with regard to burdening voters in multi-candidate elections with tactical voting (because of the ranked-choice ballot). normally the tactic ends up the "compromising" tactic, but voters should not have to put up with that. this was the main reason we adopted STV in Burlington Vermont in the first place. now we're stuck with it again.
Yes. I just note here that STV (in multi-winner elections) and IRV (in single-winner elections), although technically similar, have different benefits and problems in practical elections. Some of the problems of IRV get diluted (influencing only the last seats in some rather random way) when applied to electing multiple representatives.

Juho


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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-21 22:23:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and vote buying by recording and distributing ranked votes to the central authority (and who knows even publishing them). I have no good foolproof solution for that right now.
well, i think that is a permanent disadvantage to STV. and IRV opponents used that as an issue, alluding to the possibility of something nefarious happening during transporting the voting data (like in a thumb drive or whatever physical instrument with data from all of the ballots) from the precinct to the central ballot-counting venue or something else nefarious happening at a single obscure point (in the code) at the central counting location (that some inside person could slip in). this is why precinct-summability is a desirable property of a voting system.
One can reduce the risk of something happening to the votes during transport by introducing means to check that the information is the same at both ends. Summability helps, since you can see the sums at both ends, and the local sums can be directly summed further to the end results. If the votes are not summable, the simplest approach is to publish the votes.
publish every single ballot? that would be messy.

with STV you could publish totals of every single way a ballot could be
marked (the number of possible piles). with C candidates that would be


C-1
SUM{ C!/n! } = floor( (e-1) C! ) - 1
n=1

where e = 2.718281828...

and with Condorcet the summable numbers would be

C-1
2 SUM{ n } = (C-1) C
n=1


i remember a few years ago working this out here on the list. (when
Warren first posted the above result for STV, i was quite skeptical that
it was exact until i slugged through it myself. for some reason Kathy
Dopp apparently never accepted it.) if the number of candidates is
large, the number of STV piles grows as C! while the number of Condorcet
subtotals grows as C^2.





...
Post by Juho Laatu
i think Condorcet is simpler than STV. because it's precinct-summable
and there isn't this kabuki dance of transferred votes.
and Condorcet is even simpler than FPTP with regard to burdening voters in multi-candidate elections with tactical voting (because of the ranked-choice ballot). normally the tactic ends up the "compromising" tactic, but voters should not have to put up with that. this was the main reason we adopted STV in Burlington Vermont in the first place. now we're stuck with it again.
Yes. I just note here that STV (in multi-winner elections) and IRV (in single-winner elections), although technically similar, have different benefits and problems in practical elections. Some of the problems of IRV get diluted (influencing only the last seats in some rather random way) when applied to electing multiple representatives.
well, i agree with you that STV is probably the best simplest way to do
multi-winner elections. i don't think that Condorcet-like sorting would
meet the "simplicity" criterion of policy makers (or the electorate) for
multi-winner elections. and while it might seem nice to just use the
same STV method already in use for multi-winner to also use it for 1
winner, i think Condorcet is so much better and conceptually simple that
i still favor that over STV.
--
r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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Juho Laatu
2015-10-21 22:56:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by robert bristow-johnson
Post by Juho Laatu
Post by Juho Laatu
STV is unfortunately not as summable as e.g. Condorcet. One may lose also some privacy and introduce some risk of coercion and vote buying by recording and distributing ranked votes to the central authority (and who knows even publishing them). I have no good foolproof solution for that right now.
well, i think that is a permanent disadvantage to STV. and IRV opponents used that as an issue, alluding to the possibility of something nefarious happening during transporting the voting data (like in a thumb drive or whatever physical instrument with data from all of the ballots) from the precinct to the central ballot-counting venue or something else nefarious happening at a single obscure point (in the code) at the central counting location (that some inside person could slip in). this is why precinct-summability is a desirable property of a voting system.
One can reduce the risk of something happening to the votes during transport by introducing means to check that the information is the same at both ends. Summability helps, since you can see the sums at both ends, and the local sums can be directly summed further to the end results. If the votes are not summable, the simplest approach is to publish the votes.
publish every single ballot? that would be messy.
Lots of information, yes. But it could be enough to distribute that info to those with interest to monitor the process (parties etc.). My biggest concerns are maybe in the area of voter privacy, vote buying and coercion, if the votes can be seen by anyone and they are as informative as ranked votes can be in elections with large number of candidates.

Some more techniques to avoid the risks involved in vote transport could be to
1) carry the votes to the central counting location as original paper ballots by multiple people from all parties (or maybe just seal them and let one person carry them)
2) count the final results so that each polling station listens to the commands of the central station (to eliminate some candidate etc.) and provide new intermediate results as responses to these commands
Post by robert bristow-johnson
with STV you could publish totals of every single way a ballot could be marked (the number of possible piles). with C candidates that would be
C-1
SUM{ C!/n! } = floor( (e-1) C! ) - 1
n=1
where e = 2.718281828...
... which seems to be quite a lot in some cases
Post by robert bristow-johnson
and with Condorcet the summable numbers would be
C-1
2 SUM{ n } = (C-1) C
n=1
This is manageable even in elections with 100 candidates. That is however usually not even needed since in single-winner elections there are usually far fewer candidates.
Post by robert bristow-johnson
i remember a few years ago working this out here on the list. (when Warren first posted the above result for STV, i was quite skeptical that it was exact until i slugged through it myself. for some reason Kathy Dopp apparently never accepted it.) if the number of candidates is large, the number of STV piles grows as C! while the number of Condorcet subtotals grows as C^2.
The space requirements of STV ballots can often be minimized by storing the content of each vote (and not even trying to sum them up). Summing them in piles where each possible ranking has its own pile does really help much in providing privacy of the votes.
Post by robert bristow-johnson
...
Post by Juho Laatu
i think Condorcet is simpler than STV. because it's precinct-summable and there isn't this kabuki dance of transferred votes.
and Condorcet is even simpler than FPTP with regard to burdening voters in multi-candidate elections with tactical voting (because of the ranked-choice ballot). normally the tactic ends up the "compromising" tactic, but voters should not have to put up with that. this was the main reason we adopted STV in Burlington Vermont in the first place. now we're stuck with it again.
Yes. I just note here that STV (in multi-winner elections) and IRV (in single-winner elections), although technically similar, have different benefits and problems in practical elections. Some of the problems of IRV get diluted (influencing only the last seats in some rather random way) when applied to electing multiple representatives.
well, i agree with you that STV is probably the best simplest way to do multi-winner elections. i don't think that Condorcet-like sorting would meet the "simplicity" criterion of policy makers (or the electorate) for multi-winner elections. and while it might seem nice to just use the same STV method already in use for multi-winner to also use it for 1 winner, i think Condorcet is so much better and conceptually simple that i still favor that over STV.
Yes, STV / IRV is quite random and also not strategy free in single-winner elections. Condorcet criterion is a good standard for many if not almost all single-winner elections. Incumbent parties might favour IRV also because it favours large parties.

Juho
Post by robert bristow-johnson
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Clinton Mead
2015-10-09 08:08:31 UTC
Permalink
How did the 2009 Burlington Vermont Mayoral "fail"? It was one of the rare
cases where it didn't elect the Condorcet winner, but unlike plurality, at
least it didn't elect the Condorcet loser out of the three strongest
candidates. IRV in this case gave a more representative result than would
have been the case with plurality. And in almost all cases IRV does this.

On Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 8:05 AM, robert bristow-johnson <
Post by robert bristow-johnson
btw, We might consider keeping IRV distinguished from RCV.
yes, Sand you might well consider doing that.
might i suggest reading up in Wikipedia (maybe start at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-member_district#Comparison_of_single-member_district_election_methods
) and http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Special:AllPages .
Ranked-Choice Voting (that which we do with a Ranked-Order Ballot) is
*not* the same as IRV despite what apologists at FairVote would suggest.
while IRV may be better than simple plurality voting, it *has* problems
and *has*, at least once, failed seriously in a governmental election
(Burlington Vermont Mayoral 2009) which led to its repeal.
there are better methods than IRV, and every time IRV fails, it sullies
not just IRV but all methods of ranked voting because sometimes ignorant
voters and dishonest advocates conflate "IRV" with ranked voting. same
ballot (or nearly the same), but different methods of evaluating or
tabulating the ballots to discern whom the majority choice of the
electorate really is.
I know that locally (in the bay area), four cities voted for "IRV."
Instead, SF and Alameda county supervisors bought machines that can only
count three rankings, and they call it Ranked Choice, and that is inferior
to true IRV where only 3 rankings are allowed. An anti-IRV Berkeley
council member did his own research study that proved that all rankings
should be allowed, but the county made the final decision. Now it should
be obvious that he was right, because both the Oakland and SF mayoral
elections were so close that the # of expired ballots vastly outnumbered
the top three ranked candidates, so there is no way to know which candidate
was actually preferred by the most voters.
this has to do with the number of ranking levels available on a ballot
with finite area on paper. 3 ranking levels when there are 20+ candidates
is a problem. a voter might well find out after the election that they
"threw away their vote" because none of the candidates they ranked ended up
being one of the top contenders.
(From my observation, the final winner would not have won either
election if all rankings had been allowed.
because you cannot have infinite area on a paper ballot (and i am still
for the killing of trees to leave a paper trail for election integrity),
the only solution to keep the number of candidates from outstripping the
number of ranking levels are reasonable ballot-access laws. if your ballot
has, say, 5 levels of ranking, then the ballot access laws (the number of
petition signatures needed to get on the ballot) should be sufficiently
strict to prevent, in a typical election year, more than 5 candidates (plus
one write-in) on the ballot.
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Kristofer Munsterhjelm
2015-10-09 10:43:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Clinton Mead
How did the 2009 Burlington Vermont Mayoral "fail"? It was one of the
rare cases where it didn't elect the Condorcet winner, but
unlike plurality, at least it didn't elect the Condorcet loser out of
the three strongest candidates. IRV in this case gave a more
representative result than would have been the case with plurality. And
in almost all cases IRV does this.
I'd say it didn't go far enough. IRV works like a patch on Plurality
that lets it discard fringe parties that can't win anyway. But when you
get multiple large parties, the patch isn't sufficient and weird
behavior like center squeeze happens.

But that's me :-)

Perhaps there's a more strategic explanation for the repeal itself. IRV
clearly wouldn't have pleased the Plurality supporters; they'd have
preferred seeing Wright win. And IRV wouldn't have pleased those who
found its outcome counterintuitive in the other direction; they'd have
preferred seeing Montroll win. IRV might have held against either side,
but it couldn't hold against both at the same time.

I'd like to emphasize that I'm speculating, though. I don't live in
Burlington; someone who does would probably know the situation better
than I do.
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robert bristow-johnson
2015-10-10 21:36:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Clinton Mead
How did the 2009 Burlington Vermont Mayoral "fail"?
this sends me back to 2010 when i first joined this list. i will try to
itemize the basic items below.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Clinton Mead
It was one of the rare cases where it didn't elect the Condorcet winner,
well, it was the second time IRV was used. perhaps a fluke but one
might think that the method is problematic with a higher probability
than "fluke" if it breaks down on the 2nd try.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Clinton Mead
but
unlike plurality, at least it didn't elect the Condorcet loser out of
the three strongest candidates. IRV in this case gave a more
representative result than would have been the case with plurality.
but it *still* elected a candidate (with a 252 vote margin) when 587
**more** voters expressed on their ballots that they preferred someone
else. that is simply a failure to elect the majority voter preference.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
Post by Clinton Mead
And in almost all cases IRV does this.
I'd say it didn't go far enough. IRV works like a patch on Plurality
that lets it discard fringe parties that can't win anyway. But when you
get multiple large parties, the patch isn't sufficient and weird
behavior like center squeeze happens.
exactly. the Vermont Progressive Party was literally founded by Bernie
Sanders (ever hear of him on the east side of the pond?) even though
Bernie continued to identify himself as "Independent". it's funny now
that he's running against Hillary for the Democratic party nomination.

anyway, the Vermont Progs have at least a dozen people elected to the
State House and a half-dozen councilors elected to the Burlington city
council (besides having two Burlington mayors elected since Bernie).

IRV is more likely to fail when we get closer to the ideal (at least my
ideal) of multiple *viable* parties and of *viable* independent
candidates. that's what happened in Burlington in 2009.
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
But that's me :-)
Perhaps there's a more strategic explanation for the repeal itself. IRV
clearly wouldn't have pleased the Plurality supporters; they'd have
preferred seeing Wright win. And IRV wouldn't have pleased those who
found its outcome counterintuitive in the other direction; they'd have
preferred seeing Montroll win.
it's because 587 more voters marked their ballots that they preferred
Montroll over Kiss than there were voters that preferred the oppoisite.

and Montroll really beat Wright by 930 votes (but Kurt just does not get
it and still calls Andy a "weak candidate").
Post by Kristofer Munsterhjelm
IRV might have held against either side,
but it couldn't hold against both at the same time.
I'd like to emphasize that I'm speculating, though. I don't live in
Burlington; someone who does would probably know the situation better
than I do.
it is true that many people in Burlington did not understand exactly
what went wrong in 2009, but they knew something was wrong.


here are my concise reasons for why IRV failed. first here are the
reasons we adopted IRV in the first place:


1.If a majority (not just a mere plurality) of voters agree that
candidate A is better than candidate B, then candidate B should not be
elected.

2.The relative merit of candidates A and B is not affected by the
presence of a third candidate C.If a majority (not just a mere
plurality) of voters agree that candidate A is better than B, whether
candidate C enters the race or not, indeed whether candidate C is better
(in the minds of voters) than either candidates A or B (or both or
neither), it does not reverse the preference of candidate A over
candidate B.If that relative preference of candidate is not affected
among voters, then the relative outcome of the election should not be
affected (candidate B winning over candidate A).In the converse, this
means that by removing *any*loser from the race and from all ballots,
that this should not alter who the winner is.

3.Voters should not be called upon to do “strategic voting”.Voters
should feel free to simply vote their conscience and vote for the
candidates they like best, without worrying about whom that they think
is most electable.Voters should be able to vote for the candidate of
their choosing (e.g. Perot in 1992 or Nader in 2000) without risk of
contributing to the election of the candidate they *least*prefer
(perhaps Clinton in 1992 or Bush in 2000).They should not have to
sacrifice their vote for their ideal choice because they are concerned
about “wasting” their vote and helping elect the candidate they dislike
the most.An ancillary concern; a candidate should not have to worry
about electing his/her most strident opponent by choosing to run against
another more acceptable opponent.

4.Election policy that decreases convenience for voters will decrease
voter participation.Having to vote once for your preferred candidate,
and then being called on to return to the polls at a later date and vote
again for your preferred candidate (if he/she makes it to the run-off)
is decidedly less convenient and we must expect that significantly fewer
voters will show up for the run-off.Electing candidates with decreased
legitimate voter participation cannot be considered as democratic or as
indicative of the will of the people, as electing candidates with higher
voter participation.This is in keeping with the same motivation as
“Motor Voter” and voter registration efforts; increasing voter
participation and giving more citizens a stake in who is elected to office.



IRV in Burlington 2009 failed criteria #1, #2, and #3. because there
was no runoff, i guess it satisfied criterion #4.

even though this was not listed, IRV in Burlington 2009 failed
Monotonicity and IRV *never* satisfies "Precinct Summability" which i
consider important for transparency and election integrity. as
elections get larger (like statewide or nationwide), this Precinct
Summability becomes even more important.
--
r b-j ***@audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."



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