Re: Left off the ballot?

From: Jeff Almeida <spud_at_spudzeppelin_dot_com>
Date: Fri Apr 16 2004 - 10:29:04 CDT

Also Sprach David Mertz:
>It's outside the scope of OVC to opine on the political merits of
>various tabulation systems. But most certainly, OVC needs to
>accommodate any jurisdiction that -does- decide to use ranked-order
>voting--and also implement any tabulation method that jurisdiction
>decides to use.

Yes-No-Maybe. People certainly look to us because of our TECHNICAL, not
political expertise. OTOH, both of the following are true:

* Oftentimes, the political questions surrounding various voting
mechanisms have technical (mathematical) footings. Consider the work of
Don Saari regarding mathematical models of multicandidate elections, all
of which is built upon the work of Borda, Condorcet, Arrow, et al over the
last couple of centures, to try and find mechanisms that accurately
reflect the will of electorate in a multicandidate election (which of
course, Arrow's Theorem guarantees will by its very nature admit
inconsistencies).

* Part of the role of consultancy in the technology business is to point
out to the customer (or potential customer) what is actually possible.
If, for example, positional voting systems were easily dismissed because
doing so on paper made the systems difficult to explain, control, and
tabulate, then we have an obligation to at least document what a
well-designed GUI can do to simplify the input phase of the process, so at
a minimum the adoption of such as system becomes a PURELY POLTICAL, and
not a technical question.

That said, I would caution against dismissing as a political question the
relative merits of various vote-counting processes, when there is plenty
of available literature on the mathematical merits of each.

jeff :)

-- 
************************************************************
Jeff D. "Spud (Zeppelin)" Almeida
Corinth, TX
spud@spudzeppelin.com
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:08 2004

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