Re: What OVC does not address

From: Jeff Almeida <spud_at_spudzeppelin_dot_com>
Date: Fri Apr 16 2004 - 12:13:15 CDT

Also Sprach David Mertz:
>>>It's outside the scope of OVC to opine on the political merits of
>>>various tabulation systems.

>>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.

>Yes, there are links in OVC's FAQ to some of this.

>And I'll agree with Jeff that OVC can and should make jurisdictions
>aware that computer interfaces can make both voting and evaluation of
>ranked-preferences (much) easier.

>But past that, ABSOLUTELY NOT. OVC is emphatically not in the business
>of this type of political advocacy. Moreover, letting possible
>opponents argue against OVC by arguing against such incidental issues
>is a real danger. Likewise (and for the same reasons), we must not
>present ourselves as endorsing one particular political party. Not
>doing what OVC doesn't do is almost as important as -doing- what OVC
>does!

I would agree with all of that, to the extent that things become political
advocacy. In fact, I would ask at what point my role within "one
particular political party" becomes a potential liability: if I'm elected
to the State Executive Committee? National Committee?

>If Jeff personally wants to join or form a group devoted to advocating
>IRV tabulation, more power to him. Likewise, if he wants to work for
>changes in the funding of candidates, or for the rules governing access
>to airwaves in political races, great. I'm probably politically
>sympathetic with such goals--heck, maybe Jeff will convince me to join
>the same groups myself. But as long as we wear our OVC hats, we DO NOT
>endorse (nor condemn) any of these things.

I also agree with all of that, to a point, and it's certainly not where I
was going (and for the record, I'm not nuts about IRV, and one of the
things I think they do right here in Texas is requiring a runoff
election between the top-two vote-getters when no candidate receives a
majority).

However, where I think we would be remiss is in failing to state something
to the effect that, "While our system can certainly determine the
plurality winner of an election, we would strongly encourage jurisdictions
to review the technical literature surrounding the failings of single-vote
plurality results in multicandidate races, and adopt a system less prone
to mathematical paradox." As far as I am concerned, that is still a
technical question, not a political one: we're not telling them what to
do, we're telling them that a particular approach has been proven not to
work; if they want REALLY compelling evidence we can point them to Dr.
Saari's paper on the "election" of Jesse Ventura.

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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