Re: Ranked Choice Math

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Sat Apr 12 2008 - 16:33:29 CDT

That's great news alan. Sure agnostic is good. But you can at least
point out that people should not be quick to accept that IRV is a
good idea jsut because it gets a lot of press..

In any case I mention this because, the OVC systems advantages are 1)
it's not a DRE, but more like paper, yet 2) unlike paper it is more
friendly to alternate voting systems. By separating the voting
selection from the paper summary ballot it can also compactly display
the results of alretnative methods.

Current popular opscans have 3 read heads (some have 4 but the 4th is
used for positional location not vote reading). Thus they are
extremely awkward to use with long ballots because with 3 read heads
you can't easily rank more than 3 deep (which actually I say is a
good thing really), but also in doing so you consume ballot area at 3
times the rate causing all the headaches of multi-page ballots.
Exceptions to this are an image-scan (vapor ware) system Hart has
proposed, and of course the familiar college-board testing form
scanners, but neither exists as a real voting system.

Fortunately Approval voting and candidate-chooses methods not only
get around that since they don't require rank ordering, but are quite
worthwhile voting methods that achieve the same goal and are arguably
always better than IRV.

Range voting is not practical (unless the range is zero to 4) on a
system with 3 read heads. However, Range voting is a very intriguing
method of voting worthy of more study. it might possibly be optimal
by many criteria, but I wont' quite sign off on that till I (or
someone else) looks at it's game theoretic strategies more
carefully. It does appear that the "range" tend to collapse towards
approval voting when one votes strategically rather than ranking ones
"true" rating of the candidates.

If range voting becomes accepted, OVC may be the first viable
platform that is not a DRE. Thus this is a major selling point.

IRV has somehow gotten all the attention when it appears to be among
the worst methods for single-seat voting by accepted objective
criteria. I think this is because it's possibly the easiest to
explain in a single sentence: "it's just like a run-off election".
But of course that's not really true.

In Australia, they not only have 20+ candidates on the ballot for the
house of representatives, but you are required to rank all 20
ordinally. You may not omit one!
Their senate uses IRV in a different way, allowing winners to roll-
over their excess votes to lower ranked candidates. And many
candidates from the same party run. This has the effect of removing
some of the defects and instabilities of the IRV system by making it
sort of a party-centric candidate chooses system. In New Zealand and
I believe Ireland, they have multi-member districts where they select
candidates by IRV for a single seat but then ballance out the seat
with added reps chosen from the party vote. This too corrects some
of the defects of IRV.

On Apr 12, 2008, at 12:56 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:

> Thanks, Charlie. Well, we may have to deal with this in the not-
> too-distant
> future. I had a conference call with the board of elections for
> Takoma Park
> MD on Thursday evening. I walked them through our demo over the
> phone (they
> had a laptop and projector in their room).
> Our demo uses Ping's voter interface code ( IIRC, his
> interface
> can rank up to three choices (the demo ballot does not include a
> ranked
> choice contest). I was kind of hoping they would only allow
> ranking three,
> but in the conference call, one of the board members quoted their
> charter
> where it seems to say any number may be allowed. Our 2004 demo did
> include
> a ranked choice contest and we allowed as many as the number of
> candidates
> (8 counting write-in).
> Anyway, Takoma Park may want to use our system and they don't need
> federal
> certification (for local elections in quite a few states, cities use
> whatever system they want without regard to state/federal
> certification).
> I agree that approval voting would be better, but if I get a go-
> ahead there,
> we'll need to give them software that will process the rankings
> however they
> want.
> I think we agreed early on that OVC would be neutral on voting
> methods. It
> does put us in a position of feeding the Tower of Babel.
> Alan
>> my 2 cents.
>> Instant Run-off voting might possibly be the worst possible way to
>> do ranked preference voting.
>> it's flaws include:
>> 1) [...]
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Received on Wed Apr 30 23:17:03 2008

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