Re: Ranked Preference...and.. Hand count elections

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Nov 27 2007 - 16:28:23 CST

Bifurcating the discussion slightly.

The issue of hand count elections plus IRV is interesting. I'd like to make three remarks

first, there's an alternate form of Ranked Preference voting that I am told is used in australia called "candidate chooses". In that form of election it is the candidate being elminated who chooses which other candidate his votes roll over to, not the voter. The advantage of this is that the ballots are no different that an conventional ballot. The voter, as usual, just chooses one candidate as his first choice. So the complexity of the ballot, paper handling, and the myriad possibility of overvoting or mismarking a ballot are mitigated. The second effect it has, which might be considered to have both good and bad effects is that it gives the small candidate parties more influence with the major candidates in order to secure their vote roll overs. A major problem with conventional ranked preference voting is that by eliminating the spoiler effect it also robs small parties of their ability to shape the platforms of the major parties. This restores it. Some might say it!
  restores too much power. This is why in the parts of australia that use this they actually do both: they let the voter decide if they will fully rank a ballot or use the simplified single choice ballot. If one adopted that approach then presumably the majority of folks would opt for the simplified conventional ballots thereby lesseng the burden of counting the ranked preference ballots. In most elections one presumes the winner would be effectively decided on the second or third round from just the candidate chooses ballots, alleviating the need to even examine the small number of ranked ballots.

Second, I'm writing this next point with a bit of personal chagrin. I'm in favor of Ranked preference voting, but I'm opposed to IRV because if you do the math it strongly favors fringe candidates over centrist ones. The proper way to do Ranked preference voting, in my humble opinion, is Condorcet (AKA "Majority Rule") voting.

However, I had never thought much about how one would actually count condorect style by hand, assuming it would just be done in the computer. And I can see it might possibly involve more work since one has to compute all pairwise outcomes.

Which is where OVC can solve the problem!! The OVC generated ballot could edge mark all the pairwise outcomes on the ballot making them very easy to sort into stacks for hand counting without looking directly at the detail of the ballot. (During the handcounting itself one will automatically confirm the edge marks match the summary ballot.)

Thus OVC could greatly simplify handcounted condorcet style voting.

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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:28 2007

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