May 29 2007

Release ‘em all

Published by at 10:33 am under Washington

Pierce annex

Pierce elections

Those involved deeply in politics, professionally and otherwise, will pay attention next year to Pierce County’s county races, not so much because of their inherent interest – which may be substantial anyway, Pierce being an important swing county – as because of the way the votes are counted.

For its county offices – only those offices – Pierce will be using the “instant runoff” or candidate ranking method of vote-counting. If you think there’s only one way to count votes in political races, welcome to the new world: There are in fact many possible ways to vote and to count. Pierce (and are there any other jurisdictions in the Northwest doing this? We’ve not seen reports of any, though San Francisco has some experience with it) will be trying out one of the more heavily touted in recent years.

Roughly, here’s how it works (in this variation on the theme).

All candidates who file for the county offices up for election – executive, council (four seats), assessor/treasurer and sheriff – will be on the November general election ballot; there will be no primary for them. So might someone win the office with a plurality of 15%? No: This system requires a simple majority to win. Here’s how you get to 50% + 1 in a field of, say, eight candidates:

Voters can vote for more than one candidate – a first choice, a second and a third. (Or, if they want, just one or two.) You start by looking at the first-place votes. If you have eight candidates and the leader gets 30% of the first-place votes, then the last-place candidate drops out. Election officials then look at the ballots on which he was picked for first place, and extract the choices for second-place and add them to the totals for those candidates. If this still yields no candidate with 50% +1 of the vote, the new lowest-total candidate is booted, his voters’ second-place choices distributed, and so on.

The theory behind this approach – and it has a lot of support in the academic community – is that you wind up with an eventual winner who has broad general support, someone who is at least (usually) most people’s second choice. Certainly, this approach could have an effect on political campaigns – there’d be more emphasis on John Doe’s part in becoming a second choice for Jane Smith’s voters – and maybe more collegiality. It might de-emphasize splinter voting and cool off angry factions. Maybe. Pierce County may be a good laboratory for figuring out what the effects really are.

In his column today on the new voting, Peter Callaghan of the Tacoma News Tribune also highlights another consideration with the new voting approach: How often should partial results be released, and when?

“As each new batch of ballots is processed, the results can change much more than they do with traditional voting,” he writes. “For example, the fourth candidate in a field of four could get knocked out in the election-night count. The computer would look for the second choice of that candidate’s voters and apply them to the three other candidates. But as more mail ballots arrive and are tossed into the mix, that last-place candidate could move up and another candidate could fall to fourth place. Then that candidate’s second-choice votes are distributed to the other candidates. Traditional vote counting is cumulative. That is, counters don’t recount the ballots they counted on the first day but instead add ballots as they come in. But with ranked choice, counters may have to relook at all of the ballots with each count.”

The seeming winner on Tuesday night might be well behind days later – a situation much different than candidates and voters are accustomed to.

He points this out by way of the uncertainty of how Pierce County’s election officials will deal with releasing the results.

A blog on Pierce County’s instant runoff voting has posted on just this issue. Gig Harbor activist Kelly Haughton, who has worked on the election issue extensively, is proposing releases on election night and once or twice later that week.

The three logical possible choices to me are at the end of Tuesday night (Election Night), the end of Wednesday night or the end of Friday night. This is a tough choice, but I recommend doing it at the end of Election Night with the end of Wednesday night as a close second.

In addition, once you have started releasing the ranked choice voting round results, you should do it again each time you release the first choice counts. Further, there should be appropriate labelling of the results as preliminary at all times until they become final.

The Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy is faced with a tough choice on this one. While I come down on the side of Tuesday night’s close, this is a tough choice.

Would the auditor’s office dare not release the numbers on election night? It’s a little hard to imagine – a break with precedent that could lead to instant uproar, even if endless press announcements were made in advance.

And you would think that full daily releases should be a feasible thing. Managing the complexly shifting numbers may be trouble for many of us non-math majors, but computer spreadsheets are good at this sort of thing: Plug in the new numbers and see the outcome right away.

Although. A commenter to Haughton’s post pointed this out: “No matter what, we must release results daily after the ballots are counted just as we do now.” He said that in San Francisco, “wild percent[age] swings in the winners’ circle candidates percentages driven by small changes” led to local controversy, “So in the next election using RCV he chose not to release any info except how many first place votes each candidate received. That is far to[o] little information. I suggest that our Auditor release all the raw numbers as they are accumulated daily, but not apply the mathematical formulas until all the votes are in (certification).”

That seems a reasonable approach – even compromise.

Not that the Pierce auditor won’t be due some sympathy that election week.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Release ‘em all”

  1. weltschmerzon 29 May 2007 at 1:24 pm

    This just goes to show the kinds of messes caused by a needlessly complex voting method. IRV is the worst of the commonly proposed alternative voting methods, and “ranked choice” voting isn’t even IRV, but a bastardized form of it.

    Two far simpler and better methods are Range Voting (score the candidates, say 0-10, and elect the one with the best average) and its simplified form, Approval Voting. With Approval Voting, ballots look the same as always, but you can vote for as many candidates as you like. These amazing simpler systems are easy to hand count – they always take just one “round”. That makes elections cheaper and helps ween us off (elctronic!) voting machines, the fraudster’s best friend. And these methods eliminate the spoiler effect, whereas IRV only reduces it, and strategically “forces” voters not to for for third party candidates, since a vote for a Nader is more likely to cause Gore to lose to Nader, and then Nader to lose to Bush, than it is to help Nader beat both of them. Don’t believe voters pick up on this strategy? Look at decades of IRV’s use in Australia, Ireland, Malta, and Fiji – they do it! And so with IRV, third parties don’t have a chance – despite the rare exceptions that IRV proponents like to tout.

    And social utility efficiency figures tell us that Range Voting is as big of an improvement over plurality voting, as plurality voting is over non-democratic random selection. Range Voting DOUBLES the effect of democracy.

    IRV is a disaster – a total hindrance to progress that aids abets the voting machine industry and makes third party candidates more irrelevant than ever. The future is Range Voting and Approval Voting. Join the movement, and find out how you can help.

    http://RangeVoting.org/
    http://ApprovalVoting.org/

  2. weltschmerzon 29 May 2007 at 1:36 pm

    This system requires a simple majority to win.

    Baloney.

    % of voters – their vote
    28% Obama> Edwards> McCain
    20% Edwards> Obama> McCain
    6% Edwards> McCain> Obama
    46% McCain> Edwards> Obama

    In this IRV election, Edwards is eliminated first, and then McCain goes on to win. But wait! 54% of voters prefer Edwards to McCain – and 72% prefer Edwards to Obama! Yet Edwards loses? This leaves Obama fans with a tactical incentive to vote for the “most electable” liberal, Edwards, so that they don’t get the greater of two evils. It also makes Obama a spoiler, since without him, Edwards would beat McCain.

    So much for the myths that IRV elects majority winners and eliminates spoilers and vote splitting.

    Another, more freakish, example.

    % of voters – their order of preference
    33% Giuliani > Gore > Dean > Nader
    29% Gore > Giuliani > Dean > Nader
    24% Dean > Gore > Giuliani > Nader
    14% Nader > Dean > Gore > Giuliani Nader > Dean > Gore

    then Gore would have won (which they’d prefer to the old winner Giuliani) despite the fact this just raised their opinion of Giuliani from last to first place.

  3. weltschmerzon 29 May 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Somehow that last example got cropped.

    % of voters – their order of preference
    33% Giuliani > Gore > Dean > Nader
    29% Gore > Giuliani > Dean > Nader
    24% Dean > Gore > Giuliani > Nader
    14% Nader > Dean > Gore > Giuliani **

    Giuliani wins. But if the Nader voters had instead dishonestly voted

    Giuliani > Nader > Dean > Gore

    then Gore would have won (which they’d prefer to the old winner Giuliani) despite the fact this just raised their opinion of Giuliani from last to first place.

  4. raconnollyon 31 May 2007 at 8:13 am

    Once we recognize that every voting system can break-down under certain conditions, the key question is, which voting system is more likely to run into trouble in the real world? The answer to this question is that range voting is worse than most other options, including IRV. In fact, range voting is simply an indirect route back to plurality voting.

    Range advocates are usually pretty good mathematicians but seem to miss some essential political and sociological points. People are much more likely to vote dishonestly under range voting than IRV (and especially STV). Range voting depends on voters being honest but, as with our current plurality system, range voting will often punish honesty. Thus range voting will break down under fairly common scenarios.

    We can use an example, much more realistic than those contrived by the range supporters, to reveal the logic of the problem that will follow from range voting. Under this system, voters can give a candidate a score of 0 through 9 (changing this to 0 through 99 won’t make any difference). Let’s say there are three candidates in a race, A, B, and C, with A and B representing the two dominant parties and C an independent candidate.

    Further let’s say there are 100 voters, who can be classified into three types. Type I strongly support A, dislike B, and like some of the ideas of the independent C. Type II strongly support B, dislike A, and also like some of the ideas of the C. Type III strongly support C and marginally prefer A to B. (It might help to think of A as a Democrat, B as a Republican, and C as a Nader, Perot, John Anderson, etc.)

    The results of the election look like this:
    Type I, 48 voters: 9 points for A, 5 points for C, and 0 points for B
    Type II, 46 voters: 9 points for B, 5 points for C, and 0 points for A
    Type III, 6 voters: 9 points for C, 5 points for A, and 4 points B

    Despite only 6 voters who made candidate C their top choice, C wins the election. We can ignore the debate about whether the correct candidate won the race, although this is what range voting supporters want us to focus on, because the real problem with range voting – voter dishonesty – comes after an election like this. Even if C is the “right” winner, as the range voting supporters might claim, his/her victory, along with any meaningful application of range voting, will be short-lived.

    Why did C win?
    While the voters for A and B (Democrats and Republicans) might refuse to give any points to each other, they can find good reasons to give some points to the independent candidate.

    What happens next?
    This is when range voting collapses. Candidate A will be quite annoyed at the outcome of the election and so will many of his/her supporters. If the voters had simply concealed their (weaker) preference for C and given no points, then A would have won. Voters for A could have put their top choice in power instead of their second.

    In the next election, let’s say a rematch of these three candidates, candidate A will be certain to tell his/her supporters to give him/her 9 points and to give 0 points to everybody else; otherwise they risk a repeat of the prior election. Candidate B, not wanting to be a victim of a similar misfortune, will tell his/her supporters to do likewise. Voters for C might join the bandwagon (although it wouldn’t make a difference to the outcome.)

    The results of the next election would be like this:
    Type I, 48 voters: 9 points for A, 0 for the others
    Type II, 46 voters: 9 points for B, 0 for the others
    Type III, 6 voters: 9 points for C, 0 for the others

    Candidate A wins with 4.32 points to 4.14 points for B and .54 points for C. Of course, the range from 0 to 9 does nothing for us; everybody votes either a 0 or a 9. So we could just as easily say that A gets 48 votes (48%), B gets 46 votes (or 46%), and C gets 6 votes (or 6%).

    This is the identical result that would be reached by a plurality election, the system that range voting seeks to replace. (We should note that with IRV, candidate A would have won the first election, and voters would have continued to vote sincerely in the second election.)

    The main problem with range voting is that support for a second choice can easily hurt your first choice. Once this is recognized by politicians and voters, and it won’t take long (certainly Democratic and Republican candidates will promote this position), voters will only give support to their favorite candidate, that is, they will vote dishonestly or insincerely. In the end we are left with nothing better than plurality.

    Range voting is basically a renovated Borda system. And we have known since Borda invented his system that it depended on honest voters, often despite the incentive to be dishonest. This limits its applicability to situations where honesty is still likely for whatever reason. I imagine range voting will be similarly restricted. It has very nice mathematical properties for organizations and clubs where people can trust each other to be honest.

  5. weltschmerzon 02 Jun 2007 at 5:10 am

    The post by Richard Anderson-Connolly is almost identical to a re-working of it posted elsewhere, to which I have already copiously responded. I re-post my response to that post here, as it vigorously refutes raconnoly’s case.

    range voting will quickly turn into plurality voting.False. This myth is commonly repeated by IRV proponents, and is rigorously disproven by a Princeton math Ph.D., here. Computer simulations experimentally confirm this.This statement is unbelievably ironic, because it is the complete opposite of the truth. It is IRV that strategically “forces” voters to top-rank their favorite major-party candidate, regardless of who their sincere favorite is, because top-ranking a strong third party or independent candidate is more likely to hurt you than help you. The empirical result that confirms this theory is that IRV has historically led to two-party domination, just like plurality – even though it shouldn’t, if voters are honest.Under the range voting system, voters can give a candidate a score of 0 through 9 (changing this to 0 through 99 won’t make any difference).Actually it does make a difference, but many believe the benefit of a simpler ballot trumps the benefit of a finer range.Now as to your hypothetical election. In your example, A and B both have C as their second choice. You claim that A voters will regret voting for C, so they’ll bullet vote for A in the next election. But you forget that B voters will think,”Thank goodness we voted for C, so we didn’t get A!”, and so by your own logic they will want to re-use that good strategy.Moreover, there’s no telling how public opinion and election turnout will shift for the “re-match” election you hypothesize. Knowing that B could conceivably beat A next time, as they had about the same number of adherents, even A’s supporters will have to ask themselves, “Am I so sure that B won’t win that I’m prepared to gamble on not supporting my second favorite candidate?” And so a lot of them will, for strategic reasons, vote for C as well.Support for a second choice can easily hurt your first choiceOf course supporting B makes B more likely to beat A. This is a necessary property of a good voting method, since not obeying it means a guarantee of failing at least 1 of the criteria of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem – arguably the most famous and important theorem in election science. So this is a strength, not a weakness of Range Voting. But if you don’t like this, you’re free to give B a 0. But you might not want to if your greater fear is of getting candidate C, in which case you’d be better off to support A and B. It’s totally up to the voter to decide what is more important, and that’s a major part of the reason that Range Voting objectively makes picks better winners.And again, the irony. IRV fails the monotonicity criterion and the favorite betrayal criterion – which actually is a weakness. So with IRV, it is possible to make a candidate lose by ranking him higher (or make him win by ranking him lower). And top-ranking your favorite candidate can hurt you, whereas with Range Voting it never hurts you to give a top score to your favorite candidate.our best solution is ranked choice voting.Nope. It is actually the worst of the commonly proposed alternative voting methods, and here I cite social utility efficiency figures to show that:Range (honest voters) 96.71%Borda (honest voters) 91.31%Approval (honest voters) 86.30%Condorcet-LR (honest voters) 85.19%Range/Approval (strategic vtrs) 78.99%IRV (honest voters) 78.49%Plurality (honest voters) 67.63%Borda (strategic voters) 53.26%Condorcet-LR (strategic voters) 42.56%IRV (strategic voters) 39.07%Plurality (strategic voters) 39.07%Elect random winner 0.00%Notice two things.1) Range Voting gives about as big an improvement over our current plurality voting method as plurality gives over non-democratic random selection (say by accident of birth). So Range Voting “doubles” the benefit of democracy.2) Range Voting performs as well with 100% strategic voters as IRV does with 100% honest voters.With ranked choice voting, candidate A would have won the first election with a majorityAnd that is a flaw, because 52% of the voters prefer C to A (and 54% prefer C to B). If C ran against either of his rivals here, Ranked Choice Voting would say that he was the better candidate. Yet when they all three run simultaneously, RCV becomes schizophrenic and “changes its mind” – even though the voters preferences do not change.And more importantly, C was apparently the social utility maximizer – the candidate that made the most voters the most satisfied. Remember, the notion that a “majority” winner is better is disproved by Condorcet cyclic ambiguities where A > B > C > A. Kenneth Arrow even won a Nobel Prize for expounding on that fact in his famous theorem. The real measure of a voting system is social utility efficiency, and as we can see above, Range Voting dominates the competition.voters would have continued to vote sincerely in the second election.Wrong again. In general, the C voters would strategically top-rank A to ensure they wouldn’t get B. But if they knew C was so weak that he couldn’t possibly knock B out in the first round, then they might as well go ahead and show their support and top-rank C; even though if that were the case, it wouldn’t matter anyway, since their votes would ultimately shift to A after C was eliminated.However, if B voters somehow knew all this, they would be strategically forced to top-rank C so as to not get A. This is a logical result of the fact that, in any deterministic voting system, an omniscient electorate will always elect the Condorcet winner, if there is one.Class dismissed.Clay Shentrup415.240.1973

  6. weltschmerzon 02 Jun 2007 at 5:11 am

    The post by Richard Anderson-Connolly is almost identical to a re-working of it posted elsewhere, to which I have already copiously responded. I re-post my response to that post here, as it vigorously refutes raconnoly’s case.

    range voting will quickly turn into plurality voting.

    False. This myth is commonly repeated by IRV proponents, and is rigorously disproven by a Princeton math Ph.D., here. Computer simulations experimentally confirm this.

    This statement is unbelievably ironic, because it is the complete opposite of the truth. It is IRV that strategically “forces” voters to top-rank their favorite major-party candidate, regardless of who their sincere favorite is, because top-ranking a strong third party or independent candidate is more likely to hurt you than help you. The empirical result that confirms this theory is that IRV has historically led to two-party domination, just like plurality – even though it shouldn’t, if voters are honest.

    Under the range voting system, voters can give a candidate a score of 0 through 9 (changing this to 0 through 99 won’t make any difference).

    Actually it does make a difference, but many believe the benefit of a simpler ballot trumps the benefit of a finer range.

    Now as to your hypothetical election. In your example, A and B both have C as their second choice. You claim that A voters will regret voting for C, so they’ll bullet vote for A in the next election. But you forget that B voters will think,”Thank goodness we voted for C, so we didn’t get A!”, and so by your own logic they will want to re-use that good strategy.

    Moreover, there’s no telling how public opinion and election turnout will shift for the “re-match” election you hypothesize. Knowing that B could conceivably beat A next time, as they had about the same number of adherents, even A’s supporters will have to ask themselves, “Am I so sure that B won’t win that I’m prepared to gamble on not supporting my second favorite candidate?” And so a lot of them will, for strategic reasons, vote for C as well.

    Support for a second choice can easily hurt your first choice

    Of course supporting B makes B more likely to beat A. This is a necessary property of a good voting method, since not obeying it means a guarantee of failing at least 1 of the criteria of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem – arguably the most famous and important theorem in election science. So this is a strength, not a weakness of Range Voting. But if you don’t like this, you’re free to give B a 0. But you might not want to if your greater fear is of getting candidate C, in which case you’d be better off to support A and B. It’s totally up to the voter to decide what is more important, and that’s a major part of the reason that Range Voting objectively makes picks better winners.

    And again, the irony. IRV fails the monotonicity criterion and the favorite betrayal criterion – which actually is a weakness. So with IRV, it is possible to make a candidate lose by ranking him higher (or make him win by ranking him lower). And top-ranking your favorite candidate can hurt you, whereas with Range Voting it never hurts you to give a top score to your favorite candidate.

    our best solution is ranked choice voting.

    Nope. It is actually the worst of the commonly proposed alternative voting methods, and here I cite social utility efficiency figures to show that:

    Range (honest voters) 96.71%
    Borda (honest voters) 91.31%
    Approval (honest voters) 86.30%
    Condorcet-LR (honest voters) 85.19%
    Range/Approval (strategic vtrs) 78.99%
    IRV (honest voters) 78.49%
    Plurality (honest voters) 67.63%
    Borda (strategic voters) 53.26%
    Condorcet-LR (strategic voters) 42.56%
    IRV (strategic voters) 39.07%
    Plurality (strategic voters) 39.07%
    Elect random winner 0.00%

    Notice two things.

    1) Range Voting gives about as big an improvement over our current plurality voting method as plurality gives over non-democratic random selection (say by accident of birth). So Range Voting “doubles” the benefit of democracy.

    2) Range Voting performs as well with 100% strategic voters as IRV does with 100% honest voters.

    With ranked choice voting, candidate A would have won the first election with a majority

    And that is a flaw, because 52% of the voters prefer C to A (and 54% prefer C to B). If C ran against either of his rivals here, Ranked Choice Voting would say that he was the better candidate. Yet when they all three run simultaneously, RCV becomes schizophrenic and “changes its mind” – even though the voters preferences do not change.

    And more importantly, C was apparently the social utility maximizer – the candidate that made the most voters the most satisfied. Remember, the notion that a “majority” winner is better is disproved by Condorcet cyclic ambiguities where A > B > C > A. Kenneth Arrow even won a Nobel Prize for expounding on that fact in his famous theorem. The real measure of a voting system is social utility efficiency, and as we can see above, Range Voting dominates the competition.

    voters would have continued to vote sincerely in the second election.

    Wrong again. In general, the C voters would strategically top-rank A to ensure they wouldn’t get B. But if they knew C was so weak that he couldn’t possibly knock B out in the first round, then they might as well go ahead and show their support and top-rank C; even though if that were the case, it wouldn’t matter anyway, since their votes would ultimately shift to A after C was eliminated.

    However, if B voters somehow knew all this, they would be strategically forced to top-rank C so as to not get A. This is a logical result of the fact that, in any deterministic voting system, an omniscient electorate will always elect the Condorcet winner, if there is one.

    Class dismissed.

    Clay Shentrup
    415.240.1973

  7. weltschmerzon 02 Jun 2007 at 5:13 am

    The post by Richard Anderson-Connolly is almost identical to a re-working of it posted elsewhere, to which I have already copiously responded. I re-post my response to that post here, as it vigorously refutes raconnoly’s case.

    range voting will quickly turn into plurality voting.

    False. This myth is commonly repeated by IRV proponents, and is rigorously disproven by a Princeton math Ph.D., here. Computer simulations experimentally confirm this.

    This statement is unbelievably ironic, because it is the complete opposite of the truth. It is IRV that strategically “forces” voters to top-rank their favorite major-party candidate, regardless of who their sincere favorite is, because top-ranking a strong third party or independent candidate is more likely to hurt you than help you. The empirical result that confirms this theory is that IRV has historically led to two-party domination, just like plurality – even though it shouldn’t, if voters are honest.

    Under the range voting system, voters can give a candidate a score of 0 through 9 (changing this to 0 through 99 won’t make any difference).

    Actually it does make a difference, but many believe the benefit of a simpler ballot trumps the benefit of a finer range.

    Now as to your hypothetical election. In your example, A and B both have C as their second choice. You claim that A voters will regret voting for C, so they’ll bullet vote for A in the next election. But you forget that B voters will think,”Thank goodness we voted for C, so we didn’t get A!”, and so by your own logic they will want to re-use that good strategy.

    Moreover, there’s no telling how public opinion and election turnout will shift for the “re-match” election you hypothesize. Knowing that B could conceivably beat A next time, as they had about the same number of adherents, even A’s supporters will have to ask themselves, “Am I so sure that B won’t win that I’m prepared to gamble on not supporting my second favorite candidate?” And so a lot of them will, for strategic reasons, vote for C as well.

    Support for a second choice can easily hurt your first choice

    Of course supporting B makes B more likely to beat A. This is a necessary property of a good voting method, since not obeying it means a guarantee of failing at least 1 of the criteria of the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem – arguably the most famous and important theorem in election science. So this is a strength, not a weakness of Range Voting. But if you don’t like this, you’re free to give B a 0. But you might not want to if your greater fear is of getting candidate C, in which case you’d be better off to support A and B. It’s totally up to the voter to decide what is more important, and that’s a major part of the reason that Range Voting objectively picks better winners.

    And again, the irony. IRV fails the monotonicity criterion and the favorite betrayal criterion – which actually is a weakness. So with IRV, it is possible to make a candidate lose by ranking him higher (or make him win by ranking him lower). And top-ranking your favorite candidate can hurt you, whereas with Range Voting it never hurts you to give a top score to your favorite candidate.

    our best solution is ranked choice voting.

    Nope. It is actually the worst of the commonly proposed alternative voting methods, and here I cite social utility efficiency figures to show that:

    Range (honest voters) 96.71%
    Borda (honest voters) 91.31%
    Approval (honest voters) 86.30%
    Condorcet-LR (honest voters) 85.19%
    Range/Approval (strategic vtrs) 78.99%
    IRV (honest voters) 78.49%
    Plurality (honest voters) 67.63%
    Borda (strategic voters) 53.26%
    Condorcet-LR (strategic voters) 42.56%
    IRV (strategic voters) 39.07%
    Plurality (strategic voters) 39.07%
    Elect random winner 0.00%

    Notice two things.

    1) Range Voting gives about as big an improvement over our current plurality voting method as plurality gives over non-democratic random selection (say by accident of birth). So Range Voting “doubles” the benefit of democracy.

    2) Range Voting performs as well with 100% strategic voters as IRV does with 100% honest voters.

    With ranked choice voting, candidate A would have won the first election with a majority

    And that is a flaw, because 52% of the voters prefer C to A (and 54% prefer C to B). If C ran against either of his rivals here, Ranked Choice Voting would say that he was the better candidate. Yet when they all three run simultaneously, RCV becomes schizophrenic and “changes its mind” – even though the voters preferences do not change.

    And more importantly, C was apparently the social utility maximizer – the candidate that made the most voters the most satisfied. Remember, the notion that a “majority” winner is better is disproved by Condorcet cyclic ambiguities where A > B > C > A. Kenneth Arrow even won a Nobel Prize for expounding on that fact in his famous theorem. The real measure of a voting system is social utility efficiency, and as we can see above, Range Voting dominates the competition.

    voters would have continued to vote sincerely in the second election.

    Wrong again. In general, the C voters would strategically top-rank A to ensure they wouldn’t get B. But if they knew C was so weak that he couldn’t possibly knock B out in the first round, then they might as well go ahead and show their support and top-rank C; even though if that were the case, it wouldn’t matter anyway, since their votes would ultimately shift to A after C was eliminated.

    However, if B voters somehow knew all this, they would be strategically forced to top-rank C so as to not get A. This is a logical result of the fact that, in any deterministic voting system, an omniscient electorate will always elect the Condorcet winner, if there is one.

    Class dismissed.

    Clay Shentrup
    415.240.1973

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THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here