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Ugh, stop twitching
voting methods
judgement Posted 2007-12-17 17:30:02 by Jim Crawford
In the Condorcet Ranked-Pairs election system, every voter ranks the candidates in order of preference. Then, the system compares every candidate to every other candidate and determines whom the electorate, overall, prefers. Putting your favorite candidate at the top of the list means you prefer him to all other candidates, and putting your least-favorite at the bottom of your list means you prefer any other candidate to him.

One problem with this system is that, unlike the Plurality and Instant Runoff systems, every voter must rank every eligible candidate or the system may have unexpected results. For example, if one voter puts Mr. Potato Head at the top of his list, and everybody else leaves Mr. Potato Head off their lists, the system considers Mr. Potato Head to be an excellent candidate, since everybody who expressed an opinion likes him best, and nobody dislikes him at all.

In the United States, every natural-born citizen over the age of 35 is eligible for the presidency, so to institute the Condorcet method in our presidential elections would require adding some hacks. One possible hack is adding an “everybody else” token that people can insert in their list. This allows the voter a level of expressiveness not currently available, giving them the ability to, for instance, submit a ballot that reads:
  1. Everybody else
  2. Incumbent
As Danny pointed out, however, there might be problems when “everybody else” wins the election. I say this is when we just call democracy a failure, pack our bags and head home.
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comments
no subject
Posted by Anonymous (fiskmeshi) on 2007-12-17 17:53:03
what about the possibility of only considering candidates who receive a certain number of votes?
like, they must appear on the ballot of at least 10% of voters to be considered.

this probably introduces other issues, but at least it solves the mr. potato head problem.
re: no subject
Posted by Jim Crawford on 2007-12-17 17:56:58
It seems like it would work. It's another hack, though, and while I'm not really qualified to consider its ramifications on the algorithm, picking an arbitrary cutoff like 10% seems ugly to me.
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