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  • RE: Argument that FPtP and IRV are Unconstitutional in the US

    Exactly. When the ruling was made no voting method had delivered an Equally Weighted Vote ever. So "as nearly as is practicable" was good enough. In districting (what the ruling was about) a perfectly equal vote is impossible, because populations move and change faster than district lines, but in voting an equal vote is totally practicable.

    Fargo, ND (thanks to the Center for Election Science) made history as the first election where an equally weighted vote was guaranteed to every voter, no matter how many candidates they might have one their side. No vote-splitting in the voting method itself! (Voters can obviously still refuse to coalition and be divided and conquered, but they can also choose not to be.)

    So, since Fargo has done it, we have proven that an equal vote in the voting method itself is practicable. (Thank you CES!) The bar has been raised.

    I'm not a lawyer or a legal scholar, but I'll lay out my understanding:
    Wesberry v Sanders was a Supreme Court Ruling. That ruling, I think, hinges on 'one person, one vote', or actually 'one man, one vote' (but that's another can of worms).

    Is 'one person, one vote' in the Constitution? My understanding is that it would have been if it were not for the "great compromise" which replaced the 'one person, one vote' concept with the familiar 'one state, 2 votes,' system we know all to well from the US senate and electoral college. (Article 5 of the constitution.) Still, each voter or each state is guaranteed an equal vote in the constitution and the equality of the vote is a fundamental concept.

    IRV and FPTP do not ensure an equal vote for voters, or for states.

    Per wikipedia, "The constitutionality of IRV has been subsequently upheld by several federal courts.[24][25] In 2018, a federal court ruled on the constitutionality of Maine’s use of ranked-choice voting, stating that "'one person, one vote' does not stand in opposition to ranked balloting, so long as all electors are treated equally at the ballot."[26]

    The operative there is "so long as all electors are treated equally at the ballot." Voting method scholars know that all electors (voters) are not. Some will have their 2nd choices counted if their favorites are eliminated. Some will not. A voter whose ballot is exhausted is not equal to a voter whose ballot counts in the final round.

    "In 1975, a Michigan court ruling declared that [IRV] did not violate the one-man, one-vote rule:[23] ... no one person or voter has more than one effective vote for one office. No voter's vote can be counted more than once for the same candidate. In the final analysis, no voter is given greater weight in his or her vote over the vote of another voter."

    In IRV, yes, no voter has a vote weighted more than 1, but some voters absolutely have their vote reweighted to 0 between the 1st round and the final round.

    posted in Advocacy
  • RE: Threaded replies show up both as a threaded reply and at the end of the feed.

    @Jack-Waugh @Marylander
    Sounds good to me.
    Thanks for looking into it. I don't think it's time sensitive or anything, just thought I'd flag it here as a feature request.

    Nice to have our categories all sorted out so clearly with a spot for these types of questions. 🙂

    I haven't had much time to engage here on the forum since we launched, but I've been sending people over and it seems like there are conversations happening!

    Looking forward to having more time to invest here soon.

    posted in Issue Reports
  • RE: Utah votes down RCV, citing monotonicity and not wanting to go with a stepping stone reform and then have to change again.

    So are they likely to implement STAR then?

    posted in Current Events
  • RE: Threaded replies show up both as a threaded reply and at the end of the feed.

    @SaraWolk Unfortunately I do not think that the admin tools provide an easy way to change this. The logical place for it would be under post settings.

    A quick google search suggests that there is a plugin to make replies appear only in a nested structure, found here:

    Adding a plugin would be a bit deeper on the technical side than just changing the site settings, however, since it would be a change to the site code, so @Jack-Waugh what do you think about using this plugin?

    posted in Issue Reports
  • RE: Successive Rank Voting

    In STAR Voting your vote goes to the finalist you prefer. Its constitutional, fully, and dovetails well with the Oregon constitution's wording and history. We have never had any problems or concerns raised on this by our lawyers, by the constitutional review that was done for our ballot initiatives, and there were no concerns on this raised when the Oregon Legislative Committee drafted HB 3250 STAR Voting for Oregon.

    We are not sure if Approval would have problems, but as mandated, in STAR your vote only even goes to one candidate and that only happens once, in the runoff.

    Here's the relevant text from their own initiative, Section 3-5:
    (5) Each ballot cast shall be tallied to determine, for each office, which of the two candidates identified in subsection (4)(b) of this section receives the vote of each elector that
    cast a ballot in the election. For the purpose of vote tallying under this subsection:
    (a) The candidate who received the higher score from an elector, as calculated under
    subsection (4) of this section, shall receive the vote from that elector.
    (b) If the two candidates received the same score from an elector, neither candidate may
    receive the vote of that elector.
    (c) The individual who receives the most votes, as calculated under this subsection, is
    nominated or elected to the office.

    posted in New Voting Methods and Variations
  • Utah votes down RCV, citing monotonicity and not wanting to go with a stepping stone reform and then have to change again.

    Take a look at this video. A City in Utah just voted 5-2 against implementing IRV. Stated reasons, they'd rather have STAR voting and don't want to pass a stepping stone and then change it, and monotonicity.

    Here's a discussion at one of the more interesting comments.

    posted in Current Events
  • RE: Threaded replies show up both as a threaded reply and at the end of the feed.

    I think this is still not ideal. Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 12.52.30 PM.png

    @Marylander , any idea how to change that setting?

    posted in Issue Reports
  • RE: Successive Rank Voting

    @Keith It's worth noting that we considered STAR 0-9 and other scales, but 0-5 is the sweet spot; best for cognitive load, great outcomes, and better strategic resilience. The bigger the scale the bigger the impacts of tactical voting would be.

    Practical considerations like ballot design have to be taken into account too. In order to prevent spoiled voided ballots due to bad handwriting and people whose 1s look like 7s and so on you really need a row of bubbles. To many bubbles is not good. Too few choices is also not good.

    posted in New Voting Methods and Variations
  • RE: Successive Rank Voting

    @robertpdx All voting methods which pass Later No Harm fail Favorite Betrayal Criteria, meaning that it's not always safe to vote for your honest favorite and you should consider voting lesser-evil instead.

    Voting methods which pass this criteria fail to eliminate vote-splitting.

    It's not a good pass/fail criteria. It's an important consideration to balance to find a well rounded system that does a good job overall.
    This article explains:

    posted in New Voting Methods and Variations
  • RE: Successive Rank Voting

    @robertpdx Hi Robert, I see you found the forum. I'm glad to see this thread active.

    Your Bucklin voting type proposal is interesting. Bucklin is the system PDX and then repealed around 100 years ago. It tests as better than IRV and Approval but not as good as STAR on a few metrics. It's also harder to explain.

    As to STAR and some of the concerns you raise, I agree that a few are misunderstandings or points that can be cleared up.

    • No voting method can guarantee a majority. Even with multiple elections and a top 2 runoff the last PDX mayoral race failed to elect a majority preferred winner because one simply didn't exist. Portland had 3 polarized factions. IRV and STAR and other methods can find a majority winner if one exists, but can never guarantee one. IRV finds a majority of remaining ballots only so it's a manufactured majority. STAR looks at every ballot.

    • Bullet voting can and does happen with any voting method. It wasn't incentivised in Buckin voting either but voters do it anyways because they are polarized, because they don't have a more nuanced opinion. Some people just want to vote for their favorite and get on with their day. Voting theorists love to dive into the game theory and strategic incentives to explain this behavior, but at the end of the day most people do it if they haven't taken the time to learn about the full field of candidates. STAR does a good job of incentivizing and allowing expressive voting, but that's all we can do. Laws that would force voters to rank all candidates would just result in lower turnout or voided ballots anyways.

    • On "real" runoffs. A "real" runoff is a second election with less candidates than the first. For elections that means a primary and general.

    • Any time you have a preference voting ballot you can do an instant or automatic runoff. These terms are synonymous. The only reason STAR isn't STIR voting is that the acronym didn't work. A STAR voting runoff is a more real runoff than an IRV runoff because every ballot is counted in the runoff, which is not the case in IRV.

    • On bullet voting. STAR voting never incentivises strategically dishonestly bullet voting. It's more strategic and smart to show at least some support for other candidates besides your favorite, just in case your favorite can't win. Failing to show that you prefer your 2nd choice over your 3rd choice means that if your favorite can't win you don't care what happens. The only time a dishonest bullet vote would be no-risk is if you were sure your favorite would win no matter what. In that case you might as well vote more expressively because it can't hurt.

    • Overall, STAR Voting does a better job at incentivising honest voting than IRV or Approval or Bucklin. Bucklin and strategy hasn't been studied a ton in modern voting theory because there are other proposals that are simpler and perform better.

    • One thing that is worth noting is that no voting method can be perfect incentivising voters to vote for their honest favorite as best (not doing lesser evil voting) and also be perfect at incentivising voters to show support for others. (Incentivising voters to be willing to compromise to some degree.) STAR does a pretty great job at both, and that's as good as we can ask for without going for much more complex options.

    • Your example shows a dead tie between candidates A and B. Any of the voters could have been more expressive, and so the incentive would be for all three to do so in the next election. Your example does a good job of illustrating why it's safe to assume that voting behavior and more expressive voting would likely improve over time as voters learn that unexpressive and stingy voting isn't a good tactic in STAR.
      In your example if we had the same election again a reasonable vote would be:
      Voter 1: (5,0,1)
      Voter 2: (1,5,0)
      Voter 3: (0,1,5)
      That's still a tie, but at least now each voter is doing the most they can to ensure their favorite wins while doing as much as possible to ensure their least favorite doesn't win.

    In a dead tie there will always be prisoners dilemmas, but a strategic dishonest vote doesn't give anyone an edge, it's just as likely to backfire in STAR Voting. And voters want to be honest. The reason strategic voting is so prevalent now is because voters need to be strategic to get a fair shake. In STAR an honest vote is a good smart vote.

    posted in New Voting Methods and Variations