Thanks for pointing out that omission. The info has been available via published minutes of the forum council, but it's better to have a summary in the present category (which is whither the "About" button on the home page leads), so I posted it.
Best posts made by Jack Waugh
RE: Transparency of https://www.votingtheory.org/
Argument that FPtP and IRV are Unconstitutional in the US
In Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964), the Supreme Court held that "One Person, One Vote" means that "the weight and worth of the citizens' votes as nearly as is practicable must be the same." The theequalvote document goes on to argue, validly, that the weight and worth is not equal without the balance constraint being met. The logic is that for example if it takes two million voters of one opinion to balance off only one million voters of the opposite opinion, the weight and worth of each person's vote is not the same. Consequently, IRV and FPtP do not provide for "One Person, One Vote" and are therefore not legitimate.
RE: MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT! 7/20, 5:30pm PT on Zoom!
Our Internet Domains
We are holding:
Obviously, we have to keep votingtheory.org, because that's our official domain. So I will renew that right after the meeting.
During our founding meeting, I grabbed voting-theory.com (note the hyphen) by mistake. So I'm planning to cancel that.
A user of the old forum advised we grab the .com and .net names to avoid being impersonated by any unfriendly agents who could turn up. I don't know how important this is. If the council decides to keep them and can raise the money other than from me, I will cooperate with the decision. Otherwise, I am inclined to drop them.
Our other money expense is $60/yr. for the server. This could reasonably double if we get a second server in a different city to hold backup data. Currently, my personal server, which I am paying for anyway for other purposes, is holding the backups. I should double check whether the backup mechanism I set up is really working.
As I mentioned, I hope we can recruit someone as treasurer.
As I have also mentioned, in regard to tech support, we are in a more vulnerable position than would be ideal, because it all currently depends on one person (me). I don't mind doing it, but something could always happen to me (as something could happen to any single individual person). If someone can offer back-up support, they should submit their SSH public key.
In solidarity for a better tomorrow (or at least, a tomorrow),
Too Dependent on One Person
We should try to recruit a second volunteer who can do SSH stuff. If anything happens to me, the project is too vulnerable. In particular, having a scheme for regular data backups is crucial. I have set up some such scheme, but a second pair of eyes on it would make it more robust.
@Psephomancy It's choking on my attempt to use the "import()" construct (having parentheses), which is supposed to allow a dynamic import. Either it doesn't know the construct or thinks it can only be used from a module. I guess it's a relatively new feature of the language. Maybe I can find a workaround.
Strategy in IRV
IRV proponents say it somehow defies Gibbard and you can vote your sentiments and not expect to get bitten as a result. Reporter David Leonhardt with the New York Times, on the other hand, writes about strategy with what is called RCV (meaning IRV, however), with examples from real life. This comes in a newsletter from the Times that you can sign up for even without being a paid subscriber to the paper. Since they publish his piece outside the paywall, maybe I can just paste in a copy of it below, and not get crucified on account of my violating their copyright.
By David Leonhardt
Good morning. Ranked-choice voting is growing. We offer a strategic explainer.
A voter casts her ballot in the New York mayor’s race last weekend.Desiree Rios for The New York Times
A different kind of election
New York City’s mayoral campaign is one of the highest profile instances of a ranked-choice election in the U.S. Rather than selecting only one candidate, voters can instead choose up to five and rank them.
The system has some big advantages. In a traditional election, people who vote for a long-shot candidate — like Ralph Nader, the Green Party presidential nominee, in 2000 — can end up hurting a top-tier candidate — like Al Gore that year. With ranked choice, progressive voters could have listed Nader first and Gore second. Once Nader failed to finish in the top two, the final round of the election would have reallocated his voters to their second choice, which often would have been Gore.
(Ranked choice is also known as instant-runoff voting, because people vote only once. The various “rounds” of voting all occur during the counting of ballots.)
The basic idea is to allow people both to select their favorite candidate and to indicate their preferences among the other candidates. That combination can allow the most broadly popular candidate to win the election, while also making clear the full spectrum of voters’ views. If Nader had received, say, 20 percent of first-place votes in 2000, it could have signaled the appeal of his platform and inspired other progressives to run in 2004.
For these reasons, ranked-choice voting can seem as if it eliminates the need for strategic voting. But it doesn’t. Even with ranked choice, voters sometimes should consider more than their own preferences.
Today’s newsletter offers an explainer — and not just because of New York. Ranked choice has been growing recently, with Maine using it in federal elections since 2018 and Alaska set to begin doing so next year. More than 50 cities — including Oakland, San Francisco and Minneapolis — have also decided to use it, as have state parties in Kansas, Virginia and elsewhere.
Ranked choice has obvious appeal when many people are dissatisfied with establishment politicians and parties.
The Alaska dilemma
To make sense of the complexities, I asked for help from Nate Cohn, who analyzes elections for The Times. Nate suggested we start by looking not at New York’s Democratic mayoral primary, which has eight major candidates, but at a simpler race — next year’s Senate election in Alaska, which appears to have three leading candidates.
One is Lisa Murkowski, the Republican incumbent who occasionally breaks with her party (such as on Obamacare repeal and Donald Trump’s second impeachment). Another is Kelly Tshibaka, a Trumpist Republican. The third is Al Gross, an independent who would likely be a de facto Senate Democrat.
For many Alaska Democratic voters, the order of preference seems obvious: Gross first, Murkowski second — and definitely not Tshibaka. Yet there is a major potential downside to voting that way.
If early polls, like this one, end up being correct, Murkowski could receive fewer first-place votes than either Gross or Tshibaka. Murkowski would then be eliminated, and her votes would be reallocated. Once the second-choice votes were counted, Tshibaka would easily beat Gross.
By The New York Times | Source: Change Research
But if some of Gross’s supporters instead listed Murkowski first, she could receive the second-most first-choice votes and qualify for the final round. In that round, she might beat Tshibaka and win re-election.
This situation creates a dilemma for Democrats: Should they list Gross first, hoping that the polls are wrong and he can win? Or should they list Murkowski first, trusting the polls and supporting the more moderate Republican? The problem has no perfect answer.
The choice for New Yorkers
The broader lesson is that when top candidates tower over the rest — as Gore and George W. Bush did in 2000 — there is little downside to listing another candidate first in a ranked-choice election. But when there is more uncertainty, strategy matters. In an election like Alaska’s, voters may want to list their second or third choice at the top of the ballot, to help that candidate make the final round.
The New York mayor’s race remains highly uncertain, partly because the quality of the polling is unclear, as Nate notes. As a result, there are two reasonable approaches for voters to consider.
The first is to ignore strategy and simply rank your favorite candidates, one through five. The argument for this approach is that ranked-choice voting is so new that nobody knows what will happen. It would be a shame to outsmart yourself and help defeat the candidate you think would make the best mayor.
The second approach is to be strategic. On Monday, the well-regarded Marist Institute for Public Opinion reported that only four candidates — Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang — were the first choice of at least 10 percent of voters. By listing one of them first, you could help her or him survive until the final round and possibly win. By choosing anybody other than those four, you may have little say over who wins.
A final piece of advice, from Nate: You can maximize your influence — without hurting your top choices — by filling out all five spots on your ballot. “In such a wide open race, ranking more people increases the chance that your vote counts,” he says.
Critics say that ranked-choice voting can sometimes lead to strange outcomes and that a better method is “approval voting,” in which people vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down on each candidate.
Rob Richie, an advocate for ranked choice, responds that every system has downsides, as the Nobel-winning economist Kenneth Arrow helped show. “Every nonranked system has far greater problems,” Richie told me.
Here is Nate’s guide to the New York mayoral race, as well as a series of interviews with the candidates, by Times Opinion. And here is a preview of tonight’s debate.
Reference to Posts in the Old Forum
I'm recommending that people do not include links pointing back to the old forum at CES, because CES will shut down that forum very soon, and such links would stop working.
I suggest that for now, if you want to respond to an old post, just quote extensively from it, and maybe even include some of the context from earlier messages of its thread.
I hope to receive an update to the archive. Once all the old material is published in the archive, it will be possible to link to items there.
Unfortunately, I don't expect I could prevail upon CES to support the legacy links and send them to process here.
RE: Forum Graphics and Design
The archive pages should have, in my opinion, in addition to obviously their respective main contents, the following elements:
- an extremely clear indication that the user is in archive-land.
- link to the forum.
- breadcrumbs for navigating upward.
Do you have any suggestion for style and layout for the archive pages to look consistent with the home and "about" pages?
Who Is Doing This
The forum is controlled by a Council, which currently has four members. The forum council has not incorporated itself and so I don't know that it has a legal existence or can own anything, but the members have agreed to form it for the purpose of running the present forum. I believe I have sent the credentials for running everything to the members. Of course, the main key comprises the credentials for controlling the domain names.
I believe that applications to join the forum council would be welcome.
Currently, the council has no officers; everyone is simply a member. In particular, there is as yet no treasurer and there are no established procedures for receiving donations and paying expenses. I have been footing the bill for the server at $5/mo. and that for the domain registrations, on the order of $20 annually for each.
The current council members:
- Sara Wolk
- Connor Frankston
- Jack Waugh (me)
Ms. Wolk is affiliated with equal.vote and starvoting.org and receives compensation for her work for those organizations. Ms. Wolk has been setting up the forum meetings using the Zoom conferencing service. There is no regular schedule of meetings and they have been called when any member thought there was a need to make one or more decisions. Motions are offered and seconded and formally voted on for all decisions, and minutes kept.
I am currently the only volunteer with the technical knowledge to maintain the server.
- Blain Cellars
- Gary Lietke
- Sara Wolk
The Council members are also the admins.
RE: Forum Graphics and Design
I think I have pretty good success at realizing the visual design and now I am fiddling with some details about the behavior that happens when one presses a button. Most people would just make those links, which would be trivial, but I am experimenting with an ability to navigate among some pages without causing the browser to refresh. Arguably, such navigation is not that valuable a feature for this application, but I am trying to build techniques for future work. I expect to front the design on our real home page in mere hours.