Thank you Jack & Keith for humoring me while I educate myself and float ideas on voting methods. Let me explain my background. I am working on an open primary ballot initiative in Oregon, and our group is at loggerheads in deciding how run an election. We did agree that since primaries tend to have low turnout, more than two candidates should be advanced to the general election (we settled on Top-4 like Alaska).
We are constrained by the state constitution which says that voters “may vote for one person under the title for each office. Provision may be made by law for the voter’s direct or indirect expression of his first, second or additional choices among the candidates for any office.”
I’m not too worried about the primary election itself. Even plurality voting would likely produce four acceptable candidates. But looking at the popular menu of election methods for a 4-way single-winner election, none of them is appealing. Range and approval voting (and variations thereof) have the same flaw as plurality voting: if voters only pick one candidate, then the candidate who is the most opposed by a majority of voters could end up winning. For that reason I favor methods that ensure some level of majority support for the winner. However ranked-choice voting with instant runoff (RCV/IRV) does not reward a candidate for being nearly everyone’s second choice (proponents rationalize this flaw by claiming it to be a desirable feature). I also don’t like the complexity of RCV/IRV in a time when many voters are being told that elections can’t be trusted.
I came up with the “Vote for 2 then Instant Runoff” method as a way to include voters’ second choices in determining who would reach the runoff, while allowing voters to choose between “friend betrayal” and “later no harm” as a resolution of Arrow’s impossibility theorem. I mentioned this idea to someone promoting a different method, and they suggested that I post it on this forum. I still think it is not a bad way to run an election, but it is a bit awkward formatting it into a ranked-choice ballot.
I then started wondering if there was a way to guarantee majority support without having a runoff. That led me to the “Successive Rank Voting” proposal that I now realize is just a form of Bucklin voting. I’m surprised that Bucklin voting never popped up in any of my internet searches. Evidently it is not good to force voters to choose candidates they don’t like, so I’m abandoning that idea.
However, Bucklin voting does seem like a logical way to count successive ranks, so I now favor combining Bucklin voting with an instant runoff if no candidate achieves a majority. The runoff can be achieved using a ranked choice ballot by distinguishing between approved and non-approved candidates in the rankings. See http://www.classicalmatter.org/Election Science/BAIR Voting.pdf . This admittedly wouldn’t qualify as a “new method”, except perhaps in the details of vote tabulation. But I still appreciate feedback.
That’s my story. Thanks for indulging me in this discussion.