While I appreciate the topic and it's an interesting thesis, I don't buy it. One of the goals of a voting system should be to reduce the need to vote strategically, so that voters can just express their honest preferences. After this election, a lot of voters who most prefer Palin have to be asking themselves if they should rank Begich first next time around, to give an artificial sense that he has a "strong core of support". (This is analogous to how many voters in a closed primary consider "electability".) If voters get better outcomes by voting strategically as blocs, that's not going to help us move past the two-party system.

That all said, I do hope that this particular questionable outcome and the general shortcomings of instant runoff voting don't sour the public on all types of ranked voting, or more generally on structural reforms to our democracy that are badly needed.

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Hi Steven. I agree with your article in the main, but not your assessment of STAR Voting. Without good core support a candidate will lose in the instant runoff. The mix of the two types of support are different from RCV, but I prefer the mix in STAR.

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Ranked Choice Voting failed in Alaska, just as we all predicted it would. It failed to elect the candidate preferred by the voters. It failed to prevent the spoiler effect. It failed to make it safe for voters to honestly rank the candidates. It failed to prevent vote-splitting.

If the voters prefer candidate A over candidate B, and your voting system chooses B, your voting system is fundamentally broken.

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Broad support seems to be ignored in this case. Please consider giving each candidate some version of a score for core support and broad support. Then combine those scores for each candidate to make some version of a net score. These scores could determine the winner outright or perhaps could determine who is eliminated or who proceeds to the next round. Please see numbers below at end of this comment for three examples of various ways to create a net score.

Using only core support as a means to determine who is eliminated in a particular round appears to me to violate the criterion that both support levels should be considered. Note that Begich got 28% first ranking, which is fairly respectable in a three-candidate comparison, and Palin only did about 3% better than that. I would suggest that based on overall considerations, Palin should have been the one eliminated. To completely ignore the broad support of Begich (71.7%!) effectively exaggerates (over-emphasizes) the core support.

Method 1:

Percentage ballots with 1st or 2nd place votes (in essence, a combined measure of core support and broad support):

Begich Palin Peltola

71.7% 48.0% 50.2%

Method 2:

Begich Palin Peltola

% score for 1st place votes 28.5 31.3 40.2

% broad support: % 2nd place votes* 60.4 24.4 16.9

Combined score 88.9 55.7 57.1

( * What % of remaining ballots besides those with first place votes did a candidate receive 2nd place votes?)

Method 3:

Borda count scores:

Begich Palin Peltola

189332 149715 170750

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Dec 13, 2022·edited Dec 13, 2022Liked by Steven Hill

One thing that I haven’t seen in any of the comments or analysis yet is: if a different type of election system is implemented, wouldn’t the type/mix of candidates likely change as well?

Assuming that a different system (~especially~ once established for several cycles) would result in similar candidate behavior/ positions, let alone similar lists of candidates, seems … rather imprecise.

- - - -

(Perhaps considering that could make it hard to sustain arguments for/against any particular system.)

People who might ~never~ consider running for office in ‘first-past-the-post’ or RCV environments, for example, might be willing to run under another scheme such as ‘approval voting’. Likewise, divisive candidates who currently do well in FPTP-style elections might moderate themselves or choose a different career path altogether.

Any recommendations for existing writings comparing different electoral systems ~without~ assuming that candidate pool would remain relatively equivalent?

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I've written an in-depth response on my blog: https://voting-in-the-abstract.medium.com/rcv-and-core-support-e0d1780a9184

Some of my main points:

1. "Core support" is a concept that hasn't been properly defined. To define it such that it can be intrinsically important we must define it in terms of cardinal preferences, not just in terms of how many voters ranked a candidate first.

2. Condorcet does value both core support and broad support - it's just more flexible about it than RCV is. Under Condorcet methods, a candidate still benefits from having a lot of core support - but if they don't, they can still make up for it by having a lot of extra broad support. Under RCV, if a candidate lacks enough core support then their broad support is ignored altogether.

3. Condorcet embodies simple and intuitive values: that all voter's preferences should matter equally, and that candidates should be incentivized to care about all voters equally. The values of RCV ("A candidate who has virtually no core support, even though the candidate did have broad support, that candidate should not win. You need BOTH core and broad support to win an election under RCV.") are incompatible with values of Condorcet.

4. When I say that I prefer the values of Condorcet to the values of RCV, you don't need to "make a dash for the rest room". I prefer the values of Condorcet because I believe that incentivizing candidates to care about all voters equally will make a wide range of polarization-induced disasters, such as a civil war or democratic backsliding, less likely. If you convinced me that necessitating core support (rather than merely valuing it) leads to better consequences for society than optimizing for depolarization, that would convince me to endorse RCV values over Condorcet values.

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Jul 31Liked by Steven Hill

What doesn’t make sense is to use two totally different and arbitrary methods for a post-hoc evaluation of the candidates, and then to likewise arbitrarily decide which of those two methods is a priori superior as an argument against the other one.

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Aug 6·edited Aug 6

You haven't explained why you prefer Hare to bottom-two runoff or why you want to forbid equal-ranking except at the bottom.

Failing to elect the Condorcet winner when there is one is manifestly minority rule in a circumstance wherein majority rule instead would have been possible.

Failure of Frohnmayer balance opens up a crack into which capital can insert its wedge and thereby continue to prevent democracy and enforce the GHG emissions associated with endless war, as a consequence of which, humanity shan't have many more generations to survive.

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