A vote on voting

The Minneapolis Observer noted this morning that there will be a ballot item in Minneapolis this November about instituting Instant Run-off Voting in Minneapolis elections.

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Author: Cavorter

Recently divorced SWM seeks, um, stuff. (Formerly used the handle: Glyph)

6 thoughts on “A vote on voting”

  1. Oo! I hadn’t noticed that. Plans for IRV have been kicking around for a while. On the Minneapolis Issues list I was on for a while, the topic was a recurring one. One thing is for sure if it gets approved, it’ll change elections in Minneapolis by quite a bit.
  2. Yeah, I’m pretty excited about it. My one small fear is that it will prove to be too complicated for some people and there will be complaints about that.
  3. Heck yeah. Especially when some of the ‘features’ start coming out. Since voting 3rd party isn’t a hopeless thing in an IRV environment, and people aren’t used to how IRV works, the first time a Surprise! candidate wins an election on run-offs will trigger it. Think of the bemusement experienced by everyone when Jessie got elected, that sort of feeling.

    I predict an uptick in Green candidates getting elected. At least until the Democrats get a handle on how IRV changes things and reorganize.

    I also predict that MPLS precincts will run out of ballots en-mass due to spoiled ballots the first general election it takes place. Happily in MN the ballot box spits it back at you if you marked it up wrong, so you can go back and do it right. If such an IRV method were adopted out here in the land of mail-in ballots, we’d have a spoilage rate of probably 15-20% of submitted ballots.

  4. A comment that got posted to the MplsObs blurb that I noticed this morning mentioned something about the multi-selection race IRV method being severely flawed. Going back through the example from the booster’s site, I found it pretty complex, but not actually problematic. The one point I am a bit curious about however is how the “surplus” votes are selected for the initial recount. The explanation was a bit lacking on that point.
  5. I read it, and this is an area where statistics really helps. How they apportion the ‘surplus’ ballots is actually done virutally, rather than randomly selecting X-Y ballots (where X=# of votes received and Y=# votes needed for the seat) from the pool of ballots and using those directly. The Z votes that are ‘surplus’ are apportioned based on the over all distribution of ‘rank 2’ votes for that candidate in total.

    For run-offs where the candidate that already won got more votes, the explanation didn’t go into details. Nor does the proposed charter amendment provide rules, saying that the City Council will set them. How I expect it to work is to add the new votes to the ‘surplus’ for the elected candidate, and then re-apportion the ‘surplus’ votes in light of the new votes. Those ballots that voted for the elected Candidate for rank 2 and lower would then be added to the overall elected candidate pool for apportioning and the actual votes on the ballots subsumed into statistics.

    Or the Council could go so far as to provide multiple entries for each position in order to provide multiple ‘vote vectors’ for each voter. The advantage here is that there are no statistics involved beyond simple percentages, but the ballot could be a lot larger.

  6. That makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification and further point.

    I suppose the tradeoff for a bigger ballot is making it theoretically simpler, but I don’t know that either direction is actually “better” necessarily.

    Given the number of multi-selection races that come up for vote at the city level, I am actually fairly surprised that topic wasn’t covered in more detail though.

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