Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Four More Years

My first entry to this blog was four years ago today, the day after the election, arguing that Mike Huckabee may have been a spoiler for Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican primary election. Back then I was arguing in favor of Condorcet ranked pairs. It wouldn't be until January, after reading Gaming the Vote, that I would jump away from ranked methods entirely to support evaluative methods like approval voting. I have been constant on some things though; I've always been against IRV. (Mostly.)

Support for third-parties has also been a constant undercurrent here. Mostly, I think, because third-party supporters are the ones with the most to gain from, and therefore the most likely to listen to, what I have to say. But be sure to read up on your history, and to disabuse yourself of spurious arguments, if you want to be ready for what comes next.

I try to always argue from a logical—rather than emotional—perspective, but I find I sometimes have to tap into a bit of esoterically academic minutia. Still, I try my best to keep my points accessible, and I hope the steady gain in my audience over these four years means I've been successful on both fronts.

Thank you for reading. Here's to four more years!


  1. Dunno if you're aware of this, but I randomly found out the Harvey Milk Democratic Club uses score/range voting in it's internal elections.

  2. I was. Although, thank you for the reminder; my next post was going to be about the gains in the use of approval voting over the next four years, and this is a great example.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Good luck!

    I blogged for a little more than four years and have been far less rigorous and quality conscious in my posting than you.

  4. Here's my first post.

    It illustrates how we're different in our blogging style and approach to electoral reform...

    And I read your first post on IRV,
    1. There is a normative difference between coercing members of an off-center major party into voting strategically and coercing dissenters from the major parties into voting strategically.
    2. On balance if the two major parties were thereby coerced into following the moving center, most third party dissenters would be less alienated from the system.
    3. One can argue that three-way ties are already inherently unstable in a single-winner election, due to the economies of scale in the running and winning of such elections, and that it's unrealistic to judge election rules with simulations that have 7 candidates who have an equal a priori chance of being competitive in a single-winner election. If you have a mix of 1, 2, 3 or sometimes(rarely) 4 competitive candidates and many non-competitive candidates, it would be a more realistic model. IRV probably wouldn't do the best by BR, but the diffs wouldn't be that great.

    (I'd recommend modelling the number of serious candidates to be 1 + a Poisson random variable with a mean of 1 or 1.5 and drawing the other candidates(so there are 7 candidates total) from a different preference distribution with less support likely.)

    And so the inherent marketing first-mover advantage would justify strategic support for IRV to replace FPTP in many single-winner elections.