[ARIN-consult] Consultation on Implementing Single Transferrable Voting for ARIN Elections

Adam Thompson athompso at athompso.net
Thu Feb 10 19:19:18 EST 2022

I do not agree with Bill - I suspect we are on opposite sides of this starting from fundamental assumptions and beliefs, going right up to the implementation details and opinions about the consequences.
I believe STV will be an improvement over the current process, as I believe FPP voting has much greater inherent unfairness than STV.  (None of these systems are *good*, it's about which produces less bad outcomes, as far as I'm concerned.)

Feel free to stop reading here.  That might be best, in fact...

I believe Bill's fundamental approach to elections and voting is... not compatible with my beliefs & needs.  In my opinion, his two points are coloured by _his_ ideology, as is to be expected.
* The defeat of a plurality candidate who got the most votes, while very much a corner case, is possible - but it is neither unexpected nor undesirable.  That's a feature, not a bug.  STV resembles a (hoping I remember the terminology correctly...) weighted centroid model, where enough smaller clusters can, in aggregate, successfully pull the center of the graph away from a dominant cluster.
* Unless the voting system allows for both "for" and "against" votes, no-one has voted *against* any candidate at all, ever, even if that was both their thought process and their intent.  That's logically equivalent to thinking you can prove a negative.  If you only have choices A and B, a vote for one is *equivalent* to a vote against the other, but it is not factually a vote against anything at all.  Note that I'm not necessarily opposed to being able to cast votes both for and against candidates, it could even massively increase voter turnout - I'd sure love to vote against some of the jerks who run for public office around here!

STV has by now had quite a bit of real-world testing, certainly on scales far, far larger than ARIN and with - IMO again - much more "real-world" impact to the average voter; it has shown itself to *not* regularly produce the bizarre results its detractors are worried about; and it has shown to produce more balanced, less lop-sided outcomes that do not completely ignore minority groups.

If you're regularly part of the majority and you're happy with the outcomes of FPP voting on a regular basis, OF COURSE you wouldn't want to switch to STV - the system is stacked in your favour.  Hence why no significant _structural_ electoral reform of this sort has taken place in North America in ... well, I think it's a couple of centuries, but I'm not that confident in my knowledge of political history.  Up here, we have a head of state who campaigned on a promise to abolish FPP ... 6? years ago, and has done approximately nothing about it yet - and likely won't for the reasons I just enumerated.


-----Original Message-----
From: ARIN-consult <arin-consult-bounces at arin.net> On Behalf Of William Herrin
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2022 3:00 PM
Cc: <arin-consult at arin.net> <arin-consult at arin.net>
Subject: Re: [ARIN-consult] Consultation on Implementing Single Transferrable Voting for ARIN Elections

On Thu, Jan 6, 2022 at 8:38 AM ARIN <info at arin.net> wrote:
> One recommendation that has arisen from this governance review is to replace the current first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system with single transferrable voting (STV), also known as ranked-choice voting. STV would provide the ability for the community to realize the following primary benefits:


Since the consultation is coming to a close, I want to take a moment
to reiterate:

I respectfully OPPOSE a transition to STV voting due to the
demonstrated mathematical flaws in the process.

STV as proposed in the consultation can lead to unexpected and
undesirable results including:
* defeat of the plurality candidate who got the most votes
* election of a candidate opposed by a clear majority of voters

It can reach these undesired results because the math involved in the
instant-runoff process amplifies the impact of some votes while
effectively nullifying others. I went through the math back in my
early January posts if you want to see how that happens.

Bill Herrin

William Herrin
bill at herrin.us
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