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

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Fri Jan 7 12:25:30 EST 2022

> On Jan 6, 2022, at 11:55 , William Herrin <bill at herrin.us> wrote:
> 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:
>> • Greater voting choice. Voters rank candidates in order of preference;
>> • A more proportional result. Successful candidates more broadly represent voter sentiment versus a single issue. There is better representation of member minority views;
>> • No wasted votes. Fewer votes are cast for losing candidates or needlessly cast for run-away winners;
>> • Designed for multiple winners; and
>> • Reduced opportunities for tactical voting.
>> STV has some disadvantages:
>> • It is possible for a single candidate to win without crossing the winning threshold;
>> • The process is more complicated to understand and implement than FPTP; and
>> • In some cases, ballots that don't rank all candidates may be discarded.
> Though unlikely, it is mathematically possible for the folks who
> receive the most first-round votes to all lose the election while the
> second-to-last candidates win. It's also possible for the candidate
> ranked LAST by a majority of voters to win election.

You say this as if it is necessarily a bad outcome. I’m not convinced that everyone’s
last choice is any worse than a minority’s first choice. (what you propose is not
possible if a majority voted for said first choice).

In most cases, STV will yield a result more reflective of the community’s overall
desires. Yes, you can cite corner cases where a potentially objectionable result
can be obtained, but they are actually somewhat difficult to contrive.

As you note, there are alternative RCV options that lack this particular anomaly,
but they present others.

Overall, I’m fine with most of the RCV options available, but generally prefer STV
as its mechanics have been well studied and its results have proven to generally
provide a superior result where it has been implemented.

This is not to say that unlikely and pathological elections do not occur. (2016
U.S. Federal comes to mind). The sad part there is that to a large extent, that
was the result of the pro-slavery provisions in the constitution doing almost
exactly what they were intended to do.


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