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

John Curran jcurran at arin.net
Fri Jan 7 15:18:33 EST 2022

Bill -

Operationally this is certainly possible – one would implement STV, but then confirm the Trustees to be seated based on the initial round vote tallies.

It would provide some insight into whether STV voting system would have resulted in a different outcome in past elections then plurality voting (limited by Paul Andersen’s observation about impacts of the voting system on decisions of those casting), but I’ll note that it would some rather colorful aspects to be considered before proceeding -

1.  Any Trustee elected via plurality who would not have been elected under STV risks a potential stigma (“you weren’t who the community really wanted”)
2.  Perhaps more importantly, it would be challenging to make use of the data produced in public discussion of the merits of each system without inherently weighing in on the relative merits of the candidates involved - i.e. public discussion of  “Would STV have resulted in a better outcome in year nnnn than the plurality winner?” would be rather uncivil process to put a recently elected Trustee through...


John Curran
President and CEO
American Registry for Internet Numbers

On 7 Jan 2022, at 11:07 AM, William Herrin <bill at herrin.us<mailto:bill at herrin.us>> wrote:

I want to propose an alternative:

Instead of making any bylaws change at this time, collect the votes
for the next few ARIN elections in ranked-choice format but continue
to use them as FPTP. That is, ask folks to rank their choices but then
simply use the first ones in the list with the current FPTP math.

Following each election, do a data dump of the votes cast and an
analysis to see how the election -would have- turned out had STV been
used. Then, bring the question back to consultation having acquired
hard data demonstrating how the proposed system would have performed
in our environment.

I assume merely collecting ranked choices does not violate Virginia law?

Bill Herrin

On Fri, Jan 7, 2022 at 10:33 AM William Herrin <bill at herrin.us<mailto:bill at herrin.us>> wrote:

On Fri, Jan 7, 2022 at 9:51 AM Peter Harrison <peter at colovore.com<mailto:peter at colovore.com>> wrote:
It is possible to create many scenarios that test the limits of STV and FPTP systems. I encourage you to consider their likelihood in our situation and discount them accordingly. Please remember the overall goal of creating greater equity using a globally deployed system designed by psephology thought leaders.

Hi Peter,

As an engineer, I earn a living making systems resistant to Murphy's
Law. When I see a voting system like STV which allows for the election
of the candidate most opposed by a clear majority of voters, alarm
bells ring. It's an obviously incorrect outcome that shouldn't be

That STV -also- allows for the defeat of the 1st choice candidate most
desired by a plurality of voters is an additional concern. Without a
majority I can see an argument that support for the candidate was
broad but shallow. Still, when considered in context with the
obviously incorrect result above, I worry the math hides more error.

So, I'm tentatively against STV voting.

But then I'm an engineer, not a psephology thought leader.

Bill Herrin

William Herrin
bill at herrin.us<mailto:bill at herrin.us>

William Herrin
bill at herrin.us<mailto:bill at herrin.us>
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