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  1. #1
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Default Ranked voting systems: a query

    I don't know about every tested voting system in the world, but I've been looking at ranked choice systems and I wonder whether any elections have ever been conducted by counting all of EVERYONE'S ranked selections (instead of just the lower ranked choices of those voting for the most or least popular candidates), and allocating points to each selected candidate on the basis of how the voter ranked them.

    Has this ever been done to anyone's knowledge, and if so what is it called? If not, why not? Wouldn't it do more to reduce the incidence of tactical voting than even the single transferable vote, which can leave supporters of candidates with medium popularity the only people not to get their vote transferred? And wouldn't it leave far fewer people strongly opposed to their representatives, as it would take into account how all the voters on average feel about candidates other than their first choice?

    On another note, do people agree with me that the two consequences I suggest are important things to strive for in a representative democracy?

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    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    I don't know about every tested voting system in the world, but I've been looking at ranked choice systems and I wonder whether any elections have ever been conducted by counting all of EVERYONE'S ranked selections (instead of just the lower ranked choices of those voting for the most or least popular candidates), and allocating points to each selected candidate on the basis of how the voter ranked them.

    Has this ever been done to anyone's knowledge, and if so what is it called? If not, why not? Wouldn't it do more to reduce the incidence of tactical voting than even the single transferable vote, which can leave supporters of candidates with medium popularity the only people not to get their vote transferred? And wouldn't it leave far fewer people strongly opposed to their representatives, as it would take into account how all the voters on average feel about candidates other than their first choice?

    On another note, do people agree with me that the two consequences I suggest are important things to strive for in a representative democracy?

    No, not really. There is nothing wrong with people strongly opposed to their representatives. We're SUPPOSED to be distrustful of those in power.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    No, not really. There is nothing wrong with people strongly opposed to their representatives. We're SUPPOSED to be distrustful of those in power.
    It's wise to be, but isn't representative democracy's second effective trick (other than motivating those in power to try to keep the public as comfortable as possible and so discouraging tyranny) that of keeping the population at peace with itself? To avoid civil war and the strong tensions that eventually lead to civil war? We hope that the winning candidate will be popular not because we have any delusions that the more popular an opinion is the more likely it is to be right, but because the more unpopular a candidate is the more disgruntled the population will be. By ignoring most people's second and third choices, voting systems allow people to get into power who may be favoured somewhat by 55% but absolutely loathed by 30%. In a relatively stable time and place that might not seem to matter much, but there's nothing stopping Western democracies one day finding ourselves in a situation like Sri Lanka's, with a significant minority of the population rebelling forcefully against the majority. Under the system I'm suggesting, in this scenario the candidate loathed by 30% would suffer from having no votes from that group and be less likely to win, and a candidate with some (potentially luke warm) cross-over support could win instead, so there should be less sense of a great imbalance of power and status between communities.

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    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    It's wise to be, but isn't representative democracy's second effective trick (other than motivating those in power to try to keep the public as comfortable as possible and so discouraging tyranny) that of keeping the population at peace with itself? To avoid civil war and the strong tensions that eventually lead to civil war? We hope that the winning candidate will be popular not because we have any delusions that the more popular an opinion is the more likely it is to be right, but because the more unpopular a candidate is the more disgruntled the population will be. By ignoring most people's second and third choices, voting systems allow people to get into power who may be loved by 55% but absolutely loathed by 30%. In a relatively stable time and place that might not seem to matter much, but there's nothing stopping Western democracies one day finding ourselves in a situation like Sri Lanka's, with a significant minority segment of the population rebelling forcefully against the majority. Under the system I'm suggesting, in this scenario the candidate loathed by 30% would suffer from having no votes from that group and be less likely to win, and a candidate with some luke warm but cross-over support could win instead, so there should be less sense of a great imbalance of power and status between communities.

    I understand the argument, but I don't really see the political process as a method of quelling public discontent or serving to mollify minority and majority populations. That type of voting is a sign that civil society is weak in a country, and having a weak civil society is actually worse than having a weak democratic process. For someone like me, the whole point of democratic elections and a republican form of government is to restrain power from being exercised, not to make sure everyone has power over everyone else in some fashion.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I understand the argument, but I don't really see the political process as a method of quelling public discontent or serving to mollify minority and majority populations. That type of voting is a sign that civil society is weak in a country, and having a weak civil society is actually worse than having a weak democratic process. For someone like me, the whole point of democratic elections and a republican form of government is to restrain power from being exercised, not to make sure everyone has power over everyone else in some fashion.
    I agree, but I don't see that this way of doing things would lead to that any more than existing systems do. I think it would reduce the extent to which majorities can exercise power over minorities, which is the risk in any democracy, and to which people's broader political outlook and level of support or displeasure for other parties are ignored and then unknown to the future government and opposition. Everything voted for would have to be at least acceptable to a larger number of people, and analysis of public opinion and trends could be far more extensive and revealing.

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    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    I don't know about every tested voting system in the world, but I've been looking at ranked choice systems and I wonder whether any elections have ever been conducted by counting all of EVERYONE'S ranked selections (instead of just the lower ranked choices of those voting for the most or least popular candidates), and allocating points to each selected candidate on the basis of how the voter ranked them.

    Has this ever been done to anyone's knowledge, and if so what is it called? If not, why not? Wouldn't it do more to reduce the incidence of tactical voting than even the single transferable vote, which can leave supporters of candidates with medium popularity the only people not to get their vote transferred? And wouldn't it leave far fewer people strongly opposed to their representatives, as it would take into account how all the voters on average feel about candidates other than their first choice?

    On another note, do people agree with me that the two consequences I suggest are important things to strive for in a representative democracy?
    I believe the most fair way to conduct an election is to ensure that a Condorcet winner is chosen. There are a variety of ways to do this.
    Condorcet method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I think the main reason why this is not done is that a Condorcet method tends to be more complex than the types of elections that are normally run.
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    There's a transferable voting system in NI, in which you rank candidates 1, 2, 3 and when a candidate has enough votes the vote then transfers to the second and third choices instead.

    It was supposed to in theory prevent the worst excesses of majoritarian rule and discriminatory government but in reality the parties fielded more candidates and encouraged people to vote 1, 2, 3 for their candidates securing their parties mandate and in theory cancelling out any need to effectively share power rather than exercise it.

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    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    An Instant-runoff voting system is used to elect the, er, President of Ireland.

    OP: I assume by "ranked choice" you mean Instant-runoff voting? In the UK it's known as Alternative Voting and was used in the London Mayoral elections.

  9. #9
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    I believe the most fair way to conduct an election is to ensure that a Condorcet winner is chosen. There are a variety of ways to do this.
    Condorcet method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I think the main reason why this is not done is that a Condorcet method tends to be more complex than the types of elections that are normally run.
    A few of those methods sound very similar to what I'm thinking of, they just have better thought out ways of calculating the winner once the votes are in. It's the part about everyone getting every one of their preferences counted that I'm most keen on, although before I read that page, it had somehow escaped me that it does still encourage tactical voting to a significant degree as there's no transfer, but at least in a fairer way whereby supporters of some candidates aren't made more likely to vote tactically than those of others (unless I've missed something else).

  10. #10
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    An Instant-runoff voting system is used to elect the, er, President of Ireland.

    OP: I assume by "ranked choice" you mean Instant-runoff voting? In the UK it's known as Alternative Voting and was used in the London Mayoral elections.
    By that I was referring to all systems in which voters can rank the options in order of preference. My problem with IRV/AV is it that only the supporters of the very least popular candidates get their other preferences counted, so the winner could end up being the most popular among only some of the voters, with many others not getting the luxury of a vote transfer, and could potentially not be the most popular overall.

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