Plurality voting, the spoiler effect, and other options


The Verdict Is In: Our Voting System Is a Loser

[…] It’s heartening to know, as primary season begins, that ours may be the worst of all the voting systems in common use. That’s the takeaway from Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It), the latest of eleven books by William Poundstone, a professional skeptic who studied physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before he began pumping out nonfiction in 1982. The 52-year-old author is particularly fascinated with how scientific ideas—mathematics in this case—play out in everyday life. His 2005 book Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street was hailed by the New York Times as perhaps “the world’s first history book, gambling primer, mathematics text, economics manual, personal finance guide and joke book in a single volume.”

Poundstone became interested in voting theory after reading about Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, a 59-year-old paradox wherein economist Kenneth Arrow, now a professor emeritus at Stanford University, identified what he perceived as a fundamental flaw in our democracy: Put simply, he argued that devising a perfectly fair voting system is mathematically impossible. […]

So, IRV is slightly better, but still not the best option. According to this author, range voting is the fairest of them all. Very interesting article. Makes a lot of sense to me, though I am certainly no mathematician.

And, best of all, under range voting, Gore would have won in 2000.

omorka, I know you are a proponent of IRV. What’s your take on this?

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About Janet Logan

Well educated woman, transgender / transsexual, lesbian, Reiki practitioner, LGBT activist, polyamorous, and eclectic Pagan.
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