Different uses for voting
need different types of voting.
Voting systems and election rules for Accurate Democracy

Pairwise-Tally Workshop

Introduction to voting systems, chapter contents

Enacting a Condorcet Policy

Pairwise Tournament Voting, PTV, meets Condorcet’s criterion for a voting rule: If one option can win majorities over each of the others, then the voting rule should enact that option.

We can reuse our ballots from the IRV workshop to show the process of a round-robin tournament testing 1 against 1, each against each.

The teacher says, "Please stand over there if your ballot ranks A higher than B. If it ranks B higher, please stand here."

"Which option wins a majority?"

"Please stand there if your ballot ranks [the winner] higher than C. If it ranks C higher, please stand here."

"Which option wins a majority?"

We repeat this until 1 option has won majorities over each of the others. The tournament winner is usually the same as the IRV winner, but not always. The next section shows why.

A Central-Winner Game

A flagpole stands next to the median voter in the center of the classroom. Other flagpoles form a triangle or diamond around the first and 6 feet (2 meters) away from it.

For PTV we ask a series of questions similar to this:
"If you are closer to policy (flag) B than C, please raise your hand."
We write each total on the board in the cells of a Pairwise table. If 1 policy gets majorities over each rival, it wins.

For IRV we ask, "Please raise your hand if you are closer to B than to any other flag."
We write the totals on the board.
If any flag gets over half the votes, it wins.
If there is no winner, take down the flag with the fewest votes (but leave its pole). The 1 nearest the center gets few first-place votes so it is eliminated in an early round of the IRV count.

To compare IRV with PTV we ask, "Please raise your hand if you are closer to the Condorcet winner C than to the IRV winner D."

A Wide-Appeal Game

At the center of the class stand 2 unequal poles. One is 5’ tall with several ribbon braids about 3’ long. The other pole is 6’ (2m) tall with many thin ribbons about 10’ (3m) long. {(All lengths depends on the size of the class. An outdoor workshop could use a 6' to 8' beach umbrella under a 15' to 20' tent canopy.)

Both policy flags are both near our median voter. But 1 has a wide appeal and the other has a narrow centrist appeal.

Now, if this short ribbon reaches your desk, policy A reaches you with its narrow appeal. But if it does not reach you, policy B's wide appeal gets your vote. Which 1 wins?

PTV Questions

Does the tournament favor a narrowly-centrist policy?  (No)
Does the median voter have the power to enact any policy?  (No)
Can fringe voters influence the tournament result?  (Yes)
Does the tournament use a “winning threshold”?  (No)
Do votes “transfer”?  (No)
Where could you use Pairwise Tournament Voting?

The Full-Course, Dessert (Work)Shop

The goal when nominating the ballot's options, is to polarize the voters. In most classes, chocolate will be the dominant choice. We don't want it to win a majority on the first IRV count. We want to offer other options good enough to rival the "400% chocolate" dessert: a second super dessert that will get a lot of first choice votes and a compromise with some chocolate and flavors that compliment it.

A well-cooked compromise should win the Condorcet tally. But the other dessert supreme should beat the compromise to become the IRV finalist versus chocolate.

A teacher is not likely to get these results simply by guessing the students' preferences. It's safer to hand out a homework ballot with many more options for students to rank, then select 3 or more options which produce different winners by IRV and Condorcet. For example:

      Party Catering Selections     
1) Vanilla ice cream, Strawberries, Milk, Vanilla wedding cake;
2) Coffee ice cream, Strawberries, Milk, Vanilla wedding cake;
3) Vanilla ice cream, Strawberries, Milk, Chocolate fudge or brownies with chocolate chips;
4) Coffee ice cream, Strawberries, Milk, Chocolate fudge or brownies with chocolate chips;
5) Chocolate ice cream with Chocolate sauce, Chocolate milk and Chocolate fudge or brownies with chocolate chips.

[If chocolate tends to get too many votes, it should be moved to fourth position on the ballot. The first, second and last options listed on any ballot tend to get more first-choice votes than they would if placed in the middle-ballot positions.]

The game is "cooked", but students won't feel herded if they are excited about the options.

Computer Projections

PoliticalSim TM displays Excel charts of winners and losers and lets you change voting rules to compare their results. The charts for Condorcet and IRV could be improved. The Condorcet chart could show each 1 on 1 comparison, with a line drawn between the two, showing which voters are on which candidate's side. Users would click through the series of slides to see the whole Condorcet tally.

The IRV chart does let you click through the tally steps. Each step shows a candidate’s percentage of votes next to its symbol. Students can see who will be eliminated next and may guess, "Who will get those votes.?"

Intro to Condorcet Rules

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