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Re: RFD: Reviving Constitutional amendment: Smith/Condorcet vote tallying

On Wed, Aug 21, 2002 at 02:52:38AM -0500, Debian Project Secretary wrote:
> [...] a GR to fix the voting process as defined in the constitution [...]

A precis:

	* The vote counting method is really "Condorcet" not
	  "Concorde". Kinda, almost.

	* It's not obvious how to count votes under the current
	  constitution.  eg, the 2001 DPL election considered 123-- to
	  prefer candidate A over candidates B and C, and candidate B over
	  candidate C, but to express no opinion at all on candidates D or
	  E -- even in comparison to A, B or C.  This resulted in people
	  voting, eg -1---, and not having their vote mean anything at
	  all. Whether or not it's possible to vote 21234, if you've
	  got equally ranked second choice candidates isn't clear either.

	* The description of the way votes are counted in some corner
	  cases seems buggy. In particular, if A.6(4) doesn't apply, then
	  A.6(3) will usually have discarded *all* options. Other counting
	  methods which the voting-geeks quoted in Manoj's message like
	  cope substantially better in these cases. Additionally, in
	  most of these cases, a *single* vote added/removed won't make a
	  difference, so the "casting vote" would have to be equivalent
	  to possibly many "normal votes", which is odd. That's not
	  to say the system we have doesn't work, but there are other
	  systems that work better, and make more sense.

	* The description of supermajority handling doesn't make it clear
	  whether two separate votes are required, or if just one is
	  permissable. Having two separate votes is unnecessarily tedious
	  and complicated and (for supermajority results especially), can
	  result in "deadlocks" -- if the first vote chooses A, and the
	  second vote says "No" to A, there's no obvious thing we can do.
	  OTOH, if you're having just one vote, A.6(7) doesn't make much
	  sense if there's a supermajority option and a regular option
	  on the ballot -- it seems like it requires the supermajority
	  to be preferred 3:1 against _every_ other possibility, which
	  probably isn't desirable.

OTOH, so far none of this has mattered: however you counted the votes
in the 2001 elections you got the same result, none of the corner
cases have come up, we haven't actually had any supermajority votes,
and there are definitely more important things for us to be doing than
worrying about "typos" in our voting system's name. The electoral guys
have some somewhat dubious estimates of how likely we're to end up with
any of the corner cases, somewhere back in the archives, fwiw.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

 ``If you don't do it now, you'll be one year older when you do.''

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