Condorcet voting

Posted by: | January 29, 2009 | 6 Comments

Due to a hole in WordPress, this post’s author is misattributed. The follow was written by Maria Jogova.

A brief explanation, in case people don’t quite know what it is.

1. You rank the candidates on the ballot. Tied rankings are allowed, as far as I know.

2. Each candidate is compared to the other candidates on the ballot.

3. The votes are counted by pitting every candidate against every other candidate in a series of imaginary one-on-one contests. The winner of each pairing is the candidate that the greatest number of voters preferred. Each voter’s preferred candidate is the voter that ranks highest on their ballot. For instance, take the race between Ale and Tom. They are paired against one another, and the number of votes where Ale is ranked higher than Tom are counted, and then the number of votes where Tom is ranked higher than Ale are counted. If Ale is preferred by more voters then she is the winner of that pairing. If Tom is the one preferred, he wins that pairing. In this way, all pairings are considered. If one candidate beats every other candidate in these contests then they are declared the Condorcet winner.

Hope that makes sense! Didn’t have time to post this earlier, but take that into mind when you vote. I personally like this system- while it means that popularity sort of still trumps the system, I think it would be beneficial in races where there are either two people getting elected to a position, or else when there are no amazing candidates and voters might actually have to think about who they vote for and consider things like platforms and stuff if they take the time to learn anything about the election- it essentially encourages being informed. Obviously it’s not perfect, and people will still vote for whoever their friends are, etc. I just really like the choice of being able to indicate my preference for candidates, because sometimes it’s not all that clear-cut of a choice to make.


6 Comments so far

  1. Justin Yang on January 29, 2009 7:10 am

    This has totally nothing to do with your explanation of Condorcet voting but good luck in VFM, Maria (and Gerald?)! :)

  2. Maria_Jogova on January 29, 2009 7:33 am

    Thank you! Same to you :) But what are your actual thoughts on the system?

  3. Justin Yang on January 29, 2009 8:05 am

    In theory, I like it. The least offensive, generally most widely acceptable candidate gets picked. That’s A++!

    In practice, I’ll have to see how well people understand it.

    I did a POLI 100 essay on the virtues of the German electoral system and how it is, by far, better than FPTP. Nearly anything is better than FPTP aside from randomly picking candidates from a hat. And even that might be more equitable since it doesn’t significantly figure popularity into the calculation.

  4. Maria_Jogova on January 29, 2009 8:17 am

    I’m not sure FPTP is as bad as _that_- hat lottery means that an incompetent person has as big of a chance of getting elected as a good candidate. At least candidates aren’t always so decisively popular… sometimes the good one does get elected!

  5. maayan kreitzman on January 29, 2009 4:32 pm

    I'm not sure this is a very accurate description.
    The Condorcet system does nothing to address votes based on "popularity". It solves the problem of vote splitting…that is that two more widely-like candidates can lose to a more narrowly-liked candidate despite the fact that they are preferred by more people.

    Also, your explanation of the procedure is somewhat confusing I think. Each ballot (in which the voter ranks as many candidates as they wish) is counted a number of times: once for each one-on-one matchup. For each matchup on the ballot, the candidate ranked higher gets a tally – indicating a "win". When all the ballots are counted, there should be an overall winner of each matchup. The candidates are then ordered by combining the results of each matchup. So: In race ABC: in the matchup AB, B was the winner, in the matchup BC, B was the winner, and in the matchup AC, A was the winner, the combined order is B>A>C. B wins the race.

    Another clarification: the particular version of the system that we chose is only used for electing a single winner. Other version can be used in multiple rounds to elect more than one person. I think Mark is using something like that for the VFM contest.

  6. Maria_Jogova on January 29, 2009 5:52 pm

    Hey Maayan,

    Thanks for the comment! I was trying to just describe the basics, as I’m not completely familiar with the system, so I wanted to post something that was straightforward so people would get an idea. Thanks for posting a more detailed version!

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