I just published the two blog posts



Eventually, I want to get them to the point where we can cite them when IRV propagandists start growing. I tried my best to word the anti-IRV one so IRV supporters do not see it as an attack on their core identity and become further entrenched.

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I’ll be very surprised if you succeeded at this. In particular,

Think of IRV like a false key that was given by the very people who locked you in the room.

reads to me like a direct attack on IRV supporters.

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I think you’re already there. This is almost as good a brief, provocative critique of RCV as approvalvoting.blogspot.com.


I wanted to portray the image that IRV was a trap set by the major parties who want to “reform voting” but keep the duopoly in power. If you have suggestions I think I can edit the post…


I’d suggest making that argument explicit and providing evidence to support it.


It was actually an idea by Hare and was popularized in John Stuart Mill’s book “Considerations on a representative government”. It was proposed where you could vote in all single member ridings so would get pretty high PR. This system was considered too cumbersomb. So the modern STV style replaced it at the cost of local representation. It was much later Arrows theorem came along and ruined the whole ranking idea.

Given the actual story I think a better narrative is that it was a good idea which fell apart as the field got more sophisticated. Something like the Corpuscular theory of light would be a good comparison. The issue is that nobody still advocates for old physics theories since there is no political gain.

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My contribution to, “that thing I always cite when I want to talk about how IRV fails”


Edited. IRV is now a mirage in the desert, and Score/STAR are oases.

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If more people want A than B, A should win.

That’s a pretty basic statement of democracy. Let’s name it the majority principle .

Instant Runoff Voting can fail this .

Every system fails this. Even Condorcet methods do so if there is a cycle. I give the classic example: 1/3 supports building a basketball court but would hate to see a golf course; 1/3 supports the golf course but hates the basketball court; 1/3 supports both. A 2/3 majority likes both projects, and a 2/3 majority would rather have neither happen than have both happen.

I gave a realistic situation that debunks IRV’s main selling points (majority winner, avoids spoilers, honest voting, third parties). Your site hits IRV for something that every voting system fails.

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Majority rule is a terrible principle compared to utility. There’s no reason to force voters to maximize their influence with their vote, unless you want forced competition and the division of nations into evenly divided halves that seek to dominate each other, and the cycle of retaliation and delusion that follows and destroys society.


I sent O’Rourke and Warren links to the blog post and expect to do similar things to other candidates (perhaps ones with a lower profile, as those candidates may not get as much email…)

EDIT: I just now sent off two more emails, one to Wayne Messam and one to Michael Bennet. I picked the lesser-known ones hoping they would be more likely to pick up my message.


It has been almost a week and the closest thing I got to a response is a seemingly automated message from O’Rourke’s campaign:


Thank you for reaching out. We always love to hear from Beto supporters!

I’ll pass this along to the team.


Team Beto
We want to get better! Please rate our response.


Why not focus on convincing them to simultaneously support or shout-out cardinal systems or The Center for Election Science? It’ll be a long and impossible road if all you’re doing is tearing down.


I focus on state and local officials rather than candidates for federal office since 1) they’re the ones with authority over elections in your state/county/municipality, and 2) since they serve a smaller constituency, they’re more likely to care about the opinions of individual constituents.


I was not. I was only sending emails to candidates who did not have a preference for IRV listed on that chart, and I sent a message of supporting STAR or Score that did not mention IRV.

My state does not have ballot initiatives.


Even if there are no statewide initiatives in your state, your city or county may have an initiative process. Most states require charter counties to have initiated charter amendments, for example. (Some general law local governments also have initiative, but general law governments have limited authority, which would limit the scope of the initiative process.) See:

Even if your local government allows initiatives, they may be affected by state law. For example, Maryland law requires all elections on a single ballot to use the same “ballot format” (election method). My county holds elections at the same time as state & congressional elections, so this law requires it to use the same method (FPTP/PAL). Thus a county charter amendment cannot change this. However, my city holds elections in odd years, so they are allowed to use any method. The election method used in my city could be changed by charter amendment, since it is not prohibited the subject matter restrictions for Maryland’s initiative mandate for charter cities.


The real reason I am contacting these people is that I want the existence of voting systems other than FPTP, IRV, 2-round, and Party-list PR to be acknowledged on a national media outlet. I figure that if a candidate sees my email and looks into the voting systems then maybe they might talk about it on an interview.

It may backfire, but IRV is spreading halfway around the world (I.e. from Australia and those other places) and we are just putting on our shoes.


While we don’t discourage anyone from writing posts they feel are true we hope that everyone realizes that advocates for IRV are our closest allies in the fight for electoral reform.
Attacks on IRV only help to further subdivide our communities.
No matter the depth of your argument you will never convert fairvote - they are committed.
It’s also important to consider your target. There are more people who are unaware of the impacts of voting methods by several orders of magnitude than there are people who are familiar with IRV. We should be focusing all of our efforts on getting out the most foundational information in easily accessible, multi lingual, and we’ll designed articles across the US.
Education, not debate, is going to be the most effective way for us to improve our democracy.

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As far as I am concerned, anyone who believes that the RCV/IRV bandwagon is good for election reform is headed straight for self destruction. RCV/IRV is simply a tar pit where election reformers go to die.

Vast sums of money are now being spent to promote that disastrous method, and places (such as Maine) that adopt it will either get stuck with it and end up mired in a two-party or three-party ‘system’, or will get badly burned, and thereafter never try anything (such as score voting) that could actually work.

I do not see approval as being very much better, either, because of the double-bind effect pathology.

Massive amounts of money are being now spent in promotion of RCV/IRV, which will disappoint the public badly due to the markedly downplayed elaborateness of its tabulation procedures. (Many people are trying to abolish it in Australia, where it has produced two-party lock-in.)

Personally, I will be loudly calling out RCV/IRV as an outright scam, and loudly demanding that, in each election, the voters be permitted to simply vote for whatever election method they prefer to be utilized in following election cycle (even if the option would be chosen via a single-selection vote).

My local newspaper endorsed RCV on its front page, but declined to print a short letter-to-the-editor I sent that was critical of it. I expect to use local picketing and literature, plus website articles and podcasts. I am a seasoned activist and have done such things in support of other kinds of issues.


I think many of them can be convinced by the simplicity/cheapness argument, at least enough to pragmatically support our ballot initiatives.