Possible misrepresentation of STAR on Wikipedia


Currently, the Wikipedia article on STAR voting and Wiki’s comparison of voting systems both indicate that STAR is susceptible to clones. Intuitively, I do not see how this could be the case, but perhaps I am missing something.

Is there any situation in which cloning a candidate would alter the result of a STAR election?

Similary, Wiki indicated that STAR fails these other criteria:
Reversal Symmetry: does not seem accurate to me
Participation: does not seem accurate to me
Consistency: I struggle to understand in what way this criterion is of any value

Is there any resource affirming or discounting these claims?

I suspect some malicious edits are at play, but would like to gather sources to verify.


If whoever gets the highest total/average clones themselves, then the runoff will just be between them and the clone. So cloning gives an advantage to that “party”.

Showing up and voting for your favorite can change the winner from your compromise to someone you like even less. Because your vote for your favorite can replace your compromise in the runoff with your favorite. And it may be that you favorite can’t win the runoff, but your compromise could have.


I see your point about participation. I have seen this demonstrated with IRV and can understand how it could potentially affect STAR, though it may be nice to see an example.

On the issue of clones. It seems that this concern only comes into play in the situation of the clones receiving the highest scores in the first phase of tallying. I can see this conceptually being an issue, in that it can undermine the runoff phase. Since the runoff acts as a check on strategic voting, removing it can reintroduce issues that are present in score voting. In an extreme example, a party with a slim majority could bullet vote their way to victory.

The funny thing is that while STAR is technically susceptible to clones (since introducing clones can change the election result), clones only impact the process by turning STAR into Score, which passes the “independence of clones” criterion.


The scores are A=10000, B=10001, C=12000. The Runoff preferences are B>C>A.
If you honestly vote A=5 B=3 C=0 then A makes the Runoff and not B, which causes your least favorite C to win.


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I have no idea what you are talking about.

I can find no references for “Strategic hedge simple score voting” anywhere which are not directly attributable to you.

This question is about specifics of STAR voting.

Kindly advocate elsewhere, rather than attempting to hijack other threads.


Thanks for the replies.

The wiki is certainly deserving of some asterisks next to the criteria that STAR “fails”. It seems that most of these failures can only have an impact in the specific situation where the winner on the runoff was not the candidate with the highest score.

All of this highlights the pitfall of overly focusing on whether failing some voting criteria are possible, without weighing the likelihood or implications of each failure. Eager to see metrics like VSE gain more attention.


How can you not know what I am talking about? Simple score voting is score voting that attempts to be as simple as possible, with no frills. However it is not “reduced” (or constrained) to the point of being approval voting, which it appears, is not suitable for allowing the common voters to win. That should not be so very hard to understand. Every time someone embellishes score voting with consecutive runoffs (which is exactly what STAR voting is), averaging, or so on, they create anti-patterns, as we can see here in this thread. So I oppose STAR voting because it is merely a needless complication of score voting that leads to unnecessary problems. The fact that STAR voting forces voters to participate in a second, consecutive election is in itself a likely deal breaker.

As election methods become more complicated they more favor the interests of the “great pirates” and their party bosses, and so on, to the point where these pirates take control of the process and win, thus causing the common voters to lose. This is enormously important (at least to me), and I have been studying it since the bizarre presidential election of 2004. Simple score voting has been discussed on many blogs, and I have written many hundreds of pages about the trap that is ranked choice voting.

You will not gain anything by adding consecutive runoffs to simple score voting. Artificial so-called “majorities” are worthless and lead to unnecessary difficulties. It is time to give up making score voting more complicated.


You should back up your claims with evidence rather than mere rhetoric. For example rather than simply declaring that your favored method is robust to strategy, you could demonstrate it in simulated elections, as has been done here, with other voting methods.

When you gather that data, kindly post it in another thread espousing the merits of your method… not here.


“My” “your favored method” is simply score voting, which I do believe has been discussed at great length here. My only proposals are that all of the “frills” (such as STAR voting, with its consecutive runoffs) should be abandoned, and that we must stop worrying about naive “honest voters” (“robust to strategy?”). Without these “frills” nearly all of the useless and nearly endless arcane “considerations” will fall away.

Wikipedia has become notorious for misrepresenting anything that challenges their profoundly anti-democratic, pro-“elite,” ultimately pro-austerity, neoliberal perspective. If everyone available would simply make a real effort to promote simplified score voting, 90% of their arcane precepts (which I think strongly favor RCV) would fall out of the picture. If we really care about democracy this is what I think we should do.


Can a moderator please move the preceding 6 posts to a new thread?


Why bother moving the comments, since they cause no problem? If people wish to continue the discussion about score voting with a consecutive runoff tacked on, which is exactly what STAR voting is, they can simply continue to do that from here. I believe I’ve made my point about the value of simplicity.


Participation and Consistency are, to my thinking, are similar criteria (if not the same one) using different sizes of the groupings.

What Consistency in specific speaks to, however, is Gerrymandering. “Divided (arbitrarily) into several parts” is what gerrymandering is, isn’t it? Satisfying consistency doesn’t mean that you’re immune to gerrymandering, but failing to satisfy it does mean that gerrymandering is viable.

That is true of STAR regardless; because of the runoff, there is never a downside to a majority (who know they are a majority) bullet voting. Indeed, it gives incentive for them to do so, because then all they need do is ensure that their candidate is one of the two that make the runoff.

Have you considered how the runoff works as a check on strategy? It does so by giving the slimmest majority (when considering the top two) the benefit of applying strategy, regardless of how they vote.


Even in vanilla Score, a majority group that knows it is a majority can decide what to vote to ensure their candidate wins. (Unlike Borda, but no one likes Borda.)

The only thing is, that never happens in reality. No current party would actually be majority preferred once other options become available.


You know that I say there are actually only two contestants (for the most part): The common voters and the great pirates. Obviously, with single selection voting (and IRV), there is always “pirate party capture” and the common voters always lose. People often will say that the best protection for the common people is to have a republic, which is a nominal “system of checks and balances” based on a constitution. But this also leads to pirate party capture.

(+) Democracy: Two Wolves and one Lamb deciding what to have for Dinner.
(+) Republic: Two hundred wolves and One-hundred Lambs vote for two Wolves and a Lamb who will decide what to have for Dinner.
(+) Constitutional Republic : A republic whose decisions are restricted by a document that plainly says that Lamb can never be on the menu. The Supreme Court eventually decides, 5 Wolves to 4 lambs, that “mutton” isn’t the same thing as “lamb.”
(+) (I wish I knew who to attribute that to.)

We know that the great pirates exercise little to no goodwill with respect to the commoners. They usually perpetrate needless wars and brutal economic austerity. Ultimately, if the common people are to rule decently their various cohorts must possess traditional cultural heritages of fairness and reason.

I still am certain that “plain vanilla” score voting (but not approval) is essentially the only method that could enable victory for the common voters. STAR voting would do so as well, but requires consecutive runoffs, which I think demand too much electoral effort for too little real benefit.

(Please forget dealing with Wikipedia; it’s hopeless.)


Why is the Wikipedia hopeless? And STAR may be the only chance we have if vanillla Score never gains traction. I would prefer simple Score Voting though.)

(For the record I think IRV is worse than FPTP since IRV makes true reform more difficult.)


Thanks for digging into the wiki. I really feel like this entire debate just serves to highlight the limitations of the criterion model for comparing and assessing voting methods. How about we ask the real question: “What is the best voting system overall?”

Yes, it would be great if a system passed every criteria while remaining totally immune to strategic voting and other unwanted side-effects. No, there is no system that passes that bar. No, not all criteria are equally important, and no, not all systems that may fail a given criteria are actually susceptible to that issue in real life.

For STAR, if a majority exploited bullet voting in a close race there are a number of ifs that would have to align perfectly in order for it to work and not backfire. Most of those ifs are out of the control of the voting block who would use them. The strategies might work in a few close races or slim edge cases. Still, the scenarios where it even could be tried are complex enough to confound election scientists and theorists, Not very accessible, not exploitable, not worth the risk for voters.

(Cliff notes: If you think it’s complicated you are overthinking it. Just vote your conscience.)

The reality is that strategic voting under STAR Voting is essentially a low stakes game of Russian Roulette in which the worst case scenario is still more fair, accurate, and representative than Approval voting under a best case scenario. A quick glance at any VSE chart shows that it’s also more accurate and WAY more strategically resilient than Score Voting (which does have other merits, but still.) Voters want to vote their conscience. With STAR they actually should.

The central point from rkjoyce above is that STARs runoff accomplishes nothing since Score is already perfect. Bollocks. Score Voting is great from an academic perspective, but in the real world it gives an advantage to those who tactically vote, and the strategy is clear and apparent to people who choose to look into it. -Give your favorite a top score, but also give your preferred front runner a top score too- The reality is that this strategy not only means that Score can devolve to Approval, but that, like Approval, both systems give a very real advantage to the perceived frontrunners. And who are the perceived frontrunners? Spoiler alert. The establishment and media picks that have raised the most money. In short, the system plays favorites. And it’s an easy fix.

So… back to wikipedia, once we are done fact checking their charts, how about we encourage them to include VSE and other more “big-picture” metrics for evaluating voting systems? Equal Vote encourages enthusiasts to consider 5 pillars: Honesty, Accuracy, Simplicity, Expressiveness, and Equality. A good proposal should be well rounded and not just pass some criteria while train-wreaking in other areas.


I would disagree with your stance about Score Voting. Suppose we have candidates 1-8 in order of your preference, with 3 and 6 as front runners.
Clearly, you want to give max score to 1,2,3 and min to 6,7,8. But even if you do that, you still have 4 and 5, who you may want to give medium-high scores to one or both. This combined

And the exaggeration is only strategically useful if you actually care enough between the two. A centrist voter may consider the two equally mediocre and give them both 3/10. Or someone may dislike the establishment enough that they are willing to let an ideologically “worse” (but “better” on moral and ethical reasons) candidate win, and zero out the front runners.

Point is, with more candidate running with a chance to win, the “front runner” effect will have many ways to wither and die.


Vanilla Score satisfies SXE. H and A are debatable and certainly better than V1 and IRV.

STAR can devolve into 2PD if the conditions are wrong (although I suspect that 2PD is much less stable than under V1 and IRV). STAR also has that annoying inconsistency regarding clones (though the effect is positive and limited). And “Runoff gaming” (1 is sure to be in runoff; you support weak 3 so that 2 does not make runoff and beat 1) may also lead to chicken crashes.

But that is just trying to finding the worst case scenarios. I would support STAR if it were the only shot against IRV or status quo. I just prefer Score because it is slightly more S, and because STAR’s forcing you to score two candidates equally in 7+ candidate races does compromise H somewhat (I feel the instinct to give out as many different ratings as possible when I think of Voting with STAR…) which is something that Score does not care about.

(X = expressiveness)


You say “their” and “them”, but anyone, including you, can edit Wikipedia.