Should CES advocate STV?

Given that STV is the most popular non-party list PR method, and that it works perfectly fine when paired with Approval (the main method advocated by CES), since there is no clash of scoring/ranking on the same ballot, what prevents CES from advocating for STV as one of the best PR methods out there? Advocating both a proportional Approval method and STV could unite FairVote and CES a bit more, while showing to observers that all major voting reform organizations are interested and serious about PR as an alternative/end goal, since they’re willing to put aside some artificial differences to push for something or other, which could potentially further voting reform by a lot in the long run.

Edit: This article seems to provide an explanation of why CES doesn’t prefer STV, and while the rationale seems correct, it seems like having issues with one seat out of many is a lot better than no PR at all; pairing up with FairVote on this could produce huge momentum compared to starting a new movement for a new PR method.

Yeah it’s high time we make a great deal with FairVote. Maybe we can get Charles Manson in on it too. The potential is there. Let’s go for it!

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They may not be very responsive, but creating unity around PR would probably help both organizations grow.

They are a lobby, the CES is a think tank. They will do what their funders want and the CES will push the science.

CES isn’t just a think tank, though; doesn’t the fact that it spends money and influences ballot measures point to it being somewhat of a lobby?

Thats fair. Think tanks do give opinions on things but I guess the CES does more.

STV is pretty okay. IRV sucks, but it works better when it has a chance to correct some of its mistakes and if it doesn’t pick the best person for the first seat it might pick them for a later seat. So, it’s often close-enough? STV has the distinct advantage of being countable by hand on paper ballots. My pet PR method based on ratings ballots really only works with computer software to do lots of math. Other PR methods I’ve seen are otherwise computationally intense. STV is pretty okay

STV already has somewhat of a track record in the US, and it is not very good. It was once used in several major cities, including New York and Cincinnati. Today, Cambridge, MA and Minneapolis are the only American cities that still use it.

PR is generally a tough sell where it is not already a popular idea, mostly because it involves giving a seat to the local crank. (Not that it’s fair to brand people in the minority as cranks, but it is rather common.)

Isn’t this an argument against advocating PR, rather than STV? I haven’t seen anyone give great reasons (other than the vote management problem, but is that significant enough to bring STV down?) as to why STV would seriously fail where another PR method passes, either via quality of election results or likelihood of passing/staying passed by ballot measure. It is a worthy goal to support cardinal PR, if only because states/cities using Score/STAR will be locked into it, but I don’t see why STV can’t go hand in hand with Approval and be a workable solution.
Also, what if there was a form of PR which only allocated seats to various factions in the majority? To be clear, you’d have to allocate two seats per faction, otherwise a minority (the majority of the msjority) could rule. It’d be a total nonstarter at statewide level, because a simple majority could pass constitutional amendments, but maybe at the city level?

Hi AssetVotingAdvocacy - thanks for the feedback! I’m the Director of Operations & Programs at CES. Right now, due to the small nature of our organization and our limited resources, we’re focusing on advancing approval voting because we feel it has the best chance to get implemented.

However, our executive director, Aaron Hamlin, is currently working on an article about the new proportional version of approval voting created by Steven Brams in 2018. Keep an eye out for that article!

Alright, I’ll keep an open mind and post any feedback on that article once it’s out. I am still a bit skeptical of trying to generate momentum behind an all-new PR method if it is only marginally better, but I’m still in support of whatever moves CES takes on the issue.

How does that method work?

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Hi Marylander! The article that Aaron is writing will explain how it works. It’s a bit too technical for me to explain.

While the excess step add on to sequential proportional approval voting does reduce some of the incentive to free ride, it does so by sacrificing IIA, IIB, and clone-proofness and reduces back to SPAV when every candidate has a clone.

IIB can be preserved if instead of removing approvals from the voters that just approve the winning candidate, you remove approvals from the voters that both approve of the winning candidate and disapprove of the runner up and Clone-proofness might be able to be preserved though if you extended the excess step past just the first candidate closest to overtaking the candidate with the most weighted approvals (once the two are tied because of the excess step, have a way to remove approvals from both of them to then get them all tied to the candidate with the 3rd most weighted approvals).

Though in it’s current state, because of all of the different kinds of pathologies the excess method introduces, it would probably be easier to just advocate for sequential proportional approval voting. Though if you patch up most of the pathologies in the ways I describe that would yield an interesting method.

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Also, SPAV is about as simple as PR methods get (certainly more simple than STV), but the additional rules require a previous familiarity with SPAV in order to make sense. The general public does not have this.

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Adding more intrigue into pushing for STV, New York City and potentially two states (Alaska and Massachusetts) will have IRV as ballot measures. Those are places that will be locked into STV (or some kind of Approval PR), since Score PR can’t go on the same ballot as a ranked method (too confusing.) It looks like IRV will take at least a few states at this rate, meaning STV will most likely be the most practical PR option in certain areas (or maybe CPO-STV?)
I’m also aware of a very longshot IRV + STV ballot measure in CA, which is seeking to gain publicity for PR systems.

Is that method sufficiently distinct from the ones I am simulating for the Wolf committee to be added?

Well right now it looks like CES has already planned to push forward with this method despite it’s lack of study (which is one critique they made about STAR voting, at-least SPAV was used in Sweden at one point) and pathologies, so of-course it (as well as some version with the modifications I’ve tested) should be tested at the Wolf committee.

STV is not precinctable, monotonic, or immune to favorite-betrayal. It is also very complicated and involves fractional ballots or else randomness (which is untrustable).