Maine will be first state to use ranked choice voting in presidential election

Huge fan of Ranked choice (along with making election days holidays) to move towards breaking up the duopoly. We’ve had it here in the Bay for a bit. Give me my second choice instead of my enemy getting in with 32% of a crowded field any day.

‘No More Cocoons’?

You could also be talking about Jello here as well :grinning:


You’re right, plurality does violate IIA. I was being dumb in my head when I said it didn’t. I mixed it up with… something? Possibly monotonicity. Apologies!

Here’s a voting example stolen from the Wikipedipages:

A>B>C 30 votes
A>C>B 5
B>A>C 16
B>C>A 16
C>A>B 5
C>B>A 28

Then we have A 35, B 32, and C 33 in the first round; B gets eliminated and it’s A 51, C 49 in the 2nd, and A wins.

If two voters switch from C>A>B to A>C>B, which we’d expect to improve A’s standing in the polls, we have:

A>B>C 30 votes
A>C>B 7
B>A>C 16
B>C>A 16
C>A>B 3
C>B>A 28

and the first round is A 37, B 32, C 31; C gets eliminated, and the second round is A 40, B 60.

Thus, voters switching allegiance to A cost A the election!


Ranked choice aka weighed voting is the only way we can ever hope to get out of this two party nightmare.


Skimming I see confusion on what his means. CGP Greys explainer on the matter is fantastic - however, disclaimer, I do know know if Maine uses this exact model.

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Wavy Gravy, aka Hugh Romney, clown and Woodstock MC and head cook, has run as “Nobody For President” a few times

  • Nobody’s going to stop the war
  • Nobody’s going to cut your taxes
  • Nobody’s telling the truth

He’s got a store up in the Mendocino area called “Nobody’s Business”.


Our’s is a libertarian free state goof-job.
Here’s his website

That video did a great job of explaining a very cool and important idea which could really improve the country in a—as he warned—really alienating way, by assuming that everyone was like him and didn’t actively like any of the official candidates in 2016 or 2020. So while I’m absolutely in favor of ranked voting, his purity pony attitude was really offputting. (Fuck purity ponies.)

Technically true but at that point B was the overall more popular candidate, so this is the system working as expected.

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Well yeah, in round 2 B was more popular than A, but only because of the way elimination happened, not through any intrinsic meaning in the overall social preference. The point of the monotonicity condition is that, if a candidate’s esteem goes up, it should not cost them the election. It’s fucked up that IRV violates it.

(Whether it’s more or less fucked up than any of the other voting methods is a matter of debate, since mathematically speaking they’re all fucked up one way or another.)

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This sounds like how it has been done in Australia, and many other places around the world, since forever. Actually casting a vote is not difficult - unless you have been conditioned otherwise. If you are only looking for one winner counting is straightforward, and yes, all edge cases have been worked out. Selecting say 3 out of 18 candidates is a little more complicated and requires computer processing.
The big difference is in electioneering. Candidates produce “how to vote” cards which list their preferred order. You are not required to follow the order but most people do - which sets up a whole deal-making situation between candidates for preference sharing etc.


We used to teach voting systems in our “math for liberal arts course” (not its real name), but the powers that be (not people in my department) deemed the material not useful or quantitative enough for the students and it was dropped.

I liked teaching it in part because there is so much colorful history behind it, for example fistfights during meetings of the French Academy of Sciences, and a cool ranked-choice method proposed by Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) that we now know to contain NP-hard problems.


but Bush v. Gore should also not have required the Supreme Court to intervene.

There was no need for the Supreeem Court to intervene. That was a raw naked power grab. PERIOD.

There is a mechanism in the Constitution for how to handle a delayed election. Something, something House of Representatives.

Just think of how many innocent lives would have been saved if the Second Gulf War did not happen.

I know all this, and agree. The point I was trying to make is even a little theoretical weakness in a system invites an opportunity for malice. As in Bush V. Gore.

What happens if you choose to leave someone out of the ranking?

I couldn’t stomach even putting an infinity symbol next to a certain candidates name.

They don’t get any vote from you, then, no matter who gets eliminated.
I don’t always rank everyone, mainly just in primaries.
And some people who’ve been indoctrinated against RCV write letters to the editor explaining that they will NOT do it, opting to rank only one candidate. Kind of like rage listening to a song banned by the radio, IMO. Alone. At home.

You should always mark every candidate except 1, the last one. Or, rank them all.

Not ranking more than one is like not bothering to vote, even though you’ve done all the hard parts of voting already.

Let’s say there are 4 candidates and you only rank 2. If those 2 are both eliminated, in the next round your ballot no longer has any vote on it at all. It’s dropped at that point and you have no say in which of the remaining 2. It’s like you didn’t bother to vote at all, since you didn’t.

You can safely leave 1 candidate unranked. Since no matter what, you’ll still have a vote it it get’s down them and one other.

Unless they voted for someone still in the final round, it’s a total waste. They did all the hard work of the motions of voting, but didn’t actually vote. What a waste. :frowning:

This seems like it’s framing the election in plurality terms still - “the person with the most votes should win”. When you talk about ranked choice voting, there isn’t a winner until a candidate has a majority. I think it’s like running a race - Candidate A was in the lead at 74% (37/50) of the way to the finish line, and then candidate B passed them to take the victory by the end. Some people might feel like Candidate A deserved to win for getting as close as they did - but that’s not it works in races either.

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Except the re-ordering of preference actually improved B’s ranking by even more than A’s. It might not seem that way to those specific voters, but still true in the aggregate.

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[typo edits]

No, this could also happen with, say, some voting bloc shifting someone up deeper in the order – though it would (I think) require more than 3 candidates for an example like that. So, for instance, a change of some voters from A>B>C>D to A>C>B>D could change an election from C winning to C losing.

How do voters moving from C>A>B to A>C>B improve B’s rankings?

The point of the monotonicity criterion is that it is one of the “commonsense” criteria for a voting algorithm; in this case that individual voters improving their esteem of a candidate should not have a negative effect on that candidate’s results. There’s additional value in this criterion in that a voter should always be able to rank their candidates in their most preferred order, in order to yield the best overall results for their preferred candidate.

All the commonly accepted social-choice criteria are equally reasonable-seeming but also equally mutually impossible. They include things like:

  • Irrelevant alternatives – we should be able to safely ignore candidates we know won’t win without altering the election results. (As @mmascari helpfully pointed out, even plurality voting fails this one)
  • Condorcet criterion – if a candidate can beat every other candidate in a one-on-one vote, they should be the victor in a group election
  • Consistency – If we split the electorate into two groups and give them separate elections, if those two groups separately agree on the winner, then the whole electorate should agree on the same winner if considered together.
  • Reversal symmetry – if we ran another election with every voting bloc’s preferences reversed (e.g., A>B>C becomes C>B>A), we should get a different winner.
  • Participation – The best way for a voter to help their preferred candidate to win should not be for them to abstain.

Instant Runoff Voting fails all these criteria.

Of course, Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem demonstrates that all social choice functions with more than two outcomes fail some desirable and commonsense criterion.

My issue is not so much with IRV but with the lack of reflection on which social choice criteria should be compromised. IRV is probably better than plurality voting, but there’s reason to socially make a determination about which criteria are important to preserve and which criteria are expendable. This determination could have implications for which social choice metric we “should” be using.

Of course, to do that we would probably want to hold some kind of vote.

I’ll stop now since my Gödel senses are tingling.

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Where all the state delegations-- California to Wyoming, have one vote each-- to be cast by a singular leader or a squabbling committee of 53.