[Proposal] Instant-runoff voting for 3+ candidate elections

Open Votes

Proposal Type: Bylaw Revision
Opened: 14-Nov-2017 11:55PM EST
Closing: 21-Nov-2017 11:55PM EST


Council,
 
Pursuant to Administrative bylaw §3.A.i, as the CM of Providence, Sept of the Hidden Flame/Tides of Power I, Jason Place, propose the following:
 
The following text shall be added to the Administrative bylaws as section 4.D.iv (Election Procedures).
 
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iv. In any coordinator election where there are 3 or more candidates, a ranked voting system / instant-runoff voting shall be used.
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Rationale - 
 
First off, for those who are unfamiliar, instant-runoff voting basically allows you (as the voter) to rank your preferences in order.  This virtually eliminates the spoiler effect and almost entirely removes strategic voting as compared to what we could consider "normal" or "first past the post" voting (whoever gets the most votes wins).
 
Very short example - assume there are three candidates running, and there is one central issue that dominates.  Candidate A has a particularly extreme view of a point of genre that 35 percent of the org holds.  Candidates B and C hold a more moderate view that 65 percent of the org holds.  Since candidates B and C are similar, they are likely to split their "share" of the vote.  That means in a standard "first past the post" system candidate A could win with a vote of 35% / 32.5% / 32.5% for A/B/C respectively.  And that means either the unpopular view wins the election, or it means that B/C voters have to try to game the system and try to vote for the "more likely" winner, despite their preference for another candidate.
 
For a better explanation, please watch the following two videos:
 
https://youtu.be/s7tWHJfhiyo - The problem with First Past the Post voting
https://youtu.be/3Y3jE3B8HsE - Alternative Vote / Instant Runoff vote explained
 
Obviously, the "party" related items don't pertain as closely for us, but allowing people the freedom from strategic voting is absolutely germane to the situation.
 
So, all that being said - We already have the option to use a ranked voting system at HC discretion for any vote.  However, despite coordinator elections being perhaps one of the BEST places for us to use such a voting system, exercising such an option on an election may be seen as favoritism on the part of the HC.  I would like elections with 3 or more people to default to instant-runoff so that there can be no perception of wrongdoing.
 
Similarly, I am proposing this now because I do not want it to be perceived as "sour grapes" for whatever the result of the special CBC election is.  Discussion of this vote will last beyond the length of the CBC special election, so hopefully that assuages any concerns that I am doing this because of the results of that election.
 
TL;DR - Instant runoff voting means you can vote for an "unpopular" candidate who represents your true views without having to worry that you're helping the candidate whom you most disagree with to win.
 
Also, as a note, our webpage's voting module already has the capability for us to do this.
 
Thank you for your time,
Jason Place
CM - Providence, RI

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