Discussion:
2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board elections
(too old to reply)
Dimitri John Ledkov
2017-02-25 16:46:26 UTC
Permalink
The board recognizes the deficiencies of the current voting algorithm
utilized for Board elections as being inappropriate for multi-seat
elections. After careful consideration, we recognize and acknowledge
the evidence presented and we support updating the voting algorithm.

Given that the voting algorithm is established via a Board resolution
and given the extensive analysis undertaken by Ian Jackson, we invite
Ian to draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based
voting algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into
account any existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March
meeting (2017-MAR-13).

The Board invites members to provide commentary between the March and
April board meetings.

The Board intends to vote on the resolution at our April meeting (date
TBD) so that we may implement it in time for the 2017 elections.

Regards,

Dimitri
on behalf of the SPI Board of Directors
I see we are still using Condorcet for the board elections.
As has been discussed here many times previously, Condorcet is a bad
system for multi-seat elections. Rather than electing a board whose
composition reflects, proportionately, the views of the electorate,
the majoritarian or consensus candidates (as applicable) will sweep
the board.
I have previously proposed that we should drop Condorcet in favour of
the Single Transferrable Vote.
Last time we had this conversation we got bogged down in a pile of
voting system wonkery.
I still think we should drop Condorcet in favour of STV. We should
drop it in favour of STV as defined by the UK Electoral Reform
Society, who have a clear description. The UK ERS rules have broad
legitimacy and standing through their adoption by many organisations.
(We'd obviously want to ignore the bits of the ERS definition which
talk about the handling of paper ballots.)
We should avoid getting distracted by arguments that some subtle
variant may be better. It is too late for this election but I think
it is imperative that we fix this for the next SPI board election.
This is especially true given that our variant of Condorcet is still
interpreting a ballot "1. Z 2. X" as not preferring Z or X to Y,
which is IMO an extremely serious deficiency in itself.
I therefore invite the Board candidates to say right now whether they
would support a change for the voting system to STV.
Thanks,
Ian.
--
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
_______________________________________________
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http://lists.spi-inc.org/listinfo/spi-general
--
Regards,

Dimitri.
Joshua D. Drake
2017-02-25 18:14:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
Given that the voting algorithm is established via a Board resolution
and given the extensive analysis undertaken by Ian Jackson, we invite
Ian to draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based
voting algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into
account any existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March
meeting (2017-MAR-13).
This is great news. Ian, question... is there anything wrong with using
what OpenSource.org uses? (https://heliosvoting.org/)

JD
--
Command Prompt, Inc. http://the.postgres.company/
+1-503-667-4564
PostgreSQL Centered full stack support, consulting and development.
Everyone appreciates your honesty, until you are honest with them.
Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own.
Ian Jackson
2017-02-27 18:09:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
The board recognizes the deficiencies of the current voting algorithm
utilized for Board elections as being inappropriate for multi-seat
elections. After careful consideration, we recognize and acknowledge
the evidence presented and we support updating the voting algorithm.
Thanks.
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
Given that the voting algorithm is established via a Board resolution
and given the extensive analysis undertaken by Ian Jackson, we invite
Ian to draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based
voting algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into
account any existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March
meeting (2017-MAR-13).
I therefore intend to draft a resolution to replace the Condorcet
board voting system with the Single Transferrable Vote (STV).

There are numerous variants of STV, which have minor differences. The
differences only matter in edge cases, but they affect the detailed
calculations at each stage. It is necessary to pick a variant.

Candidate variants which have been plausibly suggested are:

* The UK Electoral Reform Society's Rules for STV. This is very
well-established, but it has many features which are optimised for
hand-counting with paper ballots. These edge case interpretations
are tiresome to program in a computer and sometimes a bit odd.

* Scottish STV, as used by local government elections in Scotland.
This has several advantages:
- There is a clear, readable and unambiguous specification
set out in public UK legislation.
- There is an implementation in OpenSTV, which seems reliable
(and has been around for quite some time)
- As an experiment, I reimplemented the algorithm myself and
found it to be tractable

* Meek STV, as used by the Apache Software Foundation. In my searches
I didn't manage to find a stable and widely-used implementation. I
am also more comfortable with adopting a voting system choice from
politically-oriented parts of civil society, or governments, than I
am from software organisations. Many software organisations have a
poor record of handling governance questions.

I therefore intend to propose a resolution that we adopt Scottish STV.
Here's a draft.


WHEREAS

1. Condorcet is suitable for a single-winner voting system, but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in for multi-winner voting
systems, such as SPI's Board Elections.

2. The Single Transferrable Vote is a very widely-adopted proportional
preferential voting system. (And may be the only such system.)

3. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.

4. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.

THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES

5. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be
used by SPI for any other multi-winner election.

6. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
2007 (a UK Statutory Instrument):
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made

7. We expect that the practical implementation will be by means of
OpenSTV, for example the openstv package in Debian. However, any
differences between the Rules in the Order, and the implementation
in OpenSTV (or other software), are to be resolved in favour of the
Rules.

8. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
Given that the voting algorithm is established via a Board resolution
and given the extensive analysis undertaken by Ian Jackson, we invite
Ian to draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based
voting algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into
account any existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March
meeting (2017-MAR-13).
This is great news. Ian, question... is there anything wrong with using
what OpenSource.org uses? (https://heliosvoting.org/)
That's a website. There is no documentation explaining what their
system is. The hamburger in the top right didn't do anything for me
(perhaps because I have JavaScript disabled).

I did a bit of web searching and this seems to be some kind of novel
ballot casting protocol. I don't even see any discussion of what
voting system[1] they use or support.

Let's fix our voting system[1] first and then think about improving
our ballot casting protocol.

Thanks,
Ian.

[1] I mean, the algorithm used to convert a pile of ballot papers into
a result. Not the voting protocol.
Jonathan McDowell
2017-02-27 18:58:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
The board recognizes the deficiencies of the current voting algorithm
utilized for Board elections as being inappropriate for multi-seat
elections. After careful consideration, we recognize and acknowledge
the evidence presented and we support updating the voting algorithm.
...
Post by Ian Jackson
7. We expect that the practical implementation will be by means of
OpenSTV, for example the openstv package in Debian. However, any
differences between the Rules in the Order, and the implementation
in OpenSTV (or other software), are to be resolved in favour of the
Rules.
Given that we have an existing web based voting application that is
written in Python it would be preferable for any new vote counting
system to function within this framework. It's not clear to me that this
is the case with OpenSTV, nor that it's desirable to specify the
software means to achieve the desired goal as part of the board
resolution.

(I'm prepared to try and author a suitable ScottishSTV implementation
that fits in the current framework, but it will require either [or
ideally both] careful code review by someone else or a comprehensive set
of test vectors to provide confidence I have done so correctly.)

J.
--
... Where's your fishing rod, lawn ornament?
Jonathan McDowell
2017-02-28 12:07:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan McDowell
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
The board recognizes the deficiencies of the current voting algorithm
utilized for Board elections as being inappropriate for multi-seat
elections. After careful consideration, we recognize and acknowledge
the evidence presented and we support updating the voting algorithm.
...
Post by Ian Jackson
7. We expect that the practical implementation will be by means of
OpenSTV, for example the openstv package in Debian. However, any
differences between the Rules in the Order, and the implementation
in OpenSTV (or other software), are to be resolved in favour of the
Rules.
Given that we have an existing web based voting application that is
written in Python it would be preferable for any new vote counting
system to function within this framework. It's not clear to me that this
is the case with OpenSTV, nor that it's desirable to specify the
software means to achieve the desired goal as part of the board
resolution.
Actually it turns out that OpenSTV is written in Python and largely
written in a way that means it might be possible to shoe-horn it into
the existing members website as a way of processing votes. However it
appears to have been taken proprietary by upstream, with Conservancy
having the latest GPL copy and stating it is unmaintained:

https://github.com/Conservatory/openstv

I still think specifying the method of implementation in the board
resolution is not desirable, even if it turns out OpenSTV is the
appropriate way to go at present.

J.
--
... Why are we here? Because we're here. Roll the bones.
Ian Jackson
2017-02-28 15:32:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan McDowell
Actually it turns out that OpenSTV is written in Python and largely
written in a way that means it might be possible to shoe-horn it into
the existing members website as a way of processing votes.
Yes. At the very least, it can be called as a command-line program.
The interface is a bit clunky but tolerable.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
However it appears to have been taken proprietary by upstream, with
Conservancy having the latest GPL copy and stating it is
https://github.com/Conservatory/openstv
I don't think we need it to be "maintained" :-). I tested the Debian
package and it worked for me and gave the same answers as my
ad-hoc reimplementation.

The ballot counting software only needs to be fed pre-prepared inputs,
so it is not exposed to hostile data. Therefore it doesn't need
security updates. It would need updates if we discovered a bug in its
implementation of our chosen voting system.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
I still think specifying the method of implementation in the board
resolution is not desirable, even if it turns out OpenSTV is the
appropriate way to go at present.
I agree. I'm sorry that my draft resolution gave the impression that
I was trying to specify that.

Let me try a different wording for that paragraph. How about this:

7. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.

I do think it is important to declare that it is the prose rules which
definitive, not the software.

What do you think of another paragraph like this:

The Secretary's current practice is to privately issue each voter
with a private token, by construction verifiably distinct from
that of any other voter; and to publish alongside the results an
anonymised tally sheet listing every ballot paper and
corresponding token. This allows everyone to check that their own
vote has been included in the tally, and to verify that the count
has been conducted properly. The downwide is that each voter is
able to easily subvert the secrecy of their own ballot, but with
distance voting that is very hard to prevent. The Secretary's
practice is to continue.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
(I'm prepared to try and author a suitable ScottishSTV implementation
that fits in the current framework, but it will require either [or
ideally both] careful code review by someone else or a comprehensive set
of test vectors to provide confidence I have done so correctly.)
I think it would be better to use an existing implementation -
preferably, an old one.

Ian.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Jonathan McDowell
2017-03-02 10:13:15 UTC
Permalink
(I have re-ordered this reply to try and cover the issues relating
directly to the wording of the resolution first, and moving the less
time critical discussion about implementation to the end.)
Jonathan McDowell writes ("Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm
Post by Jonathan McDowell
I still think specifying the method of implementation in the board
resolution is not desirable, even if it turns out OpenSTV is the
appropriate way to go at present.
I agree. I'm sorry that my draft resolution gave the impression that
I was trying to specify that.
7. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
I do think it is important to declare that it is the prose rules which
definitive, not the software.
I think that's a much better wording for the paragraph. I agree we want
the Order to be the authoritative version of the rules implemented.
The Secretary's current practice is to privately issue each voter
with a private token, by construction verifiably distinct from
that of any other voter; and to publish alongside the results an
anonymised tally sheet listing every ballot paper and
corresponding token. This allows everyone to check that their own
vote has been included in the tally, and to verify that the count
has been conducted properly. The downwide is that each voter is
able to easily subvert the secrecy of their own ballot, but with
distance voting that is very hard to prevent. The Secretary's
practice is to continue.
I'm not really sure it adds anything to the matter at hand. It seems to
only be documenting the current practice?

[Implementation discussion]
Post by Jonathan McDowell
(I'm prepared to try and author a suitable ScottishSTV
implementation that fits in the current framework, but it will
require either [or ideally both] careful code review by someone else
or a comprehensive set of test vectors to provide confidence I have
done so correctly.)
I think it would be better to use an existing implementation -
preferably, an old one.
I agree the use of an existing implementation, particularly one that
offers a range of voting methods, is preferable. I think "widely and
actively used" are better criteria than age of the code base in
question, in terms of the chances of any issues with the implementation
being discovered rather than lying dormant. That, and all of the below,
said, I think that starting out with the hope that OpenSTV will provide
a suitable basis for implementation of the resolution is not
unreasonable.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
Actually it turns out that OpenSTV is written in Python and largely
written in a way that means it might be possible to shoe-horn it into
the existing members website as a way of processing votes.
Yes. At the very least, it can be called as a command-line program.
The interface is a bit clunky but tolerable.
I think that's very much a measure of last resort; a programmatic
interface to the Python modules involved would seem a much more robust
solution. From a deployment perspective the Debian package annoyingly
pulls in wx and all its associated dependencies, but that can be worked
around.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
However it appears to have been taken proprietary by upstream, with
Conservancy having the latest GPL copy and stating it is
https://github.com/Conservatory/openstv
I don't think we need it to be "maintained" :-). I tested the Debian
package and it worked for me and gave the same answers as my
ad-hoc reimplementation.
The ballot counting software only needs to be fed pre-prepared inputs,
so it is not exposed to hostile data. Therefore it doesn't need
security updates. It would need updates if we discovered a bug in its
implementation of our chosen voting system.
I agree the inputs are under tight control of the membership system but
I'm less worried about the security than the reliability of the
implementation; is there confidence that OpenSTV has been deployed for
use in Scottish STV and found to be reliable? I don't think we want to
run a couple of elections and then discover that we've been using a
buggy implementation and have to figure out how to fix it ourselves.

(It would be nice if the Scottish local election voting data was
available to provide a suitable set of test vectors, but I couldn't
even find any alternative sources of such test data.)

J.
--
Revd Jonathan McDowell, ULC | Let's burn this world down.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-02 17:01:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan McDowell
(I have re-ordered this reply to try and cover the issues relating
directly to the wording of the resolution first, and moving the less
time critical discussion about implementation to the end.)
Thanks.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
Post by Ian Jackson
7. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
I do think it is important to declare that it is the prose rules which
definitive, not the software.
I think that's a much better wording for the paragraph. I agree we want
the Order to be the authoritative version of the rules implemented.
OK.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
Post by Ian Jackson
The Secretary's current practice is to privately issue each voter
with a private token, by construction verifiably distinct from
...
Post by Jonathan McDowell
I'm not really sure it adds anything to the matter at hand. It seems to
only be documenting the current practice?
Yes. If you don't think it's worthwhile I'll drop it.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
[Implementation discussion]
...
Post by Jonathan McDowell
I think that's very much a measure of last resort; a programmatic
interface to the Python modules involved would seem a much more robust
solution. From a deployment perspective the Debian package annoyingly
pulls in wx and all its associated dependencies, but that can be worked
around.
Hrm.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
I agree the inputs are under tight control of the membership system but
I'm less worried about the security than the reliability of the
implementation; is there confidence that OpenSTV has been deployed for
use in Scottish STV and found to be reliable? I don't think we want to
run a couple of elections and then discover that we've been using a
buggy implementation and have to figure out how to fix it ourselves.
Yes.

Well. I wrote my own implementation of the Scottish STV rules, based
on the Order, and fed a couple of existing SPI tally sheets into both
my ad-hoc reimplementation, and Debian's openstv. I arranged for my
program to generate output which could be compared to that from
openstv. The results were identical. Obviously this is not a
complete test but I am willing to tart up my software if you like, so
we can have two implementations and see if they agree.
Post by Jonathan McDowell
(It would be nice if the Scottish local election voting data was
available to provide a suitable set of test vectors, but I couldn't
even find any alternative sources of such test data.)
There was test data for the software used for the Scottish system:
http://www.votingmatters.org.uk/RES/eSTV-Eval.pdf
I have sent two FOI requests to see if the Scottish Executive and/or
the Electoral Commission have it.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/test_data_for_scottish_single_tr
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/test_data_for_scottish_single_tr_2

Thanks,
Ian.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-02 17:11:04 UTC
Permalink
Thanks to everyone for their comments. Here is a revised draft
resolution. The first part of `whereas' section has been rewritten,
and paragraph 7 (about software choice etc.) replaced as suggested in
the discussion.

Ian.


WHEREAS

1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.

2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.

3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.

4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.

5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.

THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES

5. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be
used by SPI for any other multi-winner election.

6. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
2007 (a UK Statutory Instrument):
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made

7. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.

8. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-02 17:19:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Thanks to everyone for their comments. Here is a revised draft
resolution. The first part of `whereas' section has been rewritten,
and paragraph 7 (about software choice etc.) replaced as suggested in
the discussion.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
5. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be
used by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
I'm always doing this. 5-8 need renumbering to be 6-9.

Ian.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-08 11:43:29 UTC
Permalink
(Background:

We discussed voting systems extensively on spi-private and spi-general
in July and August 2017.

Recently, the Board asked me to

draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based voting
algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into account any
existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March meeting
(2017-MAR-13).

We have had a renewed discussion here on spi-general.)

Since my previous draft resolution, there have been no comments that
lead me to want to make any changes. I've had positive feedback from
the Secretary. I think the Board should vote on the resolution below.
(This is identical to the previous one but with the paragraph
numbering bug fixed.)

NB that I will be offline on the 10th and 11th of March, and will have
only limited network access between then and the Board meeting. So if
there are any more comments, please make them ASAP.

Ian.


WHEREAS

1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.

2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.

3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.

4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.

5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.

THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES

6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.

7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
2007 (a UK Statutory Instrument):
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made

8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.

9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Joshua Drake
2017-03-08 11:46:52 UTC
Permalink
+1
Post by Ian Jackson
We discussed voting systems extensively on spi-private and spi-general
in July and August 2017.
Recently, the Board asked me to
draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based voting
algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into account any
existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March meeting
(2017-MAR-13).
We have had a renewed discussion here on spi-general.)
Since my previous draft resolution, there have been no comments that
lead me to want to make any changes. I've had positive feedback from
the Secretary. I think the Board should vote on the resolution below.
(This is identical to the previous one but with the paragraph
numbering bug fixed.)
NB that I will be offline on the 10th and 11th of March, and will have
only limited network access between then and the Board meeting. So if
there are any more comments, please make them ASAP.
Ian.
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.
3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.
4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/
III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
--
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
_______________________________________________
Spi-general mailing list
http://lists.spi-inc.org/listinfo/spi-general
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-08 14:02:25 UTC
Permalink
Thank you Ian. Here are my remarks.
Post by Ian Jackson
[...]
Ian.
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
Scrap this. It is superfluous and misleading (Condorcet can be fine in multi-winner elections; if this remark is based on more than how Condorcet is currently used by SPI, please elaborate).
Post by Ian Jackson
2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.
3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.
The statement that STV is a proportional voting system is quite wrong.
Post by Ian Jackson
4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
Typo "liase"
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Ian Jackson
2017-03-08 14:29:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Filipus Klutiero
Thank you Ian. Here are my remarks.
Post by Ian Jackson
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
Scrap this. It is superfluous and misleading (Condorcet can be fine in multi-winner elections; if this remark is based on more than how Condorcet is currently used by SPI, please elaborate).
Actually, your prompt leads me to observe that the paragraph is
inaccurate in the other direction.

The word "Condorcet" refers (everywhere else but SPI) only to a
single-winner system. The system previously used by SPI for Board
elections is a invention of SPI.

I think perhaps this paragraph should read:

1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections, but
SPI's home-grown multi-winner Condorcet variant is seriously
lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such as
SPI's Board Elections.

I guess that means I need to post another really-final-this-time
resolution text, which I will do tomorrow night UK time.

Ian.
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-08 14:59:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Filipus Klutiero
Thank you Ian. Here are my remarks.
Post by Ian Jackson
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
Scrap this. It is superfluous and misleading (Condorcet can be fine in multi-winner elections; if this remark is based on more than how Condorcet is currently used by SPI, please elaborate).
Actually, your prompt leads me to observe that the paragraph is
inaccurate in the other direction.
The word "Condorcet" refers (everywhere else but SPI) only to a
single-winner system. The system previously used by SPI for Board
elections is a invention of SPI.
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections, but
SPI's home-grown multi-winner Condorcet variant is seriously
lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such as
SPI's Board Elections.
That sounds redundant ("*multi-winner* system is problematic in *multi-winner* elections").
Your disagreement seems purely terminological (I would say that a Condorcet method can choose several winners, but these winners need to be a part of a set offered as a single option, e.g. {President Ian Jackson, Secretary of State Mike Pence}).

I still suggest simply dropping this whereas, or replacing with just "The voting system used SPI's Board Elections should yield a board as representative as possible.", but your suggestion is already much better, and non-misleading.
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Hilmar Lapp
2017-03-08 14:11:56 UTC
Permalink
+1 from me as well & I hope this comes to be passed.

-hilmar

Sent from away
Post by Ian Jackson
We discussed voting systems extensively on spi-private and spi-general
in July and August 2017.
Recently, the Board asked me to
draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based voting
algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into account any
existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March meeting
(2017-MAR-13).
We have had a renewed discussion here on spi-general.)
Since my previous draft resolution, there have been no comments that
lead me to want to make any changes. I've had positive feedback from
the Secretary. I think the Board should vote on the resolution below.
(This is identical to the previous one but with the paragraph
numbering bug fixed.)
NB that I will be offline on the 10th and 11th of March, and will have
only limited network access between then and the Board meeting. So if
there are any more comments, please make them ASAP.
Ian.
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.
3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.
4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
--
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
_______________________________________________
Spi-general mailing list
http://lists.spi-inc.org/listinfo/spi-general
Jonathan McDowell
2017-03-08 14:23:05 UTC
Permalink
Just to clarify, given my recent involvement with this discussion, I am
in favour of adopting Ian's resolution as detailed below.
Post by Ian Jackson
We discussed voting systems extensively on spi-private and spi-general
in July and August 2017.
Recently, the Board asked me to
draft a resolution to replace the existing Condrocet-based voting
algorithm with a more appropriate algorithm, taking into account any
existing feedback from spi-general, in time for the March meeting
(2017-MAR-13).
We have had a renewed discussion here on spi-general.)
Since my previous draft resolution, there have been no comments that
lead me to want to make any changes. I've had positive feedback from
the Secretary. I think the Board should vote on the resolution below.
(This is identical to the previous one but with the paragraph
numbering bug fixed.)
NB that I will be offline on the 10th and 11th of March, and will have
only limited network access between then and the Board meeting. So if
there are any more comments, please make them ASAP.
Ian.
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.
3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.
4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
J.
--
Web [ Sleep? Isn't that some inferior replacement for caffeine? ]
site: http:// [ ] Made by
www.earth.li/~noodles/ [ ] HuggieTag 0.0.24
Josh berkus
2017-03-08 18:09:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
Please cut this paragraph and replace. As written, the paragraph is a
source of argument over factors which have little or nothing to do with
actually replacing the voting system. Frankly, it reads like a partisan
vendetta against concordet. I suggest instead:

1. SPI's concordet voting system is unique to our organization and
has had several issues over the years.

... which gives you a preface which nobody can argue with.
Post by Ian Jackson
2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.
3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.
4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
What the heck does that last sentence mean?
Post by Ian Jackson
9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
Dimitri John Ledkov
2017-03-08 18:35:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
What the heck does that last sentence mean?
I came up with two versions to respond to your question:

"It means if we fail to implement the Scottish STV correctly, the
Scottish STV should be the correct result; rather than the result of
our homegrown implementation."

alternative phrasing

"If what we calculate using whatever means we choose is different to
what can be calculated using Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local
Government Elections Order 2007 (a UK Statutory Instrument), the
latter result shall prevail."
--
Regards,

Dimitri.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-08 22:23:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
Please cut this paragraph and replace. As written, the paragraph is a
source of argument over factors which have little or nothing to do with
actually replacing the voting system. Frankly, it reads like a partisan
1. SPI's concordet voting system is unique to our organization and
has had several issues over the years.
How about

1. SPI's voting system for Board elections is unique to our
organisation and has several problems; notably, a lack of
proportionality.

?

I obviously don't have a vendetta against Condorcet. I like Condorcet
(the single-winner system); indeed it was me that wrote it into the
Debian constitution. I do have a vendetta against SPI's
accidentally-invented and horribly broken multi-Condorcet thing, but I
guess it doesn't need to be in the resolution in quite such strong
terms.

It was a mistake of me in my previous draft to describe our system as
"Condorcet", because it's not really.

The lack of proportionality is its worst known bug.

Ian.
Josh berkus
2017-03-08 22:41:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
Please cut this paragraph and replace. As written, the paragraph is a
source of argument over factors which have little or nothing to do with
actually replacing the voting system. Frankly, it reads like a partisan
1. SPI's concordet voting system is unique to our organization and
has had several issues over the years.
How about
1. SPI's voting system for Board elections is unique to our
organisation and has several problems; notably, a lack of
proportionality.
Thing is, you don't have general agreement that (a) proportionality is a
good thing or (b) that STV is a proportional vote system. So the above
just invites arguments on both points (from me, and from others), and
you don't need agreement on that to pass the motion.

The reason why I'll feel compelled to argue is that I do not believe
that "more proportionality" is a direction SPI should move into,
especially if three years from now we're talking about adopting another
new system. For example, someone could use point (1) to argue that
really we should move to parlimentary system with "parties".

Isn't it enough to say "our existing system is wonky and idiosyntatic,
and we want to adopt something with general support"? That's something
nobody can disagree with.

I feel like you're trying to prove some kind of a moral point in what
should be purely a practical motion.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-08 23:20:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
Thing is, you don't have general agreement that (a) proportionality is a
good thing or (b) that STV is a proportional vote system. So the above
just invites arguments on both points (from me, and from others), and
you don't need agreement on that to pass the motion.
Nevertheless, my perception is that the Board thinks that
proportionality is a good thing. When drafting a Board resolution
it seems appropriate to me to explain the motivation.

Of course it's difficult to know exactly which possible motives were
behind the decisons of a collective body like the Board. But the in
the discussions in July and August, proportionality was a very big
factor. I gave, then, several example scenarios showing the
nonproportionality of our existing system, which seemed to me to be
very effective at convincing the people I wanted to convince.

If the Board does not think that proportionality is a good thing then
they should reconsider whether following my advice is right. IMO the
main practical problem with our existing system is its
nonproportionality (and consequent homogeneity of outcomes). The main
difference in real election outcomes if my proposal is adopted will be
increased proportionality (and therefore, a potential increase in
diversity).

(That STV is a roughly proportional system is simply a fact. Anyone
who thinks otherwise is confused or worse. The proportionality is
limited by a kind of rounding error: if you elect only three seats at
a time, the outcome proportions are obviously limited to thirds.)

Ian.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-09 03:44:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
WHEREAS
1. SPI should elect its Board using a roughly-proportional voting
system. Condorcet is good for single-winner elections but is
seriously lacking in proportionality in multi-winner elections such
as SPI's Board Elections.
Please cut this paragraph and replace. As written, the paragraph is a
source of argument over factors which have little or nothing to do with
actually replacing the voting system. Frankly, it reads like a partisan
1. SPI's concordet voting system is unique to our organization and
has had several issues over the years.
How about
1. SPI's voting system for Board elections is unique to our
organisation and has several problems; notably, a lack of
proportionality.
?
I have no real problem with this version, though since SPI has no political parties, I am not sure what proportionality means in our context. I am also hesitant about using language like "our" in a resolution. Suggestion:

SPI's voting system for Board elections is unique to SPI and has several problems; notably, a potentially suboptimal representativeness.


[...]
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Ian Jackson
2017-03-08 22:27:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
What the heck does that last sentence mean?
I don't understand how it's not clear.

"The Rules in the Order" is a reference to the previous paragraph,
which talks about "Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government
Elections Order 2007".

The last sentence is saying that if the software gives different
answers to those specified by the UK legislation which defines
Scottish STV, then the winners of the election are the winners
according to the legislation, not the winners according to the
software.

Ie differences between the specification (taken from the UK law) and
the implementation (whatever software we use, perhaps multiple pieces
of software for verification) are bugs.

I'd be happy to entertain suggestions for a plainer wording.

Ian.
Josh berkus
2017-03-08 22:43:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the Rules in the Order, and whatever software implementation is
chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the Rules.
What the heck does that last sentence mean?
I don't understand how it's not clear.
"The Rules in the Order" is a reference to the previous paragraph,
which talks about "Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government
Elections Order 2007".
Suggested revision "the Rules in the Order referenced above" or ". I
wasn't the only one confused by this.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-08 23:21:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
"The Rules in the Order" is a reference to the previous paragraph,
which talks about "Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government
Elections Order 2007".
Suggested revision "the Rules in the Order referenced above" or ". I
wasn't the only one confused by this.
"the Rules in the Order referenced above" seems fine to me.

Did you mean to suggest another alternative too ?

Ian.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-09 15:27:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
NB that I will be offline on the 10th and 11th of March, and will have
only limited network access between then and the Board meeting. So if
there are any more comments, please make them ASAP.
There were some comments about the rationale, and about the clarity of
the paragraph stating the primacy of the official rules over the
software. I have updated para 1 and para 8, with the changes posted
previously. There is no change to the effect of the resolution.

Last call.


WHEREAS

1. SPI's voting system for Board elections is unique to our
organisation and has several problems; notably, a lack of
proportionality.

2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.

3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.

4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.

5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.

THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES

6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.

7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
2007 (a UK Statutory Instrument):
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made

8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the the Rules in the Order referenced above, and whatever software
implementation is chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the
Rules.

9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-10 03:14:09 UTC
Permalink
Thank you Ian.
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Ian Jackson
NB that I will be offline on the 10th and 11th of March, and will have
only limited network access between then and the Board meeting. So if
there are any more comments, please make them ASAP.
There were some comments about the rationale, and about the clarity of
the paragraph stating the primacy of the official rules over the
software. I have updated para 1 and para 8, with the changes posted
previously. There is no change to the effect of the resolution.
Last call.
WHEREAS
1. SPI's voting system for Board elections is unique to our
organisation and has several problems; notably, a lack of
proportionality.
2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.
3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.
4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the the Rules in the Order referenced above, and whatever software
implementation is chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the
Rules.
Typo "the the"
Post by Ian Jackson
9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
The word "liase" should read "liaise".


Paragraphs 1 and 3 refer to the notion of proportionality, which has no clear meaning in the context of elections without parties like SPI's.

I have no issues with substance.
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Joshua D. Drake
2017-03-10 16:25:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Filipus Klutiero
Thank you Ian.
+1

Sincerely,

jD
--
Command Prompt, Inc. http://the.postgres.company/
+1-503-667-4564
PostgreSQL Centered full stack support, consulting and development.
Everyone appreciates your honesty, until you are honest with them.
Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own.
Valerie Young
2017-03-11 07:01:38 UTC
Permalink
Thank you Ian for the resolution and thanks to everyone else for the
comments and iterations.

The resolution has been added to the next meeting's agenda.

Valerie Young
Secretary, Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Ian Jackson
NB that I will be offline on the 10th and 11th of March, and will have
only limited network access between then and the Board meeting. So if
there are any more comments, please make them ASAP.
There were some comments about the rationale, and about the clarity of
the paragraph stating the primacy of the official rules over the
software. I have updated para 1 and para 8, with the changes posted
previously. There is no change to the effect of the resolution.
Last call.
WHEREAS
1. SPI's voting system for Board elections is unique to our
organisation and has several problems; notably, a lack of
proportionality.
2. SPI is not equipped to effectively design or analyse voting
systems. We wish to adopt a system widely used elsewhere, and
which is recommended by civil society organisations specialising in
voting reform.
3. The Single Transferrable Vote is the only proportional voting
system, suitable for SPI, which meets these criteria.
4. The Scottish STV variant is clearly specified; we have an
established and stable Free Software implementation of it; and it
is straightforward to (re)implement. Other STV variants appear to
lack some of these good properties.
5. Ian Jackson has offered to help with the implementation of STV for
SPI.
THEREFORE THE SPI BOARD RESOLVES
6. Future elections to the SPI Board will be counted according to the
Scottish Single Transferrable Vote. Scottish STV will also be used
by SPI for any other multi-winner election.
7. Specifically, the algorithm to be used is that specified in
Rules 45-52 of the Scottish Local Government Elections Order
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2007/42/schedule/1/part/III/crossheading/counting-of-votes/made
8. The practical implementation will be by means of software; for
example, perhaps the openstv package in Debian. The choice of
software is up to the Secretary. However, any differences between
the the Rules in the Order referenced above, and whatever software
implementation is chosen, are to be resolved in favour of the
Rules.
9. The SPI Secretary is requested to liase with Ian Jackson, so that
the necessary changes to SPI software and infrastructure can be
identified and implemented.
Barak A. Pearlmutter
2017-02-27 22:30:51 UTC
Permalink
I am very happy to see SPI adopt a voting system designed for
proportional representation.

However I do feel obligated to correct a simple incorrect statement,
namely that STV, a proportional representation system built upon IRV,
is in some sense best-of-breed. STV in fact exhibits a variety of very
serious pathologies, not just in theory but in actual practice. Even
IRV itself exhibits some serious problems, including most troublingly
non-monotonicity---meaning that under some not-unusual circumstances
changing a ballot to rank a particular candidate *higher* can cause
the candidate to go from winning to losing. STV necessarily inherits
these pathologies.

Although poorly formatted, the following case study of an actual
election, the 2009 Burlington Vermont Mayoral election, shows that the
IRV system actually used exhibited about the worst imaginable
pathology: of the three major candidates, it elected the one who lost
head-to-head to each of the other two according to the ballots cast.

Details: http://rangevoting.org/Burlington.html

Burlington subsequently changed its election system away from IRV.

Similar pathologies apparently happened in the IRV 2006 Peru
presidential election and the IRV 1970 Chile presidential election.

Using the Debian leader election data 2001-2005, in one of those five
elections IRV would have given a different winner than the Condorcet
method actually used, even though in all cases the Condorcet winner
beat all other candidates head-to-head. See
http://rangevoting.org/Debian2003.html for details. In another one of
the elections there were a variety of IRV pathologies actually
exhibited. The most interesting of these to me is that there were two
ballots each of which had the property that, had IRV been used,
removing that ballot, which prefers A to B, would have changed the
winner from B to A.

I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm just interested in the math and
in Bayesian methods. These have convinced me that Reweighted Range
Voting (RRV, http://rangevoting.org/RRV.html) and Asset Voting are the
best proportional representation voting systems currently known. And
that the problems with STV are not merely academic but occur
frequently in real elections. Asset Voting does not seem practical for
SPI---although it would be pretty fun. STV (and even IRV) do not come
off very well in any of the careful neutral analyses I've seen.

--Barak.
Dimitri John Ledkov
2017-02-28 15:33:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
I am very happy to see SPI adopt a voting system designed for
proportional representation.
However I do feel obligated to correct a simple incorrect statement,
namely that STV, a proportional representation system built upon IRV,
is in some sense best-of-breed. STV in fact exhibits a variety of very
serious pathologies, not just in theory but in actual practice. Even
IRV itself exhibits some serious problems, including most troublingly
non-monotonicity---meaning that under some not-unusual circumstances
changing a ballot to rank a particular candidate *higher* can cause
the candidate to go from winning to losing. STV necessarily inherits
these pathologies.
Although poorly formatted, the following case study of an actual
election, the 2009 Burlington Vermont Mayoral election, shows that the
IRV system actually used exhibited about the worst imaginable
pathology: of the three major candidates, it elected the one who lost
head-to-head to each of the other two according to the ballots cast.
Details: http://rangevoting.org/Burlington.html
Burlington subsequently changed its election system away from IRV.
Similar pathologies apparently happened in the IRV 2006 Peru
presidential election and the IRV 1970 Chile presidential election.
Using the Debian leader election data 2001-2005, in one of those five
elections IRV would have given a different winner than the Condorcet
method actually used, even though in all cases the Condorcet winner
beat all other candidates head-to-head. See
http://rangevoting.org/Debian2003.html for details. In another one of
the elections there were a variety of IRV pathologies actually
exhibited. The most interesting of these to me is that there were two
ballots each of which had the property that, had IRV been used,
removing that ballot, which prefers A to B, would have changed the
winner from B to A.
I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm just interested in the math and
in Bayesian methods. These have convinced me that Reweighted Range
Voting (RRV, http://rangevoting.org/RRV.html) and Asset Voting are the
best proportional representation voting systems currently known. And
that the problems with STV are not merely academic but occur
frequently in real elections. Asset Voting does not seem practical for
SPI---although it would be pretty fun. STV (and even IRV) do not come
off very well in any of the careful neutral analyses I've seen.
--Barak.
My personal impression about this is that irrespective of the voting
system used, there will always be anomalies. And the proposal here is
to change one set of quirks for another.
Note that unlike the DPL / Mayoral elections we are striving to elect
3 directors for a three-year term every year, such that the board has
continuity and is thus staggered.
So far I have also been impressed with the quality of candidates, and
(semi-jokingly), I could even be in favor of using urandom() algorithm
to pick winners.
If the proposed algorithm picks an underdog as one of the directors I
would be fine with that, since that adds entropy to the election
results which imho is exciting and fun =)

ps. I might actually use urandom() next time I need to cast a ballot
--
Regards,

Dimitri.
Henrik Ingo
2017-02-28 11:21:48 UTC
Permalink
Just wanted to share some more information on the Helios voting software:


On Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 8:09 PM, Ian Jackson
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Joshua D. Drake
This is great news. Ian, question... is there anything wrong with using
what OpenSource.org uses? (https://heliosvoting.org/)
That's a website. There is no documentation explaining what their
system is. The hamburger in the top right didn't do anything for me
(perhaps because I have JavaScript disabled).
I did a bit of web searching and this seems to be some kind of novel
ballot casting protocol. I don't even see any discussion of what
voting system[1] they use or support.
You would have wanted to get to this page: https://heliosvoting.org/docs

Helios implements an e-voting system based on homomorphic encryption.
Algorithms for secure e-voting are a field of their own in
cryptography, and on a high level can be divided into 2 main
categories: mix-net based and homomorphic encryption.

What makes Helios interesting is that it is one of very few real world
software implementations of such algorithms. As I'm sure all of you
know, most voting software, whether used by governments or
organizations like SPI, do not actually implement any
cryptographically secure e-voting algorithm, rather just get by with
using some commonly used crypto for the communication channel, such as
HTTPS or PGP, or not even that.

While a homomorphic e-voting algorithm is arguably better in many
ways, a fundamental property of such algorithms tends to be that they
can only be used to vote for N-out-of-M options. On my blog I once
explored an approach to encode a preferential voting system, such as
STV, into an N-out-of-M ballot. I believe that is possible for small
elections such as the SPIs. But definitively it is not supported by
Helios out of the box, and attempting to do it could turn out to be
hacky.

As some readers are likely to be interested in this topic, here are
some links for further reading. My blog post contains links to actual
academic articles as well.
http://openlife.cc/blogs/2013/january/cryptographic-e-voting-algorithms-general

In particular, this talk by the creator of Helios could be interesting:
https://air.mozilla.org/wheres-my-vote/

As this is going in an off-topic direction, I suppose you can comment
on my blog post if you have further questions.
Post by Ian Jackson
Let's fix our voting system[1] first and then think about improving
our ballot casting protocol.
If the current proposal is to simply change the software that counts
the votes, and continue using the current system for actually casting
the vote, then I agree 100%.

henrik
--
***@avoinelama.fi
+358-40-5697354 skype: henrik.ingo irc: hingo
www.openlife.cc

My LinkedIn profile: http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/henrik-ingo/3/232/8a7
Ian Jackson
2017-02-28 15:56:27 UTC
Permalink
Thanks.
Post by Henrik Ingo
While a homomorphic e-voting algorithm is arguably better in many
ways, a fundamental property of such algorithms tends to be that they
can only be used to vote for N-out-of-M options.
I see. Thanks. That wasn't clear from the docs.
Post by Henrik Ingo
Post by Ian Jackson
Let's fix our voting system[1] first and then think about improving
our ballot casting protocol.
If the current proposal is to simply change the software that counts
the votes, and continue using the current system for actually casting
the vote, then I agree 100%.
Yes, that is the current proposal. Thanks.
Post by Henrik Ingo
However I do feel obligated to correct a simple incorrect statement,
namely that STV, a proportional representation system built upon
IRV, is in some sense best-of-breed.
I'm sorry if this is going to sound tetchy, but we have had this
discussion ad infinitum.

As I say in the draft resolution:

2. The Single Transferrable Vote is a very widely-adopted
proportional preferential voting system. (And may be the only
such system.)

I think this is not quite as precise and therefore not as strong as it
should be. I think I should replace it with something like this:

2. There are very few widely-adopted proportional voting systems.
The Single Transferrable Vote is the only one which is suitable
SPI's Board elections. All the others depend on the existence of
parties.

It's not the case that I am saying STV is "best of breed". STV is
_the only serious candidate_ (given that AMS, party lists, and so on,
are plainly unsuitable).

I find your continuing advocacy of RRV incomprehensible, particularly
after we had that very long exchange of emails in August. RRV is not
an established voting system. Almost no-one else is using it. Civil
society bodies, interested in general voting reform for public
elections, support STV.

Furtherrmore, range voting, of which RRV is a variant, has the
critical flaw that it encourages naive voters to cast ineffective
ballots.

Finally, SPI should not be in the business of voting system
innovation. Nor should SPI be in the business of doing our own
detailed analysis of voting systems, as you are doing. We should
leave voting system development, analysis, and recommendation, to
civil society organisations specialising in voting reform, such as
Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.

I explained all of this first on list, and then at length in private
email to you.

In any case, the SPI Board have asked me to draft a resolution.
Implicitly, the Board have therefore experessed an intention to
endorse my recommendation of STV. I am going to proceed on that
basis.

Thanks,
Ian.
Joshua D. Drake
2017-02-28 17:29:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Finally, SPI should not be in the business of voting system
innovation. Nor should SPI be in the business of doing our own
detailed analysis of voting systems, as you are doing. We should
leave voting system development, analysis, and recommendation, to
civil society organisations specialising in voting reform, such as
Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.
1 Billion times this.

JD
--
Command Prompt, Inc. http://the.postgres.company/
+1-503-667-4564
PostgreSQL Centered full stack support, consulting and development.
Everyone appreciates your honesty, until you are honest with them.
Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own.
Henrik Ingo
2017-02-28 17:38:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joshua D. Drake
Henrik Ingo writes ("Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board
Finally, SPI should not be in the business of voting system
innovation. Nor should SPI be in the business of doing our own
detailed analysis of voting systems, as you are doing. We should
leave voting system development, analysis, and recommendation, to
civil society organisations specialising in voting reform, such as
Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.
1 Billion times this.
I don't know whether you intended it that way, but in Ian's original
message, this was not a reply to anything I wrote.

henrik
--
***@avoinelama.fi
+358-40-5697354 skype: henrik.ingo irc: hingo
www.openlife.cc

My LinkedIn profile: http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/henrik-ingo/3/232/8a7
Joshua D. Drake
2017-02-28 17:57:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henrik Ingo
Post by Joshua D. Drake
Henrik Ingo writes ("Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board
Finally, SPI should not be in the business of voting system
innovation. Nor should SPI be in the business of doing our own
detailed analysis of voting systems, as you are doing. We should
leave voting system development, analysis, and recommendation, to
civil society organisations specialising in voting reform, such as
Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.
1 Billion times this.
I don't know whether you intended it that way, but in Ian's original
message, this was not a reply to anything I wrote.
Henrik,

My response was the affirm Ian's point that is all. Specifically:

* SPI should not be in the business of voting system innovation.

* We should leave voting system development, analysis, and
recommendation, to civil society organisations specialising in voting
reform, such as Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.

Sincerely,

jD
--
Command Prompt, Inc. http://the.postgres.company/
+1-503-667-4564
PostgreSQL Centered full stack support, consulting and development.
Everyone appreciates your honesty, until you are honest with them.
Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own.
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-01 13:47:29 UTC
Permalink
Hi Joshua, Ian,
Post by Joshua D. Drake
Post by Henrik Ingo
Post by Joshua D. Drake
Henrik Ingo writes ("Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board
Finally, SPI should not be in the business of voting system
innovation. Nor should SPI be in the business of doing our own
detailed analysis of voting systems, as you are doing. We should
leave voting system development, analysis, and recommendation, to
civil society organisations specialising in voting reform, such as
Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.
1 Billion times this.
I don't know whether you intended it that way, but in Ian's original
message, this was not a reply to anything I wrote.
Henrik,
[...]
* We should leave voting system development, analysis, and recommendation, to civil society organisations specialising in voting reform, such as Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.
I must object. Nothing other than resources prevents us from researching and developing voting systems. It is correct that this is not our core business, but as a decision-making organisation, improving our decision-making deserves investment. It would be ideal if we could simply rely on organizations specialized in voting systems R&D, but if the UK Electoral Reform Society is like Fair Vote Canada, these two are unfortunately not going to help much.

The main issue of FVC is not to maximize representativeness, but simply to get rid of FPTP given the challenges created by a population much less knowledgeable about decision-making and much more traditionalist than SPI's, by the constitution, and by the necessity to have the reform performed by a government elected by FPTP. I have received tens of mails from FVC and none discussed monotonicity or any technical point.

This was not a comment on the substance of Barak's claim.

[...]
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Ian Jackson
2017-03-02 19:18:06 UTC
Permalink
Ian and Joshua are dismissing these concerns, but have not given any
technical grounds, either now or in the previous round of discussion.
I'm sorry that you feel that my many long messages in our private
email discussion in August did not contain "any technical grounds".
If that's what you think then you are unlikely to be satisfied by
anything I might say.

For the benefit of others I will go over the well-trodden ground
again. (I will try to refrain from doing so more than once...)


You are advocating range voting. I remain convinced that range voting
is a terrible voting system, because all but the most tactically aware
voters will cast hopelessly ineffective ballots. This criticism
applies less to approval voting, but approval voting still involves a
lot of guesswork for voters. Many people will cast ineffective
approval ballots.


But the key point, as discussed, is that SPI is poorly equipped to
analyse voting systems. SPI is full of technologists. We largely
lack political scientists, electoral officials, constitutional
engineers, and historians; we're probably even short of game
theoreticians.

(I have observed that technologists, particularly some computer
people, have acquired a kind of hubris that means they think they are
good at everything, and don't recognise the difficulty, complexity, or
value, of other fields of learning. It's fine to be a polymath, but
that mostly means knowing how much there is you don't know.)

We should defer the question of voting systems to well-regarded civil
organisations for whom these questions are the primary focus, and who
are thereofore more competent: that means voting reform groups.
Almost uniformly, such groups recommend STV for multi-winner
elections.[0]

For the same reason, we should adopt a system which is widely used,
particularly by organisations whose governannce we expect to be
well-informed. Again, that almost always means STV.

We should not be pioneering in this area. We should make use of the
expertise of others, and follow their lead. The Board appears to
agree with me, and I intend to proceed accordingly.
At the very least, it would seem to me prudent to craft a resolution
which includes (a) some flexibility, so that the voting system can be
changed more easily should there be reason to; and (b) which mandates
making the full list of cast ballots public, so that pathologies in
the elections can be detected.
The choice of voting system should not be left to the Secretary.
Currently, the proposal is to have the Board select STV. If a future
Board wats to change its mind and select something else in future,
then that is quite possible.[1]

The Secretary's current practice is to publish the tally sheets which
enable re-analysis. Do we really need that to be Board-mandated ? I
asked this question a few days ago, proposing a paragraph codifying
existing practce, and there seemed little enthusiasm for it.


As for your detailed criticisms of STV: these are mostly criticisms of
AV (in UK Electoral Reform Society terminology), which is the
single-winner system that STV is derived from. It is true that AV is
not a particularly good system, and that it is worse than
Condorcet-based systems.

AV's virtue over Condorcet is that Condorcet is very hard to count in
a nontrivial election without using computers. This means that
Condorcet is not suitable for high-stakes public elections. (And it
explains why civil society orgnisations which care about public voting
reform don't advocate Condorcet-based systems.)

It is not surprising that AV produces somewhat different answers in
some close-run DPL elections. I don't think this demonstrates a
fundamental weakness in AV, even though I prefer Condorcet. (Of
course to say that AV's answers are wrong and Condorcet's are right,
is rather tendentious.)

It is also not surprising that a very widely adopted system like STV
would produce ocassional suboptimal results. Although I don't accept
the specifics of your example (you are overstating what happened), I
don't find this cause for concern. The analysis you pointed me to in
August, of the Burlington 2009 election, IMO is devoid of
understanding of the political context and makes serious errors in
trying to predict even what approval voting would have produced.


Going on to those references you provided in August. They were to
people who advocate range voting for single-winner elections. As I
said in private email, I find it difficult to take seriously anyone
who proposes range voting for single-winner elections.

As I say above, even approval voting requires a difficult tactical
analysis, in order to cast an effective ballot. Voters need to know
where to put their cutoff. Range voting poses the additional problem
that the most effective ballot ranks every candidate either 0 or 100%.
This is very counterintuitive for voters and few people will vote that
way. I think this is a critical flaw in range voting.

All of the references you supplied used the term "IRV" for what I'm
calling AV. This is a peculiarly American term. I also observed that
many of the Wikipedia pages on voting systems have obviously been
written by range or approval voting advocates.

I don't understand why range voting (and for that matter approval
voting) have such a following in the US. Outside the US, they are
hardly taken seriously as voting systems. As I said in my email, I
think this may be some kind of fallout from the US's generally
dysfunctional polity. (My most paranoid thought is that perhaps range
voting is being advocated to provide FUD about voting reform; the
range voting advocacy pages seem much more hostile towards AV than
they are to the real-world competitor, FPTP aka plurality.)

Ian.

[0] Sometimes people do advocate additional member systems or even
party lists, both of which are obviously unsuitable for SPI.

[1] Personally I think the voting system should be entrenched in the
bylaws but I have given up trying to persuade people that the Board
election system should be defended against the Board.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Luca Filipozzi
2017-03-02 20:29:01 UTC
Permalink
The choice of voting system should not be left to the Secretary. Currently,
the proposal is to have the Board select STV. If a future Board wants to
change its mind and select something else in future, then that is quite
possible.[1]
...
[1] Personally I think the voting system should be entrenched in the bylaws
but I have given up trying to persuade people that the Board election system
should be defended against the Board.
We discussed the awkwardness of the Board setting the rules for electing the
Board, which is why I suggested during the recent Board meeting that we ask you
to draft the resolution.

Once the proposed revisions to the By-Laws pass, we can start talking about
adding language regarding Board composition and/or Board voting algorithm.

Luca
--
Luca Filipozzi
Ian Jackson
2017-03-03 12:09:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luca Filipozzi
Post by Ian Jackson
[1] Personally I think the voting system should be entrenched in
the bylaws but I have given up trying to persuade people that the
Board election system should be defended against the Board.
We discussed the awkwardness of the Board setting the rules for
electing the Board, which is why I suggested during the recent Board
meeting that we ask you to draft the resolution.
Interesting, thanks.
Post by Luca Filipozzi
Once the proposed revisions to the By-Laws pass, we can start talking about
adding language regarding Board composition and/or Board voting algorithm.
Thanks for that encouragement. I'd like to help with that.

Ian.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-03 01:31:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Ian and Joshua are dismissing these concerns, but have not given any
technical grounds, either now or in the previous round of discussion.
[...]
AV's virtue over Condorcet is that Condorcet is very hard to count in
a nontrivial election without using computers. This means that
Condorcet is not suitable for high-stakes public elections.
The purpose of elections is not to count. You'll have to do better to show that Condorcet is not suitable for high-stakes public elections.
Post by Ian Jackson
(And it
explains why civil society orgnisations which care about public voting
reform don't advocate Condorcet-based systems.)
Unless that discusses specific civil society organisations which care about public voting reform, that is quite wrong. I won't counter with a simplistic explanation, but merely point out that most such organisations are interested in multi-district elections.
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-03 03:32:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Ian and Joshua are dismissing these concerns, but have not given any
technical grounds, either now or in the previous round of discussion.
[...]
But the key point, as discussed, is that SPI is poorly equipped to
analyse voting systems. SPI is full of technologists. We largely
lack political scientists, electoral officials, constitutional
engineers, and historians; we're probably even short of game
theoreticians.
I doubt that constitutional engineers, historians and even many electoral officials would be equipped much better than technologists to analyze voting systems.
Post by Ian Jackson
[...]
We should defer the question of voting systems to well-regarded civil
organisations for whom these questions are the primary focus, and who
are thereofore more competent: that means voting reform groups.
Almost uniformly, such groups recommend STV for multi-winner
elections.[0]
Voting systems have more than a single question. It may be that other organisations can help with ours, but in that case, it would be more useful to mention these organizations, and even more to show their recommendations.
Post by Ian Jackson
For the same reason, we should adopt a system which is widely used,
particularly by organisations whose governannce we expect to be
well-informed.
If argumentum ad populum is going to be a central argument in our choice, I hope our associated projects will not take their decisional strategies from SPI, or I very much hope that we will pick an excellent system, otherwise our associated projects may argue they should adopt SPI's suboptimal system. If popularity is the main criteria, at least provide a list of these organisations and the system each one uses.

[...]
Post by Ian Jackson
We should not be pioneering in this area. We should make use of the
expertise of others, and follow their lead.
I wonder which pioneering this refers to.
You might be right on substance, but on the form, I am surprised to see such insistence on an argument as weak as popularity.

[...]
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Hilmar Lapp
2017-03-03 15:28:53 UTC
Permalink
I think it’s great that people are speaking up here with their thoughts on this matter, even if they rehash arguments that have been discussed ad nauseam earlier.

I think it’s also reasonable to expect that those arguments won’t be entertained again by everyone else at the same depth that they have been previously, lest a process many here (including myself) are keenly interested in seeing result in change before the next round of elections be derailed into an infinite rehash of arguments and counterpoints.

Since my viewpoint on this doesn’t seem to be one that has been expressed as vociferously here yet, I’ll say that I agree quite strongly with both Ian’s voting system proposal, as well as his reasons for why we should adopt it.

Also, in my opinion there’s a real cost to not acting and simply continuing to do what we have done in the past, compared to adopting a system that has appreciable and demonstrable benefits (in terms of promoting the kind of representation on the Board that is desirable) over the system we have had, even if it is not the possibly very best system in every regard and circumstance. Especially so if the proposed system is one that has a low risk of having as-yet-undiscovered pathological properties, as a system would have that, as per Ian’s argument, is widely adopted for real elections of the same kind as our Board elections.

-hilmar
--
Hilmar Lapp -:- lappland.io
Steve McIntyre
2017-03-03 15:33:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Hilmar Lapp
I think it’s great that people are speaking up here with their
thoughts on this matter, even if they rehash arguments that have been
discussed ad nauseam earlier.
I think it’s also reasonable to expect that those arguments won’t be
entertained again by everyone else at the same depth that they have
been previously, lest a process many here (including myself) are
keenly interested in seeing result in change before the next round of
elections be derailed into an infinite rehash of arguments and
counterpoints.
Since my viewpoint on this doesn’t seem to be one that has been
expressed as vociferously here yet, I’ll say that I agree quite
strongly with both Ian’s voting system proposal, as well as his
reasons for why we should adopt it.
+1. All the data I've seen personally tells me that STV is a good
option for our kind of setup. I'm not a total voting geek, but this
looks fine to me.
--
Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK. ***@einval.com
Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky,
Tongue-tied & twisted, Just an earth-bound misfit, I...
Ian Jackson
2017-03-03 15:20:13 UTC
Permalink
[stuff]
I've said all I want to say about choice of voting systems. It's
clear that you are not going to convince me; and that I am not going
to convince you. I suggest we drop it.
Unfortunately, tally sheets, at least as usually defined, do not
contain all the information in the ballots, and are insufficient for
purposes of deep analysis. Debian releases the actual ballots (without
any identifying information of course.) I would suggest SPI follow
suit.
Where are you looking ? AFAICT this
http://spi-inc.org/corporate/votes/2016-board-election/results/
is the complete data as actually filled into the voting form.
It is this data that I used (after a bit of conversion) in my
experimental testing of openstv against my own reimplementation.
What information do you think is missing ?
I really don't understand why you're advocating STV
If you don't understand by now then clearly you never will. We will
have to agree to disagree.

The Board has asked me to draft the resolution, and I am going to
draft it to specify a voting system I have confidence in.

Ian.
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-04 18:37:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
[stuff]
I've said all I want to say about choice of voting systems. It's
clear that you are not going to convince me; and that I am not going
to convince you.
Ian, if your beliefs are accurate, then I think it would be more efficient to stop trying to convince Barak than to state these beliefs.

[...]
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Dimitri John Ledkov
2017-03-03 16:34:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
You are advocating range voting. I remain convinced that range voting
is a terrible voting system, because all but the most tactically aware
voters will cast hopelessly ineffective ballots. This criticism
applies less to approval voting, but approval voting still involves a
lot of guesswork for voters. Many people will cast ineffective
approval ballots.
Why do think that is the case? I do not see any evidence for it.
Range votes, or in their most simplified form approval votes, are at
Range voting is a voting method for single-seat elections and
therefore is not suitable for SPI board of directors election.

We elect 3 or more directors in each election.
In the Burlington election, there were three main candidates: A, B,
and C. With a hefty majority of ballots preferring A to C, and a hefty
majority of ballots preferring B to C, the IRV system declared C the
winner. Do you seriously not realize that this is very bad behaviour?
All A, B and C will be elected as board of directors in SPI case however.

We wouldn't even run the election, as they would be elected unopposed.

Do you understand at all, how SPI board of directors elections run?
Post by Ian Jackson
Going on to those references you provided in August. They were to
people who advocate range voting for single-winner elections. As I
said in private email, I find it difficult to take seriously anyone
who proposes range voting for single-winner elections.
Then and now, I do not understand your antipathy to range voting or
approval voting.
It does not work for multi-winner elections... I think this needs
repeating again.
I really don't understand why you're advocating STV when it has a long
list of serious problems not just theoretically but which seem to
appear quite often in actual practice.
It's the best system to elect proportional representation into the
multi-winner elections.

It sucks a lot for single-winner, luckily we are multi-winner.

We are picking the appropriate method for the appropriate elections,
and we are not using single-winner elections to justify choices for
multi-winner elections.
--
Regards,

Dimitri.
Barak A. Pearlmutter
2017-03-03 22:05:49 UTC
Permalink
Dimitri,

Of course we're discussing multiwinner systems: systems that elect
k-of-n people to a board, where k>1.

As you note, when k=n the election is uncontested so there is no need
for any voting system.

In the Burlington election discussed, k=1 and n=3. That's about the
simplest situation you can have, so any credible multiwinner system
should perform flawlessly in that degenerate case, one would hope!

For a bit of background, all the systems we're considering have the
following basic character. (I'm going to simplify a bit.) They use
some "underlying single winner" system to elect a candidate, then they
adjust the ballots in some way to account for that, and iterate this
process until k candidates have been elected.

The multiwinner system called STV uses IRV for the underlying
single-winner system.

The multiwinner system called RRV uses RV (range voting) for the
underlying single-winner system.

STV does the "adjust the ballots" step by basically removing a certain
number of ballots that supported the candidate that just won.

RRV does the "adjust the ballots" step by putting a numeric weight on
each ballot, and lowering the weights of ballots that supported the
candidate that just won.

IRV successively discards the lowest-number-of-first-position
candidates until one candidate has a majority of first-rank positions
across ballots, with struck-out candidates not considered.

RV chooses the candidate with the highest average (weighted, in this
case) score.

Let me note a few things.

FIRST, these systems are not really so different when looked at from
such a high level.

SECOND, any problems with the underlying single-winner system will
necessarily cause problems with the multiwinner system.

THIRD, these systems were designed at very different times, with very
different goals and constraints. IRV and STV were designed to be easy
to perform by tired humans with trays of ballots. STV (and also IRV)
was designed to be easy to explain to a Victorian voter using a
natural intuition (namely that each person should get to vote for
exactly one candidate, but if the person they really want is knocked
out of the running they should get to switch that vote to someone
else); and to be easy to process by hand using trays and sheets of
paper. RRV was designed to be very easy to implement on a computer, to
avoid pathologies as much as possible, to be amenable to mathematical
analysis, and to perform well in simulated elections.

Cheers,

--Barak.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-04 00:12:41 UTC
Permalink
[more range voting advocacy]
I will spare the readers of spi-general a point-by-point rebuttal.

I would caution readers against taking Barak's assertions at face
value. Many of them, including some of the underlying factual
assertions, are flat-out wrong; and the analytical approach is
fundamentally flawed.

Ian.
Barak A. Pearlmutter
2017-03-04 10:59:45 UTC
Permalink
I would caution readers against taking Barak's assertions at face
value. Many of them, including some of the underlying factual
assertions, are flat-out wrong; and the analytical approach is
fundamentally flawed.

Ian.


I have backed up my statements with pointers, either direct or nearly so,
to primary analyses and scientific literature.

If the analytical approach (mathematical tools developed by economists to
study group decision making, compilation and analysis of historical data,
comparitive computer simulations, impossibility theorems, experiments,
etc---basically, the scientific method) is indeed fundamentally flawed,
then I guess that's that.

--Barak.
Ian Jackson
2017-03-04 14:54:52 UTC
Permalink
I have backed up my statements with pointers, either direct or nearly so, to
primary analyses and scientific literature.
If the analytical approach (mathematical tools developed by
economists to study group decision making, compilation and analysis
of historical data, comparitive computer simulations, impossibility
theorems, experiments, etc---basically, the scientific method) is
indeed fundamentally flawed, then I guess that's that.
On the contrary, you have made several important errors of fact,
misapplied what techniques you are using, and (as indeed economists
often do) failed to take into accoount the sociopolitical context.

Ian.
Dimitri John Ledkov
2017-03-04 18:00:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
Dimitri,
Of course we're discussing multiwinner systems: systems that elect
k-of-n people to a board, where k>1.
As you note, when k=n the election is uncontested so there is no need
for any voting system.
In the Burlington election discussed, k=1 and n=3. That's about the
simplest situation you can have, so any credible multiwinner system
should perform flawlessly in that degenerate case, one would hope!
For a bit of background, all the systems we're considering have the
following basic character. (I'm going to simplify a bit.) They use
some "underlying single winner" system to elect a candidate, then they
adjust the ballots in some way to account for that, and iterate this
process until k candidates have been elected.
STV uses more than just underlying single winner system, in the
multiwinner case.
Moreover STV is only defined for multi-winner case since it reduces to
IRV in single-winner case (as there is never a second winner to
transfer the surpus of the first winners' votes over to)
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
The multiwinner system called STV uses IRV for the underlying
single-winner system.
STV is a superset of IRV.

STV uses surplus-transfer + eliminate looser;

IRV uses just eliminate looser.

In some publications STV and IRV terms are used interchangeably, which
imho adds to the confusion.

STV and IRV are two distinct systems, both of which can be used for
multiwinner elections.

IRV is not proposed to be used for the SPI elections.

FairVote in the USA promotes ranked choice voting, which is more
commonly referred to as IRV.
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
The multiwinner system called RRV uses RV (range voting) for the
underlying single-winner system.
STV does the "adjust the ballots" step by basically removing a certain
number of ballots that supported the candidate that just won.
STV does not remove or discard ballots:
1) if winner reached a quota - they are deemed elected
1.1) if they have surpus of votes those are transfered (not
removed/discarded) to next preference
2) Repeat above until there are no candidates left reaching the quota
3) If not enough winners are determined yet, eliminate the looser and
transfer their votes to the next preference.

This works around and produces different results than just IRV, such
that e.g. a candidate who has no first preference votes; but has 100%
of the second preference votes will probably get a seat.
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
RRV does the "adjust the ballots" step by putting a numeric weight on
each ballot, and lowering the weights of ballots that supported the
candidate that just won.
Sidenote, RRV most famously for me used in determining nominations for
Visual Effects award at the Oscars. I cannot find any examples of
anybody credible using RRV for multi-winner elections. It is worrying.
Lack of an article on reweighted range vote on wikipedia also makes me
think it is niche. Range Voting alone is what is most commonly used in
all the serveys where there are no winners at all, and one is
assembling essentially statistics and opinions. There is an advocacy
websites for Range Voting which reads biased =)

I'm failing to find comparisons of RRV with STV (note _not_ comparison
of RRV with IRV) for multi winner elections.
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
IRV successively discards the lowest-number-of-first-position
candidates until one candidate has a majority of first-rank positions
across ballots, with struck-out candidates not considered.
RV chooses the candidate with the highest average (weighted, in this
case) score.
Let me note a few things.
FIRST, these systems are not really so different when looked at from
such a high level.
SECOND, any problems with the underlying single-winner system will
necessarily cause problems with the multiwinner system.
False.

STV uses a combination of two transfer methods. Therefore IRV
single-winner system deficiencies do not spoil the STV in the
multi-winner system case.
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
THIRD, these systems were designed at very different times, with very
different goals and constraints. IRV and STV were designed to be easy
to perform by tired humans with trays of ballots. STV (and also IRV)
was designed to be easy to explain to a Victorian voter using a
natural intuition (namely that each person should get to vote for
exactly one candidate, but if the person they really want is knocked
out of the running they should get to switch that vote to someone
else); and to be easy to process by hand using trays and sheets of
paper. RRV was designed to be very easy to implement on a computer, to
avoid pathologies as much as possible, to be amenable to mathematical
analysis, and to perform well in simulated elections.
Somewhat False.

An age of algorithm tells little about its properties. The attack
against age and use of Victorian time reference comes across as ageist
discrimination / an ad hominem attack, rather than a logic statement /
conclusion.

STV is not easy to calculate by hand, due to requirements to
constantly track updated quota requirements after each surplus
transfer. And hence it is usually computerised, as it is defined in
the Scottish STV rules.

IRV is not being proposed for voting in SPI.

The assertion that "if the person they really want is knocked out of
the running they should get to switch that vote to someone else" is
true for IRV and incomplete for STV. If your top preference results in
being the first winner to reach quota, your ballot may be used to
determine the subsequent winners too. And there more chances for your
prefered candidate to receive surpus votes, because knock outs happen
much later for such candidates with STV system.

STV minimises the amount of wasted ballots, and gives more control and
influence for each ballot to contribute towards decision not only for
the top / most popular winner, but for the entire board.
--
Regards,

Dimitri.
Dimitri John Ledkov
2017-03-04 18:16:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Barak A. Pearlmutter
In the Burlington election discussed, k=1 and n=3. That's about the
simplest situation you can have, so any credible multiwinner system
should perform flawlessly in that degenerate case, one would hope!
It is illogical to assume that methods and algorithms for one type of
problem, should apply to a different one, and expect similarly good
results.
Especially algorithms that are only defined for multi-winner cases,
and undefined for single-winner cases at all (reduce to a subset / a
different voting system).

I do not expect good multi-winner systems perform best for single-winner cases.

If there are two candidates who have exactly 50% of first & third
preference votes, and a candidate with 100% of second preference
votes, which winner should one choose for a single-winner case?

A multi-winner system can and sometimes do spit out randomly either of
these three as the first winner. Since the first two candidates are
equivalent, and the 100% second preference candidate is the most
consensus candidate.
Thus extrapolating single-winner results of multi-winner systems leads
to wrong conclusions.

This is kind of why I dislike single-winner elections a lot, as in the
above case all three candidates received meaningful and significant
amount of support - but actually electing any of those three can
results in huge social unrests and political backlash ("but everyone
liked candidate C", "but everyone preferred somebody else instead of
candidate C", "but B got the same support as A" (and vice versa))


--
Regards,

Dimitri.
Dimitri John Ledkov
2017-03-03 16:26:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Filipus Klutiero
I have received tens of mails from FVC and none discussed monotonicity or
any technical point.
This was not a comment on the substance of Barak's claim.
In my discussion of these issues, I did my best to give pointers to
grounded technical information that shows that STV and even its
underlying IRV are poor voting systems, which actually exhibit major
pathologies in practice. (E.g., electing the least-preferred of the
top three mayoral candidates in Burlington Vermont; messing up when
presented with actual Debian Project Leader ballots; leading to
long-term two-party domination in the legislature using STV in
Australia.)
SPI board elections are multi-winner.

All of the above are samples of single-winner.

We hold multi-winner elections by default, hence by definition it is
not IRV "instant-runoff voting" (alternative vote).

Multi-winner election means the three winners are equal, and it does
not matter who came first, second, or third.

I think it is a huge leap to conclude that particularities two-party
domination in Australia are due to STV, IMHO it is due to use of group
voting tickets. Also very offtopic.

STV is a voting system that strives to achieve proportional
representation, and that's a property which is desired for the SPI
board as it is a long-standing observation that the board is
disproportionally Debian member heavy.

For sake of clarity, we are working on moving SPI to PR-STV
"proportional representation through the single transferable vote".
Ian and Joshua are dismissing these concerns, but have not given any
technical grounds, either now or in the previous round of discussion.
The main reason to move away from condorcet vote, is that it currently
uses arbitrary elimination which results in skewed results for the
multi-winner case.
It typically leads to eliminating "consensus" candidates early and/or
arbitrary, whilst they could have gained a seat with PR-STV case.
("consensus" candidates are those that lost in all head to head
pairings (has little or no 1st choice preferences), yet are very high
2nd/3rd choice among all voters (people wouldn't mind this candidate))
(arbitrary in cases of A beats B, B beats C, C beats A with equal
weights as the top choice, one gets eliminated arbitrary without any
gains of subsequent preferences)

Extending mayoral candidates example, it is a contious design decision
to have the consensus candidate elected into the board. One could even
conclude, that your example of pathologies supports the case for SPI
to move to PR-STV =) luckily we are multi-winner elections, thus it
will not be the only board member.
At the very least, it would seem to me prudent to craft a resolution
which includes (a) some flexibility, so that the voting system can be
changed more easily should there be reason to; and (b) which mandates
making the full list of cast ballots public, so that pathologies in
the elections can be detected.
Our current voting method is encoded with a board resolution.
We are updating it with a board resolution.

Thus this resolution doesn't change at all how voting systems are
changed or how elections are run. And this is intentional to keep the
scope of this resolution strictly about the algorithm alone.

Please stay on topic.

Please stop giving examples of single-winner elections, all of them
will be dismissed with prejudice as by default we optimizing for a
multi-winner election.
--
Regards,

Dimitri.
Filipus Klutiero
2017-03-04 18:14:40 UTC
Permalink
Hi Dimitri,
Post by Dimitri John Ledkov
Post by Filipus Klutiero
I have received tens of mails from FVC and none discussed monotonicity or
any technical point.
This was not a comment on the substance of Barak's claim.
In my discussion of these issues, I did my best to give pointers to
grounded technical information that shows that STV and even its
underlying IRV are poor voting systems, which actually exhibit major
pathologies in practice. (E.g., electing the least-preferred of the
top three mayoral candidates in Burlington Vermont; messing up when
presented with actual Debian Project Leader ballots; leading to
long-term two-party domination in the legislature using STV in
Australia.)
[...]
STV is a voting system that strives to achieve proportional
representation, and that's a property which is desired for the SPI
board as it is a long-standing observation that the board is
disproportionally Debian member heavy.
I would disagree with that. I would rather say that STV tries to improve the representativeness of representative bodies while maintaining a traditional / very simple system (although, its winner determination rules are arguably no longer "very simple").
[...]
--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com
Markus Schulze
2017-03-04 13:01:33 UTC
Permalink
Hallo,

I recommend Schulze STV. This method is described mainly
in section 9 of this paper:

http://m-schulze.9mail.de/verylong.pdf

Source codes can be found here:

http://m-schulze.9mail.de/schulze3.zip

multi01g.cpp is multi-threading for g++.
multi01v.cpp is multi-threading for Microsoft Visual C++.
singl01g.cpp is single-threading for g++.
singl01v.cpp is single-threading for Microsoft Visual C++.

*********

When Schulze STV is used, then each voter gets a complete
list of all candidates and ranks these candidates in order
of preference. The individual voter may give the same
preference to more than one candidate and he may keep
candidates unranked.

*********

Schulze STV is an STV method, in so far as it satisfies
Dummett-Droop Proportionality: When strictly more than
x Droop Quotas of voters strictly prefer every candidate
of a set B of (at least x) candidates, then at least
x candidates of set B must be elected. (See section 9.3
of "verylong.pdf".)

*********

In single-winner elections, a "Condorcet winner" is a
candidate who wins every 2-way contest. The property of
being a Condorcet winner is very important because, when
some candidate X is a Condorcet winner, then candidate X
is also a Condorcet winner when some other candidate is
removed. So when some candidate X is a Condorcet winner,
we can declare this candidate the winner, knowing that
he doesn't owe his win to the presence of some other
candidate.

Schulze STV has the following property: Suppose M is the
number of seats. When some candidate X wins in every
(M+1)-candidate contest, then he is also a winner overall.
Again, the property of winning in every (M+1)-candidate
contest is important because, when some candidate X has
this property, then candidate X still has this property
when some other candidate is removed. (See section 9.4
of "verylong.pdf".)

*********

The analysis of Schulze STV is very short because most
of its properties follow directly from the fact that,
in the single-winner case, Schulze STV is identical to
the Schulze single-winner election method, which is
analyzed in sections 2--4 of "verylong.pdf". The Schulze
single-winner election method is currently used by SPI.

Markus Schulze
Henrik Ingo
2017-03-04 13:50:32 UTC
Permalink
Purely as a FYI on Schulze method, it is implemented in the Liquid
Feedback system: http://liquidfeedback.org/

Liquid Feedback has been used for years in Central Europe, notably by
several chapters of the Pirate Party, but also some cooperatives, etc.

Note: LF itself is IMO not suitable for use by SPI - at least not
within the scope of the proposal now discussed.

Note: My intent here is to be purely informational. I'm not advocating
for or against the Schulze method compared to other STV methods.

henrik

On Sat, Mar 4, 2017 at 3:01 PM, Markus Schulze
Post by Markus Schulze
Hallo,
I recommend Schulze STV. This method is described mainly
http://m-schulze.9mail.de/verylong.pdf
http://m-schulze.9mail.de/schulze3.zip
multi01g.cpp is multi-threading for g++.
multi01v.cpp is multi-threading for Microsoft Visual C++.
singl01g.cpp is single-threading for g++.
singl01v.cpp is single-threading for Microsoft Visual C++.
*********
When Schulze STV is used, then each voter gets a complete
list of all candidates and ranks these candidates in order
of preference. The individual voter may give the same
preference to more than one candidate and he may keep
candidates unranked.
*********
Schulze STV is an STV method, in so far as it satisfies
Dummett-Droop Proportionality: When strictly more than
x Droop Quotas of voters strictly prefer every candidate
of a set B of (at least x) candidates, then at least
x candidates of set B must be elected. (See section 9.3
of "verylong.pdf".)
*********
In single-winner elections, a "Condorcet winner" is a
candidate who wins every 2-way contest. The property of
being a Condorcet winner is very important because, when
some candidate X is a Condorcet winner, then candidate X
is also a Condorcet winner when some other candidate is
removed. So when some candidate X is a Condorcet winner,
we can declare this candidate the winner, knowing that
he doesn't owe his win to the presence of some other
candidate.
Schulze STV has the following property: Suppose M is the
number of seats. When some candidate X wins in every
(M+1)-candidate contest, then he is also a winner overall.
Again, the property of winning in every (M+1)-candidate
contest is important because, when some candidate X has
this property, then candidate X still has this property
when some other candidate is removed. (See section 9.4
of "verylong.pdf".)
*********
The analysis of Schulze STV is very short because most
of its properties follow directly from the fact that,
in the single-winner case, Schulze STV is identical to
the Schulze single-winner election method, which is
analyzed in sections 2--4 of "verylong.pdf". The Schulze
single-winner election method is currently used by SPI.
Markus Schulze
_______________________________________________
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Ian Jackson
2017-03-04 15:47:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Henrik Ingo
Purely as a FYI on Schulze method, it is implemented in the Liquid
Feedback system: http://liquidfeedback.org/
Thanks. That's interesting. I wasn't aware of that. I think Liquid
Feedback is very exciting. It is an innovative system used by
politically oriented organisations who understand governance problems
well.

But I think in SPI we probably want to be more conservative.

In particular, Scottish STV (a traditional STV variant) has some
important advantages for us over Schultze STV:

* The specification of Scottish STV is expressed in readily
comprehensible prose, as opposed to mathematics.

* We already have multiple independent implementations of Scottish
STV. (Note that Markus has not provided the actual source code of
his implementation AFAIC T1])

* Scottish STV is considerably simpler. My reimplementation in Perl
is 432 lines. Markus's implementation of Schultze STV in C++ is
6000-7000 lines, depending on which variant we use.

* Traditional STV (including Scottish STV specifically) has a large
body of independent analysis - not just of the voting system from a
mathematical/technical level, but also of the sociopolitical
effects such as effects on voting patterns and on attitudes in the
polity.

My personal view is that a more Condorcet-ish proportional voting
system is a good thing, but that I would like to see more third-party
analysis. I do have the skills to follow Martin's paper myself, but
digging into this in detail is not a personal priority for me right
now.

In any case, the differences in outcome between Schultze STV and
Scottish STV are likely to be minor.

Thanks,
Ian.

[1] There is the file http://m-schulze.9mail.de/schulze3.zip whilch
contains (at least) four different variants, which have obviously been
generated from a single original source file. Neither that original
source file nor the machinery for substuting the variants is in the
zipfile.
Barak A. Pearlmutter
2017-03-05 11:18:36 UTC
Permalink
On 4 March 2017 at 13:01, Markus Schulze
Post by Markus Schulze
I recommend Schulze STV.
It is a very nice algorithm, which does about as well as any
polynomial-time algorithm could using rank ballots. It certainly
overcomes a lot of the practical pathologies in ScottishSTV or more
generally IRV-based STV systems.

I would agree that, assuming rank ballots, Schulze STV is the most
sensible choice.

If I were ranking them as fit-for-purpose in the current context, I'd rank

RRV > Schulze STV > ScottishSTV > Current System

If I wanted to be more informative, while using the entire dynamic
range, I'd say

RRV: 99
Schulze STV: 90
ScottishSTV: 50
Current System: 0

One issue with Schulze STV is that it is hard to explain to people who
are not mathematically sophisticated. That should not be a problem
here.

Cheers,

--Barak.
Josh berkus
2017-03-07 04:50:09 UTC
Permalink
Ian, All:

So in all of this discussion, I've not heard anything which seems
terribly persuasive compared with just taking our existing system and
fixing the problem with unranked candidates (and maybe providing a
slightly better UI).

Yes, we could use a different system, but why?

The system we currently use has been good at choosing candidates who are
acceptable to most voting members over candidates who take highly
partisan positions. This is a *virtue*, not a drawback. If we'd had a
voting system which supported more partisanship, SPI probably would have
been destroyed ten years ago when we had folks actively trying to split
the membership.

If we have a problem with too many candidates needing to be Debian-ish,
then the answer is to add specific board seats elected in a way which
ensures a pool of candidates who don't care about Debian. Personally,
though, I think that would be more trouble than it's worth, and I work
on Fedora.

Overally, I disagree that there's any major issue with our voting
system, and this whole thing really looks to me like voting system geeks
looking for an excuse to tinker with "cool voting tech".

Let's just fix the unranked candidate problem, work on the UI a little,
and call it good enough.
Jonathan McDowell
2017-03-07 08:39:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
So in all of this discussion, I've not heard anything which seems
terribly persuasive compared with just taking our existing system and
fixing the problem with unranked candidates
FWIW this is already fixed; the current system supports both the old
"unranked means no preference" and the preferred "unranked means lower
preference than all ranked" and defaults to the latter.

J.
--
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Ian Jackson
2017-03-07 18:13:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
So in all of this discussion, I've not heard anything which seems
terribly persuasive compared with just taking our existing system and
fixing the problem with unranked candidates (and maybe providing a
slightly better UI).
Yes, we could use a different system, but why?
The arguments were rehearsed extensively in July and August.
Post by Josh berkus
The system we currently use has been good at choosing candidates who are
acceptable to most voting members over candidates who take highly
partisan positions. This is a *virtue*, not a drawback. If we'd had a
voting system which supported more partisanship, SPI probably would have
been destroyed ten years ago when we had folks actively trying to split
the membership.
Proportional voting systems are _better_ at undermining partisanship
than winning-faction-takes-all ones.[1]
Post by Josh berkus
If we have a problem with too many candidates needing to be Debian-ish,
then the answer is to add specific board seats elected in a way which
ensures a pool of candidates who don't care about Debian. Personally,
though, I think that would be more trouble than it's worth, and I work
on Fedora.
Proportional voting systems avoid the need for this kind of explicit
division, seats set aside, and so on. I don't SPI as a whole is at
all keen on such proposals. They are, perhaps, a necessary evil in
some very divided societies. SPI does not have those kind of
problems.
Post by Josh berkus
Overally, I disagree that there's any major issue with our voting
system, and this whole thing really looks to me like voting system geeks
looking for an excuse to tinker with "cool voting tech".
The Single Transferable Vote is the opposite of "cool voting tech".

What we have right now is an experimental multi-winner Condorcet which
has been chosen almost by accident, and which has never been subjected
to any 3rd-party analysis, never been discussed in the literature, and
never adopted anywhere else. I want to move away from that to
something standard, well-regarded, and widely adopted.

I am trying to switch from "cool voting tech" to something boring.

(If I wanted excitement I would be looking at Schultze's system more
seriously.)

Ian.

[1] For example, if you want to read some sociology research
about Northern Ireland's adoption of STV, see

_The Single Transferable Vote and Ethnic Conflict:
The Evidence from Northern Ireland, 1982-2007_
Paul Mitchell, LSE, for _Designing Democrat Instutitions,
inaugural _Political Science and Political Economy_ conference,
LSE 13-14 May 2008
http://www.lse.ac.uk/government/research/resgroups/PSPE/pdf/2008conference_papers/Mitchell_STVpaper.pdf

or

_Nationalism and ethnic politics in Northern Ireland:
The Impact of PR-STV on European election campaigns"
Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Henry Jarret
Political Studies Association
64th Annual International Conference
Manchester 14-16 April 2014
https://www.psa.ac.uk/sites/default/files/conference/papers/2014/PSA%20NI%20elections%20paper.pdf

or you can do your own sociology research searches :-).
Josh berkus
2017-03-07 18:29:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Josh berkus
So in all of this discussion, I've not heard anything which seems
terribly persuasive compared with just taking our existing system and
fixing the problem with unranked candidates (and maybe providing a
slightly better UI).
Yes, we could use a different system, but why?
The arguments were rehearsed extensively in July and August.
I made this argument then, as well. Nothing I've seen has convinced me
that our existing system needs more than a few patches.
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Josh berkus
The system we currently use has been good at choosing candidates who are
acceptable to most voting members over candidates who take highly
partisan positions. This is a *virtue*, not a drawback. If we'd had a
voting system which supported more partisanship, SPI probably would have
been destroyed ten years ago when we had folks actively trying to split
the membership.
Proportional voting systems are _better_ at undermining partisanship
than winning-faction-takes-all ones.[1]
Concordet is not a winning-faction-take-all system. It is a "most
acceptable candidate" system. Which kinda makes this argument invalid.
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Josh berkus
Overally, I disagree that there's any major issue with our voting
system, and this whole thing really looks to me like voting system geeks
looking for an excuse to tinker with "cool voting tech".
The Single Transferable Vote is the opposite of "cool voting tech".
What we have right now is an experimental multi-winner Condorcet which
has been chosen almost by accident, and which has never been subjected
to any 3rd-party analysis, never been discussed in the literature, and
never adopted anywhere else. I want to move away from that to
something standard, well-regarded, and widely adopted.
I am trying to switch from "cool voting tech" to something boring.
But STV is still a "single-winner" system. Any multi-winner
implementation of it we choose would *still* be experimental.

For that matter, STV isn't a proportional system, unless you're planning
to allocate "seats" by project? If so, that's a rather substantial
bylaws change, and needs to be spelled out.

In fact, looking over your posts to spi-general and spi-private, I can't
find one which does actually fully lay out what specific voting
mechanics you're proposing. I may have missed it because I was off
spi-private for a month or so; can you please link your paper explaining it?

--Josh Berkus
Josh berkus
2017-03-07 18:40:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
But STV is still a "single-winner" system. Any multi-winner
implementation of it we choose would *still* be experimental
Aha, just found the multi-winner math for STV. Please ignore this part
of my arguments. The other parts still apply.
Robert Brockway
2017-03-11 02:21:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Josh berkus
But STV is still a "single-winner" system. Any multi-winner
implementation of it we choose would *still* be experimental
Aha, just found the multi-winner math for STV. Please ignore this part
of my arguments. The other parts still apply.
Not sure how many people are aware of this but the Australian Senate
has been using multi-winner STV since 1948. The state of Tasmania has
been doing the same since 1907.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_and_use_of_the_single_transferable_vote#Australia

There has been plenty of discussion in Australia about the pros and cons
of this system going back more than a century.

Cheers,

Rob
Ian Jackson
2017-03-08 11:33:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh berkus
Concordet is not a winning-faction-take-all system. It is a "most
acceptable candidate" system. Which kinda makes this argument invalid.
Condorcet is a single-winner voting system. SPI's homegrown
multi-Condorcet is a winning-faction-takes-all system.

Here is an example I posted in July, again:

Suppose there are 3 seats up for grabs, and red, pink, and blue board
candidates, 3 in each colour. If the electorate votes along colour
lines:

60 voters blue > pink > red
40 voters red > pink > blue

Then the outcome with SPI's multi-Condorcet is:

blue, blue, blue

That is precisely the winning faction taking all.
The outcome with STV is:

blue, red, blue
Post by Josh berkus
Post by Ian Jackson
I am trying to switch from "cool voting tech" to something boring.
But STV is still a "single-winner" system. Any multi-winner
implementation of it we choose would *still* be experimental.
Seriously ?!

STV is not a single-winner system. STV is the popular multi-winner
extension to AV (the single-winner system "Alternative Vote", which is
known in the US as "IRV").

STV is far from experimental. Did you not spot that my draft
resolution refers to a UK Statutory Instrument (ie, government
legislation) from 2007 ?
Post by Josh berkus
In fact, looking over your posts to spi-general and spi-private, I can't
find one which does actually fully lay out what specific voting
mechanics you're proposing. I may have missed it because I was off
spi-private for a month or so; can you please link your paper explaining it?
Please see my draft resolution.

I will repost it in a moment (with the numbering fixed).

Ian.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
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