Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Measure U Instant Runoff Voting / Council Duties

 

Instant Runoff Voting

The video above explains how instant runoff voting works. During the charter process, it was noted that many times in Pomona, seats are won by individuals who are only able to garner as few as 20+% of the vote, meaning that nearly 80% of the electorate may have voted against the winner. The way that this was resolved in the past was with a runoff system where the top two vote getters would face a runoff election to determine the winner. However, due to low voter turnout in runoff elections and the high cost of having a second election, we looked at other possible means of creating a fair way to choose our elected officials that would ensure that the person with the most support was the one elected.

Instant Runoff Voting, with has successfully used in many US cities and around the world (see http://www.instantrunoff.com/ for more information), is a method which allows a runoff election at the same time as the main election by "ranking" your votes, as explained in the video. The charter amendment calls for such a system once LA County Registrar of Voters has capabilities to conduct such elections. As of now, the county does not have such a capability nor are they planning at present to add such capability. However, if the city should decided to run its own elections in the past, this would also kick in as the method of election.

This will ensure that we don't have the kind of elections that we have had in the past.

Council Duties

The Charter has had a section (406 under the current charter) that laid out the duties of the Mayor but there was previously no such section that laid out the duties of the council. The commission decided to rectify that by creating such a section so that council members were clear about their duties to the electorate. This includes the line Conduct business in a manner to benefit the entire City of Pomona, not strictly individual districts, areas or constituencies. This was an attempt to codify that council members, while elected to represent a district, are responsible for the well being of the entire city. It also calls for them to manage their discretionary budgets in such a manner, to report to the citizens on issues of importance to the city, to report on organizations and commissions to which the councilperson is a member, to set city goals at least once a year, and to communicate with their commissioners and board members at least once a year.

While many of these are things that the councilmembers already do, this codifies these activities and will allow future charter review commissions a place to work on improvements as they are identified.

Next Time: Changes to conflicts of interest section, Inclusion of Youth and Family Master Plan, Council absentees, Filling of commission vacancies



4 comments:

Clay Shentrup said...

Regarding majority winners, consider this hypothetical voter preference scenario:

% of voters - their ranking
35% W > Y > Z > X
17% X > Y > Z > W
32% Y > Z > X > W
16% Z > X > Y > W

Instant Runoff Voting selects candidate X as the winner, beating W in the final round, 65% to 35%.

But wait!

A huge 67% majority of voters would rather have candidate Y than X. And Y received nearly twice as many first-place votes as X, 32% vs. 17%.

And an even larger 83% super-majority of voters would rather have candidate Z than X (and Z got just a little fewer first-place votes than X).

So the claim that IRV “elects majority winners” is seriously misleading.

Also…

X is a spoiler. If he would drop out of the race, then Y would win instead, even with no change in voter preferences.

The first row of voters have an incentive to betray W by pretending Y is their actual favorite – then they get their second choice instead of their last.

The third row of voters have an incentive to betray candidate Y by pretending candidate Z is their favorite – then they get their second choice instead of their third.

The first row of voters made a big mistake by voting honestly. Suppose 20% of the voters, all from that bloc, had simply refused to vote. That would actually have been better for them than voting honestly, because it would have caused Y to win (whom they prefer over X). Their honest “X is worst” votes actually caused X to win!

Also, Y is the Condorcet “beats-all” winner, but doesn’t make it to the final round: 65% majority says Y>W; 67% majority says Y>X; 84% majority says Y>Z.

And W is the Condorcet “lose-to-all” loser, but makes it to the final round (65% majorities say others>W).

Clay Shentrup said...

Correction:

"X is a spoiler. If he would drop out of the race, then Y would win instead, even with no change in voter preferences."

should be:

"Y is a spoiler. If he would drop out of the race, then Z would win instead, even with no change in voter preferences."

Clay Shentrup said...

I apologize profusely for my continued errors about the spoiler issue. It should read:

"W is a spoiler. If he would drop out of the race, then Y would win instead, even with no change in voter preferences."

John Clifford said...

You've made this so complex that I can't follow it. At each round one of the candidates is dropped. Since you don't show how many 2nd and third and fourth place votes each got I can't tell where they are in the "stack" as shown in the video so can't figure out how you've come to your conclusions.