bolson: (Default)
At Arisia, Sunday at 1pm I'll be taking part in "Arisia Lightning Talks" in which Arisians distill down something they find fascinating and wish to share into the essence that fits in 5 minutes. I'll be talking about elections, two notably messy elections, a better way, and a false better way. This may be review for anyone I've talked to, ever, but I still hope to make it a good punchy five minutes.
bolson: (Default)
I don't like Instant Runoff Voting, but I'm a little sad that Burlington VT repealed IRV election of their mayor. Sure, their second IRV run election was a flop, where three different counting methods could find three different winners, demonstrating that all of the anti-IRV FUD, dismissed as vaguely possible mathematical oddities, could actually happen in the real world. Still, I'm a little sad.

I want to see 'election reform', even if it's IRV, go forward and spread. I'll yell and scream at every stage I can that if we're going to do it we should do it right and use something better than IRV, but if that's the compromise I get I'll take it. And I'm afraid that because Burlington had a bad experience with 'election reform' (really all IRV's fault, IMFO), all such efforts will be tarnished. Every establishment politician who wants to raise Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt will be able to point at Burlington and make spooky noises about what terrible things could happen.

I've been focusing on redistricting lately, because programming that has been the more interesting puzzle and because the 2010 Census is making it timely, but I still think that getting people voting on rankings and ratings ballots could be the biggest thing to happen to Democracy since the US Constitution. Making that change may have just gotten a little harder because some people did it badly. (Which does not bode well for the current pretty-bad-compromise Health Care bill. :-/ )
bolson: (Default)

Well, it has happened. That thing that a few math nerd election theory wankers warned about but nay-sayers said could never happen has happened. Instant Runoff Voting has elected the wrong person.

election data, analysis )


Jan. 24th, 2007 07:47 pm
bolson: (gd)
I got a call yesterday from a staffer for my State Assembly representative. She nicely told me thank you for my submission, but my election reform law wouldn't be proposed by him in the legislature this year. Apparently they get hundreds of these a year and can only use a few of them. I should have asked how many. I did ask if there was any feedback on how I could do it better in the future but she didn't have any.

I guess it takes more than a good idea to get a law passed, it'll take a movement.
bolson: (Default)
Imagine political opinion space is a plane. Ok, lots of people measure like liberal-conservative on social and fiscal scales, but really any axes will do. Now position some candidates on that plane. Now simulate an election with the the center of a gaussian distribution of voters at the center of pixels on that plane voting for the closest candidates. This is a great way to visualize the behavior of election methods.
one sample image of IRV being weird )
lots of pictures here
credit due to the original here, but my pictures are bigger. :-)
bolson: (gd)
Last Friday I had a nice chat with a staffer at my state assembly member (Pedro Nava)'s office. Without an appointment, I walked in and handed her a nice flowery cover letter, 3 pages of rough draft bill text and my analysis of the June 6 Primary in which I describe how 26 races in California went to a 'winner' with less than 50% of the vote and 9 of those had a better than 40% chance that the 2nd place candidate should have won. We then proceeded to talk about the bill and how it works. She tried to play devils advocate and poke holes in what I had. We probably talked about this stuff for ten or twenty minutes. I don't know how far it will get with just that. I'll probably have to call back every couple weeks for the next year to try and poke it along.

I also mailed a copy off to my state senator, Tom McClintock, since I didn't feel like driving an hour down to Thousand Oaks. I'm curious to see what if any response I get from this.


bolson: (Default)

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