Badnarik discusses the need for Approval Voting, _not_ IRV

This is unfortunately long-winded, and interrupted by a _lot_ of
commercial breaks for cancer-killing crystals (such is the world of
talk radio). But it shows that Libertarians are starting to get it -
IRV is death for third parties, and we need Range Voting, or its
simplified form Approval Voting. Approval Voting is, as I mentioned,
just like plurality, except that you can vote for as many candidates
as you like. San Francisco State University uses it for their
Academic Senate elections (which they just had last month). I'm
trying to get them to use it for student elections too.


If you ever see any op-eds in favor of Instant Runoff Voting, here's a
good reply to leave in the comments section, which you can customize
to suit your own voice:

This post repeats common myths that are perpetuated by IRV propaganda
groups, like The truth is that better and simpler
methods than IRV exist - and IRV is lethal to third parties, because
voting for a non-major-party candidate is statistically more likely to
hurt you than help you. The world needs Range Voting or its
simplified form of Approval Voting. Here's why.

Consider this hypothetical election using IRV.

% of voters - their vote
28% "Green" > Edwards > McCain
20% Edwards > "Green" > McCain
  6% Edwards > McCain > "Green"
46% McCain > Edwards > "Green"

In this IRV election, Edwards is eliminated in the first round, and
then McCain wins against "Green". But wait! 54% of voters prefer
Edwards to McCain - and 72% prefer Edwards to "Green"! Yet Edwards loses?

IRV sounds initially appealling, because people picture a weak third
party candidate who loses in the first round. The myth is that this
takes away the fear of voting for your sincere favorite candidate, and
gives third parties a fair chance to grow; but if that candidate or
his party ever grows to be a contender, he is statistically more
likely to hurt the party closest to his own than to win. It doesn't
matter how unlikely you imagine the above scenario to be - it's still
_more_ likely than the odds "Green" will win. And so third party
voters will learn to strategically vote for their favorite major-party
candidate. You don't have to buy my math; you can look at decades of
IRV usage in Australia's house, and Ireland's presidency. Both use
IRV, and have been two-party dominated. So much for the myths that IRV
allows you to "vote your hopes, not your fears", and eliminates
spoilers. Now we know why the Libertarian Reform Caucus calls IRV a
"bullet in the foot" for third parties.

Electoral reform advocates (especially third parties!) should be
demanding Range Voting - score all the candidates and elect the one
with the highest average. Its simplified form, Approval Voting, is
probably the most feasible to implement. It simply uses ordinary
ballots, but allows us to vote for as many candidates as we like.
Consider the benefits:

* Spoiler free: Whereas IRV merely _reduces_ spoilers
* Simpler to use and implement: A simple one-round summation tells us
the results, whereas IRV's potential for multiple rounds can cause
long delays before the final results are determined. A side-effect of
Range Voting's simplicity is that it makes the necessary transition
away from voting machines more feasible. IRV's complexity leads most
communities implementing it to purchase expensive and fraud-conducive
(electronic!) voting machines, the fraudster's best friend.
* More resistant to strategy: As we see above, IRV often strategically
"forces" voters not to top-rank their sincere favorite. But with Range
Voting and Approval Voting, this _never_ happens. A vote for your
favorite candidate can never hurt you, or the candidate. With IRV it
can hurt both.
* Decreases spoiled ballots: Since voting for more than one candidate
is permissible, the number of invalid ballots experimentally goes down
with Range and Approval Voting. But here in San Francisco, we saw a
seven fold increase in spoiled ballots when we started using IRV.
* Greater voter satisfaction: Using extensive computer modeling of
elections, a Princeton math Ph.D. named Warren D. Smith has shown that
these methods lead to better average satisfaction with election
results, surpassing the alternatives by a good margin. But IRV turns
out to be the second _worst_ of the commonly proposed alternatives.
This mean that all voters will benefit from the adoption of either of
these superior voting methods, regardless of political stripe.
* Reduces the probability of ties: While they are not extremely
common, they do happen. IRV statistically increases them, but Range
Voting decreases them.

Get the facts at and

And if you're in the market for a better system of proportional
representation than the antiquated STV system, check out Reweighted
Range Voting and Asset Voting.


  I didn't know or had forgotten that you go to SF State. I recently met another SFSU student who is interested in starting a libertarian group there (see correspondence below). Perhaps you guys can get in touch with each other and further develop this.

  Can you make it to the LPSF meeting Saturday? How about you, Mike? Subodh, are you receiving this? I'd like to put forming an SFSU student group on our agenda.

  I believe Don Fields was also taking some classes at SF State, maybe still is. Anyone else on our list?

Love & Liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>


  I didn't know or had forgotten that you go to SF State.

I never have. I'm trying to convert any and all organizations that
have elections to Range Voting.

I recently
met another SFSU student who is interested in starting a libertarian
group there (see correspondence below). Perhaps you guys can get in
touch with each other and further develop this.

Now that's a keen idea!

Can you make it to the LPSF meeting Saturday?

If they will come, I'll come. I do have a gig later that night at 6
though, so I can stay too long.