[2406.AB] IRV Amendment

In light of the discussion here, I have drafted the below proposal to replace Approval Voting in Delegate elections with Instant-Runoff Voting, which would unify all of our forum-based elections to a single, IRV ballot. The primary goal is to reduce voter confusion.

I present this as a draft for discussion, not a finally baked proposal. I will note that I wrote this while somewhat tired, so if folks catch drafting errors–typographical or substantive–please point them out.

Amendments to the Elections Act

2. Electoral Basics

(1) For forum-based voting, voters shall vote by secret ballot.

  1. The method of casting secret ballots will be selected by the Election Commissioner. The chosen method must utilize an unaffiliated account, group, or server, with the method and all votes remaining available for audit.
  2. Voters may not alter their votes once cast via the method selected by the Election Commissioner.
  3. Named ballots shall not be released by the Election Commissioner under any circumstances.

(2) In each election, voters can, subject to limitations set for the specific voting method, vote for the Re-Open Nominations option, which shall function like a normal candidate in the election. If, under the voting method used, the option to Re-Open Nominations is athe first or only winner, the election process for the exact position won by it shall restart.

(3) To be eligible to be included on a ballot, a candidate must post a campaign in an area designated by the Election Commissioner. The campaign must prominently include a truthful declaration of all potential conflicts of interest the candidate may have within and outside of the South Pacific.

(4) To be eligible to vote in, or stand for, a forum-based election, a citizen must have been accepted by the Citizenship Committee before the period for nominations began for that particular election.

(5) If the voting method used in an election ties candidates, whether for elimination or winning, the Election Commissioner will select a method of arbitration, unless the tie can be resolved by special provisions set for the election in law. If the method chosen involves chance, an unaffiliated Discord bot will be used to generate a result in a public channel randomly using a coin toss or some similar set of pre-defined outcomes.

(6) Under Instant-Runoff Voting, the sole winner iswinners - as many as specified for the respective position - are determined as follows;

  1. As their ballot, a voter lists any candidates they wish in descending order of preference.
  2. Until a candidate has received an absolute majority of first-place preferences and thus becomes thea winner, the candidate with the fewest first-place preferences is eliminated and the ballots get retallied, ignoring any eliminated candidates and discounting ballots solely listing eliminated candidates.
  3. If candidates tie for elimination, all those receiving the fewest second-place preferences among them are eliminated.

d. If the position specifies more than one winner, then the last candidate eliminated shall also become a winner until the requisite number of winners have been chosen, provided, however, that no candidate shall become a winner if named on less than half of all ballots cast.

(7) Under Approval Voting, winners ‒ as many as specified for the respective position ‒ are determined as follows;

  1. As their ballot, a voter either indicates all candidates they approve of, or the option to Re-Open Nominations.
  2. Until enough winners have been found, the most-approved candidate among the non-winners becomes a winner.
  3. The option to Re-Open Nominations wins in place of the winners who have been approved on less than half of all ballots.

(87) Under Majority Voting, the sole winner is determined as follows;

  1. As their ballot, a voter indicates the candidate their vote shall go towards.
  2. If a candidate has received an absolute majority of votes, they are the winner; otherwise, the two candidates who have received the most votes advance to a runoff, held under the same rules as this round of voting. Should this runoff result in a tie, then the tie shall be broken according to the general tie-breaking procedure.

3. Office of the Delegate

(1) The Delegate will be elected in a two-round process constituting a single election, with the citizens voting on a slate of nominees on the forums, and candidates advancing from that process being voted on by regional poll on-site.

(2) On the 15th of January and July, the citizens will convene for the first round of Delegate Elections.

  1. Any eligible citizen wishing to run for Delegate may declare their candidacy, and the citizens will debate the merits of their platform. Any player who has been banned from World Assembly membership will be considered ineligible and any candidate who is later discovered to be banned from World Assembly membership will be immediately disqualified. Citizens wishing to run for Delegate must hold a number of endorsements equal to at least 80% of the existing general endorsement cap at the commencement of the election period.
  2. The campaign and debate period will last four days, after which the citizens will vote for four days.
  3. This round of voting for Delegate will use Approval Voting Instant-Runoff Voting to determine two winners as candidates in the second round. If candidates tie for being a winner, all of those tied candidates shall be considered winners.

(3) After the winners of the first round have been determined, the second round will commence with those winners as candidates.

  1. The Election Commissioner will create a six-day-long regional poll through which eligible members may cast their ballots. The poll must provide instructions for them on how to do so, and may only allow Native World Assembly members to participate.
  2. A Dispatch containing the campaigns of all candidates will be created to aid voters in their choice.
  3. Members of the South Pacific Special Forces who are on deployment at the conclusion of the regional poll are eligible to cast a ballot. The Prime Minister shall provide a list of deployed personnel to the Election Commissioner. Members on the list can cast their ballot through a public post on the Regional Message Board which tags the Election Commissioner.
  4. The winner of this round, as decided using Majority Voting, will be declared the Delegate-elect.

(4) The Delegate-elect will be considered formally inaugurated upon achieving the most endorsements. Prior to inauguration, the sole responsibility of the Delegate-elect is to gather endorsements, in coordination with the incumbent Delegate and in cooperation with the Council on Regional Security. The incumbent will continue to hold the office of the Delegate and will remain responsible for all responsibilities of that office, serving out the remainder of their term, until the inauguration of the Delegate-elect.

I may have some thoughts on this, but for now: what is the rationale for approval voting in Delegate elections as opposed to IRV? Is that to do with the multi-stage nature of the Delegate election?

I believe it is related to the nature of the underlying positions–the PM is a political office charged with governing and thus is chosen in a majoritarian way, while the Delegate is more of a unifying figurehead and is therefore chosen via approval / consensus. The issues are discussed a bit further in this thread, but I am sure there is much more that could be said.

Frankly I think our elections are easy enough to understand if one takes the time to read the instructions.


Support for this amendment.

In support.

I’ll echo Kris on this… if someone takes a second to read then there shouldn’t be a problem.

Further, the point of approval voting for Delegate is to ensure broad support of a candidate.

I’m in support of leaving the voting system the way it is. It works well, and I see no reason to change it

In the last PM election, over 25% of citizens’ votes were not counted due to balloting errors. Whatever the reason, that does not strike me as a system that is working remarkably well.

I don’t disagree with this as a theoretical matter. But as practical matter, voter confusion–and the resulting invalid ballots–continues to be a problem each election. Perhaps we shouldn’t feel bad for these voters; a case could be made that if you don’t take the time to read and understand the instructions, then you don’t deserve to have your vote counted. It’s not an unreasonable argument, but I don’t find it persuasive. If altering the voting system will increase effective voter enfranchisement, that strikes me as a sufficient reason to make the change absent substantial countervailing considerations. Which brings me to the next issue.

I agree with the idea of ensuring that Delegate candidates have broad support before moving on to the gameside round of the election. That said, I’m not sure how often candidates without majority support would advance under an IRV system. The first winner will, of course, command an absolute majority of support. And it seems very likely that the first candidate eliminated (who will become the second winner), will often have approval of a majority of voters once second preference votes are accounted for (I assume that no one would vote for a candidate as their second preference if they would not also approve of them serving in the position). But if this is an insuperable obstacle, we could add a proviso along the following lines (new language in green):

  1. If the position specifies more than one winner, then the last candidate eliminated shall also become a winner until the requisite number of winners have been chosen, provided, however, that no candidate shall become a winner if named on less than half of all ballots cast.

The problem was incorrectly cast ballots, right?

Yes, which is what I meant by balloting errors.

When people are given the supreme responsibility to elect government officials in the region, I do not believe asking them to read the instructions is too much to ask. Speaking as someone who failed to do that in the past, it is not a mistake I am eager to make again.

I see your point, but I stand by my response to Kringle’s post:

The substantial countervailing considerations, if any, seem to be that we want to ensure that the Delegate has sufficiently broad popular support before moving on to the gameside round. I’m not sure if that concern is likely to materialize very often, but it is addressed by the language I proposed above in response to Griff. I will formally add that to the proposal now.

I just don’t see the need for an Instant-Runoff Voting system for round one of the delegate elections. In a situation like electing the PM, yes that would make sense, but that doesn’t really carry over to the delegate election. The candidate who gets to most 1st choices on the forums may lose in the game side election, why does it matter how highly the voters in this round ranked each candidate?

I believe that because the Delegate, as Head of State, is a representative of the region itself. It’s like the King of England or the President of Germany, he doesn’t have government powers, but he serves as a representative, as a link between the people and everything. Therefore, it is good that both main sides of TSP (RMB and Forums) agree on the election of a certain Delegate.

It’s better to have broad support though. If we’re to have, “…both main sides of TSP (RMB and Forums) agree on the election of a certain Delegate” using IRV, that’s equivalent to saying that the first round should be what elects the Delegate, which isn’t how it works.

When we look at broad support voting, it shows which candidates have the most support from the voters, and sets up the choices for the second round. I don’t see a “P.S, this candidate got more #1s” adding anything of value. By this point, it’s too late for the Delegate candidates to do anythint to gain more support, and those numbers may very well end up biasing the second-round voters.

After considering Legend’s comments I oppose the amendment as proposed. The current system works fine as-is, and I don’t think changing voting rules for different elections would necessarily make balloting errors any less or more common.

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Adopting a single voting system (or at least a single ballot, as opposed to the two we currently use) would absolutely decrease ballot errors. Several voters have cast ballots that were not counted because they made the mistake of voting with the wrong system. Changing to a single system across the board (forum elections at least) makes sense, so we can remove that. I’d love to add a mechanism to be able to edit ballots, but that’s a different conversation.

Which is the fault of individual voters who did not read the information available to them in the voting booth. It isn’t too much to ask that people know how to vote.

And to add, in each of those instances, you cited the people who had invalidated votes. They indicated it was their mistake and that they would do better in the next. They did not argue that it was unfair that they did not read the ballot instructions.

Furthermore, we don’t know if the other spoiled ballots were spoiled on purpose to avoid having to cast a ballot (people did argue that we shouldn’t make voting required for citizenship). So it could be (since the people who spoiled ballots didn’t complain) that they purposely did that.

Lastly, if we move into IRV for all elections, what’s to say the next Delegate election won’t have massive amounts of spoiled ballots because they assumed it was still under Approval voting?

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