Guest Jeff Brown

Voting Procedures...Urgent Help Needed Please

24 posts in this topic

Our club is voting to select 5 people (licensed judges) to judge a show.  Our C&BL have nothing specific at all about voting ( or any) procedures , just that we will follow RONR.  First, We all got to nominate judges (there are a few hundred in the country) that were put on a list that totaled approximately 40 names. Next, we were told to select 10 judges from that list of approx. 40, and rank them 1 to 10 in order of our preference, with "1" being our first place choice.  We were told these votes will be weighted (1 points for 1st place choise, 9 points for 2nd place choice, and subtract 1 for each subsequent vote, so 10th place equals 1 point) and a top 10 list will result.  Then we were told to vote again to narrow the list down to 5.  I expressed my objection at this point since we already ranked our vote, but no one acknowledged me at all.  Some people then switched their ranked votes around during this next round.  I highly suspect coercion and collusion but I cannot directly prove this...but the mathematically skewed results are proof to me.  The non-elected ( president appointed) chairman voted.  The chairman's father is a judge who's name appears on our list of selections. I have several issues with these methods outside of RONR  and I am not very familiar with  RONR, but these methods appear in violation.  I tried to voice my concerns from a theoretical/mathematical point, but no one is responding to me.  

The president is now calling for the board members to "verify and certify" these results as soon as possible.   

Can someone please help me with an educated response to this situation? Thank you very much.

 

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That's a tough one....

First of all what is the source, or authority, that set out your rules?  RONR sure isn't, which technically limits any response from this RONR sponsored bul-board to a rather flippant "They're your rules, you tell us!".  RONR does describe preferential voting (which is a method of tabulating ranked ballots) on p. 425ff. but it doesn't match your method.  RONR does state that any such complex voting method MUST be spelled out in detail ahead of time and be given prior approval by the membership.  Looks like that didn't happen.

But out of the goodness of my heart...  Your system sounds a lot like the "Borda Count" (BC) and you can find tons of info on that voting method on-line, via Google or other search engines.  But the BC sure does NOT require any second rounds of voting and tabulating.  The winners are, in your case, just the top 5 scores from tabulating the first (and only) set of ranked ballots.  Whoever told to to do a second round of ranking, &c., made that one up out of whole cloth.  A problem, though:  The BC, to "work" mathematically, requires the voters to rank ALL the candidates which your system doesn't do.  A list of 40 candidates is obviously impossible to rank meaningfully anyway.

The rest of your observations (coercion, family relations, collusion) are completely beyond the scope of RONR, obviously.

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If no rules prescribe your voting, and RONR applies, then two things.  First, methods of voting which violate "one person, one vote" must be authorized in the bylaws.  I believe Borda Count (and this odd variation) would fall under that provision.  Second, within the range of compliant methods, a motion can be made to use one or another, but they can't be forced on you.  However, failure to object when the method is prescribed looks a lot like unanimous consent, or, at least, makes it too late to raise a point of order to the method of voting.  Could a point of order now be raised, though, to the use of a variation of Borda Count which was (as far as I can tell, but I wasn't there) never described when voting began, and seemingly modified after the results of the first vote were obtained?  I think so, but that's a decision for your organization to make.

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On 9/7/2017 at 7:11 AM, Guest Jeff Brown said:

Our club is voting to select 5 people (licensed judges) to judge a show.  Our C&BL have nothing specific at all about voting ( or any) procedures , just that we will follow RONR.  First, We all got to nominate judges (there are a few hundred in the country) that were put on a list that totaled approximately 40 names. Next, we were told to select 10 judges from that list of approx. 40, and rank them 1 to 10 in order of our preference, with "1" being our first place choice.  We were told these votes will be weighted (1 points for 1st place choise, 9 points for 2nd place choice, and subtract 1 for each subsequent vote, so 10th place equals 1 point) and a top 10 list will result.  Then we were told to vote again to narrow the list down to 5.  I expressed my objection at this point since we already ranked our vote, but no one acknowledged me at all.  Some people then switched their ranked votes around during this next round.  I highly suspect coercion and collusion but I cannot directly prove this...but the mathematically skewed results are proof to me.  The non-elected ( president appointed) chairman voted.  The chairman's father is a judge who's name appears on our list of selections. I have several issues with these methods outside of RONR  and I am not very familiar with  RONR, but these methods appear in violation.  I tried to voice my concerns from a theoretical/mathematical point, but no one is responding to me.  

The president is now calling for the board members to "verify and certify" these results as soon as possible.   

Can someone please help me with an educated response to this situation? Thank you very much.

 

This is a variation of preferential vote.  As such, it violates the fundamental principle of parliamentary law that a voter is entitled to cast only one vote (p. 407. ll. 1-18)  Assuming that judges are not officers, this method could only be authorized by the bylaws or a special rule of order (see pp. 425-6).

 

As this process violates fundamental principle of parliamentary law, unless there is rule or bylaw authorizing it, this action is null and void (p. 251, d.).

 

 

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This points out once again the significant difference between "objecting", by saying you don't like something and raising an actual Point of Order.  

The latter stops business in its tracks until the question of a rules violation is dealt with by an actual ruling which, if unfavorable, is appealable to the entire assembly.

The former merely elicits the response "Thank you for sharing," if that.

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Side note: You may want to read up on Arrow's Impossibility Theorem.  It covers some of the mathematics associated with voting issues as you describe.

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I'm not sure why some here are of the opinion that a form of preferential voting such as that described on pages 425-28 violates the one person, one vote rule (p. 407). I don't think that it does.

 

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4 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I'm not sure why some here are of the opinion that a form of preferential voting such as that described on pages 425-28 violates the one person, one vote rule (p. 407). I don't think that it does.

 

I don't think it does either, because after the mathematical manipulations are applied and the process completed, a member ends up having cast no more than one vote for one candidate for a given office.

I think that a persuasive argument could be made that this is not necessarily the case for a Borda Count and some other methods.

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Oh, I dunno, it sure feels like I am voting more than once when I write down more than one name (ranked) on a ballot).

And besides, consider this:  if my first choice candidate gets the fewest (first place) votes and is eliminated in the first round, (and there is no winner), my ballot gets counted again, this time for my second place choice.  But people (ballots) which were not eliminated are NOT counted a second time.  So I got two votes and others got only one.   Doesn't seem right.

In a proper (RONR approved) second round of voting, ALL the voters get to vote again.

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Oh, and in a Borda count ALL the voter's (weighted) second choices (and third, and fourth...) are included in the mix to determine the winner.  And there is only one round of voting.

But I agree, this is definitely not a "one person, one vote" system and is not authorized by RONR (but it should be!).

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58 minutes ago, jstackpo said:

Oh, I dunno, it sure feels like I am voting more than once when I write down more than one name (ranked) on a ballot).

And besides, consider this:  if my first choice candidate gets the fewest (first place) votes and is eliminated in the first round, (and there is no winner), my ballot gets counted again, this time for my second place choice.  But people (ballots) which were not eliminated are NOT counted a second time.  So I got two votes and others got only one.   Doesn't seem right.

In a proper (RONR approved) second round of voting, ALL the voters get to vote again.

Well, this question was rather thoroughly hashed-out in this thread, and I see no point in repeating it here.

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3 hours ago, jstackpo said:

Oh, I dunno, it sure feels like I am voting more than once when I write down more than one name (ranked) on a ballot).

And besides, consider this:  if my first choice candidate gets the fewest (first place) votes and is eliminated in the first round, (and there is no winner), my ballot gets counted again, this time for my second place choice.  But people (ballots) which were not eliminated are NOT counted a second time.  So I got two votes and others got only one.   Doesn't seem right.

In a proper (RONR approved) second round of voting, ALL the voters get to vote again.

I have to agree, unless there is a bylaw or a rule authorizing this. 

 

And, in this case, the president seems to have been the one who adopted this method.

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15 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I'm not sure why some here are of the opinion that a form of preferential voting such as that described on pages 425-28 violates the one person, one vote rule (p. 407). I don't think that it does.

 

Neither do I.  I do think the Borda count does, though.

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On 9/8/2017 at 2:21 PM, jstackpo said:

Oh, I dunno, it sure feels like I am voting more than once when I write down more than one name (ranked) on a ballot).

And besides, consider this:  if my first choice candidate gets the fewest (first place) votes and is eliminated in the first round, (and there is no winner), my ballot gets counted again, this time for my second place choice.  But people (ballots) which were not eliminated are NOT counted a second time.  So I got two votes and others got only one.   Doesn't seem right.

In a proper (RONR approved) second round of voting, ALL the voters get to vote again.

One of the names for this method is Single Transferrable Vote (STV).  If your first choice candidate is eliminated, your vote for that candidate is removed and transferred to your second choice.  Your vote never counts for more than one person at any one time, and counts for at most one person at the end. It shares these characteristics with the RONR method.

In fact, I think a case could be made that STV is at least as "one-person-one-vote" as the multiple ballot method, where each person can vote an arbitrarily large number of times.  

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5 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

 

In fact, I think a case could be made that STV is at least as "one-person-one-vote" as the multiple ballot method, where each person can vote an arbitrarily large number of times.  

I would not agree with this.  On the second ballot, I may vote for the same candidate, an impossibility with a STV.

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10 hours ago, J. J. said:

I would not agree with this.  On the second ballot, I may vote for the same candidate, an impossibility with a STV.

Why doesn't that prove the point?

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4 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

Why doesn't that prove the point?

Because I did not vote for any other candidate.  I'm only voting for Philadelphia as the city where we hold the next convention.  Now, I'm deprived of that choice.    This method of voting would have to be authorized by a special rule.

Certainly the president cannot impose it on the assembly. 

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On 9/10/2017 at 2:10 AM, J. J. said:

I would not agree with this.  On the second ballot, I may vote for the same candidate, an impossibility with a STV.

On the contrary, with STV your vote is repeatedly counted for the same candidate, unless and until that candidate is eliminated.

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On 9/10/2017 at 5:45 PM, J. J. said:

Because I did not vote for any other candidate.  I'm only voting for Philadelphia as the city where we hold the next convention.  Now, I'm deprived of that choice.    This method of voting would have to be authorized by a special rule.

Certainly the president cannot impose it on the assembly. 

Agreed that this cannot be imposed.

But I don't see how you're being deprived of choice.  Your vote would be counted for Philadelphia unless Philadelphia ended up in last place.

When there is virtually no chance PHL will win, the question becomes, do you have a second preference, or would you rather have no voice at all for the remainder of the selection process?

I'm not pushing STV, Borda, or any other preference voting.  There is no perfect voting method--it's a question of what deficiencies you are willing to put up with.  My first choice would be the method in RONR.  But one of its drawbacks is that the process can take an arbitrarily long time to complete.  If that's a disqualifying factor in certain situations, it's good to have an alternative method or two in the toolbox.

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12 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Agreed that this cannot be imposed.

But I don't see how you're being deprived of choice.  Your vote would be counted for Philadelphia unless Philadelphia ended up in last place.

When there is virtually no chance PHL will win, the question becomes, do you have a second preference, or would you rather have no voice at all for the remainder of the selection process?

I'm not pushing STV, Borda, or any other preference voting.  There is no perfect voting method--it's a question of what deficiencies you are willing to put up with.  My first choice would be the method in RONR.  But one of its drawbacks is that the process can take an arbitrarily long time to complete.  If that's a disqualifying factor in certain situations, it's good to have an alternative method or two in the toolbox.

Yep.

As RONR points out on page 426, although preferential voting "... is not a substitute for the normal procedure of repeated balloting until a majority is obtained, preferential voting is especially useful and fair in an election by mail if it is impractical to take more than one ballot. In such cases it makes possible a more representative result than under a rule that a plurality shall elect."

And, of course, when preferential voting is employed in these situations in which it is desirable to allow for absentee voting, the question as to whether or not a form of preferential voting such as that described on pages 425-28 violates the one person, one vote rule becomes moot. It doesn't, but so what?  :)

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16 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

On the contrary, with STV your vote is repeatedly counted for the same candidate, unless and until that candidate is eliminated.

Well, when that choice is eliminated. 

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When you transfer the ballot from the lowest pile, you are transferring votes.

That said, I think a special rule, in this case, could permit the method described.

If we are talking about mail votes, that would have to be authorized by the bylaws in the first place.

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On 9/12/2017 at 11:39 AM, J. J. said:

When you transfer the ballot from the lowest pile, you are transferring votes.

That said, I think a special rule, in this case, could permit the method described.

If we are talking about mail votes, that would have to be authorized by the bylaws in the first place.

I agree that a special rule could authorized STV.  I agree with Dan, however, that STV does not violate one-person-one-vote.

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