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J. J.

Preferential Voting by a Special Rule

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A local society meeting monthly likes to hold a picnic each year.  There are 5 venues for picnics in the area, and the society always gets into arguments about which venue to use.  In the past, while the agree to hold a picnic, none of the choices got a majority.

Could the society adopt a special rule that the choice for venue be adopted by preferential voting?

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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

A local society meeting monthly likes to hold a picnic each year.  There are 5 venues for picnics in the area, and the society always gets into arguments about which venue to use.  In the past, while the agree to hold a picnic, none of the choices got a majority.

Could the society adopt a special rule that the choice for venue be adopted by preferential voting?

Sure (RONR, 11th ed., p. 404, ll. 20-24; p. 426, ll. 426, ll. 9-10).

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
Sorry about that.

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Just now, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Sure (RONR, 11th ed., p. 404, ll. 20-24; p. 426, ll. 426, ll. 9-10).

Well, that was my thought.

 

I would take it, however, the rules could not be suspended to permit preferential voting, as this would violate a fundamental principle of parliamentary law  (p. 407, ll. 1-4), as the individual voter can cast more than one vote? 

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Just now, J. J. said:

Well, that was my thought.

 

I would take it, however, the rules could not be suspended to permit preferential voting, as this would violate a fundamental principle of parliamentary law  (p. 407, ll. 1-4), as the individual voter can cast more than one vote? 

I don't think that preferential voting violates the rule of one person, one vote (and I think I should also have referred to page 412, lines 8-11, in my initial response).

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I don't think that preferential voting violates the rule of one person, one vote (and I think I should also have referred to page 412, lines 8-11, in my initial response).

I do not agree on that, as, except where the first round of counting yields a majority.  However, that is not the core of my question.  :)

However, it does lead to a followup question.  

The society has  budgeted for (and can only afford) three items of food to be served at this. Six types of food are proposed.    Some members really like food A.

Can, prior to this vote, a special rule be adopted to permit cumulative voting on "food questions" (so those that want food A can cast 3 votes for A)?  If so, can the rule be suspended to permit cumulative voting? 

 

[I am looking for an FPPL that can be superseded by a special rule, but not capable of being suspended]. 

 

Edited by J. J.
clearer example.

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J.J., I am going to begin waffling in answering your initial question, and point out that it is significant to note that preferential voting is discussed under the heading of "A Vote By Mail", and, on page 426, RONR says that "While it is more complicated than other methods of voting in common use and 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. It can be used with respect to the election of officers only if expressly authorized in the bylaws." (Italics supplied)

It must be kept in mind, of course, that it can't be used in a vote by mail unless the bylaws authorize a vote by mail. :)

Responding to your followup question, I think that cumulative voting on the election of these committee members must be authorized by the bylaws (p. 443, ll. 27-30). This method of voting does violate the one person, one vote rule.

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5 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

J.J., I am going to begin waffling in answering your initial question, and point out that it is significant to note that preferential voting is discussed under the heading of "A Vote By Mail", and, on page 426, RONR says that "While it is more complicated than other methods of voting in common use and 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. It can be used with respect to the election of officers only if expressly authorized in the bylaws." (Italics supplied)

It must be kept in mind, of course, that it can't be used in a vote by mail unless the bylaws authorize a vote by mail. :)

Responding to your followup question, I think that cumulative voting on the election of these committee members must be authorized by the bylaws (p. 443, ll. 27-30). This method of voting does violate the one person, one vote rule.

I agree on your follow up, and edited the question for a clearer example.  :)

 

Also, as noted, if preferential voting does or does not violate an FPPL is not the issue I'm exploring. 

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From a practical point of view "preferential voting" has a fair number of variations - mainly in how the counting and elimination of the "low man" is done, what is a winning vote, and what to do if there are low man ties &c.  Perhaps surprisingly, these variations, all starting with exactly the same set of voters and their preferences, can produce different outcomes.  (No voting system is perfect.)  Borda might be better.

If you would like a precise set of rules (from Amherst College, my Alma m.) click here for a download.

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3 minutes ago, jstackpo said:

From a practical point of view "preferential voting" has a fair number of variations - mainly in how the counting and elimination of the "low man" is done, what is a winning vote, and what to do if there are low man ties &c.  Perhaps surprisingly, these variations, all starting with exactly the same set of voters and their preferences, can produce different outcomes.  (No voting system is perfect.)  Borda might be better.

If you would like a precise set of rules (from Amherst College, my Alma m.) click here for a download.

  Well, my question is basically can some FPPL's be overridden by a special rule.  Some obviously cannot be.

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Right  --  I didn't respond to your question, just tossed out a red flag with respect to using a preferential system in the first place. Borda is Better!  Once all the voters have listed their preferences, the counting is just a matter of unambiguous arithmetic.

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3 hours ago, J. J. said:

  Well, my question is basically can some FPPL's be overridden by a special rule.  Some obviously cannot be.

I'm not aware of any rule which violates a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that can be created by anything short of a bylaw provision.

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann

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1 minute ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I'm not aware of any rule which violates a fundamental principal of parliamentary law that can be created by anything short of a bylaw provision.

The FPPL that there can only be one motion at a time, I think, may be overridden by a special rule (though I would question the wisdom of doing so).

 

I was look at things like using things like authorizing cumulative voting for something other than what is prohibited in p. 433, ll. 27-30.

 

For example:   The society gives out two awards a year; the members may normally vote for two winners.  Could a special rule be adopted to permit the member to cast two votes for one person?

 

 

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7 minutes ago, J. J. said:

For example:   The society gives out two awards a year; the members may normally vote for two winners.  Could a special rule be adopted to permit the member to cast two votes for one person?

Two votes for one person for one of the two awards? No.

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Two votes for one person for one of the two awards? No.

Yes, two votes for one person.  An award is not seat on a board, on a committee, nor is it a "position" and obviously not a delegate, so p. 445, ll. 27-30 would not apply. 

 

It was an earlier post of yours that got me interested in this. 

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9 minutes ago, J. J. said:

Yes, two votes for one person.  An award is not seat on a board, on a committee, nor is it a "position" and obviously not a delegate, so p. 445, ll. 27-30 would not apply. 

I think you mean to refer to page 443, and although an award is not a position, I think the same principle applies.

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6 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I think you mean to refer to page 443, and although an award is not a position, I think the same principle applies.

Yes, p. 433.  But I am also looking at your initial answer regarding preferential voting.  That would let a single member to vote cast more than one vote, effectively, permit one person to cast more than one vote for a position.  You indicated that you were "waffling" on that answer.

The other thread, where you inspired me to ask the question is here, in your first response: 

 

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Rather than presenting a theoretical argument, I'll advance one based on interpretation:

[Preferential voting]

 can be used with respect to the election of officers only if expressly authorized in the bylaws.

This reads, to me, as an exception that proves the rule, and therefore it can be used for other votes without such express authorization.

Also, to jstackpo, the Borda count has its own theoretical difficulties. You may find Arrow's Theorem, which states that every system of evaluating a preferential ballot has flaws, to be interesting.

 

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10 hours ago, J. J. said:

Yes, p. 433.  But I am also looking at your initial answer regarding preferential voting.  That would let a single member to vote cast more than one vote, effectively, permit one person to cast more than one vote for a position.  You indicated that you were "waffling" on that answer.

The other thread, where you inspired me to ask the question is here, in your first response: 

It seems to me that preferential voting as described on pages 425-428, and cumulative voting as described on page 443-444, are substantially different  methods of voting. The latter method allows a voter to cast more than one vote for a single candidate, which violates a fundamental principle of parliamentary law. The former method does not do so. It simply permits a voter to indicate his second, third (and so on) choices after having indicated his first choice, and to have them taken into consideration if his first choice has been eliminated. This violates no fundamental principle of parliamentary law.

Both preferential voting and cumulative voting require the agreement of a majority of some sort, and not simply a plurality, to arrive at a choice. Approval voting, as described in that other thread, appears to allow for a decision to be reached by a plurality which is less than a majority, and (like preferential voting) would have to be authorized in the bylaws if it is to apply to the election of officers.

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3 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

It seems to me that preferential voting as described on pages 425-428, and cumulative voting as described on page 443-444, are substantially different  methods of voting. The latter method allows a voter to cast more than one vote for a single candidate, which violates a fundamental principle of parliamentary law. The former method does not do so. It simply permits a voter to indicate his second, third (and so on) choices after having indicated his first choice, and to have them taken into consideration if his first choice has been eliminated. This violates no fundamental principle of parliamentary law.

Both preferential voting and cumulative voting require the agreement of a majority of some sort, and not simply a plurality, to arrive at a choice. Approval voting, as described in that other thread, appears to allow for a decision to be reached by a plurality which is less than a majority, and (like preferential voting) would have to be authorized in the bylaws if it is to apply to the election of officers.

I agree that both are different methods.  In that ranking that occurs in preferential voting, however, does violate the FPPL that each member is "entitled to one-and only one- vote on a question (p. 407, ll  1-4)."   I really cannot see any way around that; the voter is casting more than one vote on a question in either method.

Excluding those specifically prohibited uses, I am wondering if a special rule could authorize either type of votes.  For example, in choosing who w0uld receive the two awards.

I have no disagreement in the cases where there is a specifically prohibited unless it is authorized in the bylaws, e.g. in the case for officers under both systems.

Perhaps this would be a better way of looking at it.  Look at p. 405, ll. 2-6.  The line there is:  "A plurality that is not a majority never chooses a proposition or elects anyone to office except by virtue of a special rule previously adopted. if such a rule is to apply to the election of officers, it must be prescribed in the bylaws."

What I am wondering if something parallel to that would be accurate, e.g. "A preferential or cumulative vote never chooses a proposition or elects anyone to office except by a virtue of a special rule previously adopted.  If such a is to apply to actions where their use is specifically prohibited in the parliamentary authority, it must be prescribed in the bylaws."  Obviously, I agree that there are certain things that could not be decided using either, without bylaw authorization. 

I can see both sides of the argument and don't have a firm opinion at this point. 

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10 minutes ago, J. J. said:

I agree that both are different methods.  In that ranking that occurs in preferential voting, however, does violate the FPPL that each member is "entitled to one-and only one- vote on a question (p. 407, ll  1-4)."   I really cannot see any way around that; the voter is casting more than one vote on a question in either method.

That's like saying that when no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot in an election (using the normal voting methods), it violates a fundamental principle of parliamentary law to allow further balloting to take place, since the members have already cast one vote on the question and are not entitled to cast another.

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18 minutes ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

That's like saying that when no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot in an election (using the normal voting methods), it violates a fundamental principle of parliamentary law to allow further balloting to take place, since the members have already cast one vote on the question and are not entitled to cast another.

There is however a bit of a difference, since this could not apply to elections (using either method) without bylaw authorization.  Dan has held in the past that a second round voting, in non-elections, is not permitted, e.g. to fill a blank where none of the choices can muster a majority.

We have to factor out elections of officers in dealing with cumulative or preferential voting.

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5 hours ago, J. J. said:

Dan has held in the past that a second round voting, in non-elections, is not permitted, e.g. to fill a blank where none of the choices can muster a majority.

This is obviously taken completely out of context, and is abbreviated to such an extent that I find it unrecognizable.

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