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Nap Time!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The empty anonymous whining continues, so let me just provide a brief summary of why it's empty.

The point of a Single Transferable Vote system is to combine the benefits of Instant Runoff Voting with the need to elect multiple candidates to a position. Arrow's Impossibility Theorem tells us we will never have a "perfect" voting system with this many choices and voters. (This differs from my complaints about the fee increase voting process, where a "no" vote can pass the fee. Creating a system which satisfies the stated conditions is entirely possible, but the university chooses not to do so) As a result, candidates/parties can "manipulate" the process by dropping candidates.

There seems to be no objection so far to this kind of manipulation. The only distinction that supposedly has everyone's panties in a twist is that this manipulation is supposed to be done from behind a veil of ignorance. (I say "supposedly" because I suspect that every external observer is working under the assumption that positions taken in this dispute depend entirely on whose ox is being gored. This discussion is simply a meaningless rhetorical game) I know of no voting system which places value on acting from ignorance, so I feel like this objection needs more grounding than "because I say so."

There are, however, very good reasons not to make the acceptability of decisions based on ignorance. How does one preserve this veil of ignorance? How does one ensure that it isn't pierced? How does one know when it is? Since the ASUC abandoned accountability in their voting system with online voting, (the parties no longer have the ability to keep track of the votes at all times, and have no way of knowing whether they have been changed or even seen) the "ignorance" requirement can't even be assured in any meaningful way. Sure, you have the word of one or two people that it's all good, and no one knows, but how can you be sure? Imagine if the power to control the election process becomes dependent on each party's ability to induce and take advantage of corruption. Is that really where we want to take the incentive structure? Right now, there's no real advantage to finding out election results early, so on one is going to put in much of an effort. How much do you trust Student Action and/or CalSERVE?

So no, all the whining about "manipulation" doesn't change the fact that no one's vote goes to someone they didn't vote for. It doesn't change the fact that each candidate has control of their own presence in the race. It doesn't change the fact that every candidate is on equal footing. If you want to find something unfair here, you really need to try harder.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 4/23/2009 03:07:00 PM #
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