At Brett’s suggestion, I’m breaking out the dicussion about which electoral system / vote tallying algorithm to use into this separate topic.
A few of us, myself included, have voiced concerns over the use of IRV for selecting a governance model. In the big picture of the process of choosing a new governance model, this is just a small technical detail, yet some feel strongly that it should be properly considered and chosen. I also suspect that many simply don’t have the time/energy to do the required reading and take part in this discussion, but would have a preference if given a clear choice.
Let’s try to come to a concrete agreed-upon suggestion quickly so that we may propose it instead of IRV; otherwise IRV will remain the chosen method due to there not being another widely supported alternative. Brett has suggested a deadline of October 30th for a poll on this subject to have been completed.
My reservations regarding IRV are not theoretical. The results of the 2009 Burlington mayoral election were different than what would have resulted by either a plurality or Condercet electoral system. There was much controversy about the results, and soon after Burlington replaced the IRV method.
Additionally, I’ll quote @dstufft from the main governance voting process topic:
Over a decade ago, Ka-Ping Yee (who used to be very active in Python development) ran some visual voting simulations on 5 popular systems, which scared him (& me) away from IRV forever:
The following images visually demonstrate how Plurality penalizes centrist candidates and Borda favours them; how Approval and Condorcet yield nearly identical results; and how the Hare method yields extremely strange behaviour. Alarmingly, the Hare method (also known as “IRV”) is gaining momentum as the most popular type of election-method reform in the United States (in Berkeley, Oakland, and just last November in San Francisco, for example).
Personally, I don’t feel strongly about which alternative method is chosen. I’m also far from an expert on the subject.
That being said, I like @njs’s suggestion to “Copy whatever Debian does.”, which means using the Shulze method. I find it very convincing that it is used by many prominent open-source projects and organizations, including Ubuntu, Gentoo, Haskell, KDE and OpenStack in addition to Debian.
The only negative about the Shulze method is that it is hard to understand. The Wikipedia page just includes a complex algorithm described in mathematical notation (relatively simple math, but certainly above a “high-school level”), and a hard-to-follow example. We should consider, though, that Brett specifically wrote:
I personally would strongly suggest something simple to explain, e.g. Borda
If we can present a simpler explanation of the rationale and workings of the Shulze method, I think it could be a good option.