Tactical Manipulation of IRV Using Voting Theory Mathematics (applying statistical analysis to others’ votes to choose one’s vote)


A letter to the National committee of the Green Party of the United States

Over the last 8 months, there has been much GPUS NC 'debate' which has conflated the issues of "tactical voting", 'gaming', lobbying, fraud, and 'secrecy' as they may apply to GPUS elections.
We should all endeavor to avoid discussion of Game Theory in this context, for there is a branch of math (which Game Theory has influenced greatly) known as Voting Theory, that deals with the specific issues at hand.

The issue being referred to as "gaming" is better known formally as "tactical voting", which is a "tactical manipulation" of "voting systems" by applying "Voting Theory" based statistical analysis to vote counting, prior to the close of balloting, to determine one's vote (admittedly this IS a form of gaming the system, but so are many other things).

Tactical voting is the reason many want to wait until after balloting to publish our votes, gaming the system in other ways, such as lobbying, elections fraud, and secrecy, are not part of this concern.

IRV is widely considered the system most resistant to tactical voting in general elections, partially precisely because modern democratic general elections are always conducted with a secret ballot.

This entire page is about "gaming the system" of IRV by tactical voting, no where does it mention 'open' or 'closed' ballots, it is assumed in every case to apply to general elections using secret ballots to protect voters from being coerced.

I have researched a great deal about the well developed field of "Voting Theory", after spending half a semester on it in a Contemporary Applications Math class, and have yet to find a single mention of 'debate' on this 'issue'.

No one mentions the need to keep such balloting closed until after results are tallied, because it is assumed everyone understands the need for a "secret ballot" in a general election, and it is assumed that any body designing a voting system for a representative body has responsibly studied the mathematical tactical considerations involved.

There are two main ways to solve this dilema when a representative body votes:
1). by voting simultaneously (as the UN always has),  
2). by revealing the votes only after the ballots have been counted (as the GPUS always has). 

No where in the body of Voting Theory literature have any of several NC delegates who have studied the field been able to find an explanation of the reason not to publish one's vote while others are still choosing their vote, presumably because it is considered so self evident.

If laypersons were often involved in this type of decision, there would be many references to this issue in Voting Theory literature, but there just isn't.

I will continue to query experts until i have found, or created, such a reference sufficient to GPUS NC needs.

Please henceforth refer to "tactical voting" and "Voting Theory" instead of the much more generalized "gaming" and "Game Theory", when it is the specific former cases one is referring to.

If the GPUS NC decides that our priority is that ballots must be published immediately as they are cast, we still have one other option besides PluralityThe Exhaustive Ballot, where the first past the post Plurality method is repeated until a majority of votes is cast for a single candidate. 

This would require a lot of voting to elect four people, we might be better off with the old standard Plurality method.

If we cannot, during this entire year, put this matter to rest, in this relatively educated body, i will be withdrawing my support for promotion of ranking voting to the general public.

monte letourneau 
WIGP CC, GPUS NC Delegate

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