2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board elections [and 1 more messages] [and 1 more messages]

Ian Jackson ijackson at chiark.greenend.org.uk
Tue Feb 28 15:56:27 UTC 2017

Henrik Ingo writes ("Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board elections [and 1 more messages]"):
> Just wanted to share some more information on the Helios voting software:


> While a homomorphic e-voting algorithm is arguably better in many
> ways, a fundamental property of such algorithms tends to be that they
> can only be used to vote for N-out-of-M options.

I see.  Thanks.  That wasn't clear from the docs.

> > Let's fix our voting system[1] first and then think about improving
> > our ballot casting protocol.
> If the current proposal is to simply change the software that counts
> the votes, and continue using the current system for actually casting
> the vote, then I agree 100%.

Yes, that is the current proposal.  Thanks.

Barak A. Pearlmutter writes ("Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board elections [and 1 more messages]"):
> However I do feel obligated to correct a simple incorrect statement,
> namely that STV, a proportional representation system built upon
> IRV, is in some sense best-of-breed.

I'm sorry if this is going to sound tetchy, but we have had this
discussion ad infinitum.

As I say in the draft resolution:

  2. The Single Transferrable Vote is a very widely-adopted
     proportional preferential voting system.  (And may be the only
     such system.)

I think this is not quite as precise and therefore not as strong as it
should be.  I think I should replace it with something like this:

  2. There are very few widely-adopted proportional voting systems.
     The Single Transferrable Vote is the only one which is suitable
     SPI's Board elections.  All the others depend on the existence of

It's not the case that I am saying STV is "best of breed".  STV is
_the only serious candidate_ (given that AMS, party lists, and so on,
are plainly unsuitable).

I find your continuing advocacy of RRV incomprehensible, particularly
after we had that very long exchange of emails in August.  RRV is not
an established voting system.  Almost no-one else is using it.  Civil
society bodies, interested in general voting reform for public
elections, support STV.

Furtherrmore, range voting, of which RRV is a variant, has the
critical flaw that it encourages naive voters to cast ineffective

Finally, SPI should not be in the business of voting system
innovation.  Nor should SPI be in the business of doing our own
detailed analysis of voting systems, as you are doing.  We should
leave voting system development, analysis, and recommendation, to
civil society organisations specialising in voting reform, such as
Fair Votes Canada and the UK Electoral Reform Society.

I explained all of this first on list, and then at length in private
email to you.

In any case, the SPI Board have asked me to draft a resolution.
Implicitly, the Board have therefore experessed an intention to
endorse my recommendation of STV.  I am going to proceed on that


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