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LJ advisory board elections
So, the advisory board elections are upon and LiveJournal seems to be awash with drama. Again. Just for a change.

The main thing I want to say about it is this: what sort of a crazy voting system are they using for this? At first glance, it looks like a fairly standard sort of instant run-off vote, but the limit of only three preferences per voter is absolutely crippling in the presence of so many candidates. From the looks of things, I think it's extremely unlikely that any individual candidate will obtain a majority even after all the second and third choice votes have been considered. The voting is just split too many ways.

As I write this, jameth has the most first choice, most second choice and most third choice votes, at 19.0%, 14.9% and 12.8% respectively. Even setting aside the possibility of spoilt ballots (i.e. people voting for the same person as first, second and third choice) that still only comes to 46.7% of people expressing any kind of support for the current leader – not enough for a majority.

I don't see this changing. Sure, tactical voting will play a part, especially since people can see current voting figures and change their vote accordingly, but I would be extremely surprised if that was sufficient to push any one candidate above 50% of the vote. Looking at the rules of the election:

If all ballots are exhausted and no candidate has more than 50% of the vote, we will return to the first round and award the election to the candidate with the most 1st choice votes.

What this basically means is that only the first choice votes will count. The whole system is essentially reduced to a first-past-the-post plurality system. Whoever gets most first choice votes wins. What's worse, though, is that it's mutton dressed as lamb. We have a first-past-the-post system with the trappings of an instant run-off system. What this basically means is that we have all the extra confusion and administration inherent in a preferential voting system but without any of the benefits in terms of fairness.

I cannot possibly see how it's a sensible system to use.

And with that bit of amateur psephology over with, I shall also point out that I don't actually care who wins. I voted for legomymalfoy, primarily because she's my friend and nepotism is fun, but to be honest, I see the whole thing as a white elephant. Since I don't think the advisory board will actually have any useful effect or get listened to in the slightest, I have no particular reason to care who gets elected.The electoral process is much more interesting to me than the result.

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Does that mean the other half could care less?


imc posted about the weirdness of the LJ voting system the other day. Linked in case you find it interesting.

The 50% thing only applies to the remaining votes at any individual stage, as I understand it. So the idea is that if the first round is inconclusive, the lowest person is removed and all the votes move to the second choices, right? Well, eventually someone will have had all three of their candidates removed, and once that happens their vote no longer counts towards the "total" against which the 50% is tallied.

So the likelihood of reverting back to the first-round choices is the likelihood of /exactly/ the same number of people voting for two candidates after all dead candidates are removed. Which is to say, it approaches zero. Right now it's looking like Jen is in the lead, but it's hard to tell because there's no data on how many people voted for the same candidate in all three slots. (I suspect more of them voted for Jameth in this way, since he was specifically encouraging people to do that for a while, so Jen is probably in an even better position than she appears to be, but I don't want to be overconfident here.)

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