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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Some things are now obvious to me about government procedures:

    • Every election should have a planned runoff. No candidate should be allowed to be elected to any office on only a plurality.
    • If the two final candidates in any election poll within 1% (or some threshold) of each other, the election should be declared a statistical tie and the law should specify a clear cut procedure for resolving the tie (legislature vote, temporary electoral college, court proceeding, or whatever). Unless the number of vote
    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • I have no problem with plurality, as long as a majority chooses to accept a plurality. If that is what the people want, who am I to tell them they shouldn't do it? So I can't go along with "every election" and "no candidate."

      However, if it is a district of *mine*, that is a different story. In that case, I am conflicted. One nice thing about runoffs is that it helps third-party candidates, in that you might be more inclined to vote third party, as right now people might vote for Gore instead of Nader j
      • Well, when I said "should," I was assuming this was in a state/country/district where I/you have a vested interest in getting it right. Other governments can do whatever the people there want, and it's no skin off my back. I was just musing on what I'd do if I were writing a constitution (or whatever).

        Runoffs seem very fair to me. Seems like the Nader votes ought to go wherever the Nader voters wanted them, if he can't when. Maybe you'd enjoy reading about Condorcet's method and other interesting voting systems.

        I disagree with your statement that it is not impossible to do a perfectly accurate count of an arbitrarily large number of votes. Human counts are inherently biased and, in the case of Florida, cause a sort of Heisenburg uncertainty principle: you actually modify the thing you are trying to measure. (I'm still upset that there were people eating chads, and still upset that a Republican watcher who asked why a Bush vote was being put in the Gore pile was expelled for being unreasonable.) Meanwhile, software, as we all know, has bugs. And any physical voting medium has flaws. Even if you completely computerized the vote and open sourced the software there could still be bugs. For me to trust the software that much, I'd want to know that it was developed with a SEI CMM level 5 process. And the government's never going to spring for that for something as unimportant as voting. ;)

        I am not inclined to care too much about your little infighting, except to giggle furiously. ;-)

        Yes, we're all rotfl here, too. For myself, I could care less about the outcome. The legislature hasn't set district boundaries since the 1990 census (little known fact in this dispute) so the Republicans are entirely within their rights to call for redistricting. However, it seems like that would be political suicide and we should just deal with it until 2010. On the gripping hand, I don't see a lot of people changing their fundamental opinion of the parties over this; the Democrats who are absent seem to be suffering politically in the general public's eyes, though in their own districts they are probably doing just fine. I do resent the implication that Democrats have fairly set congressional boundaries since Reconstruction but Republicans will obviously be biased.

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
        • I disagree with your statement that it is not impossible to do a perfectly accurate count of an arbitrarily large number of votes.

          You can disagree all you like, but it is, in fact, not impossible. :-) It is easy to imagine a system where accurate counts are not only possible, but immediately tallied. Yes, software has bugs, but that doesn't mean it is impossible to write software that is provably accurate in its tallies.
        • "a Republican watcher who asked why a Bush vote was being put in the Gore pile was expelled for being unreasonable"

          Wow, I saw this debunked almost three years ago... you still believe it happened?

          • I saw video of it on the evening news. I'm willing to listen if there's an alternative explanation for what I saw.

            --
            J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers