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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 votes is limited to some sufficiently small finite number, it is absolutely impossible to achieve complete precision in tallying an election. Neither computer tallying nor human tallying can do it, even though plenty of people have convinced themselves that human tallying is right and computer tallying is an inaccurate shortcut for the first pass (or vice versa).
    • The concept of a quorum for deliberative bodies should be dropped. Successful votes by such bodies should require a majority (or 2/3 majority, or 3/5 majority, or whatever the particular type of resolution requires) of total membership, not of persons present. Quorums are a wrong-headed attempt to solve the problem of a minority using underhanded tactics to override the majority. There is no reason legislative proceedings should be halted because of the presence or absence of any number of members; requiring a real majority of total membership prevents the problem quorums are attempting to solve while not opening another whole for minorities to exploit. (Yes, I do live in Texas; how did you know?)
    --
    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 voti

        --
        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