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Friday, March 5, 2010

Screwing up the Oscars with Instant Runoff Voting

Instant runoff voting. IRV. For the Oscars. It had to happen eventually. It is human nature to do stupid things. This will go down in history as "whose #@!!%. bright idea was this?" Sadly, after it is all over, there is likely to be more media coverage and public outrage over an election for a movie award than there is when Instant Runoff Voting fouls up a "real" election. Well, if the purpose was to create lots of negative publicity over the Oscar awards, then someone made the right choice of election method.

Oscars' new voting system is a real puzzler
By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

Explaining Oscar's new voting system for best picture is a little like watching a David Lynch movie: Sometimes you have to nod your head and pretend you understand.

As byzantine as the Academy Awards' new preferential voting format is, there's good reason to change from the one-vote, one-movie system of the past. With 10 nominees, a movie could ostensibly win with 11% of the overall vote.

The new system ensures that won't happen, but Oscar could probably use a statistics major by his side when counting ballots. In short:

•Academy members are asked to rank the 10 best-picture nominees in order of preference.

•If a movie gets 51% or more of the vote (unlikely), the contest is over. If not, auditors with PricewaterhouseCoopers will divide the movies into 10 stacks. The movie with the fewest No. 1 votes is eliminated, and that stack's No. 2 votes go to the remaining corresponding films.

•If a majority isn't reached with those No. 2 votes, the process repeats, eliminating
the next-lowest pile, whose votes are redistributed. The process continues until one film has a majority vote. Until that time, if a ballot's No. 2 choice has been eliminated, the auditors go to No. 3 and then as far down the ballot as necessary.

Though the new system ensures some consensus, it raises the possibility that a movie with more No. 2 and No. 3 votes could beat the film with the most first-place ballots.

"With 10 movies and this system, we have a real race for once," says Sasha Stone of AwardsDaily.com. "At this point, I wouldn't be surprised by any name they read."

The fun part is when the winning movie is one that everyone says together in unison: "Huh? How did this happen?"


Read more? Ok here you go:

Now, how did this guy get elected? June 10, 2007 San Francisco
...So, how did it come to pass that the city's newest supervisor, Ed Jew, apparently did not even live in the Sunset District and was the choice of just 5,125 (or 26.2 percent) of voters? And the FBI is looking into what this "citizen politician" was doing with $40,000 in cash from tapioca-shop owners who had sought his help with city permits...

2 out of 3 Pierce County RCV "winners" don't have a true majority December 7, 2008
...This is the big problem with people claiming IRV ensures a majority win in one election instead of two. if you don't have enough vote to get a majority win in the 1st column, all you are ever going to have is a larger plurality win...

Burlington Instant Runoff Election riddled with pathologies March 15, 2009 Burlington.
The instant runoff election in Burlington,Vermont suffered from nearly every pathology in the book...Instant runoff voting helped Burlington incumbent Bob Kiss win by getting the most 3rd choice votes. Opponent Kurt Wright had the most 1st and 2nd choice votes but lost the election




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1 comment:

Dale Sheldon said...

Now, instead of the winner needing 10%+1 votes, it will need to reach a much higher bar: at least 0.195%+1 votes*!

Wait... that isn't higher...