News like this makes me proud to be a Californian, even if the vote was only 4-3.
Predictably, the Obama campaign takes the safe dodge: it’s up to the states.1
Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) lives up to his name, sounding the cry for his party’s band of bigots:
this ruling effectively opens the door to allowing the opinion of this stateâ€™s court on same-sex marriage to stand as the law of the land for the entire country.
May it be so.2 Sometimes the outcome is more important than the process.
As for the politics, what Scott Lemieux says sounds about right to me:
People overstate the extent to which people vote on social issues, and people who get outraged by decisions permitting gays and lesbians in other states to get married are overwhelmingly likely to be Republican voters anyway.
In that vein, it is well worth noting that the California Court cited its 1948 ruling striking down a ban on interracial marriage–which was in fact still illegal in many (most?) states at the time that Barack Obama’s parents married. [↩]
Of course, it will not be so until such time as the Defense of [Exclusionary] Marriage Act, signed by a Democratic President, is repealed. May that day come sooner than seems possible. [↩]
Or at least nominated by Republican governors. [↩]
I mean, how long can it take to print and distribute ballots in a state of just over one million registered voters and area of around 24,000 square miles? I know it is the Mountain State and all that, but still…
Edwards just might surpass Obama in a few WV counties today.
If you do not know FiveThirtyEight.com, I recommend you go have a look. I would nominate the site for inclusion on any short list of best blogs analyzing the presidential race. Check out today’s put-in-perspective post on West Virginia for just one very valuable example.
Outgoing London mayor Ken Livingstone in the Guardian:
One important development at this election was a formal agreement with the Green party calling for second preference mayoral votes for each other. This benefited the Greens – who added 40,000 votes and maintained their share of the vote and existing number of London assembly seats – but also aided the high turnout and Labour. Had I been re-elected I would have given Green nominees a central role in my administration.
In contrast, Lib Dem failure in London was massive. They chose to stay outside the progressive alliance of Labour and the Greens. As a result they failed even to reach double-figure support in the mayoral election, and their London assembly seats fell from five to three. Hopefully this suicidal orientation will be reversed in the next four years.
This is only of historical interest, and I would not have posted it before the London assembly election, anyway, given the advice this columnist offers. But it is interesting inasmuch as it speaks of using the list vote for strategic purposes. I do not know the details of the assembly’s MMP system (tiers, compensation mechanism, etc.–help, anyone?) sufficiently well to determine whether this guy actually “gets” MMP as practiced in London.
It is almost impossible for the Conservatives to win a seat in the London-wide Assembly Member election (peach-coloured ballot paper). Even though they have come top of the poll in both 2000 and 2004.
The Tories got half a million votes in this election and not one seat. They came nowhere near to getting a seat. In fact they would have needed many hundreds of thousands more votes to get just one seat. Instead these seats mostly went to Labour, LibDem and Green candidates…
Why? Because the Tories win a disproportionate number of the Constituency London Assembly Member seats (yellow paper) under first-past-the-post…
Every Tory vote in this system is wasted, and as a result most of the seats have ended up with those who want to spend spend spend (with the exception of One London).
Of course, on the Assembly Constituency ballot paper (the yellow one) every Tory vote counts, and seats like Enfield and Haringay are ripe for the taking on a tiny swing from Labour (very likely). So if I were a Tory voter, I would make sure I voted Conservative on yellow ballot paper, but I would vote One London or UKIP on the peach ballot paper – simply because each 100,000 votes (roughly) will deliver a seat for these parties whilst not even half a million votes would win one seat for the Tories.
As noted previously in the Czech Republic block here at F&V, the previous Czech parliamentary election resulted a tied result between the two pre-election alliances.
Last week, Prime Minister Mirek TopolÃ¡nekâ€™s three-party center-right 1 government survived a no-confidence vote. The Prague Post news item, excerpted below, hints at (in the part I put in bold) how it is that a bloc of parties with exactly 50% of the seats is able to govern: some defectors from the opposition.2
It was the oppositionâ€™s third attempt to topple the coalition government and despite its fragile majority in the lower house it was fairly clear from the start that the oppositionâ€™s chances of success were slim, largely thanks to three independents â€“ former Social Democrat rebels who were expected to support the government. In the end only two of them did, but it was enough. The opposition fell three votes short of achieving its goal and, having done his mathematics, the prime minister looked supremely confident as he listened to criticism from the opposition benches. In fact he even made a point of leafing through the morning papers during the vote itself to show just how unconcerned he was.
Just another day in parliament…
Another excerpt from the article is a reminder that parliamentary governments can tolerate dissent on policy votes, but once it comes to survival, the dissidents’ calculation can change quite dramatically:
Thwarted by three of his own MPs during a Parliament debate on church restitutions on Tuesday, Mr. TopolÃ¡nek was smarting from his unexpected defeat. Tuesdayâ€™s show of coalition unity in the lower house could not have come at a better time for him.
Just another week in parliamentarism.
Despite the Greens’ being one of those three. Topolanek heads the Civic Democratic Party, and the Christian Democrats are the other partner. [↩]
Survival is a different matter: It takes a majority to oust the cabinet, and obviously the opposition does not have a majority either. But without the independent support, the cabinet could not pass legislation if the opposition united to, well, oppose. [↩]
Earlier today, someone sent me the following item, and Phil at PolySigh also has noted it. It is one of those things that is just almost impossible to believe.
Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game. That became abundantly clear in a strategy session last year, according to two people who were there. As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state’s 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insider Harold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified â€” and let Penn know it. “How can it possibly be,” Ickes asked, “that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn’t understand proportional allocation?”
My various questions have been answered by the propagators. Thanks!
As you likely know by now, London held mayoral and assembly elections over the weekend. “Red Ken” Livingstone was denied a third term as mayor, defeated by Boris Johnson of the Conservative party.
The mayor is elected by one of the single-winner ranked-choice voting methods, known variously as the “contingent vote” or the “supplementary vote.” Voters may give a second as well as first preference.1 If no candidate has a majority of first preferences, all candidates other than the top two in first preferences are eliminated, and the excluded candidates’ voters’ second preferences are taken into account. Thus this rule is really the one that most deserves the name “instant runoff” that is often used in the USA for any of the various majoritarian ranked-choice systems: it literally mimics a top-two runoff in one round of voting.
The difference with an actual two-round runoff is that voters do not actually know the top two (in first preferences) when they give their second preferences. In races with two clear leading candidates before the voting begins, this is not a major flaw, though in a race among three or more candidates without clarity about which two are in the lead, it is a very big flaw. Of course, the difference with the other system often known as “instant runoff,” the alternative vote, is that under the latter, candidates are sequentially eliminated and their voters’ next preferences transferred, until one of the remaining candidates crosses the 50%+1 victory threshold.
A question for reformers, especially Americans: Is this distinction between the alternative vote and the contingent/supplementary vote understood in reform circles? If not, should it be?
Now back to London. The Guardian shows the two counts that led to Johnson’s winning the majority. He led at the first count, 43.2% to 37%. Brian Paddick of the Liberal Democratic party came in third with 9.8%. Sian Brady of the Greens was next with 3.2% and Richard Barnbrook of the BNP won 2.9%. There were five other candidates. After the elimination of the candidates other than Johnson and Livingstone, Johnson wound up with 53.2%.
“on papers where the 1st and 2nd choice votes are for the top two candidates, the 2nd choice votes are not counted.” There are two plausible and complementary explanations for why these 260066 people (10.5% of all who voted) didn’t have their 2nd choice vote count:
(i) the “we like them bothers” – people who either voted Boris 1 Ken 2, or Ken 1 Boris 2.
(ii) the “party faithful” – those that ‘double-voted’ and marked their second choice the same as their first choice (so Boris Boris, or Ken Ken) in the misguided hope that that would somehow benefit their candidate more.2
The London Assembly is elected by list PR MMP.3 The BNP won 5.3% and just cleared the threshold to win a seat.
Malcolm has a whole series of posts about the elections at Make My Vote Count.
Hoping someone can confirm whether third or further preferences are allowed. I gather not, which is, of course, bad for voters whose second choice is someone other than one of the top two first-choice candidates in the electorate–especially if the voter is uncertain as to which two those might be. [↩]
This is a potential flaw I had not though of before in the column format used in London (and, I believe, San Francisco) in which a voter is to make one mark in a column for first preference and another in a column for second preferences. In many other ranked-choice jurisdictions there is a single column of boxes in which the voter writes numbers corresponding to preferences. [↩]
Are lists open, closed, flexible? Can anyone inform? [↩]
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4