Why isn't the alternative vote standard for most nations?



Why isn't the alternative vote standard for most nations?


Posted 2014-07-02T01:37:27.603

Reputation: 475

Question was closed 2014-09-22T16:37:19.877

1Because the PR-STV system we have here in Ireland is better. – TRiG – 2014-07-02T08:17:19.123

3Can you link to a study that shows a majority of American voters support it? 'Muricans can be a very stick-in-the-mud about changing things. – Affable Geek – 2014-07-02T12:52:44.813

1'Majority Support' is no guarantee of legislation in the US--for both good and bad reasons. – None – 2014-07-02T15:56:36.827

Do you mean proportional rather than alternative? – Anixx – 2014-07-02T17:58:24.780

3I just noticed that said petition only has 12 signatures, and was created by YL. Your question is a little disingenuous. I'm going to let it slide, because I think there is some vid content here, but SO normally takes a dim view of advertising ones own stuff in the guise of a question. – Affable Geek – 2014-07-02T21:34:07.550

@TRiG how so? I thought the main difference was that PR-STV has multiple seats to fill. – bobsburner – 2020-02-13T15:46:11.580

Yes, it does fill multiple seats per constituency, which makes it more complicated than Alternative Vote, but also more representative, @bobsburner. I suppose that whether that's "better" is a matter of opinion, and depends on what goals you have. An AV system may be slightly less representative, but also lead to a less fractured parliament, and hence a stronger government. Is that a good thing? – TRiG – 2020-02-13T16:45:41.553



Voting is systems are, per the US Constitution, completely a matter for states to decide, not the federal government. As Article I Section 4 states:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;

As such, the linked petition cannot be acted upon.

That said, the question then is: "Why don't the states adopt an alternative vote instead of a first-past the post?" There, you have a few factors, most of which boil down to incumbency.

  1. Incumbents write the rules. They won on a first-past the post system, and there is thus no incentive to change it.

  2. There is an implementation lag. If one state adopts it, but another doesn't, there could be adverse effects. A proportional voting scheme clearly hurts a state's influence, for example. Depending on the methodology employed, there could be issues.

Affable Geek

Posted 2014-07-02T01:37:27.603

Reputation: 15 197

1This is a good answer, though it may be worth pointing out problems with instant runoff voting, e.g. it cannot guarantee a condorcet winner. – Publius – 2014-07-05T23:50:34.653


Because, from the point of view of the people who have the power to change the voting system (Congress and state legislators), the status quo works just fine. It got them elected.


Posted 2014-07-02T01:37:27.603

Reputation: 1 740

1The truth is much more sinister than this pragmatism I am afraid. – SoylentGray – 2014-07-02T14:02:43.423


In the US there are 2 major parties. These parties are run by people who are chosen by those people who donate heavily to the party and campaigns. Those people have a business(and monetary) interest in keeping the 2 parties that are currently dominant parties in control of the government.

If you look at the roles of those donors you notice something familiar. Many of the names are the same. That is because both of the parties are beholden to the same interests. They all talk a big game but when you look at the number of big campaign promises that are actually fulfilled as promised you can see a similar trend. The ones that are acted on are the ones that are to the benefit of the big donors. Similarly when you see an elected official renege on a promise it is most likely in the favor of the big donors.

So the answer to the question is, because neither the GOP nor the DNC wants it to change. Both parties thrive by having the other as the primary boogie man. Neither party as any interest in sharing that power with anyone else.


Posted 2014-07-02T01:37:27.603

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