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Muppets Use Instant Runoff Voting


We can see that Elmo did not receive enough votes to remain ... When Elmo loses, ballots that had been cast for him are now counted for either Oscar or Ernie. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Muppets Use Instant Runoff Voting

Muppets Use Instant Runoff Voting
The Muppets Gain Voting Strength
  • Starting in the early '90s, the Henson production
    company started to pay the Muppets with stock
    options rather than a straight salary. Quietly,
    the Muppets, as a group, gained a controlling
    interest in the Henson production.

The Muppets Use IRV
In a move that shocked the world, the Muppets
decided to elect one of their own as the CEO of
the company. Being savvy students of the world,
the Muppets chose instant runoff voting in order
to elect a candidate who would best reflect their
views. They decided to choose among five
candidates Beaker, Elmo, Ernie, Miss Piggy and
Oscar the Grouch.
No Muppet Has a Majority
Under instant runoff voting (IRV), the Muppet
voters ranked the candidates a 'one' for their
favorite candidate, a 'two' for their second
favorite and so on - up to five choices. Votes
were counted for the top-ranked candidate on each
ballot. After counting these ballots, no
Muppet had a majority of the vote and thus no
candidate had won. The candidate with the fewest
votes was eliminated.
Eliminate the Weakest Muppet
In the second round, ballots were counted without
the eliminated Muppet - meaning the ballots of
that Muppet's supporters counted for their next
choice. This process of eliminating Muppets and
counting the votes took place until a Muppet won
with a majority of the vote.
Will Oscar the Grouch Win?
At first it looks as though Oscar the Grouch will
be the winner - indeed, if the Muppets had used a
simplistic 'plurality' voting system, then Oscar
would have won. He has more votes than any
other candidate (in other words a plurality).
Oscar Lacks a Majority
But IRV requires a candidate to possess a
majority, which Oscar fails to secure in the
first round of counting - he clearly has strong
support, but his support is not strong enough to
help him cross the 'majority line.' A strong
CEO should have both strong support and wide
support, and IRV helps measure which candidate
best achieves that balance. So the candidate
with fewest first-choice votes, Miss Piggy, is
defeated, and the count moves onto a second round.
Miss Piggy is Eliminated
The ballots originally cast for Miss Piggy are
now counted for the candidates listed as the
second choice on each ballot. Everyone else has
their ballot count for their first choice
candidate. Note that one ballot does not count
for any candidate -- rumor has it that Miss Piggy
only voted for one candidate, 'Moi.' No
candidate has a majority of the vote yet, and
Beaker now loses.
Ernie Gains Strength
In this round of voting, three candidates remain.
Note that Ernie is showing not only strong
support (he was second to Oscar after the first
count), but broad support - he keeps picking up
more votes as other candidates are
eliminated. We can see that Elmo did not receive
enough votes to remain in the running. He too is
Elmos Out, Ernie Wins!
When Elmo loses, ballots that had been cast for
him are now counted for either Oscar or Ernie.
Note that some ballots are counting for a
third-choice candidate - those voters who had
listed Miss Piggy or Beaker first and Elmo
second. With the field narrowed to two, Ernie
secures a majority of the votes cast and crosses
the 'majority line.'
Studying Muppet Rankings
Before we find out who the winner is, let's take
a closer look at the ballot of one of the (few!)
Muppets who voted for Miss Piggy as their
favorite candidate. This Muppet's ballot first
counted for Miss Piggy, but after she was
eliminated, the ballot counted for the second
choice - Elmo. Once Elmo lost, the ballot counted
for Ernie. Note that Oscar is ranked last on this
ballot. Clearly this voter supported Ernie over
Oscar as the Henson Company's new CEO, and it was
important to register this choice rather than
have the ballot be 'wasted' on Miss Piggy.
IRV Produced the Correct Muppet Winner
And Ernie is now the CEO of the Henson Production
Company! If the Muppets had chosen the more
traditional plurality voting system, a candidate
could have been elected who most Muppets didn't
like as much as Ernie. The use of instant
runoff voting has assured the victory of a
candidate with support of at least 50 plus one
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