The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53
Another way of Applying Proposed Method
Another way of Applying Proposed Method.
The method may be stated in another form, which may sometimes be more convenient. For each first place count one vote; then, if any candidate has an absolute majority, elect him. But if not, count in addition one vote for each second place; then, if the lowest candidate has not got half as many votes as there are electors, reject him, and proceed to a final scrutiny between the remaining two. But, if not, take the aggregate for each candidate of the results of the two counts; then reject all who have less than one-third of the votes now counted, and, if necessary, proceed to a final scrutiny.
This process will give the same final result as the method already described. This is readily seen as follows:—1st. If any one has an absolute majority on the first places, the election is settled at the first scrutiny, and the result is manifestly correct, and therefore the same as that of the proposed method. 2nd. If no one has an absolute majority on the first places, but some one has on first and second places less than half as many votes as there are electors, it is manifest that more than half the electors consider that candidate worse than each of the others, so that he ought to be rejected, and hence the result of the final scrutiny will be correct, and therefore in accordance with that of the proposed method. 3rd. If neither of the above events happen, we take the aggregate. Now (as has already been remarked) the result of taking the aggregate is to give us exactly the page 20 same state of the poll as in the first scrutiny of the proposed method. Thus the second way of applying the method will give the same final result as the proposed method. This second way is very convenient, for if there be an absolute majority for or against any candidate, it is made obvious at the first or second count, and the election is settled with as little counting as possible. The two counts are conducted on well known plans, and if the circumstances are such that either of these necessarily gives a correct result, that result is adopted. But if it is not obvious that a correct result can be arrived at, then we take the mean, or what comes to the same thing, the aggregate of the two counts. This might appear to be a rule of thumb, and on that account may perhaps commend itself to some persons. This is not the case, however; and it is remarkable that that which might suggest itself as a suitable compromise in the matter should turn out to be a rigorously exact method of getting at the result in all cases. The view of the proposed method which has just been given shows exactly what modifications require to be made in Condorcet's practical method in order to make it accurate.