When you sleep, where do your fingers go?… Election time again!

It’s election time in Victoria and the question of preferences is upon us again.  Some might remember that I complained about the Greens’ lie that giving preferences to the Greens could not possibly result in a Coalition victory.  While reading through some notes, I discovered that Lewis Carroll (the author of Alice in Wonderland) had already noted this problem.  Adopting his example (which he wrote in A Discussion of the Various Methods of Procedure in Conducting Elections):

Imagine there are eleven people in an electorate and four possible parties: Greens, ALP, Libs, Nationals.

1 Greens ALP Nats Libs

2 Greens ALP Libs Nats

3 Greens ALP Nats Libs

4 Libs ALP Greens Nats

5 Libs ALP Greens Nats

6 Libs ALP Greens Nats

7 Nats ALP Libs Greens

8 Nats ALP Libs Greens

9 Nats ALP Greens Libs

10 ALP Greens Nats Libs

11 ALP Libs Nats Greens

To paraphrase, Dodgson: ‘There seems to be no doubt that [ALP]’s election would be the most generally acceptable: and yet, by the [method of elimination whereby the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated], [they] would be excluded at once, and ultimately [the Liberal candidate] would be elected.’

Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based PhD student, writer, and policy wonk who writes about law, conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

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