Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Flagging a point

For those not in New Zealand (or don't watch Last Week Tonight), we are currently referrenduming a new flag. There are five alternatives we are voting on, and later on it will go head to head with the current flag.

And then lose.

Because math.

First off, let's consider how the voting for a new flag will go, and we're going to be fairly basic with assumptions. They'll be wrong, but easy to follow. We know some people are not voting, either they are angrily posting to Twitter or don't care or whatever. But let's say 80% of people vote for a flag. They are ranked 1 to 5, so let's be simple and say each flag gets 20% of the votes.

Which gives us 20% vote for no flag, and each other flag get (80*20) 16% of the population. Let's pick one of them, and put it up against the current flag. People will vote (including people who didn't previous vote) for the current flag if they don't want a change, or don't want the provided option. Which gives 16% of people wanting the alternative... and 84% of people wanting the current flag / not that flag.

So it's not going to play out exactly with those percentages, but we can see the obvious that the current flag is pretty much going to be around for a while longer.

Is there an alternative? We could vote for "should we change" at the same time, but people might change their mind depending on what the winning alternative is.

Instead, we could go with "Rank the six flags (current and five alternatives)". Then the simple majority vote would win, either current or some alternative. Done.


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