Friday, November 12, 2004

On voting methods... 

I don't like getting too too much into politics on the blog as I'm not really an adversarial sort most of the time, and lots of other people do it better anyway, but here's a couple of things...

Did Bush win legitimately? Hard to say... I think he probably would have won no matter what, but some of the issues raised make me nervous for whatever person would have won. I especially just don't like how the electronic systems have no paper trail. I work with computers all the time and I see how often they mess up. While surfing around, I came onto a post about the voting in Venezuela, and that seems a lot more like what we should be striving for. Obviously it doesn't all apply since people in the US aren't required to have IDs, but we seriously need open source voting machines and the multiple paper results tallied by two different sets of people would be very nice as well.

I think we're too obsessed with getting results as fast as possible, when a slower method that makes us all feel more secure in the end would be a lot better...

As an aside, I don't really agree with everything in this other post, but it does bring up some interesting thoughts. What would it be like if we only had write-in instead of multiple choice? Actually, the idea I like most is the one that the last response had, which was a option for "none of the above" for all offices. I'm not sure that'd actually be a positive thing overall, but it'd be pretty interesting to see a real guage of no-confidence instead of the varied nonsense write-ins that usually happen.

Lastly (and more practically), Johnny mentions the concept of Instant Runoff Voting, which aparantly is already used in some countries like Australia. In this method, people can rate several candidates if they want, and if a single candidate doesn't get 50% of the vote, the one with the lowest vote gets removes and the second place entry for each of those voters gets put into the pool, until someone finally gets over 50% of the votes.

I think one of the biggest poxed on our system right now is the feeling that you can't vote for who you really want to, for fear of taking away votes from the "lesser of two evils". This method would let people vote for whoever they wanted to in clean concious. It is beneficial to smaller parties since people will actually vote for them and beneficial to larger parties since their votes won't be split unless one of the third parties gets strong enough to actuall get a 50% vote. It'd also be a powerful gauge for "no-confidence" in and of itself, since you'd be able to see that before the runoffs happened, how split the voters were. Lastly, if done state by state, it wouldn't need the constitutional ammendment that getting rid of the electoral college would need..

I think IRV is something I really feel like I can support. Many thanks to Johnny for bringing it up!

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