Aren't you disgusted that you have to vote for the candidate
most likely to win instead of the one that you like ? A vote for a
Presidential candidate is a vote for an agenda, and usually a
candidate with an honest agenda is unlikely to have any chance of
winning an election. Take Bush for example
(please): He was backed by corporations, and he governed FOR corporations. That, by the way, is the
definition of Fascism.
When we have primaries in which there may be as many as ten
choices for each major party, it would be much fairer if we could
rank them according to our individual preference. If there were
more than two parties, there need not be 'spoilers'. We need to
change the way we vote. Rather than the
flawed current technique we use we could improve outcomes by using
range voting or Instant Runoff Voting. William Poundstone's book,
Gaming the Vote, is a thoughtful discussion of alternative voting
techniques and makes a case that range voting would be better than
Range voting allows rating of candidates on a scale that
indicates relative preferences. You could rank each candidate on a
scale of, say, 1 to 10.
Our current system is an insult to democracy and it guarantees that we can have
only two parties that are pretty much alike. New Mexico had a
Senatorial election in which a Green Party candidate ran strong.
Although the majority would not have wanted it, the Republican won.
This would not happen using Instant Runoff Voting or range
Using Instant runoff
voting (IRV) "voters rank candidates in order of
preference. If no candidate receives an overall majority of first
preferences, the candidates with fewest votes are eliminated one by
one, and their votes transferred according to their second and
third preferences (and so on) and all votes retallied, until one
candidate achieves a majority. The term 'instant
runoff voting' is used because this process resembles a series
of run-off elections."
(wikipedia points out a number
of places IRV is being used. Anyone paying attention
knows that there is often little difference between our two
major parties, and that third parties are rarely heard. Until
instant runoff voting (IRV) becomes widespread reality, third
parties can only be spoilers. Being realistic, we are not allowed
A modified voting procedure would be the single best change we
could make to our elections: it would make more
parties possible, enlarge the dialog, It would be
more democratic; it would produce better outcomes. and newer
parties would not be spoilers. So why don't we have IRV ? Most
likely: our major parties
are blocking it.
"in Australia and in Ireland they use a system of preferential
voting where voters have the option of ranking candidates in their
order of preference and if no candidate receives a majority of
first choice votes, the lowest vote getter is eliminated and the
ballots of the people who voted for that candidate are distributed
to their second choice candidates. And if necessary, this
elimination recount process continues until one candidate surpasses
Preference voting insures that the candidate elected has
majority support among voters. ...has the added benefit of
encouraging greater diversity of candidates since independent and
third party candidates do not have to worry about splitting the
vote by running and voters are able to vote their conscience
without having to worry about throwing away their vote.
This greater diversity of candidates would likely increase voter
participation. The other advantage of preference voting is that it
creates a disincentive against negative campaigning because
candidates would be reluctant to alienate supporters of their
opponents because they might still be able to get those voters to
vote for them as their second choice."
Many politicians, including Howard Dean and Susan Bysiewicz,
publicly support the idea.
With many candidates in each party primary, if democracy is an American value, we should move
to a better voting procedure. We should insist on it for elections
at every level.
Try out IRV at ChoiceRanker or, for
your first three choices, Democracy for
Instant Runoff voting is a prerequisite to break the two party
monopoly of US elections.
Instant Runoff Voting page of fairvote.org
Instant Runoff Voting Report from the New America
Comments are here.
See this stern
Voting machines with open source code, reasonable security
precautions, and verifiable results can easily accommodate better
techniques such as range voting.
So why is this issue not on the table ? Maybe it is that the
major parties can't stand the competition. One thing I think we
have learned from the last few years is that a major party grown
too strong can trump the Constitution. That's why we need to
reconsider how we vote.
See the elections page also.
Vote, Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It):
for links to related information..