Friday, November 21, 2008

Liberalized Voting Rules

When voting on ballot measures one is usually given the choice of voting either "YES" or "NO" which sometimes fails to accurately express one's true position on the measure. One often finds oneself torn between voting either way for various reasons. For example one might feel that a measure has some features that one is in favor of and others which seem dissatisfactory and there is no way to indicate this. One is neither strictly for nor against the measure. A simple change to the voting rules will allow voters to more clearly express themselves. Logically one's vote is an "exclusive or". Only votes for and against are permitted. Loosening the rules in the manner indicated above will allow the additional votes of "UNDECIDED" and "DISCOUNT". This would make it less likely that poorly written measures will be passed.

Similarly one could allow votes for and against a particular candidate. A generalization of this would be a preference system which would allow votes for more than one candidate for office. A vote for or against would add either +1 or -1 to the tally respectively. Votes for more than one candidate would have to be weighed differently than a vote for a single candidate. A simple scheme would just split the vote so that if one voted for each of two candidates each would have +½ added to his/her tally. This would allow one to express no particular preference for each of the two candidates. A vote for one and a vote against another would add +½ and -½ respectively. No preference for three particular candidates would add +1/3 to each of their tallies. Etc. It would still be one-man-one-vote. But the vote would could be either "ALL" or "NONE" or range from solely "FOR" to solely "AGAINST" any candidate. Who would win? The candidate receiving the greatest affirmation. If the public was opposed to all the candidates for President or Vice President Congress could decided who is to hold these offices. The most democratic system is to allow the House of Representatives to make the decision. There have been proposals to reform the Electoral College. We should also consider changes in the way we are allowed to vote.

If this system was in effect in the last election I would have voted "DIS" on Prop. 8. But "DIS" translates to "NO" under the current rules which is how I actually voted. Why? I felt it was a prohibition and an interference in other people's lives. I would have preferred a measure which would have prevented either faction from making its preference public law.

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