Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,

Voting Systems

Three thoughts:

1) I didn't realize it until just recently, but as of 2013, Colorado mails ballots to every registered voter for every election. Which is a fantastic idea; you can fill your ballot out at home, at your leisure, doing however much research you want, and then either mail it in or drop it off at a ballot box. It makes all the issues about lines at polling places and how late they're open and poll watching and so on largely moot. It's maximally convenient and empowers voters at the same time. And apparently, it even saves a whole lot of money, because it cuts down on provisional ballots, which are expensive. It's pretty keen, so if you live elsewhere and see any efforts to implement something similar, you should definitely support them.

2) We have a bunch of initiatives on the ballot this year. There was some lunchtime conversation about one of them, and somebody asked "can I vote for it to fail but by a very slim margin?" Because there's the problem of supporting the general idea behind an initiative, but not in that specific form, and wanting to encourage another try at it while not wanting it to pass as-is So I think we need to add a couple more options for ballot issues. In addition to "yes" and "no", it would be nice to have "almost", for the aforementioned case, and "whatever", for "I don't care about this issue one way or the other, so just leave me out when you're trying to figure out how much support there is for and against it."

3) So everybody knows that the system we currently use when voting for candidates for office (vote for one, whoever gets the most votes wins, aka first-past-the-post) is like, one of the worst possible ways of doing it, right? Among its many problems, it's a major factor in the lock-in of the two-party system everyone's so unhappy about lately. Innyhoo, while there are a lot of alternatives for how to tally up the ballots and pick a winner, there are only a few ways to actually fill them out: an approval ballot is like a regular ballot -- you vote for candidates you want -- but you can vote for as many as you like, picking all the candidates you find acceptable. On a scored ballot, you have to give each candidate a score, say, 1-5. And on a ranked ballot, you have to order all the candidates by preference. I figure a major hurdle to voting reform is getting the electorate to feel comfortable with doing things differently, so I'm curious in people's opinions: regardless of what fancy method is used to pick the winner, how do you feel about those different ways of voting? Do any of them feel more or less like proper voting?

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