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Election Reform

Astoundingly, I'm being serious for a change.....
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Watching the total cock-up known as the presidential election unfold over the last couple of days has actually kindled interest in how your voting system works. If, as seems likely, Gore wins the plurality of the popular vote but Bush ends up in office calls for change will start to clamour.

So here, in all seriousness is an alternative system:

Do away with the electorial college and have a direct vote on who should be president. In fact introduce a preference system, where voters rank their candidates according to their order of preference. For example:

1: Nader
2: Gore
Right the way down to
7(Or whatever number): Bush

If, once all the votes accross the nation have been counted up, no one candidate has a outright majority (ie more than 50%) the candidate who got the least votes is eliminated. Their votes are then redistributed to the second preferences. The process continues until one candidate gets more than half the vote.

Advantages:

First, and biggest of all, the candidate chosen is ultimately one prefered by over half of the voters. In 1992 the right wing vote was split by Perot and Bush Snr, that wouldnt happen under this system. Continuing on this theme, a lot of would be Nader voters were worried about letting Bush in by the back door. Under this system a vote for a minor candidate isn't wasted as it gets reassigned to a majority candidate eventually.

Secondly, this system is just too hard to predict acurately on election night since you cant know where second preferences will go. Thus your networks avoid making fools of themselves.

imagooAJ, Nov 10 2000

Halfbakery discussion of voting systems here: http://www.halfbake...0vote#973434835-4-1
Have a look at Egnor's link off this link. It describes certain shortcomings with the single transferrable vote mechanism you propose. [Lemon, Nov 10 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       While STV/IRV aren't perfect, they're are very easy for people to understand; if we're going to have real electoral reform, they're probably worth pushing for on the basis that they have a snowball's chance in Hell of being accepted by the population (unlike various other wacky schemes which are better but less intuitive).
egnor, Nov 11 2000
  

       So it's a lot like say the Heisman voting scheme. Good idea. You could add more to it. If a candidate gets more than a certain percentage of votes, he must be put on an advisory comittee for at least one year. That comittee would be part of the White House staff. That would keep the Executive branch in line, and also keep popular issues at the forefront.
simpleknight, Nov 12 2000
  

       Lemon: From what I could see, the illustrated shortcomings of STV had to do with its behavior in races in which more than one winner is selected (e.g. fill two positions from among 6 candidates). While STV is not perfect even for single-officeholder races, it's still better than plurality voting or just about any other method.
supercat, Jan 10 2001
  

       Not necessarily, supercat, have a look at example 2. These are pretty contrived situations, admittedly, but if it is possible to rig an election, then there are people who will attempt to so do, and campaigners will certainly try to persuade voters how to order their second, third, fourth candidates (probably by way of candidates making pacts between themselves). I still prefer approval voting to STV for simplicity.
Lemon, Jan 11 2001
  

       Lemon: Okay, I had missed that example, though it does raise a couple of interesting points:   

       -1- To what extent would such cases likely occur in reality; I do not doubt that they can be constructed but whether even deliberately tricky campaigning could cause them to emerge in real life is unclear.   

       -2- The weakness here is the method for eliminating candidates; there are adaptations of STV which, e.g. eliminate at each stage the candidate with the lowest Borda count. This doesn't solve totally the problems with non-monotonicity, but it makes them even less likely to arise.
supercat, Jan 11 2001
  

       Baked. That's basically how we elect people in Australia. Rather than the most liked you get the least hated - the lesser evil, if you like.
sirrobin, Jan 31 2001
  
      
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