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Weighted Representation

Make [nearly] every vote count
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When electing a representative to a body of representatives, winner-take-all elections don't sit right with me. They set up the conditions that motivate gerrymandering. If you're a member of an opposing party living in a region dominated by one party, you may become discouraged because it's unlikely your vote will "count". That inertia is very undemocratic because trends in the voting demographics will tend to lag behind the actual population demographics. Winner-take-all systems can elect candidates who do not have the mandate of 49% of their electorate. (It has been said that democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.)

Proposed is a system where every candidate who wins a percentage of the vote above a certain threshold automatically "wins". Winning candidates will be sent to the ruling body armed with a voting power equal to their popular vote. John Doe might have 211,321 votes while his colleague from the same district might have 212,457 votes, where one vote in the ruling body is equivalent to one electoral vote.

I don't think it would be a good idea for a candidate to be allowed to split their legislative votes. There needs to be clarity about where a candidate stands and about what they're willing to do.

In the United States, political parties function to consolidate votes for common interests that would otherwise be splintered. I don't see this function going away, but this system makes it less important. As long as a grassroots movement can build up enough votes to be viable, they'd be fine. The weighted representation would likely be applied to the general election at first, and the parties will need to work out for themselves how to make their primary system compatible with this new system in the general election.

Setting the right cutoff threshold is critical for a good implementation of this idea. Setting it too low will clutter the ruling body and lose the efficiency of a republic. (I nominate myself, so I get one vote. Does that mean I get the congressional healthcare benefits now?) Setting it too high will favor established candidates and reduce the responsiveness of the election to public opinion.

kevinthenerd, May 28 2016

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