Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The US electoral system....

...why its so screwed up, and what I think we should do to fix it.

(Before you read this article, do yourself a favor and read about how the electoral college works: http://people.howstuffworks.com/electoral-college.htm)

Of course I'm hardly the foremost expert on the electoral system, but its pretty obvious that it's a screwed up system.

First and foremost (and least radical), I think that the states should divide up their electoral votes depending on the percentages that the candidates got, like they do in Nevada. In this way, the election is more democratic, and the votes of smaller states are still more valuable.

Continuing on this idea, I would multiply the electoral votes of every state by 100. Why? So that the votes can be more accurately distributed to each of the candidates.

By making those two small changes, the system is much, much improved. But I would even go further. I think the very voting system should be changed.

The current system works fine for a two-party system, but when there are three or more serious contenders, you really need a voting system that finds not what the largest interest group wants, but the candidate that everyone would be happy with. For example, lets say that there is a country with three candidates running: a conservative, a moderate, and a liberal. The demographics of the country are 35% conservatives, 34% liberals, and 31% moderates. In a conventional election, the conservative candidate would win – but you can hardly say that he's the best candidate. A third hate him, and a third don't like him. The truth is that none of the candidates are ideal. But the moderate would be the “least bad” candidate – a two thirds wouldn't like him, but they prefer him over the extremist candidate.

Under what type of voting system would the moderate win?

He would win in a system where everyone rates every candidate as either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory”. Under this system, extremism is avoided, and third party candidates don't ever cause one of the other candidates to loose. Even apathetic or disgruntled voters can participate in this system – they can rate everyone “satisfactory” or rate everyone “unsatisfactory”. In the end, the true will of the people has been laid bare.


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