Single Winner Elections
Virtually all public single-winner governmental elections (as well as elections that take place within governing bodies) should be conducted under the ‘Single Transferable Vote’ STV (or ‘Alternative Vote’ AV) system. This is one of the fairest and most streamlined of perhaps all other possible simple election systems because voters rank each candidate (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) on the ballot running for the same office. Alternatively, simple plurality systems (in which the winner need not get the majority but just get the most votes) as well as instant runoff systems (in which only the top two candidates are considered while the rest are eliminated) may too often result in situations in which the candidate(s) holding the most popular views may actually lose the election due to what is called the spoiler effect (when a relatively minor candidate draws enough votes away from a popular candidate to prevent the popular candidate from winning). In STV or AV elections, the preferences of all voters who ranked the candidates on their ballot will be counted and affect the final election numbers and outcome.
Quadratic Voting (QV) systems, although more easily applicable and understood for binary elections, are superior than STV or AV voting systems because it is an even more accurate way of determining the ‘will’ of the voting population because it factors in not only the number of people in favor or against an issue, but also the relative intensities of their support or opposition. Factoring a minority group’s intensity of opinion is very important for maintaining social stability and actual and apparent ‘trust’ in the voting process. However, because Quadratic Voting systems are inherently more complicated that traditional ‘one man, one vote’ systems, and because the vast majority of people are too lazy to make the effort to study the issue, it would be incredibly hard to get the necessary support for the installation of quadratic voting systems.
In multi-winner elections, proportional representation election systems should be used because they increase the accuracy, fairness and legitimacy of the election. These types of elections are rare in the United States on the state and federal level, but they should be made the standard by eliminating districts altogether and making all candidates run statewide (or jurisdiction-wide, depending on the elected office being sought).
One possible proportional representation system that could be used is described below.
- First, all political parties who wish to be recognized would register as political parties.
- Then, the members of each political party who wish to run for office under their party’s flag would register as candidates of their respective parties.
- Each party would then determine the popular rank of all its candidates by holding primary elections, caucuses, conventions, sampling of party members, or other methods. Only registered members of a party can vote for or influence the selection of candidates of their own political party.
- General elections are then held in which parties compete against each other. The population would vote only for parties, not individuals. Voters can now vote for any political party, regardless of their own party affiliation. Ballots should include the pictures and names of the individuals running for each party in the order in which they have been ranked by that party.
- Ballots are then counted and parties learn what percentage of total ballots cast have been won by each party.
- Seats in government are then distributed among the parties based directly on the rounded percentage of ballots won by that party.
Eliminate Election Districts
A significant difference between our current election system and this proposal is the elimination of election districts. In races where candidates are elected to serve as part of a larger governing body (such as a Representative who is elected to serve with many other Representatives in the House of Representatives), individual districts for each candidate would be eliminated. Instead, all the voters in all these districts would vote for political parties. For example, let’s say a state is entitled to 10 representative in the House of Representatives and 46% of the people vote Democrat, 34% vote Republican, 14% vote Independent, and 6% vote Reform. Under proportional representation, 5 elected officials would come from the Democratic party, 3 would be Republican, 1 would be Independent, and 1 would be Reform. There would be no districts from which representatives are chosen. Under the current system, if this same population voted in the these same proportions throughout all the districts in the entire voting area, only Democrats would be elected to represent all ten districts, effectively leaving 54% of the people who voted for other parties without true representation. The current system is inherently unfair.
Easily Replace Elected Officials
This system also makes it easier to replace elected officials who have resigned in the middle of their terms or for whatever other reason cannot finish their terms. If a person dies or resigns before finishing their term, the next person of the same political party who received the most votes during the primary election (and who still wants the job) would automatically be the replacement and fill in for the remainder of the term.
In cases where candidates are running for offices which are singular in nature and not immediately part of a larger governing body (President, Vice-President, Governor, Mayor, etc.), voters could vote for either party or specific candidate because they would both be the same anyway.
Vice-presidents should probably be the candidate who received the second largest number of votes from the same political party from which the President was chosen. However, there may be an unhealthy amount of resentment between these top two candidates due to their campaigning against each other during the primary election. So this may not be the best solution. Nevertheless, Vice-presidents should be somehow elected by the people and they should also be from the same party. Maybe Presidents could vote for their own Vice-presidents from among the next top five candidates on the party’s ticket.