Saturday, September 3, 2016

Here's a Voting System to Keep Everyone on the Edge of Their Seats

   One could make an argument for a very unconventional election system, one in which you wait for all the results to be counted, then you go through and change a number of the ballots and count them all again.
   It would work like this: When the voter cast his ballot, he could say that if the person he wanted to win, didn't win, then he would want his vote changed to candidate C.
   Oh, it sounds too much a mess and way too complicated to carry out, you say. Hair-brain, simply hair-brain.
   Let me tell you why I like it, though. Voters want their votes to count. They often vote against someone as much as they vote for someone. They know a vote for a minor candidate is not going to contribute to that person's winning, so they want their vote to go to someone who can win. So, they ditch the candidate they really want in favor of someone who can defeat the person they don't like.
   When someone suggested this idea of letting the voter have a back-up plan, I had to think about it before warming up to it. It's novel. It's unconventional. It's complicated.
   Say we had a race between two very unpopular candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Now, let's say a lot of folks didn't want to vote for Trump, but, even more, they didn't want Clinton to win. And, vice versa.
   Now, going by the simple system we have now, the voters would bite the ill-tasting pill of voting for someone they didn't want just to avoid the one they didn't want even more from winning.
   But, enter the new, improved system. Let's suppose, on first ballot count, Clinton won 32 percent, Trump 31 percent, Jill Stein 12 percent, Gary Johnson 12 percent, Evan McMullin 12 percent. And others split the final 1 percent. Now, we would have to go back and count again, as a lot of the Stein, Johnson and McMullin voters voted for those candidates with the provision that they be allowed to change their votes if those candidates didn't win. So, we recount, and Trump wins. His vote goes up to 46 percent on the recount (second ballot), while Clinton only rises to 45. Johnson, McMullin, Stein and others all drop drastically, now combining for only 9 percent.
    I don't know. Actually, there is a lot more drama in this system. You want suspense and excitement? It might actually be a good thing. This will keep everyone on the edge of their seats at least one extra day.
(Blog corrected and changed Sept. 4, 2016)

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