One reform I hope to see come out of this situation is some kind of standard
balloting system. Computers could be used to make most of these
irregularities impossible. They could make it impossible to submit an
illegal ballot. They could display the names of candidates the voter has
tentatively chosen for his confirmation. They could warn him if he has left
any office unvoted. To maintain a paper trail as a safeguard, for each
office voted a ballot slip could be printed: 10 offices, 10 slips. That
would allow the machine to pre-sort them by the voter's choices. If, to
reasonable tolerances, they had a standard weight, the machine count could
be verified by weighing each stack of ballot slips. The voter could be given
the chance to review the ballot slips for errors. He could abort and start
over, or confirm and allow the ballot slips to fall on the stacks. The
tallies could be kept essentially in real time as the voting progressed, and
the winner of a state would be known with certainty when the poll closed.
This seems like a reasonable standard to me.
As far as other voting systems I think you want to keep things as simple as
possible. That seems to be a weakness of the Borda system if there are many
choices. How about just giving the voter a chance to make a second choice?.
As a first stage elimination determine the two highest vote-getters from
first choices. If the voter's first choice is not among the two highest, but
his second choice is, then count his second choice in a second-stage
supplemental count. Of course this could be generalized from 2 choices and 2
counts to n choices and n counts if you wanted. Having two choices would
make it more appealing to vote for an 'unelectable candidate'. The second
choice could be kept for the mainstream candidate you least dislike. This
system would make it much easier for a "fringe" party to gain substantial
support. And for precisely that reason, I don't think there is a snowball's
chance in hell that the Dems and Reps would allow it to come into existence.
But it's interesting to think about.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:21 MDT