Citizens of Upright Moral Character
concerned citizens

  USERS  
  Log-In  
  Register  

Sat Mar 27, 2004

Gerrymandering: How Politicians Steal Votes and You Can Return Them

Read the original, with links, here:
http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/001171

Third Parties: Why They Spoil and How to Stop It

In America (and many other countries) elections work in a simplistic manner: Each person picks one candidate. The candidate picked the most wins.

This makes the fatal assumption that you can only like one candidate. This seems like a bizarre assumption, but there is one common case where it makes sense: when you have two candidates.

Unfortunately, we’re sort of stuck with this voting system, so this mathematical fact (the voting system works only when there are two candidates) has turned into a political rule (we can only allow two candidates to run). But often, more than two candidates want to run, and voters don’t mind having more choices. So the voting system gets in the way.

One popular alternative is called Instant-runoff voting (IRV) which is used in Australia. It works like this: instead of voting for one candidate, you rank all the candidates (or your top N candidates) in order of preference. To count the votes, you look at each ballot and mark a vote for the top listed candidate. If no candidate wins a majority, you find the candidate who got the least votes. You cross off his name from every ballot and count again. (This time his name will be crossed off, so the top listed candidate on some ballots will actually be the voter’s second choice.) You repeat this until some candidate gets a majority. That candidate is the winner.

It sounds reasonable, but unfortunately, it turns out to be about the worst reasonable-sounding voting system, with all sorts of bizarre side-effects (more info). Fortunately, the problem is only in how you count the votes. The mathematicians have come up with a better way to count the votes, called Condorcet, which is essentially perfect. Here’s how it works: You have a computer use all the ballots to simulate every possible head-to-head election between two candidates. Whichever candidate wins the most elections against the strongest candidates wins.

Unfortunately, some people think this is too complicated. Fortunately, there is a simple voting system which is really very good, called Approval Voting. Here’s how it works: You pick all the candidates you like. Whichever candidate is picked the most wins. Put another way, instead of punching the hole next to one candidate, you punch the hole next to each candidate you approve of. Each hole punch is counted, and the most popular guy wins.

To give a contentious example, in the 2000 election, you could have checked the box next to both Nader and Gore. Some people (perhaps Nader himself) would check only Nader. Some people would check only Gore. But nobody’s vote is spoiled — a vote for Nader and Gore does not hurt Gore in his contest against Bush. And you end up with the candidate the most people approve of.

It turns out that in addition to being simpler, Approval Voting is also far more effective than IRV. And it doesn’t require any new equipment, just a simple change to the rules. And that’s why we cry:

Approval Voting Should Be Approved Now!

For more about various election methods, visit ElectionMethods.org. To support approval voting, join the Americans for Approval Voting or the Citizens for Approval Voting.

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Mar 27, 04 | 11:31 pm | Profile

Category:
[0] Comments (5075 views) |  [0] Trackbacks | [0] Pingbacks | Link | Email Article

Balkanalysis.com - If Clarke Is Right, Bush Must Go

http://www.balkanalysis.com/modules.php?name=News

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Mar 27, 04 | 11:29 pm | Profile

Category:
[0] Comments (4649 views) |  [0] Trackbacks | [0] Pingbacks | Link | Email Article
PREV page NEXT page


BE A CITIZEN OF UPRIGHT MORAL CHARACTER!

Submitted entries will be reviewed for inclusion
Title
Entry



Notify me when someone replies to this post?



DISCLAIMER

Mortimer Sneed maintains this web site to enhance public access to information, with help from noble citizens. This is a service that is continually under development. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect the opinion of the owner of this website. The documents on this web site contain hypertext pointers to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. Please be aware that we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this information. Further, the inclusion of pointers to particular items in hypertext is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed by the author of the reference or the organization operating the server on which the reference is maintained. We are not responsible for any physical harm that you may inflict upon yourself. We are not in anyway suggesting that you act on the things presented in this site or any works related to this site. We want you to be happy, really we do. We love you. But let's just say it's a certain kind of 'tough love'.


FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

(c) COSMODEMONIC TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY