Here’s the Problem with our ‘Single Choice’ Method of Voting:
Suppose we’re all part of a large group who want to go to a restaurant together. The three options are Chinese food, seafood, and pizza. Half the group loves Chinese food but hates seafood; the other half loves seafood but hates Chinese food. Everyone, however, likes pizza. Where should we go?
Did you intuitively say “pizza”?
If so, then you don’t believe in using our inadequate ‘single choice’ method of voting, where “pizza” got no votes, and where either Chinese food or seafood would have won by the slightest majority—much to the extreme dismay of the other half, who might likely split off from the group.
Our ‘single choice’ method of voting did not select the option with the “broadest overall support.”
Here’s another big problem: Five similar candidates in an election equally split 75% of the vote and get only 15% each, losing to their single polar opposite who wins the plurality vote in a ‘landslide’ with 25% — even though the electorate preferred one of the other candidates three to one.
Our ‘single choice’ method of voting dilutes candidates and parties that are too similar, forcing us into a de facto two-party system, each party trying to undermine the other.
The Simple Solution:
The simple, common-sense solution to this dilemma is to simply expand our current voting method into “Score Voting” (just like we rate products & services on the internet), so that it can facilitate our selection of candidates and options with the broadest overall support.
How Score Voting Works:
Voters can simply ‘score’ each and every candidate/option they prefer on the ballot, e.g., with a number from 0 to 100 (just like giving numerical grades on a school exam), or 0 to 10, as in the example below. Highest numerical total wins.
A Dozen Important Benefits of Score Voting:
- No candidate would be a ‘spoiler’ to any other.
E.g.: If voters prefer two candidates equally, they can give each of them 100′s—they wouldn’t be forced to arbitrarily select just one and thereby devalue their favorite pair by 50%.
- Every candidate has a chance to win on his or her own merits, so more qualified candidates will run.
Good governance—just like successful capitalism—requires lots of fair competition on a level playing field.
- Voters will be encouraged to score more than one candidate.
Voters are likely to score multiple candidates—in fear that their favorite might not win, and in their desire to differentiate amongst the remaining candidates so that their hated ‘polar opposite’ does not win.
- With more than two candidates running, Score Voting protects against a major flaw in IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) and other ‘majority-wins’ voting methods.
Against a pair of popular but polarizing demagogues, a moderate and well-respected third candidate who is everyone’s favorite second choice would lose—getting no votes—when he was really the candidate with the “broadest overall support.” (Note: In a simple two-person race, a polarizing demagogic ‘winner’ with the majority of votes could still be less generally preferred than a moderate centrist ‘loser’—which is why it’s important for more than two candidates to be running.)
- Greater competition undermines partisan bickering, reduces the likelihood of last-minute dirty tricks, and encourages all candidates to campaign on the strengths of their own positions.
- Politicians will owe their allegiance directly to The People instead of to the political parties they had to patronize in order to get elected.
Our elected officials will be less afraid to vote their true conscience and finally be able to tackle serious ‘in-house’ issues like campaign finance reform, Congressional ‘insider trading,’ etc.
- It undermines the “It’s us against them” mentality while promoting a feeling that “We’re all in this together.”
The electorate will feel less disenfranchised, electioneering will be less vitriolic, and militant opposition to our government may defuse. Voter turnout would be greatly increased, and there’d be greater confidence in the winner.
- If ill-health or disgrace ‘happened’ to a candidate just before the election, we wouldn’t be stuck with his polar opposite.
- Our legislators can use Score Voting right now to select the best parts of lots of bills on the same subject—to quickly put together legislation most pleasing to the most people possible without any wasteful pork-barrel legislation.
- It’s the best voting method for a political party to select its most generally popular (and therefore “most electable”) candidate in a party primary.
- It can select a whole group of winners (for a legislative body, corporate board, etc.), all at once.
- It eliminates the self-fulfilling-prophecy of early state primary results and pre-election polls, and it significantly undermines gerrymandering.
Important Note: The true mandate of The People’s support is the winner’s percentage of total-points possible.
Where is Score Voting being used?
- By our schools, to select the valedictorian
- In the Olympics, for judging athletic performances
- At the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), to evaluate moviegoers’ preferences
- On websites that feature reviews, such as Amazon.com, Yelp, and the Apple App Store
- …and it undoubtedly forms a major part of every search-engine algorithm!
So why does no democracy on Earth use any form of Score Voting (a.k.a. “fractional approval voting” or “range voting”)? The answer is simple: What government official wants to significantly reduce his 50% chance of getting re-elected by allowing for an increase in viable competitors?
What We the People Can Do:
- Popularize this simple concept — it’s the only voting method that will select the candidate or option with the broadest overall support.
- Demand that our legislators institute it immediately to put an end to polarized politics and government gridlock.
- Refuse to vote for any candidate who refuses to pledge in writing to institute it.
- Recall any legislators who dishonor their written oath.
Note: This simple but comprehensive voting-reform proposal can be initiated state by state by officially changing the instructions on our ballots, for example: “Give a score to each and every candidate you want.”
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It’s time to fix the most important problem in American governance ever since George Washington brought it to our attention in his “Farewell Address,” in 1796, when he warned us that “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge…is itself a frightful despotism.”
For a three-minute discourse on just why we have partisan politics, and the simplest, common-sense way that we can quickly mitigate it — and at zero cost, see the following video:
“The best governance—just like successful capitalism—requires great competition on a level playing field.”