REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

None of the above

POSTED BY: GEEZER
UPDATED: Friday, October 15, 2004 05:24
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Thursday, August 19, 2004 2:32 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Don't know if anyone here has read any of the Liberatarian Sci-fi by L. Neil Smith, but I wanted to see if there's any discussion on what I consider one of his better ideas.

In his alternate North American Confederacy, the post of President has much less power than ours, but even that may sometimes seem to much for the independent-minded populace. If they're not happy with any of the candidates, they have the choice of voting for "None of the Above", and if that choice gets the most votes, there is no president for that term.

Now this might not work exactly the same in our system, where representation is so much more important, but how about a similar option?

Each ballot for elective office would have the choice "None of the Above". If this choice got a majority (or plurality) of the votes, the election would have to be held again, and none of the previous candidates could run.

Could this work? Would it be a good idea? I kind'a like it.

"Keep the Shiny side up"

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Thursday, August 19, 2004 3:20 AM

CAPTAINHARBATKIN


I suggest a drawing of all candidates, after "non of the above" wins an election, and the selected candidate is shot. Okay, okay, maybe too far. Bastinado? That sounds about right, doesn't it?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
...they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their
clothing - and if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Thursday, August 19, 2004 3:31 AM

RADHIL


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:
Don't know if anyone here has read any of the Liberatarian Sci-fi by L. Neil Smith, but I wanted to see if there's any discussion on what I consider one of his better ideas.

In his alternate North American Confederacy, the post of President has much less power than ours, but even that may sometimes seem to much for the independent-minded populace. If they're not happy with any of the candidates, they have the choice of voting for "None of the Above", and if that choice gets the most votes, there is no president for that term.

Now this might not work exactly the same in our system, where representation is so much more important, but how about a similar option?

Each ballot for elective office would have the choice "None of the Above". If this choice got a majority (or plurality) of the votes, the election would have to be held again, and none of the previous candidates could run.

Could this work? Would it be a good idea? I kind'a like it.

"Keep the Shiny side up"



Have not read L. Neil Smith. One of those alternate history writers? I'll have to check it out.

Under current conditions, with the pitched and simulated fever of presidential elections, with the multi-million dollar campaigns and television coverage of all minutae speaking points, such an option would never work. To sustain such mindless propoganda over not one, but two or more continued elections, would bankrupt the entire process. You'd have to gut the entire media circus, drastically rewrite the finance laws, and basically reinvent the whole selection process from scratch.

All of which adds up to say I think it's an excellent idea.

Radhil Trebors
Persona Under Construction

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Thursday, August 19, 2004 4:12 AM

SERGEANTX


Wow.. its great to see a thread discussing voting systems. Voting reform is one of the most important changes we could make to our current system to get our government back to something sane.

The biggest problem, apart from an easily manipulated nation of voters, is the other-of-two-evils mindset that plurality voting fosters. Any vote for a candidate outside the dominant two-party power block is essentially wasted.

An alternative would be something called 'Approval Voting'. This would require only very minor changes to the current system to implement. Basically the ballots would remain the same with the exception that voters would be able to vote for as many candidates as they like. The candidate with the most total votes wins.

So if you'd be happy with either Ralph Nader or John Kerry, but can't stand the idea of Bush running the country for another term, you'd vote for both Nader and Kerry, but not Bush. If you'd only be satisfied to see Libertarians in office, vote only for them. The basic idea is you'd vote for each of the candidate that you'd be happy with, and leave out the rest.

This system would eliminate the spoiler effect of third party candidates and open the debate up to something besides the narrow set of issues the major parties find it safe to discuss. More information on Approval Voting is at:

http://www.approvalvoting.com

SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Thursday, August 19, 2004 6:36 AM

NEDWARD


At college, the candidates for student union posts always included RON, which stood for re-open nominations - basically the same thing as "none of the above". It worked well at that level.

Also, there's the idea that when turnout doesn't reach 50%, you have to start the vote all over again. I think this is why I've seen so many Serbian election results in the last couple of years...

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Thursday, August 19, 2004 7:30 AM

FREMDFIRMA


IRV voting isn't a bad idea either.

Course, it'd help if said votes were actually counted by something other than a notoriously inaccurate system built by a company that is anything but neutral.

The process has to more than be above such corruption, it has to be above the *concept* of corruption.

Otherwise... it's not Apathy, it's Futility.

-F

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Thursday, August 19, 2004 9:13 AM

SHINY


I'm a big proponent of IRV too, although the "vote for as many candidates as you want" does have the benefit of being simpler and easier to explain.

Jayne, your mouth is talkin. Might want to look into that.

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Thursday, August 19, 2004 11:03 AM

IAMJACKSUSERNAME

Well, I'm all right. - Mal


See http://nota.org/

The Green Party of the USA already has a NOTA option for their conventions: http://www.gp.org/convention/

Twice (once a party list, once a candidate list) I've found that none of the options on the ballot was worth voting for, but I still went to the station and spoiled my ballot by drawing a line thru the options and writing "None of the above" on it.

As for voting systems, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method
--
IamJacksUsername
FTL in Firefly? < http://jack.p5.org.uk/about-fiction/ftl-firefly.en.html>
"Our society won't be truly free until "None of the Above" is always an option." - Eric S. Raymond

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Friday, August 20, 2004 4:21 AM

NEDWARD


Quote:

Originally posted by IamJacksUsername:
Twice (once a party list, once a candidate list) I've found that none of the options on the ballot was worth voting for, but I still went to the station and spoiled my ballot by drawing a line thru the options and writing "None of the above" on it.

I'm all about spoiled ballots. A great way of showing you don't care for the candidates but aren't apathetic either.

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Friday, October 15, 2004 5:11 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


I'm bringing this thread back from the pit due to the attached article. Seems like SF is using one of the alternate voting systems we discussed. Neat.

Quote:

'Ranked-Choice Voting' Debuts in Calif.
Updated: Friday, Oct. 15, 2004 - 8:23 AM

By LISA LEFF
Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - In a change that could give new meaning to direct democracy, San Franciscans will soon cast ballots listing their first, second and third-place choices for municipal offices under a new "ranked-choice voting" system that would eliminate separate run-off elections.

If no candidate secures a majority of first-place votes outright, the results will be retabulated to include the second and third picks until a winner can be declared _ a process that could take weeks.

It's an experiment being watched by election reformers nationwide, since it also could have the less lofty effect of eliminating the "spoiler" label that has dogged third-party candidates since Ralph Nader, the Green Party's presidential candidate four years ago, was accused of snatching victory from Democrat Al Gore in Florida.

"You can feel free to vote for the candidate you really like knowing if that candidate can't win, your vote will go to your next choice," said Steven Hill, a senior analyst at The Center for Voting and Democracy who is an advocate of ranked-choice voting. "If the 100,000 Ralph Nader voters in Florida would have had the choice of ranking a second choice, Al Gore presumably would have been the choice of most of them and he would have become president."

Other countries, including Australia and Papua New Guinea, use ranked-choice voting to elect their parliaments, but San Francisco is the first U.S. city where a multiple-choice system is being tried on a grand scale. Voters in Alaska and New Mexico rejected similar systems within the last two years, and they've also been under consideration in Maine, Washington and Los Angeles.

San Francisco voters approved the switch in March 2002. This fall the new method makes its debut in an election to fill seven open seats on the 11-member Board of Supervisors. Eventually the mayor and all other municipal offices except for school board will be elected the same way.

San Francisco officials acknowledge, though, that while ranked-choice voting sounds simple in theory, it has been harder to put into practice.

Until a few months ago, they referred to their pioneering experiment by its catchier synonym, "instant-runoff voting," but they soon realized there wouldn't be much instantaneous about it. Computer software is still struggling to catch up to the complicated vote-tabulation procedures inherent in the new system and it could take up to three weeks before results from the Nov. 2 election are finalized, according to San Francisco Department of Elections director John Arntz.

If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the top picks, whoever secured the fewest first-place votes gets knocked out of contention. People who voted for the losing candidate then have their second-place choices tallied.

The process continues until one candidate has a majority, but that, too, may take some doing. San Francisco elections typically draw crowded fields, a trend the introduction of ranked-choice voting has exacerbated. In one district, there are 22 contenders vying for the open seat. In past years, the top two candidates would have participated in a December run-off.

Election officials have been holding educational forums on the new system, but Arntz said he doesn't expect most voters will understand how it works. For now, he's focused on reducing the number of incomplete or incorrectly filled out ballots, a task made easier by machines at each polling place that will automatically print out an error message if someone, say, selects the same candidate for all three choices or only picks one.

"The most important message we need to get out is that voters pick one candidate and a different candidate in each column," he said.

The city opened its early voting polling place at City Hall on Monday. Several voters said they were unaware of ranked-choice voting until they showed up. They said choosing their second- and third-place candidates was random since they hadn't known it was an option.

"It's pretty much a guess unless you've heard something about them, really," said Mack Shaver, 61.

While municipal elections in San Francisco have typically been divisive, bare-knuckle contests, candidates who would normally be going after each other have been working together for fear of alienating voters who might be considering them for slot No. 2 or slot No. 3.

"We are all pioneers in this petri dish of electoral reform," said Ross Mirkarimi, a veteran campaign manager running for a board seat. "The voters can feel good if there are multiple horses they like, but it's uncharted territory in how it benefits the candidates themselves."

___

On the Net:

Center for Voting and Democracy: www.fairvote.org

San Francisco Department of Elections: www.ci.sf.ca.us/election]

http://wtop.com/index.php?nid=104&sid=301344



"Keep the Shiny side up"

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Friday, October 15, 2004 5:24 AM

BARNEYT


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:
I'm bringing this thread back from the pit due to the attached article. Seems like SF is using one of the alternate voting systems we discussed. Neat.

'Ranked-Choice Voting' Debuts in Calif.
Updated: Friday, Oct. 15, 2004 - 8:23 AM

By LISA LEFF
Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - In a change that could give new meaning to direct democracy, San Franciscans will soon cast ballots listing their first, second and third-place choices for municipal offices under a new "ranked-choice voting" system that would eliminate separate run-off elections.

If no candidate secures a majority of first-place votes outright, the results will be retabulated to include the second and third picks until a winner can be declared _ a process that could take weeks.




Yeah, we have this system of voting in Northern Ireland already and I do approve of it (we call it Proportional Representation, but I've no idea why!).

Of course, I reckon a major step forward for American elections would be to actually count all the votes before declaring the winner...

I could be wrong (oh, I hope I am ) but my abiding memory of the last Presidential election was the fact that normally, the election seems to be decided by what's reported in the media from exit polls - that one candidate or the other will concede and the other one will be declared the winner, despite the fact that the votes haven't been counted yet...

I know America's a big country and that's a lot of votes, but still... to declare the winner before counting them all... *shudder*


---
"I think the right place to start is to say, fair is fair. This is who we are. These are our numbers." Mr Willis of Ohio - The West Wing

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