Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Premature Pontification

I have a few ideas for election reform. Some of these ideas will require state laws to be changed, others may only require county regulation changes.

  1. Stop using Taxpayer money on partisan primaries.

    1. I can't believe that the public thinks its OK to pay for the ballots that the parties use to settle internal party business

    2. I doubt that most people consider this to be a subsidy for the major parties

  2. Stop publishing the party membership of the candidates on the ballots

    1. It's EXCELLENT that we no longer have straight party voting here.

    2. We should take it a step further and require voters to know even the least amount about a candidate before voting for them.

    3. If not this, then fusion ballots may be an alternative (a candidate can be the nominee for multiple parties and have them all listed on the ballot)

  3. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) or some other method that allows more expressive balloting

    1. IRV allows you to vote in order for the top three candidates you like.

    2. My top three in the president's race might be

      1. Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party)

      2. Bob Barr (Libertarian Party)

      3. John McCain (Republican Party)

    3. This way, I could vote for the people that I identify with most. There would no longer be any negative consequences of voting your conscience.

With these kinds of reforms, we could level the playing field and allow more competition in the arena of politics.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I share your enthusiasm for instant runoff voting. However, there is one problem. A lot of people don’t know what it is or how it works. I am trying to solve this problem with a website called the voting site . TheVotingSite is a place where users can create and share content. Basically, users create surveys and elections. Other users vote in these surveys and are able to watch the instant runoff voting results in action. I think this is a great way to educate the Youtube and Facebook generation about instant runoff voting. I hope you check out my site.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


This is really just a philosophical exercise more than anything else. Okay? I'm not sure how I feel about this issue. Just playing devil's advocate and challenging your thoughts and mine as well.

If we restrict what information is on the ballot, then are we then forcing people to adopt a certain point of view? Are we taking away their right to be willfully stupid? Does that jive with your world view? Isn't that, in a strange way, just forcing other views onto people? Does that affect freedom in any way?

1:15 PM  
Blogger Jeremy D. Young said...


No worries, I'm not going to be snippy with someone just based upon questions asked. I would be disappointed if you were angry at me for answering your questions though.

I suppose the forcing that we'd be doing if we removed party information from the ballot would be something akin to "Become informed, or be comfortable throwing a dart at your ballot and accepting the results".

No, they can remain willfully stupid, we're just taking away the party's ability to capitalize on that as much.

I feel that the only group that loses in this situation are the party establishment that can no longer just ride on their thrones of being the official parties of the country.

I'm not trying to remove party affiliation from the election altogether, just from the printing of the ballot. The candidates can still campaign that they're from a certain party, I'm just opposed to the tax payers footing the bill for the best advertisement that a candidate can get. It's seen by every single voter, guaranteed.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I wonder how such an idea would affect the little local elections, especially during presidential ones? The trend is that circuit clerk, for instance, gets lost in the shuffle during a heated presidential campaign.

I wonder if the ignorant would simply vote name recognition at that point and if that would defeat your ultimate purpose of forcing them to educate themselves?

And what of the people who vote one issue, such as abortion? Not all people look at all the issues. Many vote based on a single issue that they are passionate about.

It can be pretty confusing keeping everyone straight during big elections.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Jeremy D. Young said...

Traditionally, newspapers were responsible for giving it to people straight, and laying out the facts about the political races. Unfortunately, with general trust of the media waning, there is now a gap that needs to be filled. I have many thoughts about this gap, and one of the ways which I would like to try to fill this gap is through an organization I am calling "The Citizens' Brigade".

There are three main goals I'm trying to accomplish with the Citizens Brigade.

1) Harness the ease of involvement that the Internet brings.
2) Combat the danger of anonymity of the Internet by requiring solid in person registration to post, and only allowing people within the given election boundaries to weigh in.
3) Combat the problems of unfounded accusations by creating a scoring and moderation system based upon source citations and citizen moderation. This will raise up the points moderated as fair and well supported in the arguments for and against a candidate or issue.

I'm very interested in feedback on the Citizens Brigade site. All comments are moderated, so if you want to comment, but don't want it public I will respect your wishes and not publish it. All well-thought-out criticisms are valuable.

10:13 AM  

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