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United States Government Politics

New Hampshire Bill Could Lead To Adoption of Approval Voting 416

Posted by timothy
from the did-you-approve-this-message? dept.
Okian Warrior writes "The people at FreeKeene report: 'Four Republican state representatives have sponsored a bill that would replace first-past-the-post voting with approval voting for all state offices and presidential primaries. Under this system, voters would select every candidate they approve of (regardless of party), and the candidate with the highest overall vote total wins. This reduces strategic voting, and would often make elections easier for moderate and libertarian candidates. The bill, HB240, will have a public hearing Tuesday, February 1st, with the House Election Law committee.'"
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New Hampshire Bill Could Lead To Adoption of Approval Voting

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  • by Lazareth (1756336) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:34PM (#35050052)

    That now they're adding a 'like' button, do we get a 'dislike' button too?

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      I think this is something you can "Approve" of.(Facebook has to implement this, "Like" is a too strong sometimes...)
    • by catbutt (469582)
      There is a concept called "range voting", which allows you to rank anything between 0 and 100 (or whatever). (a variation of that is 3 levels: like, dislike, and neutral) Problem is, it is severely broken, as anyone using it strategically would simply vote everyone either 0 or 100. Those who vote sincerely end up disenfranchised, as their vote is not very effective. A better solution would be to rank the candidate, but then the best method of tabulation is not 100% clear. Approval, as is, is a pretty g
      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        A better solution would be to rank the candidate, but then the best method of tabulation is not 100% clear.

        This is called the Alternative Vote system (or Single Transferable Vote, if combined with multi-seat constituencies), and is in use all over the place. The UK is due to have a referendum on implementing this system in May, assuming the bill gets through the House of Lords in time.

        • It should be pointed out, however, that there are different forms of instant-runoff voting, too. As Wikipedia mentions [wikipedia.org], the form that eliminates candidates if they are not among the top first choices, then second, and so on suffer from further mathematical issues that could result in a candidate who is not most favored being elected. It should be noted that neither this or versions in which all candidates are retained rather than eliminated, are the same as the "Condorcet" method. See Wikipedia's descriptio [wikipedia.org]
          • Wow. I am not sure I like this "new Slashdot". The above reply should have appeared below my earlier reply, which appears below in a different level of the heirarchy, even though I replied to the same post.
            • by ultranova (717540)

              I am not sure I like this "new Slashdot".

              Nobody likes the "new Slashdot", but somebody in charge made the decision and now we're stuck with it. Quite appropos.

      • Actually, the ranking system you mention has been thoroughly studied and one form of it, "instant runoff voting", has been shown to satisfy the most voters of any simple voting system.

        "Satisfy the most voters" essentially means the most "fair" system of voting. In other words, it results in the election of the candidates that most reflect the wishes of the voters. All other simple systems, including "one person, one vote" can result in people who are not the actual favorites being elected because of math
        • by kvezach (1199717)

          Actually, the ranking system you mention has been thoroughly studied and one form of it, "instant runoff voting", has been shown to satisfy the most voters of any simple voting system.

          "Satisfy" in what sense? If you count by approval, Approval wins (because each voter marks the candidates he is "satisfied" with, and the candidate most is satisfied with wins). If you count by majority preference versus each other candidate in turn, round robin (Condorcet) voting methods win. If you count by strength and e

          • Your are referring to only one form of runoff voting, where the person with the least votes for an office is eliminated in each round. There are other forms, not all of which eliminate in such a manner.

            As for "satisfy", I meant just that: studies of instant runoff versus other "simple" voting methods has shown that in practice, it results in choices that reflect the actual preferences of the most people. There are certainly other voting methods that may offer even better results, but they tend to be more
  • by Nurseman (161297) <nurseman&gmail,com> on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:34PM (#35050056) Homepage Journal

    Instead of the 2 "pre-selected" candidates, we get more choices. I think this system would give non mainstream candidates a better chance.

    • Interestingly, so does TFA. It's even quoted in the summary!
      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Do you think that is a good thing? I mean currently, we chose the best of the candidates first, then run off between them. A system like this just seems to be little more then holding that over to the end with the exception that someone who can play a crowd better having the ability to completely contradict themselves to get each side and end up stealing the election.

        Furthermore, think about what this will do to public confidence in the government. We think it's bad now when almost half the population voted

        • by alexhard (778254)

          Do you think that is a good thing? I mean currently, we chose the best of the candidates first, then run off between them.

          No, we choose the most popular candidates. There's typically a pretty strong negative correlation between quality and popularity.

        • For primaries this is probably a really good idea. It would prevent Sarah Palin from winning with 40% of the conservative vote, because the sane conservatives won't have to be split among the other 4-5 reasonable candidates. I don't think this system will make much sense for the national election though.
        • by JanneM (7445)

          Most national elections around the world is between multiple viable candidates or parties, not just two. If anything, distrust in government seems stronger in countries like the US that allow only two viable choices.

          I guess that with only two candidates most people have no choice that actually agrees with their views. They have to hold their nose and pick the least disagreeable, or shrug off the election as meaningless.

          With a more proportional system and more viable candidates most people can find somebody

    • by catbutt (469582)
      "Non-mainstream" isn't really the result, as it would tend to pick centrist candidates, which by some definitions are more mainstream than those on either end.
  • Finally (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AnonGCB (1398517) <7spams@gmail . c om> on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:34PM (#35050058)

    Change for the better, no matter who you support. This can only let people have more direct say in their elected officials.

    • Re:Finally (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pavon (30274) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:55PM (#35050162)

      Yeah, this is a good step forward. However, contrary to the summary, it doesn't eliminate the need for strategic voting. With approval voting you can take the safe route and cast a token vote for a third party and the lesser of two evils. However, if everyone does that then the third party candidates will never win. So at some point you need to decide to only vote for the third party, with the risk that the greater of the two evils may win as a result. You need to gauge the chances of the third party winning when deciding how to vote.

      Thus the need for strategic voting is merely deferred until third parties become more successful. This is still good, though, because it shows the real amount of support for third parties, and gives them more opportunity to build momentum in their campaigns over the years. Furthermore, I personally prefer for strategy to be the determining factor in corner cases, rather than the random outcomes that occur with IRV in the same circumstances.

      The real problem with our voting system is the fact that there is only a single winner for each area. Suppose that 20% of people in a city support the Greens, %40 Republicans and %40 Democrats. Unless nearly all those greens live in a single voting district, they will never have a plurality in any district, and thus never get a single seat in the city council despite the fact that they should have 2/10 in all fairness. It would be much better to draw the lines such that there are two or three winners for each district. If you did that than even first past the fence voting would be tolerable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Paco103 (758133)

        I do agree with your scenario as the most likely, that the third party candidates will still be overrun by the "safe" votes for the main two. However, there is still a small bit of hope here.

        Imagine 3 candidates, R, D, and O(ther). Now, let's say R and D are neck and neck, but O had a 75% approval rating divided among both parties (I know, it's not likely, but you have to admit that would be a strong candidate). The problem is that his approval is also split fairly evenly between R and D. Under the curr

      • by catbutt (469582)
        Having multiple winners doesn't make sense in many contexts. (are we going to have multiple presidents?) Remember that when a system like this is in place, it doesn't just change who wins, it changes who runs. More centrist candidates would run, that appeal to everyone, not one side or the other. The two party system we see, where everyone is either in one party or the other, isn't because of human nature, it is forced upon us by a broken voting system (see Duverger's law [wikipedia.org])
    • how is this better? You are basically going with the lowest common denominator and thus encouraging voters to select other candidates whom they don't really like just to cover their ass that the one they *really* hate doesn't have a chance. The end result could be the displacement of the candidate a majority would prefer with another. So in an election which would normally be a toss-up between the two big parties suddenly you end up with a 3rd party candidate winning - simply because each side wishes to
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Broolucks (1978922)

        Even presented like that, I wouldn't necessarily say it's a step backwards. I'd rather have a party that everybody is fine with, even if it is not their first choice, than a party that 40% of the population despises. Over time, the net effect would be a depolarization of politics, which I would say is a good thing.

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:38PM (#35052142)

        Nope. The thing is, this voting is more expressive than FPP. Allow me to use the infamous Gore/Bush/Nader choice to illustrate.

        With FPP, assuming you like Nader best, Gore second best, and Bush worst. You can either vote for Nader, or vote for Gore. If you know/assume that Nader will not win, you vote for Gore, but if you assume that Nader could win, you vote for him.

        Now suppose you bet Nader could win, and you're wrong. Since you had no way of also expressing your preference for Gore over Bush, your vote is now meaningless, except as information about Nader's level of support.
        If on the other hand, you bet Nader couldn't win, and voted for Gore, then even though you bet correctly, there's still a loss -- now the information about third-party support is missing, because you couldn't express that in your vote. (This is one reason third-parties aren't successful -- not only the direct loss of votes due to stategic voting, but the lack of information on real support among real voters means third parties can't build momentum, can't assess their numbers and effectively form a coalition behind a single candidate, etc.)

        Range voting or Score voting (two names for the same thing) is the most expressive possible -- you assign a score on a discrete or continuous scale from 0 to 1 (or 0 to 10, 0 to 100, etc. -- same thing in principle) to each candidate, each candidate's total is summed, and the candidate with the highest aggregate score wins. (Or for multi-winner elections, the top n candidates win). You can express your degree of support for each candidate precisely, and the totals will show it. Also, there'll be no races like 1980, when a third-party _should_ have won (i.e. the majority of voters preferred Anderson to both main-party candidates, but couldn't express that preference without risking a win by their least-preferred candidate), though those do seem to be fairly rare. (Of course, since a more expressive system lets third parties know where they stand and form effective coalitions, they'll become more common, and candidates will become less "not-the-other-team" (for main parties) or single-issue (for third parties) and more representative of the people's actual will.)

        Approval voting is a simple variant of range voting where the range is discretized all the way to one bit -- a simple yes/no on each candidate. This does cause a loss of expressiveness, but it's still way more expressive than the existing system, and better than most alternative systems. In fact, it's nearly equivalent to range voting in practice, because the best strategy for range voting (yes, basically all voting systems have a strategy better than absolute honesty, and range voting is no exception) is to exaggerate preferences (better than FPP, where the best strategy is usually to lie about preferences between a major party and a minor party) by listing all candidates in order of preference, pick a dividing line based on expectations of how the rest of the voters will vote, and give maximum score to all candidates above and minimum to all voters below. Of course, approval voting forces the scores to the limit for you, by removing all intermediate values, making the best strategy only a matter of where you draw the line in your honestly ordered list.

        To answer your specific scenario:
        Yeah, if most voters on both sides are willing to choose the same third party over the "other team", and it's as you say "a toss-up between the two big parties" (i.e. no consensus in the populace between them), most sane people with their heads out of their asses would say having that third party win is the best outcome. Now if everyone's choosing all third parties over the other team, then they're drawing their approval line way too low, and failing at strategic voting. They'll probably learn from that, and be a little more circumspect about which third party they support in the next election -- getting a fairer result.

        Honestly, your complai

      • Re:Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @11:24PM (#35053080) Homepage

        Actually, that is the correct and desired outcome. 49% of the voters considered the D candidate to be "Satan incarnate" and the other 51% considered the R candidate to be "Son of Hitler". 100% considered the 3rd party candidate to be "OK", so he won.

        The objective is to find a reasonably acceptable candidate, not to enforce the tyranny of the (barely) majority. The alternative is to split up into the Red States of America and the Blue States of America and put up a wall between them.

  • by commodore6502 (1981532) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:36PM (#35050070)

    The Legislature would still be dominated by the Rep and Dem monopoly.

    BTW in the late 1800s it was pretty common for neither the R or D party to have a dominant majority. And they had the same kind of voting we do now. What's changed is the Reps and Dems have rigged the ballot so other parties have to waste efforts trying to get approval to appear. (Which is ridiculous because there's plenty of room on the computer ballot to list everyone.)

    • by Erpo (237853)

      I'll take your word for it that the ballot has been rigged so that other parties have to waste efforts trying to get approval to appear. However, the reasoning I have used to vote for one of the two major parties goes like this:

      1. Either major party X or major party Y is definitely going to win the election.
      2. Both X and Y are pretty bad, but X is better than Y most of the time.
      3. I'll vote for the X, the lesser of two evils.

      I'm certain this is the way I make the decision. I'm pretty sure this is the way th

      • by markdavis (642305) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @04:23PM (#35050332)

        Your reasoning is probably not all that different from everyone else. Many people (probably you and certainly I) *WANT* more choices, and the ability to cast an approval vote for a "third party" without throwing our vote away.

        Voters are so apathetic, many don't even bother to vote- knowing that voting for a Republicrat or a Republicrat doesn't result in any meaningful change.

        I don't know which "approval voting" system is best- there are many, and they can be complicated. But with the current system, it is nearly impossible for any candidate not in the "big two" to win for anything other than small/local type elections. So in this regard, just about ANY other system of voting is better than what we have now.

    • by rsborg (111459)

      The Legislature would still be dominated by the Rep and Dem monopoly.

      However, for primaries this is big, because it means there might actually be competition and choice. Approval voting at least reduces the problem of the 3rd option spoiler (i.e., I could safely have voted for Kucinich 1st, Obama 2nd, etc.). This dynamic could drastically change how money in these elections would affect outcomes, and thus change the general election as well... what would have happened if, say, Huckabee the republican primary in New Hampshire in 2008? No more McCain, Obama might have not b

    • by catbutt (469582)
      Maybe initially, but over time a system like this would erode the two party system. There is little reason for two parties if you don't have the vote splitting effect that we have in our current system. Their power would go away since centrist candidates would have the advantage in a system with approval voting.
    • "in the late 1800s it was pretty common for neither the R or D party to have a dominant majority."

      Where? Not the US House, that's for sure. Yeah, immediately after the civil war, things were a bit wonky; the Unionist party won 31 house seats in 1860... and no 3rd party has had that many since. Republicans held CRAZY majorities for years after that, since many southern states weren't allowed to seat their representatives under reconstruction. Just ONCE, in 1878, the Greenback party had enough seats to prev

  • by HamSammy (1716116) <a.mushroom11@gmail.com> on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:37PM (#35050072)

    If it really does make elections easier for third parties, I'm all for it (especially the Libertarians!). Personally, I'd love to see more parties come to power; our current two-party system is pretty much broken. Hopefully it would reduce or eliminate gridlock caused by representatives voting along party lines, and eliminate representatives put in their positions due to the same voting by the American People. One can dream...

    • by catbutt (469582)
      Technically, it eliminates the main reason for parties to form in the first place, which is to minimize the effects of vote-splitting by way of reducing similar candidates on the ballot. Instead of parties, there might simply be organizations that promote their agendas and the thereby promote all candidates that advance those agendas. In the end, we get centrist candidates. Elections would be a lot less dramatic and exciting, but I think we can live with that.
    • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @04:48PM (#35050486) Homepage Journal
      Back in 1980, the US had a documented example where approval voting would have given us a different outcome. There were a number of surveys that turned up the result that the majority of people who said they were voting for either Reagan or Carter said that they actually preferred John Anderson. But they didn't vote for him, because they were convinced that he couldn't win, so this would be "throwing away their vote".

      With approval voting, all those people could have voted for Anderson and also their second-favorite, which ever that was. Anderson would have gotten the largest number of votes, and would have won.

      There are probably lots more cases where this would have been true, but we don't know because the pollsters didn't record the information.

      That weird concept of "throwing away your vote" when the person you voted for doesn't win is probably one of the biggest things wrong with our voting system. Being persuaded to vote for someone other than the candidate you prefer is what's really "throwing away your vote". But it seems that most of the American public (and probably most of the rest of humanity) is dumb enough to fall for this propaganda technique.

      • by Fallingcow (213461) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @05:34PM (#35050776) Homepage

        It's not a propaganda technique, it's an inevitable fact of our voting system. If you vote for your favorite who has little support and, as a result, your least-favorite candidate wins instead of your second-favorite candidate, your "smart" choice has just caused a worse outcome for you than the "dumb" one. Even in cases where a third party candidate is polling well, unless they're polling well evenly across big-two party lines and there's some way for all the voters to know how everyone else is going to vote (not in polls, but when they actually get in the booth) it's still hard to say that voting for the "safe" but less desirable candidate is anything but the best play in a broken game.

    • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @05:40PM (#35050830)

      New Hampshire is already probably the best place to field a 3rd-party candidate. They have the greatest number of state representatives per capita of any state in the US (and, I think, the greatest number overall). It means that you actually can talk to every voter in your district, if you like.

      That's probably why these guys [freestateproject.org] want to locate there.

      • How many years have libertarians or others been threatening to scurry to some state and declare it theirs? It's like threats of going Galt; all sorts of strutting and bold claims until someone actually has to act as promised, whereupon the plan implodes as everyone hesitates, then decides they'll do it... uh... soon. Besides, there's a new season of [insert reality tv title] coming up soon.
  • Wonderful start (Score:4, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:41PM (#35050092)

    This is a WONDERFUL start. I have been saying, for so many years, that until the electoral college is removed and things are switched to approval voting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting [wikipedia.org] like Instant Runoff or similar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRV [wikipedia.org] we will NEVER see any real change. The "two party system" ("Republicrats") we have is one of several factors that is slowly ruining the country.

    Citizens deserve more choice, more power, and more say in who is elected. People should not be forced to throw away their vote by voting their true position OR vote defensively for someone they see as the "lesser of two evils"... which is often their only choice right now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:46PM (#35050112)

    Approval Voting is a poor choice in comparison to the Schulze Method. Please stop advocating for a broken method.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schulze_method#Comparison_with_other_preferential_single-winner_election_methods [wikipedia.org]

    • by s4m7 (519684)

      I approve of

      1. Schulze Method
      2. Kemeny-Young
      3. Approval Voting

      Consider the first two on same preference, approval as second choice and other preferences skipped.

    • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @04:05PM (#35050222) Homepage
      The problem with the schulze method is that it is too difficult for the average voter to wrap their head around. People have a difficult time understanding how votes are counted with the systems in place today. At least with approval voting the method of tabulation is still clear cut and easy to understand. Nevermind the the fact that the Schulze method has a lot room for human error when it comes time to actually apply it.

      I agree that the schulze method is preferential to approval voting, however I prefer approval voting over our current process in any election.
      • There is another problem with the Schulze method: it is vulnerable to the inequality of transitivity "paradox": e.g., preferences can be ranked this way:

        X > Y; Y > Z; Z > X.

        As the linked Wikipedia article itself says: "If there is a candidate who is preferred pairwise over the other candidates, when compared in turn with each of the others, the Schulze method guarantees that candidate will win."

        However, as the nontransitivity of inequalities implies, there is not always a single c
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @04:10PM (#35050246) Journal

      All voting system are inherently broken due to Arrow's impossibility theorem. Some are just better than others. In this case, though, any preference-based system is light years ahead of FPTP, so getting there first is a big achievement in and of itself; the details can always be ironed out later (or, you know, it might just work well enough as it is).

    • Note to anyone looking for approval voting in the linked chart: it's not there, that chart only compares "ranking" voting systems, and approval voting isn't one. Here's the Wikipedia article:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting [wikipedia.org]

      Sounds like a good move. Getting Schulze voting would be better, and I hope it takes off in the future (I heard Australia uses a form of Schulze voting). I'd definitely be in favour of moving from first-past-the-post to approval voting.

    • Range voting is easier to understand for non-geek voters, and does a good job minimizing the regret metric.
      http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Gaming-the-Vote/William-Poundstone/e/9780809048922/?itm=2&USRI=gaming+the+vote [barnesandnoble.com]

    • by catbutt (469582)
      I agree that Schulze is better, but Approval is a huge step in the right direction. The biggest problem with Approval is that you need to know who others are likely to vote for if you are to vote most effectively (you should typically approve all candidates that you prefer [or consider equal] to the one you think is most likely to win). This explains the issues pretty well: http://karmatics.com/voting/movienite.html [karmatics.com]
    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      Is is FAR more important to get a single non-approval vote method up and in place than to pick the single best one. In effect, your insistence on selecting the 'best' system, rather than making any choice available at all is in fact a kind of Approval voting. You are voting for the single candidate you consider to be the best, as opposed to voting for multiple candidates.
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:48PM (#35050122) Journal

    Hopefully, this will pass, and they will follow it up with getting rid of the primaries altogether. There's no need for a playoff if you're using a system like this.

    Although, I think a weighted system would work a little better. Just because two or more candidates might be acceptable to me, doesn't mean that they're equally acceptable to me.

    I think the best system, though, is one where everyone ranks the acceptable candidates, then the computer runs through every possible paring (shouldn't be too bad, it's just O(N^2) in the obvious algorithm, and there are a number of obvious things you can do to pare down N and reduce the data). In one of those pairs, the winning candidate will have more votes than in all of the other pairs. That's the most acceptable candidate. I'm sure that there's a name for such a system, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

    • Upon further reflection, I think the method I outlined will not necessarily get the most preferred candidate. But I still think the idea of trying out every possible pair is part of the way to find the most preferred candidate.

    • by Kazymyr (190114)

      To answer your title question: house prices are a lot more affordable here than in many neighboring states like CT, NY, MA. No income tax/sales tax either.

    • by brian_tanner (1022773) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @04:09PM (#35050242)

      ...then the computer runs through every possible paring...

      Because you are taking the time to think this through, I'd like to point you to the well-established research field of voting theory [wikipedia.org].

      It's actually quite interesting. There are many criteria an election might hope to satisfy. Provably no voting system can satisfy even a small set of desirable criteria (see Arrow's impossibility theorem). However, in my view (and many others), the methods that consider all pairwise elections seem in some sense to be the fairest according to my own personal aesthetics. These are called Condorcet methods. They are actually even used in practice for some things, some even in the open-source community [wikipedia.org].

    • by dcollins (135727)

      "Just because two or more candidates might be acceptable to me, doesn't mean that they're equally acceptable to me."

      Which do you think is most common? (a) Having two or more acceptable candidates with distinctly different levels of likability, or (b) Having two or more unacceptable candidates with equal levels of "I don't really give a damn". (Or at least: equal levels of "I don't care enough to spend time ranking them.") I'll bet (b) is enormously more common -- and so we should optimize for that.

      In short,

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      We have something similar. We just have half of the parliament elected on proportional basis. Parties publish a list of candidates and people not only select a party, but also five people of that party they want to see in the parliament(in descending order of importance). This brings a fun possibility - a leader of the party may not be elected as a member of parliament.
      It's not a problem calculating the will of the people these days, it just brings a lot of new possibilities of expressing exactly what peop
    • by Ada_Rules (260218) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @04:48PM (#35050484) Homepage Journal
      Even if this does not pass this year, NH residents already enjoy more freedom than the citizens of most of the other states.

      I would not give up on this too soon either. Last session (before the last election where a large number of pro-freedom reps were elected), NH tossed out a years old arbitrary ban on various kinds of knives. This session, within days of swearing in the new reps, they overturned a ban on firearms in the statehouse.

      There is already no income tax, no sales tax, no seatbelt law, no helmet law. $100 per year salary for state reps. No 'offices' or staff for the reps.

      There is also a proposed bill going through this year to require the state government to prefer open standards/open source software.

      Recommend googling the freestate project.

  • by mangu (126918) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @04:09PM (#35050244)

    I hope some day the city government of Buffalo enacts some bill that gets a /. story

  • I can think of no way this isn't equally good for everyone. In light of that, there's a very slim chance this will pass.
  • I honestly think that this is the single most important change we can make for our democracy (not to say that it's a total silver bullet, either). I'm kind of amazed that this might actually have traction anyplace. Go NH.

  • I'm sure the Republicans aren't just using this to get some of their NH political juice back. And if they got some back, I'm sure they wouldn't reconsider the merits of the system.
    I'm also sure the Democrats will wholeheartedly support allowing voters to have more choice, even at the expense of some of their own newfound political juice in NH.
    Yes, I'm being totally serious. No, reeeeallllyyyyy
  • by n6kuy (172098) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @05:12PM (#35050626)

    I think a lot of the problems with the current voting system could be fixed if states would quit officially recognizing political parties, and quit pandering to them by sponsoring and financing party primary elections, and quit registering voters as members of parties.

    Let the parties maintain their own membership lists, and if the parties want to have primaries to decide who their representative will be in the general election, let them finance and run them privately.

    • If you want to create a real penalty for not being an educated voter, here's a simple trick:

      1) Remove party affiliations from the ballot.
      2) Remove any option to vote straight party.
      3) Prohibit the dissemination of political materials from any political party within 1,000 feet of a polling station.

      Of course, in the interim there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth as much of the electorate suddenly realized that it had to do research. People would complain that it's a form of "disenfranchisement."

  • by Sun (104778) <shachar@shemesh.biz> on Sunday January 30, 2011 @05:17PM (#35050658) Homepage

    In Israel the political system encourages relatively small parties. The result is that whoever actually gets elected finds it increasingly difficult to actually secure the majority one always needs in order to create a functioning government. During the latest elections, Zipi Livni claimed she won because she was leading the biggest party, while Binyamin Netanyaho claimed he won because he was leading the biggest block of somewhat like-ideology parties. The simple truth is that even if you took the two of them and formed a coalition between the two, that wouldn't have been enough to secure a majority.

    If you believe that it is better for someone you do not agree with to hold the wheel than to have no one hold it, then this is not such a great move.

    Shachar

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberrys!" -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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