Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to fix America's election system

I have proposed a few ways to improve our election system in this country, and over the past few months I have further clarified my ideas and thinking about the issues have come to agree with almost everything FairVote proposes. They have a number of proposals to improve our country's system and I highly recommend them.

I am unhappy with my last post back in March on how to fix our election system and see one big issue with it which is that I proposed to continue to have a primary, which is bad because primaries tend to have lower turnout, having only one election increases turnout and increases the validity of the election. Voting twice is expensive and time consuming, which must be avoided.

Instead, I have a counter proposal with a better way, which is mostly similar to Fairvote's plan but not completely. I also want to put in some advantages I see with it.

Congressional election
Make Congress bigger. Eliminate the Senate. Make 600 seats in the House of Representatives and abolish the Senate to more accurately represent the views of the American people. The Senate unnecessarily bogs down the process to pass legislation which helps people who want to stop the status quo and makes it so that people who want to improve the country have an extra hurdle. With only 100 Senators it is easier for the same amount of money to have a much larger impact in lobbying (which saves money for lobbyists and hurts the people) and with the filibuster makes it so that minority rules. It makes the voices of people in Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, and Delaware far more important than people in California and Texas. The Senate is usually not representative of the American People, and if eliminated the House of Representatives could do exactly what their constituents tell them to do, which is the goal of Modern Democracy. Government of the People. It will make good legislation that the American people are behind easier to pass because it will need the majority of the Representatives to be passed and that is it. This will take a Constitutional Amendment, but so did the bill of rights, abolishing slavery, giving African Americans, women, and 18, 19, and 20 year olds the right to vote. Basically the biggest successes in our history. The Senate was created in the beginning to represent not the People but the State legislatures, the elite, so it must go! The Senate also will never fully represent the diversity of viewpoints in a state, and will never proportionally represent the views of Americans by any measure, and will never give the opportunity for third parties to get a voice. If we moved the Senate to an IRV system making that the only change we would find a very dull legislature with almost no diversity because there would be a lot of Libertarians. The Democrats and Republicans would both find a compromise in the Libertarian party with their votes, and because Democrats and Republicans would lose votes (how much each would lose to the Libertarians in initial votes is hard to say) it could be a very bland institution that is not representative of what the people want.

So we are left with a House of Representatives with 600 representatives, one per 500,000 on average, which is much better than today's one per 700,000. This will make every individual's vote go farther and have a larger impact. With more representatives it will be easier to get minority views represented accurately which will give a more accurate view on what the American People support, what Democracy is all about. I agree with Fairvote that there should be superdistricts where the candidates are elected by Single Transferable Vote. I support STV because it is about the candidates, people are not locked into one party or another, and it is easy to understand how to use. It is very similar to IRV which is already used in several cities in California. This is something Americans will understand. It also helps to hurt the impact of money from a few people in elections. Learn more about STV here in a Kiwi accent and then Learn where Ranked Voting systems are used.

By doing this it will substantially increase the possibility of third party viewpoints getting elected if the people agree with their policies and instead of voting against the party you like least which is necessary in First Past the Post voting you can vote for your favorite candidate regardless of how popular you think the person may be because if the person doesn't win your vote moves to your second favorite choice which is a great way to increase election turnout because votes will count. It will also make it harder to gerrymander, which is why the Republicans won the House in 2012 despite losing the popular vote. This will seriously improve our elections. Vice President Joe Biden,  Senator John McCain, when you both said you would support anything to increase voter turnout, this is what you are looking for.

Right now, if a third party were to develop in the United States it would create a spoiler effect for the party which comes closest to its views and the party that isn't split would win. I have already explained what happened in Canada in 2011. If it can happen in Canada's elections it can happen in ours.

Presidential election
For the same reason as Congressional election, we need a much simpler election to increase participation and make sure that every vote counts. This is Instant Runoff Voting, as Fairvote proposes. We will not need primaries and can make candidates run and since voters rank their candidates there is no spoiler effect. This will make elections much more efficient, allow third parties to run without spoiling the election and make every vote count.

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