Apparently America isn’t the only Democracy out there…

As it was mentioned in previous posts, our class is currently tasked with the project of designing a new system to elect our Congress members and president. And while many people find it easy to criticize the system we have in status quo, it’s surprisingly difficult to try to think of something that works better. We say we want to get rid of the electoral college to make voting more representative, but then we remember the “tyranny of the majority” and why we have it in the first place. We say we want to eliminate private funds for campaign fundraising, but the alternative is using public funds, and that’s not acceptable. Our country seems to be on a balance.So in trying to think of a system that works better, our group decided to take a peek at the way other countries decide on their rulers. Lo, and behold! A lot of countries do it differently than we do! And there are some methods that are really quite intriguing. I’ll list a few of my personal favorites.

  • Alternative Vote or Instant Run-off Voting

    Optical scan IRV ballot
    Optical scan IRV ballot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    involves ranking candidates in order of preference fromfavorite to least favorite. You can rank all of them, or you can stop ranking when you feel as if you’ve run out of people you might want to vote for. If a candidate receives a majority (not just the most, but a majority) of votes, he wins. If not, the election goes into run-off voting where the last place candidate is eliminated and the remaining candidates go up for the vote again until there is a clear winner.

  • Range Voting is another method that involves numbers. In this case, voters can rank candidates based on a scale. For example, if given a scale from -10 to 10, a voter can assign the candidates a number based on how much they like them. The cumulative total determines the winner.This ballot design, used in cumulative voting,...
  • Cumulative Voting allows every person to act like their own electoral college. With this method, for every candidate for a position, voters get one vote. For example, if there are ten candidates, then the voter gets ten votes for that position. The voter can assign all ten votes to one candidate, or split them up amongst multiple candidates. (Image at right)
These are just a few of the other voting methods out there. Previously, I didn’t know that any of these existed. What I think attracts me to these particular methods is the fact that each allows voters multiple options. A choosing the “lesser of two evils” type of deal. Right now, if a candidate has 50.1% of the votes, he wins over a candidate who has 49.9% of the votes. I think that if people were able to spread their vote out and say “I like this guy, but I’d be okay with this guy too,” the population would be more fairly represented.

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