Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Monday, October 24, 2005

How to Improve the U.S. Political System – Preference Voting

I feel sorry for people in the United States. They can’t vote for the Uber Fascist Party without throwing their votes away. The first-past-the-post voting system used in the U.S. means that minor parties have almost no chance of obtaining power and anyone who votes for them pretty much wastes their vote. If a hypothetical Uber Fascist Party voter didn’t want to waste his vote he’d probably have to support an even more extreme party and vote for the Republicans.

In Australia we don’t have this problem. We have preference voting where we rank our preferred candidates so I can vote for the Monster Raving Looney Party secure in the knowledge that if they fail to win a majority, I can still help my second choice, The Moderately Silly Party come to power.

As an example of how it would work in the U.S, if the 2000 Presidential elections had used preference voting then Al Gore would have won, thanks to support from Ralph Nader voters. As most Nader supporters would have put the Democrats before the Republicans on their list of preferences most of their votes would have gone to the Democrats instead of being blown on old Ralph.

Preference voting would not get rid of the two party domination of government and probably would not be a good thing if it did. But it would make it possible for minor parties and independents to exist, make their voices heard and have some effect upon government for good or for ill. It would certainly be an improvement upon the current two sizes fit all system.


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