Fixing our Electoral System.

August 22, 2006

There are many problems both real and perceived with our electoral systems. I personally think the problems are exaggerated, but that’s just me. One solution suggested for stopping voter fraud is to simply go to an open ballot. That would probably remove the franchise from city employees and contracters. A better solution would be to create an algorithm for a voter ID number based on a fingerprint and retina scan. The voting records would then be put online by searchable by voter number. This would eliminate the problem of repeat voting because the machine would automatically throw out a vote which had a repeat number. Furthermore the machine would be able to keep records of all the repeat voters so fraud could be successfully tracked. For example suppose you require the registration to take place a month before the election. The machine could track if there are large numbers of repeat voters in Milwaukee and if these repeat voters are registered or have voted in Chicago. In addition vote tampering could be easily uncovered by the voters by simply checking what their vote was recorded as compared to what their receipt says. In addition ballots couldn’t be made invalid simply because there is no time as the votes are sent in immediately. The research value of this database is immeasurable for political scientists and could lead to more efficient campaigns and more responsive politicians.

Anothe problem is the low voter turnout. This has two components. One component is that people don’t care enough to show up at the polls. If we really wanted to solve this we could pay or fine $100 for voting or non-voting respectively. However the root problem of voter apathy is not one so easily solved. In fact the best solution is to do nothing. Is there any other group where it is considered a problem that the least interested don’t have enough decision making power in the group?

I would suggest switching all non-Presidential primaries to runoffs to help counteract the incumbency advantage of the parties and the heavy disadvantage given to third parties. A runoff would allow the parties to get the proportion of votes which the voters felt appropriate unaffected by the tendency to avoid third parties because of the waste of a vote. It also would encourage more results like Lamont’s which I feel was a good thing for our system (that Lieberman was beaten in the primary not that the moonbat Lamont could be elected).