The Allegory of Candidates Hitler and Mussolini

[2013-05-11]

When I posted everything below, I was wrongly supporting Ranked Voting. I now support Score Voting or Approval Voting (either one).

  • You say about ranked voting, “we don’t have that”. That’s true, in the law. But an organization could do it over the Internet. It could happen without a change to the laws.
    Like ·
      •  PaleoRadio How exactly would it take place without a change in the laws?
        4 hours ago · Like
      •  William Waugh ‎1. Org would be formed to mediate the voting. 2. People would be attracted to participate in the org and its voting via “viral” means of communication. 3. Org would announce and mediate ranked voting. 3.1 People would vote in org’s poll. 3.2. Polling closes. 3.3. Org, audited by some cross section of volunteers and maybe even other organizations and political parties, counts votes by a condorcet method or some similar modern method, to determine a nominee for each office. 4. Org would announce the results. 5. Democracy-loving people would sign petitions to get the nominees on the ballots for the general election and then vote for them. 6. Nominees win the general elections.
        2 seconds ago · Like
      •  William Waugh As I think about it some more, I arrive at the idea that what’s needed is not just a single organization, but a coalition of organizations. They would audit each other to give credence to the counting. A single web portal could receive the votes from the voters and send updates to several servers run by different organizations. They would independently count the votes based on those update messages, using separate databases to keep redundant records of the vote. The organizations could contribute software engineers to audit the code and the administration of the front portal. The number and political diversity of such engineer auditors would lend credence to the theory that the portal was designed and run honestly and sends correct output to the tallying servers, reflecting the votes cast.
        2 seconds ago · Like
      •  William Waugh A voter should be able to query any tallying server for verification of that voter’s ballot. After closing of an election, tally servers would publish totals. If the results are the same over say seven of them, and an eighth reported different numbers, and there were say only those nine, everyone would have a pretty good idea which are correct and which is in error.
        2 seconds ago · Like
      •  William Waugh Portal and server code would be published.
        2 seconds ago · Like

There are additional edits below the original posting, which follows immediately:

[Original posting Apr 28, 2012 @ 2:06]

Most voters can be convinced either that Mussolini is worse than Hitler or vice versa.  So the political blackmailers say to the voters of the latter type, “Hitler or Mussolini will be elected, everybody knows that. And you sure don’t want Hitler to be elected; he’s the devil himself. So you have to vote for Mussolini.”  And if the voter says, “No, I will vote for Gandhi”, the blackmailer replies, “You are wasting your vote. Because of people like you, Hitler will be elected.”   And proud Americans swallow this line.

A solution?  Ranked voting.

You say it would take forever to get the voting laws in each State changed to mandate ranked voting?  Well then, how about the idea of forming an organization to run ranked voting?  The organization would not take a stand on policies (unlike a party), but would use the results of the ranked voting to nominate a single candidate for each office.  It would collect the signatures to get that nominee on the ballot in the general election.

[Edit Sun May  6 17:02:31 UTC 2012]

See and please support Ban single-mark ballots from Congressional elections by RICHARD FOBES!

Fobes refers to http://www.bansinglemarkballots.org/.

[edit Mon May  7 12:17:04 UTC 2012]

As a precaution against link rot, let’s put here a backup copy of the important writing of RICHARD FOBES, found at http://www.the99declaration.org/votefair/ban_single_mark_ballots_from_congressional_elections?page=2 (the same link I mention above):

The 1% is able to outvote the 99% by taking advantage of the weaknesses of single-mark ballots, especially by taking advantage of vote splitting.

We are very familiar with the vote splitting that happened in the 2000 Presidential election when the splitting of votes between Al Gore and Ralph Nader caused George W. Bush to win the election even though a clear majority of voters (52%) marked their ballot for someone other than the winner. We are less familiar with vote splitting in Congressional elections because those elections do not involve nationally recognized names.

As a recent clear example of vote splitting in a Congressional election, the 2010 special election in the first Congressional district of Hawaii was won by Republican Charles Djou even though a clear majority of voters (60%) split their votes between Democratic candidate Colleen Hanabusa and Democratic candidate Ed Case.

Vote splitting often occurs in Congressional primary elections, but it goes unnoticed because the winner of a Republican primary is always a Republican and the winner of a Democratic primary is always a Democrat. This unfairness is further hidden because we use single-mark ballots that do not collect enough information to know which candidate is really the most popular. Yet there is evidence of this unfairness when the winner of a primary election fails to get half the votes, which means that more than half the voters (a majority) voted for someone other than the winner.

Official election results (in both primary and general elections) produce almost no evidence of vote splitting because most voters vote “strategically,” which means we do not vote for our favorite candidate if our favorite cannot win. Instead we vote for the candidate who has the best chance of defeating the candidate who we fear the most.

Yet the unfairness of Congressional elections is obvious. It shows up in the low approval ratings of Congress. And Congress demonstrates very little willingness to pass the laws that we, the majority of voters, want (some of which are mentioned below).

Proposed federal law

New federal law:  Single-mark ballots, on which a voter can mark only a single candidate when there can be more than two candidates in the race, shall be banned from being used in all Congressional elections, including both primary and general elections of both U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators.

Better ballot types:  Each individual state shall be allowed to choose which kinds of ballots and which kinds of counting methods are approved or disapproved as replacements for single-mark ballots and plurality counting, except that the ballots must collect additional preference information from voters and those ballots must be counted in ways that mathematically and reliably improve the fairness of the results compared to using single-mark ballots and plurality counting. If a ballot type can be counted in more than one way, the official election results must include published data that enables any news organization to count the ballot preferences using other counting methods for comparison purposes.

Deadlines:  This ban will apply to: at least one Congressional district in each state for the primaryelections in the year 2016, at least one-third of all (non-Senate) Congressional districts in each state for the primary elections in the year 2018, and all Congressional and U.S. Senate primary and generalelections by the year 2020.

Explanation

Here is a way to explain vote splitting to family and friends by counting on fingers. If there are nine voters, and four of these voters vote for the status-quo incumbent (who opposes reform), and the other five voters vote for a reform candidate, the reform candidate wins with more than half the votes. But if a second reform candidate is added to the single-mark ballot, and if the reform votes are split into three votes for one reform candidate and two votes for the other, the incumbent wins, but with less than half the votes.

While voters split their votes, the biggest campaign contributors work together to concentrate — instead of split — their financial support. In the primary elections of both the Republican and Democratic parties they choose to support just one money-backed candidate in each Congressional district. Evidence of this cross-party financial influence appears in the campaign-finance data at OpenSecrets.org, which clearly shows that the industries that contribute the largest amounts of campaign money give their money to both the Republican party and the Democratic party.

The biggest campaign contributors also use their control of both “conservative” and “liberal” mainstream media to distract voters with entertaining news such as “blame games” and religious issues. This distraction helps to hide their real agenda, which is to protect their unfair, yet legal, financial advantages (such as undeserved tax breaks, legal monopolies, and laws that favor large corporations over small businesses).

Part of the reason a candidate needs so much money to win an election is that most voters do not really like the money-influenced candidates in either political party, and advertising and other marketing techniques are needed to “sell” the candidate to the voters. If vote-splitting tactics were not available to defeat popular reform candidates, reform candidates could get elected with much less funding.

For additional information about the unfairness of single-mark ballots, and specific recommendations for better ballot types — namely ranking ballots (also called “1-2-3 ballots”), approval ballots, and score ballots — and better counting methods, you can refer to the “Declaration of Election-Method Reform Advocates” (at BanSingleMarkBallots.org), which has been signed by election-method experts from around the world.

(Those who study voting methods will notice that this proposed law does not implement any form of “proportional representation” as a remedy for defeating district-boundary manipulations and facilitating the election of third-party candidates. That’s because the Supreme Court would be likely to overturn such a law. Also this law does not address the unfair voting method used within Congress, but eventually that voting method also needs to be reformed.)

Winning an election with less than half the votes might seem like a small unfairness, but the effect is huge because of a layering effect. Although each Congressman typically got a ballot mark from about one out of two voters in the general election, he or she got a ballot mark from only about one out of four voters (based on cross-party counting) if the Congressman competed against a strong candidate in the primary election. Another layer occurs because only slightly more than half the members of Congress need to vote in favor of a new law to get it passed, so just those Congressmen got ballot marks from only about one out of eight U.S. voters, which is about 12% of U.S. voters. Yet even more layers are involved because most Congressmen first serve as state-level officials, and the state-level election process similarly filters out the problem-solving leaders that most voters want. Adding in two more layers to account for mainstream-media influence and low voter turnout easily accounts for how each law passed in Congress represents the desires of only 1% of the U.S. population.

When single-mark ballots have been replaced with better ballots and better counting methods, we the 99% can outvote the 1%. Specifically:

  • we can vote out of office the incumbents we don’t like,
  • we can vote into office the problem-solving leaders we want,
  • we can elect candidates who are not excessively influenced by the biggest campaign contributors,
  • we can have more influence than Congressional lobbyists,
  • we can elect Congressmen who will actually reduce unemployment and underemployment instead of just talking about it,
  • we can get Congress to pass tax laws that are fair,
  • we can force Congress to crack down on Wall Street abuses,
  • we can elect lawmakers who don’t waste taxpayers’ money and our natural resources,
  • we can make changes that stop wasting bright young minds and the lives of young soldiers,
  • we can financially benefit from a free market that is finally fair,
  • we can stop further attempts to limit freedom of speech on the internet,
  • we can motivate Congress to care about the long-term future instead of focusing on short-term gains for the biggest campaign contributors,
  • we can liberate members of Congress so they can spend more time working and less time fundraising,
  • we can more easily ban single-mark ballots from state and local governmental elections,
  • we can begin the long process of planning and passing a Constitutional Amendment that will bring the Presidential general-election process into the twenty-first century,
  • we can regain our international stature as a nation that behaves with high standards of fairness,
  • and we can make voter turnout soar when, at last, there are meaningful choices on general-election ballots.

Let’s bring an end to the primitive use of single-mark ballots in Congressional elections.

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