Sunday, September 16, 2012

A better voting system for the United States

Get rid of this crappy system where most people (myself included) vote against the Bad Politician instead of for the Good Politician (oxymoron, but perhaps this could change).

Have a two part final election. First run, everyone votes for who they want. Second run, pick the final winners. That's it. Simple enough, and it already works in other countries. Candidate selection would be iterative before the final election, moving from small to large groups.

Change the high cost of entry, too. The current system favors millionaires and those with connections to Big Money. I would imagine that anyone who gives a pile of money to a candidate expects something in return, and not necessarily what's best for the country. Hosting a web site and uploading candidate data is cheap, so I'd imagine that a fee of $500 or less would be sufficient to eliminate those who would run on a whim, yet be low enough for virtually anyone to throw their hat in the ring. 

If potential candidates were chosen by increasingly larger groups, selecting candidates would not be information overload. They'd first be chosen by their local community, where people would know them personally. The scale would change after each iteration, bringing the leaders to the attention of larger and larger groups, until the final runoff election. This would keep the number of candidates relatively constant per iteration and prevent information overload.

This system, obviously only works if it's possible to conveniently vote on line. Have the results go to multiple servers - anyone with a IP address could collect votes. Maybe an app could simultaneously send people's voting data to multiple receivers, so that nobody could game the system and rig an election.

How to verify identity? Use the information taken for passports - biometrics, real-time analysis of facial features, a government-issued key that you complete to prove you're you, something that works from any computer equipped with a web cam, or a smart phone, tablet or other gizmo. Maybe a few people would squeak through, but then I doubt the current system is foolproof, either. Voting from anywhere, any time, for anyone you liked... wouldn't that raise voting participation?

Wouldn't it be great to vote for someone you liked instead of against someone you hate?

While they're at it, get rid of the Electoral College, too. What an evil scheme that is!

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