The Agent’s Democracy (or What It Would Take To Get Me To Vote)

It’s going to take a few changes to get me to want to choose a commander-in-chief.

Election day is coming up soon. As such, I felt it was time to discuss a topic that most politically minded people will likely judge me for; I don’t vote.

In fact, I’ve never voted. The reason for this is because, even as a child I realized that it was an exercise in futility – and I mean beyond the fact that no one we elect could possibly do a perfect job that pleased everyone.

You see, despite what we call it, we are not a true democracy. As it stands now, the votes of the people count for very little if anything at all. If the system were reworked to give the public’s opinion more power, I might care enough to cast a ballot or two.

But how, you ask, would I see that power granted? Well, if I were in a position to change such things I would…

Dissolve The Electoral College

For those that don’t know how voting works, here’s a primer. After the votes are tallied, the results are sent to a series of Electors who cast their votes (538 in total) as the people in each state they represent ask them too.

… at least, that’s how it works in theory.

This was a good idea back in the days when gathering everyone’s vote meant riding on horse through miles of treacherous nature and fewer votes representing the whole made the job easier. However, in the modern world where fiber-optics send information across the globe in fractions-of-a-second, it does far more harm than good.

Firstly, the fact that the votes go to states instead of people means that it can be surprisingly easy for one candidate to win with a minority of the people’s votes (ie: less than half of the country) because he or she gets all of the votes from key states. Remember, all you need to do to win a state’s Electoral College votes is half of the people in a state plus one, meaning the votes don’t actually represent the wants of the people accurately.

But even this is made a moot point when you realize that many Electors don’t even NEED to vote the way the people ask them to. To quote an excerpt from

“There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States. Some States, however, require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories—Electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges to political parties.”

The Electoral College is a fundamentally flawed system. It needs to be dissolved and the votes need to go back to the people.

But what about the smaller third party candidates that inevitably get pushed out of the running? Even without the Electoral College, they never have a chance and just divide the country further – increasing the likelihood of victory by minority rule. That’s why we need to…

Embrace The ‘Alternative Vote’

The Alternative Vote , also known as the Runoff Vote, is a system designed to ensure that people vote for the candidates they actually want rather than forcing them to vote strategically – ie. voting against candidates they don’t like rather than for ones they do.

Rather than simply casting a single vote, a person ranks the candidates running from their most preferred to least preferred. Once all of the votes have been cast, a winner will only be selected if they have more than half of the public’s vote.

But what if no one candidate makes up half of the polls? Well, that’s where the ranking process comes into play. The lowest scoring candidate is dropped from the race and his or her votes go to the person that each voter listed as their next preferred.

This process of dropping candidates and transferring votes continues until one candidate makes up the majority rule or only one candidate remains. This gives smaller parties a fighting chance and the people who vote for candidates that fail never feel like their vote was wasted.

So there you go, folks. With just two changes in policy, I have given electoral power back to the people. But, I want to hear what you think (this is an article about democracy after all). Tell me how you would change the system (if you would at all) and why you think it would be better that way.