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Is it true about the US ballot papers?


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One of my dislikes of the current system is that I dislike the party system itself.

 

I prefer the no party system with candidates presenting themselves on, dare I say it, merit?

 

This served the ancient kings of Wessex well for 600 hundred years.

 

Certainly the party system has no place in local politics, in my view.

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Instead, those who do vote could be immediately extended some privilege or benefit that those who are eligible and do not vote would likely covet. (...) I think voter participation would increase to near complete when citizens are shown or given some immediate and real benefit for their participation in the process.

Interesting idea. Instead of compulsory voting, use compulsory rewards for voting.

 

Whatever we do, the current average of 40-60% simply isn't good enough

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Interesting idea. Instead of compulsory voting, use compulsory rewards for voting.

 

Whatever we do, the current average of 40-60% simply isn't good enough

 

Rather than compulsory, perhaps compelling is a more apt description of my proposal...but I agree, our current voting average is shameful.

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Therein lies my biggest criticism of the idea, though. Compelling is subjective. It's not universal.

 

There are 310-320M people in the US, about 245M or so of voting age. Subtract out felons and those who can't vote for various other reasons and you still have well over 200-225M people who won't/can't agree on what constitutes "compelling."

 

What inspires one won't inspire others. What motivates voting behavior for a few will motivate little more than meh and apathy in others.

 

While not as ideal, making voting itself compulsory resonates with me as the far more practical approach. There are obvious costs of doing this and forceful arguments against it, but I find those to be less... erm... uh... less... wait for it... compelling? ... than the benefits such a move would be likely to achieve. :)

Edited by iNow
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I have some trouble reconciling compulsory voting with the first amendment right to free speech.

 

I agree that voting should not be compulsory. However, those who do not vote would be forbidden from expressing any political view until the next election. Any breach of this prohibition would be met with a solid punch on the nose.

 

 

But even more trouble with the idea that you would lose your first amendment right to free speech if you were to exercise your first amendment right to free speech by not voting.

 

 

Another path is to make voting as easy as possible. Remove restrictions that are in place and as iNow suggested, make it a holiday. A floating holiday, since some people have to work — but everyone gets a mandatory day off. If you vote early, you can work on election day. Public transportation is free on election day. A a mandatory minimum number of polling stations in place, and mandated equity — you can't have one polling place in one voting district and 5 in another.

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Therein lies my biggest criticism of the idea, though. Compelling is subjective. It's not universal.

 

There are 310-320M people in the US, about 245M or so of voting age. Subtract out felons and those who can't vote for various other reasons and you still have well over 200-225M people who won't/can't agree on what constitutes "compelling."

 

What inspires one won't inspire others. What motivates voting behavior for a few will motivate little more than meh and apathy in others.

 

While not as ideal, making voting itself compulsory resonates with me as the far more practical approach. There are obvious costs of doing this and forceful arguments against it, but I find those to be less... erm... uh... less... wait for it... compelling? ... than the benefits such a move would be likely to achieve. :)

 

Admittedly, I perceive a larger problem with incentive-based voting than subjectivity concerns. My less than stellar opinion of human nature suggests to me that even a small inducement could widen voter fraud as greed among voters take hold of the process. Certainly, what may be compelling to some may not be compelling to all but, like Swansont, I have trouble reconciling compulsory voting in a free society. I imagine the voting Gestapo showing up at my door demanding, under punitive threat, my reason for not voting and/or being ostracized by following my conscience when I found no candidate worthy of my vote. Given the choice, I think most of us would prefer being enticed rather than forced to the polls. If a solution for voter turnout exist, shouldn't it reflect our freedom of choice ideals?

Edited by DrmDoc
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Lol... I had a similar thought, but didn't want to take it straight to the jugular. Also, I'm envisioning more of a fine for not voting as opposed to clans of jack boots marauding around door to door.

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I might be forgiven for wondering what I get for nearly £2,000 local taxes and nearly £1,000 water taxes per year and thinking I might be better off without the organisation some suggest I should be compelled to vote for. Any sort of vote is after all an implicit endorsement of the system.

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I might be forgiven for wondering what I get for nearly £2,000 local taxes and nearly £1,000 water taxes per year and thinking I might be better off without the organisation some suggest I should be compelled to vote for. Any sort of vote is after all an implicit endorsement of the system.

 

Yes, an implicit endorsement of a system necessary to the freedoms you may presently enjoy. Deciding the leadership of my country is, perpetually, a frustrating process that far to often results in daunting disappointment. However, I press on knowing how essential the process is to my ability to support my lifestyle and family in relatively stabile society.

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I might be forgiven for wondering what I get for nearly £2,000 local taxes and nearly £1,000 water taxes per year and thinking I might be better off without the organisation some suggest I should be compelled to vote for. Any sort of vote is after all an implicit endorsement of the system.

So find a candidate and that wants to dismantle the system and then vote for them. Not voting certainly isn't going to make the system go away.

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Admittedly, I perceive a larger problem with incentive-based voting than subjectivity concerns. My less than stellar opinion of human nature suggests to me that even a small inducement could widen voter fraud as greed among voters take hold of the process. Certainly, what may be compelling to some may not be compelling to all but, like Swansont, I have trouble reconciling compulsory voting in a free society. I imagine the voting Gestapo showing up at my door demanding, under punitive threat, my reason for not voting and/or being ostracized by following my conscience when I found no candidate worthy of my vote. Given the choice, I think most of us would prefer being enticed rather than forced to the polls. If a solution for voter turnout exist, shouldn't it reflect our freedom of choice ideals?

 

 

Given that in-person voter fraud is all but nonexistent, potentially widening it is a small problem.

 

Also, many elections have a number of races (federal, state, and local) and ballot measures on them. It's not a matter of a single race not being worthy of your time, it would have to be none of the issues being worth your time.

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Given that in-person voter fraud is all but nonexistent, potentially widening it is a small problem.

 

Also, many elections have a number of races (federal, state, and local) and ballot measures on them. It's not a matter of a single race not being worthy of your time, it would have to be none of the issues being worth your time.

 

I imagined widening voter fraud with a cash incentive as motivation and, with cash, where there's a will there's a way to defraud the system. I've imagined several ways just now--tapping my largely ignored illicit nature >:D--which I couldn't conscionably share here. There are certainly more compelling issues that would bring me to the polls than the worthiness of candidates but, for some, worthiness may be the only issue their conscience could abide and I don't think they should be denied their freedom of conscience. In my state, there are always other issues on the ballot but none more compelling to me than whom I elect to governance--voting is always worth my time.

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I imagined widening voter fraud with a cash incentive as motivation and, with cash, where there's a will there's a way to defraud the system.

 

 

Previously you said incentive, not cash incentive. As someone already pointed out, "I Voted" stickers are an existing incentive. Basically zero cash value. Probably not a lot of people willing to commit a felony to get a second sticker.

 

Even monetary-based incentives don't have to be such that it would be worth the time and effort. Something worth a dollar or three probably isn't worth an hour or more's investment of time and effort.

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Previously you said incentive, not cash incentive. As someone already pointed out, "I Voted" stickers are an existing incentive. Basically zero cash value. Probably not a lot of people willing to commit a felony to get a second sticker.

 

Even monetary-based incentives don't have to be such that it would be worth the time and effort. Something worth a dollar or three probably isn't worth an hour or more's investment of time and effort.

 

You're right, I did say incentive only but I also mentioned greed in context, which I think brings to most people's minds some monetary incentive or motive. So, I imagined what might happen with the right amount of monetary incentives. Yes, it would probably require more than a couple of extra dollars to bring more people to the polls but with the right amount, that sort of incentive would likely compound the detrimental effects that money has had in our country's election process.

Edited by DrmDoc
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We already have the cash based voting incentive, but its actually party specific.

Every election, party platforms are geared to offer tax cuts or rebates to specific groups.

In Canada, where the PM isn't as tightly controlled by other branches of Government as the President is, they even have a slush fund which they start dispensing prior to an election.

 

Of course, after the election, party platforms quickly change, and the outgoing party is usually blamed for leaving the economy in a worse state than previously thought.

 

Politicians and used car salesmen will say and promise anything to get you to buy their product.

I wonder how long it would be before we heard...

" B. Obama left the country in such bad shape that we can't really make it great again.

We'll have to settle for mediocre.

Oh, and those lazy Mexicans won't build the wall as its hard work."

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  • 2 years later...
On 11/2/2016 at 8:25 PM, iNow said:

Voting should be compulsory.

Civics classes should be mandatory.

Election Day should be a national holiday.

Instant Runoff voting should be universal.

Electoral district lines should be drawn by independent 3rd parties based on consistent logical standards.

Limits should be set on total number of terms members of congress can serve.

Laws should be enacted that congress representatives cannot work in a lobbying job for at least 5-years after leaving office.

Lobbying should be disallowed entirely, or at least be made money-free.

Campaign funding should be driven solely through "credits" which each citizen receives and can spend/share/trade however they see fit.

Elections should last no more than 60 days.

 

And other ideas... implementation of any of which would vastly improve our current circus.

Abolish the electoral college. 

National requirement for minimum of 3 week early voting period across all states. 

Mandate for vote by mail across all states 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Came across another fascinating idea. Haven’t yet thought through all of the potential ramifications and undecided if I’m for or against, but the summary is:

Votes are weighted heavier when younger than older, but remain equal in weight when considered from one citizen to the next across all votes they cast across their lifetime. 

 

https://medium.com/@william.macaskill/age-weighted-voting-8651b2a353cc

Quote

So one way of extending political time horizons and increasing is to age-weight votes. The idea is that younger people would get more heavily weighted votes than older people, very roughly in proportion with life expectancy. A natural first pass system (though I think it could be improved upon) would be:

* 18–27yr olds: 6x voting weight

* 28–37yr olds: 5x voting weight

* 38–47yr olds: 4x voting weight

* 48–57yr olds: 3x voting weight

* 58–67yr olds: 2x voting weight

* 68+yr olds: 1x voting weight

Later edit: Note that, even with such heavy weights as these, the (effective) median voter age (in the US) would go from 55 to 40. (H/T Zach Groff for these numbers). Assuming that the median voter theorem approximately captures political dynamics of voting, weighting by (approximate) life-expectancy would therefore lengthen political horizons somewhat, but wouldn’t result in young people having all the power.

As well as the potential benefits from extending political time horizons, I think this proposal looks promising on some other dimensions too:

It would be fair. In this scenario, all citizens get equal voting weight, it’s just that this voting power is unequally distributed throughout someone’s life.

In fact, there are arguments that it would be fairer than the current system. <continue reading here>

 

Curious what you think?

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

Came across another fascinating idea. Haven’t yet thought through all of the potential ramifications and undecided if I’m for or against, but the summary is:

Votes are weighted heavier when younger than older, but remain equal in weight when considered from one citizen to the next across all votes they cast across their lifetime. 

 

https://medium.com/@william.macaskill/age-weighted-voting-8651b2a353cc

 

Curious what you think?

Looks interesting.

Would have saved a lot of hassle here in the UK.

 

But where do you draw the line?
Do you favour the votes of those who are better educated (and thus likely to live longer)?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know this is a bit belated but a couple of comments;
1) AFAIK Nevada is the only state in the US to have a "none of these candidates" choice actually on the ballot.

2) There is something like 7 or 8 states that do not allow write-ins of any kind (doing so can invalidate your entire ballot in some places)

3) IMO "Democracy" in an ignorant society is simply mob rule (not going to argue about the efficacy or desirability of mob rule, tho)

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