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Getting the Government We Deserve

I don’t have enough time to summarize this excellent article from Five Thirty Eight, but you should go read it. Politicians and others like to complain that elections are rigged, but this article says that the real rigging of our elections is being done by the voters themselves. It is short and easy to read — go read it.

My only complaint against the article is that it is short on solutions. It mentions changing to non-partisan primaries only in passing, even though this system is working very well in three states now. It also dismisses non-partisan redistricting as not helping enough, but I say that the problem is so serious that every little bit of help is required.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    If Internet voting became encrypted, the whole U.S. could vote on line for the Presidential Election without State Boundary lines being involved. No districts.

    Monday, August 8, 2016 at 5:47 am | Permalink
  2. Ralph wrote:

    Ebdoug – I’m not so sure online voting is the ideal solution, at least not yet given the problems we’ve seen with cyber (in)security generally and the checkered history of lack of accountability and reliability of the Diebold electronic voting machines in recent elections, for example.

    It may sound primitive by today’s “standards”, but it appears having a paper trail record is still the best way to assure a fair and accurate vote count (or recount), regardless of how it’s actually cast. When it comes to the sanctity and importance of our vote, convenience should not be a major priority.

    I do think a national primary, open or otherwise, would be far more desirable than the patchwork system we have today, which gives otherwise backwater states undue influence overall. And IMHO, the 538 article dismisses somewhat the distorting impact gerrymandering has on our electoral process. When district maps start to resemble a Rorschach test, it’s the equivalent of politicians picking their voters and not the other way around, so it’s no wonder so few seats are competitive and even generally unpopular candidates are overwhelmingly reelected.

    Monday, August 8, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink
  3. redjon wrote:

    There is a simple version to get to the candidate least objectionable to the greatest number of voters, which could certainly be implemented using computers (and which would probably require them) called Instant Runoff Voting.

    It would EVEN make it possible for voters to cross back and forth across party lines while ranking their preference of candidates.

    Monday, August 8, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Dave TN wrote:

    Another option to consider that appears to increase voter turnout is vote by mail. This link is a bit old but it addresses some good points.
    An article in the times {also old} gives a voter turnout percentage and the two states with complete vote by mail has greatly higher voter participation.
    This is particularly good with referendums allowing more time to make informed decisions at home due not being surprised at the polling place with some new on the ballot that you may not be aware of.

    Monday, August 8, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink