What If Series: What If We Could Allocate Votes

Why, when voting (at least in significant elections), are we forced to select just one? What is it about a single selection that is superior? I don’t know about you, but I am generally uneasy about any singular selection. Except for me, (or in your case you), all we have to choose when choosing is – to paraphrase Plato – a mere approximation of what “I believe” in even the best of political choices. And, since I am not a candidate – no candidate is capable of measuring up to what I believe, how I feel, and how I measure the value of competing alternatives.

So, what if? What if I had multiple choices – and so would you. Lets me described what I am thinking. Instead of playing the political version of the NCAA Tourney with its “bracketology” approach to selecting an ultimate finalist, we were allowed to share our votes amongst competing candidates (even in multiple parties).

For simplistic purposes, I will provide each voter with a set number of votes, lets use 12 as my math friends explained onetime that Base 12 is superior to Base 10 (I am unclear as to why that is so, but they are really smart so I’ll accept their word for it).

Accordingly, I have 12 votes to share. One option would allow voters to lump their votes to one candidate, thereby demonstrating that they really really like this candidate. I do not favor that option – but I would consider it. I think that votes should be shared – among several candidates – as frankly there is always an order in which I favor candidates. In other words, why I am forced to choose only the one when the one stands for so many things that I detest?

This concept could be a real boom for alternate parties as they could become a force in moderating the wing-nuts that seem to overly influence the major parties and who so frequently appear to forget that Americans really are way more centrists then the political hack strategists ever want to admit.

I support the ultimate winner winning with a couple of twists. One is that all primaries would be open forcing candidates to work towards representing all of the people and not simply the fringe, the donors, and the idealists. Each and every election would require candidates to think about representing the whole and not simply one of the parts.

I would allocate my votes based upon the order I approve of the candidate. This would allow me to participate in selecting the ultimate winner – lets say (for example and only hypothetically) that I am true blue card carrying Democrat but even the best candidate represents only a minority of my complex beliefs. I doubt that any candidate is truly capable of altering their beliefs, I do believe that any candidate with an IQ greater then the mean temperature of Nome, Alaska is smart enough to modulate their opinions if only for the next election cycle.

By allocating my votes, I would be able to send a clear message about my complex voter belief system and just maybe, I mean maybe, candidates would be forced to improve their representation of all of their constituents rather then just the simple majority that happen to elect them or worse yet, the money that keeps them there.

People frequently lament the depth of voter apathy. One response is that voter apathy represents that people are generally pleased with either popular choice or that they are agreeable to whoever wins. That is a reasonable conclusion but again, wouldn’t it be better to incentive participation. And what better way then to allocate votes based upon complexity of choices in order provide a better picture of who each of us are, as voters and as individuals.

Maybe this is just a whack job of an idea. Maybe, I am tired of frequently being on the minority side of the vote count. Maybe, I am an idealistic and naive closeted anarchists that simply wants to stir the pot. Or maybe, just maybe, this is an idea worth spreading.

What if?………………


  1. Interesting, Dan. I have two proposals to add: We should be allowed to vote for one Senator and one Congressman outside our state/district. This would allow us to gang up on unpopular politicians who wreak havoc in the entire country (watch out Nancy).

    Two, if you want, you don’t have to pay any federal income tax, but you can’t vote. I wonder how many people would reveal how sacred voting is to them?

    Of course, this could be a problem when 47% of the populace doesn’t pay tax already.

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