Saturday, April 9, 2011

Second Choices, Better Elections.

Who are you betting on this election? What if you could support more than one candidate?
Corporations do, and it seems to work out for them.

Give people second choices when they vote. That simple change will increase voter engagement, allow voters to vote more honestly, and raise the level of political conversation in this country.
Elections are divisive by nature. The leaders of our country fight about policy, broken promises, character attacks, and about who may or may not be allowed into the leaders debates.
Most of this fighting is over voters with entrenched positions. The all or nothing nature of election support eliminates nuance and demands strategic voting. There's too much second guessing involved.
What if there was a better way? What if you were allowed a second choice?
With a second choice you could keep your primary support behind whoever you usually vote for, without feeling like a traitor for considering anyone else.
Free from partisan guilt, you can look with an open mind at the positions of the other candidates, to try to nail down your second choice.
You approach conversations content in the righteousness of your primary position and still gain value from what others have to say, maybe even finding some second choice common ground.
The option for constituents to actually be receptive to other points of view is just the kind of cockamamie idea that might just change the face of winner take all politics, for the better.
People will be more likely to vote when they feel their vote will mean something. If their first choice is for the NDP in a PC dominated riding there's no reason to waste the gas and time to get to the poll. You know your vote won't change the outcome. With a second choice, you can avoid the strategic voting guessing game and still communicate how you feel while not throwing away your vote on a third place party.
The election system can, and should do a better job of engaging people and allowing the nuance of public opinion to be reflected in the results. Allowing second and even third choices on the ballots would improve the voter engagement, civic discussion and election results significantly.
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