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New Hampshire Bill Could Lead To Adoption of Approval Voting

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the did-you-approve-this-message? dept.

United States 416

Okian Warrior writes "The people at FreeKeene report: 'Four Republican state representatives have sponsored a bill that would replace first-past-the-post voting with approval voting for all state offices and presidential primaries. Under this system, voters would select every candidate they approve of (regardless of party), and the candidate with the highest overall vote total wins. This reduces strategic voting, and would often make elections easier for moderate and libertarian candidates. The bill, HB240, will have a public hearing Tuesday, February 1st, with the House Election Law committee.'"

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416 comments

Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so then (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050050)

what about the left candidates ? before anyone talks nonsense - you do not have any left candidates, or a left party in america. what you think as left there is WAY too much to the right of anything that is considered left in any other part of the world - then again this is the source of your main problem - you are way too right aligned without anything to balance it, and you arent even aware of that.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1, Informative)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050126)

Left?
Well we have a Communist party.
And a Nazi party.
And the Liberal party - all of these are pro-big government and pro-maximum control by a central authority.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050160)

Left?
Well we have a Communist party.
And a Nazi party.
And the Liberal party - all of these are pro-big government and pro-maximum control by a central authority.

If you think a Nazi party belongs to the left you should get your definitions of left and right straight.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050194)

They do. The Nazi's are national socialists.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050210)

Wow, 70+ years later and their propaganda still gets you.

The NAZIs are about as National Socialist as North Korea is the Democratic Peoples Republic.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2, Insightful)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050280)

That's not entirely fair. The nazis were certainly nationally oriented, for a certain extremely restrictive conception of nation.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050338)

they were not socialist. they were basically fascist, seeing people as resource, and managing it. rest was total capitalism as fascism liked.

SO that, even at the waning days of war when full mobilization was sorely needed, they never fully mobilized, and a lot of production capacity lay unused in private hands, and the government was still handing out weapon and vehicle design & production as contracts to private corporations, paying them.

had they really been 'socialist' and actually mobilized, the war could take much longer.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1, Insightful)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050472)

Did you even read my comment before responding?

I want to clarify that I was making a joke (and thereby ruin it). h4rr4r said, "The NAZIs are about as National Socialist as North Korea is the Democratic Peoples Republic." The implication is that, since DPRK is neither democratic, belonging (in action) to its people, nor a republic, the national socialists were neither national nor socialist. My joke was that they certainly were national, for a certain deranged concept of "nation".

I think, within that deranged national context, it's arguable that the nazis were "socialist" at least to the same degree the bolsheviks were. The state did ultimately claim ownership of the people and resources, as did the bolshevik state; the difference (within the "national" context) was hardly an economic one, but a political one, and largely on the basis of realpolitik. The nazis, in the context of a Germany which had been relatively free and open, calculated that it would be easier to manage a mixed economy than a command economy. And they were probably right.

But I didn't advance that argument, because it's a tough sell (and I hardly feel strongly about it) and I didn't want to detract from the humor. Instead, I undermined that argument and deliberately conceded that the nazis were not socialist—but they were definitely "national".

i really dont get it. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050476)

the above gives out uncontested factual information about a historical FACT. ALL verifiable, with people and numbers, some of which being still alive today.

what is the reason the idiot modding the above down had used ? '-1 whenever you see anything against established political american right wing conditioning, mod down' ?

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1, Informative)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050378)

1. government directed economy: check
2. centralized identification and tracking policies for citizens: check
3. newspeak style propaganda: check

This admittedly short list could describes and forms the pragmatic and operational basis of both the nazis and soviets (and america, too, more and more unfortunately). really, what is the difference? just about ALL governments claim to be for liberty and justice. very few (if any) actually get there. The grandeur of power damages all but the most wise of leadership. A modern fictional example would be the movie 'gladiator' which I'm sure was based off previous works. It's a classic story that describes the concept that, given sufficent time, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those that should lead are the ones who can truly do it out of duty without getting off on it. These people are vanishingly rare.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (0)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050464)

Leftist philosophy:
- Large centralized government. Check
- Social programs for the citizens like free healthcare, retirement benefits. Check.
- Suppression of the individual in favor of the greater good of society. i.e. Collectivism. Check.
- Government ownership, or control of, the means of production. Check.
- Yep the German National Socialists, and the Italian National Socialists, and the Spanish Nazi Socialists were ALL leftists. They were side-by-side with the communists, but less extreme (they didn't outlaw private land ownership).

In contrast an American "right" philosophy suppresses the government, makes it as small as possible, and limits the actions it can do (either via a constitution or tradition). Examples include the Democrat-Republicans formed by Jefferson/Madison, and the Libertarian party more recently. Also the anarchist party (there's nothing smaller than no government).

Left = Supersize government.
Right = Supertiny government
Present = half way between the two extremes

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050176)

Communist are far left, but a joke party here and not at all a normal left party. Nazi is a rightist fascist party. The liberal party is a joke as well, it too supports authoritarianism. Leftism does not mean authoritarianism, Neoconservativism for instance is a rightist authoritarian ideology.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050346)

It seems that the lessons of Reaganism need to be relearnt by each succeeding generation. According to the Kirkpatrick Doctrine [wikipedia.org] a right wing dictator is authoritarian (good), while a left wing dictator is totalitarian (bad). I think the difference may have something to do with theism, but I'm not entirely sure.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050190)

Nazis are not a left wing organization douche bag.

apparently you do not understand the political matrix (like every nut job on the right)... Nazis would be pro-corporate authoritarians, communists would be anti-corporate authoritarians. IE... Nazis are right wing, Communists are Left wing.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050330)

Most Communists and Socialists nowadays are localists. Their attitude is that the real central authority in Washington is the one that allows the wealthy to avail themselves of state violence in order to protect property, and that private property cannot exist without constant and pervasive shows of police power -- which is true, and how you feel about communism and anarcho-syndicalism generally depends on how you feel about this.

The United States doesn't have a Liberal party, and most liberal parties in the world are libertarian and pro-business a the expense of Conservative parties, which generally support government welfare systems to benefit churches and cultural institutions, to benefit the moral and cultural character, and traditions, of the state, and Labor parties, which generally support government welfare as a government entitlement, to benefit Labor-with-a-big-L and drive up overall wages and living standards. Liberalism is the belief that both of these approaches are wrong-headed, and that the state should dedicate itself to securing individual liberty as a means of obtaining both higher living standards and higher moral culture. Both US political parties are "Liberal," they only disagree about which individual rights are more important.

I suspect what the GP is trying to say is that, compared to just about every other first world nation on Earth, the sort of policies advocated by US Democrats are basically the sort of thing you'd see from the CDU party in Germany, or the UMP in France, or the Conservative party in Britain. If you wanted to be called a libertarian-capitalist-Randian crackpot in any other country in the first world, all you'd have to do is advocate a privately-owned health insurance system with a purchase mandate, or for individual political subdivisions of your country to decide wether or not to honor particular kinds of marriages, or to decide if the possession of drugs was either a felony or not a crime at all. When it comes to the whole capitalism and decentralization issue, the US is simply far more radical and ideological than most other nation-states on the planet; that's just a fact.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2, Insightful)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050144)

what you think as left there is WAY too much to the right of anything that is considered left in any other part of the world

Perhaps you're right. Or perhaps the rest of the world is way too much to the left. Have you ever thought about that? It's a matter of perspective.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050188)

Compare lifespans and generally happiness. Clearly we lose.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050226)

by that definition. The LDS community which is traditionally right wing and longest lived in the world wins and the left leaning world is wrong.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050256)

I have to point out that politics, like everything else, is not "left" or "right". Trying to describe anything political in one measure is doing nobody any service. It is like trying to describe music, personality, biology as being left or right; or existing as only a single point on a line - it is crazy.

Case in point- Libertarians MIGHT be described as "left" for civil liberties and mixing religion with state, and yet "right" for foreign policy or spending, center on environment, and off in some other direction regarding defense. Where does one place THEM on a single line?

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050394)

Single dimensional dichotomies are about all that most people can handle when it comes to analysis, which is unfortunate.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050290)

Yes, that's right. We should all look at other countries when we find some politicians or political idea to be to the left or right of our own ideals. This way, not matter how stupid they are or no matter how much others don't like him, we can embrace voting for them because according to some other country or their scale, they aren't left or right enough.

Here is the thing. Politics is generally about home rule, local governments and all that. Pointing out that the left in Europe is different from the left in the US or China or Africa or where the hell ever is only useful in trivial pursuit. It's competely pointless and likely dangerous to base your political opinions on how bad they screwed up some other country and use that as a basis to accept someone you think will screw up your country.

I was going to just mod you but I couldn't find the -1 irrelevant and always will be moderation button. When you are talking about local politics, it's completely irrelevant to the topic to claim X isn't left enough because in some country that has no sovereignty over you, they are more left. It all has to be relevant to the person expressing the opinion in the first place. The left and the right is only an imaginary scale held by the people making the assumptions.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050360)

firstly, statistically, if average population on the ENTIRE PLANET is to your left it means that you are on the right of the average. that's that.

second, no, you are way too to the left. when compared with the practices that have been successful in the rest of the world in balancing corporate and public (the people's needs), america is a disaster. you americans complain about it more than anyone else criticizes you, yet, at the same time you are STILL able to argue that you are not too much to the right. contradiction much ?

and you get all worked up when anything of the sort is mentioned or criticized, like how the grandparent got modded troll, despite stating something that is a common opinion in contemporary political science. (leave aside a lot of americans stating that themselves).

you gotta get your shit together. really.

'left' is not evil, 'social' doesnt mean satan, 'private' does not mean 'free', corporate does not mean good.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050364)

Even if your perspective is well to the right of the "rest of the world", surely, unless you're prepared to admit you're a true fascist, you can appreciate that a representative diversity of political opinion promotes a healthier society. Insofar as I believe that the American population isn't *yet* so deranged as to be totally politically homogenized, I sincerely doubt that those of us on the US left aren't such a disproportionately small minority as to warrant no real representation. You'll also note that there isn't a left-wing homogeny anywhere in the world; those states with a real and active left also have a wide range of opinions on the right in all sorts of ways.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050184)

No, we definitely have those parties as well, but much like the Libertarian party, they don't get much coverage or traction. Also, stop portraying Europe as some bastion of far-left politics. It's not nearly as far to the left as you're portraying. There are certainly more far-left political parties, but they're usually not the ones leading the coalitions forming the government. Here's the political compass chart [politicalcompass.org] for the major candidates in the last U.S. presidential election. Here's the political compass chart [politicalcompass.org] for the European governments as of 2008. They're not too terribly different.

None of the listed countries are even left of center. The Scandinavian countries are some of the closest to that line, but what really separates them is the gap on the Authoritarian-Libertarian between them and the rest of the pack. If the broad range of European parties is similar to the ones for the 2007 Irish election [politicalcompass.org] there certainly is more choice available, but your governments as a whole tend to be quite similar to the U.S. There are also several far-left groups that get even less media coverage than the Green party. Many states still have candidates that run under the Socialist party and there are a number of different anarchist parties, some of which don't choose to participate in the system. You almost never hear about any of these on the news.

I can see how you might come away with your impression if you watched Fox news, where almost anything is lambasted for being "socialist" regardless of whether it has anything to do with socialism. The other American news networks aren't really any better about promoting third party candidates or policies, possibly due to the vicious circle that only effectively allows for a two-party system. I don't follow European politics so I have no way of knowing how much media coverage some of the smaller parties manage to garner, but I don't expect it's as much as the major parties get. The only reason the Libertarian party has been getting any coverage is because it got lumped in with the Tea Party, to which I think several Libertarians would object.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050240)

Who mentioned Europe? The OP certainly didn't. You brought it up.

I love this assumption that any unsourced criticism of US politics *must* be from Europe. Do you realise that the rest of America is outside the US? Africa? Oceania? Asia even? Good grief, the geographic knowledge of the US is truly appalling. It's almost like they think the world is the US and Europe only.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050390)

There are certainly more far-left political parties, but they're usually not the ones leading the coalitions forming the government. Here's the political compass chart [politicalcompass.org] for the major candidates in the last U.S. presidential election. Here's the political compass chart [politicalcompass.org] for the European governments as of 2008. They're not too terribly different.

Please normalize those charts. Thanks.

Appropriate for New Hampsire (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050224)

The libertarian party is the one most likely to gain from this move, as they are one of (if not the) strongest third party in New Hampshire, so it makes sense that they are the ones mentioned in news reports. If the law was passed in another state like New Mexico, it would be the Greens that people would be talking about, who are definitely left. The last green we had running for Governor was proposing socializing all natural gas and oil extraction (not just taxing and regulating it), which goes farther than most European countries.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (3, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050274)

Common misconception held particularly by Europeans, which is reinforced by the fact people keep repeating this meme without examining it critically; honestly, anyone who thinks the Conservative party in Britain, for example, would not be considered a right-wing party in the US is extremely mistaken. Similarly, fringe fascist/right-wing parties in the UK get far more votes, and exposure, than their equivalents in the US, which usually don't even have enough support to field candidates. See, for example, the British National Party, the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands in Germany, and Front National in France.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050340)

The curious thing about many of Europe's "right-wing" parties is that they are really only on the right when it comes to immigration and cultural issues. Many nonetheless support a strong welfare state, which puts them squarely on the left. So even with the rise of the new European right, I'd say Europe continues to be tilted considerably more to the left than the US.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050382)

first, what someone else posted will set you straight about your american misperception of the world - thinking that any criticism comes to america from europe.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1973102&cid=35050240 [slashdot.org]

he told it quite nicely.

naturally, i am not from europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index [wikipedia.org]

and, observe the top 10 of the above index, and research their history. you will see that your assumptions in regard to the political spectrum of europe, is wrong.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050428)

That's why I said PARTICULARLY. Particularly does not mean "ALWAYS." Never has.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050322)

Right and left are relative. Generally they are relative to "center", which could be defined as the median or average view, within the voting population. It doesn't matter if people in other countries are far to another direction, just as it doesn't matter whether people in the distant past or distant future have different views.

Re:Moderate and libertarian candidates .... so the (0)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050342)

Our democrat party is quite left enough for us, thank you very much. You imply that your definition of left is the only one, or rather that your scope of what constitutes left and right is the only one that counts, then you apply that to the rest of the world as a fallacy. To the average american, your definition of 'left' is practically indistinguishable from 'communist.' Your definition is not objective. Neither is mine. Americans value individuality much more than most other nations, so I don't see a problem with it. I DO see plenty of problems with right-left dichotomy being used as a model to solve problems though. It's very simple-minded.

I'm just thinking (3, Funny)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050052)

That now they're adding a 'like' button, do we get a 'dislike' button too?

Re:I'm just thinking (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050328)

I think this is something you can "Approve" of.(Facebook has to implement this, "Like" is a too strong sometimes...)

Re:I'm just thinking (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050356)

There is a concept called "range voting", which allows you to rank anything between 0 and 100 (or whatever). (a variation of that is 3 levels: like, dislike, and neutral) Problem is, it is severely broken, as anyone using it strategically would simply vote everyone either 0 or 100. Those who vote sincerely end up disenfranchised, as their vote is not very effective. A better solution would be to rank the candidate, but then the best method of tabulation is not 100% clear. Approval, as is, is a pretty good system though. You are effectively forced to vote strategically, rather than being given a choice between "honest" and "smart".

Dosen't this give the people more choice ? (3, Insightful)

Nurseman (161297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050056)

Instead of the 2 "pre-selected" candidates, we get more choices. I think this system would give non mainstream candidates a better chance.

Re:Dosen't this give the people more choice ? (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050180)

Interestingly, so does TFA. It's even quoted in the summary!

Re:Dosen't this give the people more choice ? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050384)

Do you think that is a good thing? I mean currently, we chose the best of the candidates first, then run off between them. A system like this just seems to be little more then holding that over to the end with the exception that someone who can play a crowd better having the ability to completely contradict themselves to get each side and end up stealing the election.

Furthermore, think about what this will do to public confidence in the government. We think it's bad now when almost half the population voted for the other guy, wait until 80% or better all the sudden don't like what's happening and they all say they preferred someone else. At least now it's an, at least it wasn't that other guy- which is how people will still vote as we seem to pick the least of two evils now instead of the one you can support.

Oh well, I guess we will have to wait and see. I'll be laughing my ass off when it happens.

Re:Dosen't this give the people more choice ? (2)

alexhard (778254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050436)

Do you think that is a good thing? I mean currently, we chose the best of the candidates first, then run off between them.

No, we choose the most popular candidates. There's typically a pretty strong negative correlation between quality and popularity.

Re:Dosen't this give the people more choice ? (1)

Trapick (1163389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050236)

It really wouldn't, because both Democrats and Republicans would make sure to tell their supporters "vote for us, and ONLY for us, or we might not get elected". This system would only work if a huge percentage of people actually used it as intended..

Re:Dosen't this give the people more choice ? (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050370)

"Non-mainstream" isn't really the result, as it would tend to pick centrist candidates, which by some definitions are more mainstream than those on either end.

Finally (3, Interesting)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050058)

Change for the better, no matter who you support. This can only let people have more direct say in their elected officials.

Re:Finally (3, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050162)

Yeah, this is a good step forward. However, contrary to the summary, it doesn't eliminate the need for strategic voting. With approval voting you can take the safe route and cast a token vote for a third party and the lesser of two evils. However, if everyone does that then the third party candidates will never win. So at some point you need to decide to only vote for the third party, with the risk that the greater of the two evils may win as a result. You need to gauge the chances of the third party winning when deciding how to vote.

Thus the need for strategic voting is merely deferred until third parties become more successful. This is still good, though, because it shows the real amount of support for third parties, and gives them more opportunity to build momentum in their campaigns over the years. Furthermore, I personally prefer for strategy to be the determining factor in corner cases, rather than the random outcomes that occur with IRV in the same circumstances.

The real problem with our voting system is the fact that there is only a single winner for each area. Suppose that 20% of people in a city support the Greens, %40 Republicans and %40 Democrats. Unless nearly all those greens live in a single voting district, they will never have a plurality in any district, and thus never get a single seat in the city council despite the fact that they should have 2/10 in all fairness. It would be much better to draw the lines such that there are two or three winners for each district. If you did that than even first past the fence voting would be tolerable.

Re:Finally (3, Informative)

Paco103 (758133) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050314)

I do agree with your scenario as the most likely, that the third party candidates will still be overrun by the "safe" votes for the main two. However, there is still a small bit of hope here.

Imagine 3 candidates, R, D, and O(ther). Now, let's say R and D are neck and neck, but O had a 75% approval rating divided among both parties (I know, it's not likely, but you have to admit that would be a strong candidate). The problem is that his approval is also split fairly evenly between R and D. Under the current system, most people will not "throw away" their vote for fear that O will still not receive enough votes and the opposing party will win. With this system, the R and D population can both throw their safe votes toward their own candidates, and also throw a vote towards O. In this case, O would win, because he has a stronger following, but the people still go to vote for their safe R and D candidates to prevent the ever feared problem of splitting the voting base.

I think a condorcet voting system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method) would actually be better, because it can actually factor in degrees of approval. However, The logistics are more complicated as well as explaining it to the masses, which in some states can't even handle the current "choose one" directions.

Re:Finally (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050388)

Having multiple winners doesn't make sense in many contexts. (are we going to have multiple presidents?) Remember that when a system like this is in place, it doesn't just change who wins, it changes who runs. More centrist candidates would run, that appeal to everyone, not one side or the other. The two party system we see, where everyone is either in one party or the other, isn't because of human nature, it is forced upon us by a broken voting system (see Duverger's law [wikipedia.org])

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050430)

A third party can win if the people who disagree on the lesser of two evils agree on the third party.

For example, suppose of the 50% who voted democrat, 60% also voted for a third party, and that of the 50% that voted republican, 60% voted for the same third party. Then you would have 60% of the total vote being for the third party, without anyone voting for them exclusively.

Re:Finally (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050458)

However, if everyone does that then the third party candidates will never win.

This simply isn't true. If the third party candidate gets votes from two non-overlapping segments (ie. a true moderate runs against a far left Democrat and a far right Republican), his/her total number of votes could outnumber either the other "main" candidates.

As a contrived example, let's say we have 3 candidates representing the two major parties and a 3rd party. We'll call them A, B, and C, where C is the 3rd party candidate. A and B each get 50% of the votes by virtue of sticking to party lines. C, being a moderate, gets 3/5 of the votes from both the people who voted for A and the people who voted for B. If we consider these two segments completely non-overlapping, then C will end up with 60% of the votes and beat out both A and B. Without approval voting C wouldn't have had a chance, because most of the people who would have voted for him/her would have rather voted for A or B because those candidates would be much more likely to win.

Re:Finally (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050206)

how is this better? You are basically going with the lowest common denominator and thus encouraging voters to select other candidates whom they don't really like just to cover their ass that the one they *really* hate doesn't have a chance. The end result could be the displacement of the candidate a majority would prefer with another. So in an election which would normally be a toss-up between the two big parties suddenly you end up with a 3rd party candidate winning - simply because each side wishes to prevent the unthinkable, their big party opponent from winning. In fact, you are creating not a positive voting system but a negative one. This seems a step backwards to me.

Re:Finally (3, Insightful)

Broolucks (1978922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050302)

Even presented like that, I wouldn't necessarily say it's a step backwards. I'd rather have a party that everybody is fine with, even if it is not their first choice, than a party that 40% of the population despises. Over time, the net effect would be a depolarization of politics, which I would say is a good thing.

Doubt it would make any difference (4, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050070)

The Legislature would still be dominated by the Rep and Dem monopoly.

BTW in the late 1800s it was pretty common for neither the R or D party to have a dominant majority. And they had the same kind of voting we do now. What's changed is the Reps and Dems have rigged the ballot so other parties have to waste efforts trying to get approval to appear. (Which is ridiculous because there's plenty of room on the computer ballot to list everyone.)

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050154)

Yes, but it might let third parties get their foot in the door. If it's free to vote for them (i.e. it doesn't cost a vote for a candidate more likely to win), you can vote for your real favorite along with the lesser-of-two-evils.

It does kind of blow the whole "one person one vote" thing out of the water though. You can basically end up with, say, 5 right wing candidates each trying to be a little less extreme and seeing how far they can go.
I much prefer the concept of ballot fusion [wikipedia.org].

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (1)

Erpo (237853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050208)

I'll take your word for it that the ballot has been rigged so that other parties have to waste efforts trying to get approval to appear. However, the reasoning I have used to vote for one of the two major parties goes like this:

1. Either major party X or major party Y is definitely going to win the election.
2. Both X and Y are pretty bad, but X is better than Y most of the time.
3. I'll vote for the X, the lesser of two evils.

I'm certain this is the way I make the decision. I'm pretty sure this is the way the rest of my family does it as well. When I talk to people who are disappointed by the current two party system, this is the reasoning that they articulate to me.

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (0)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050234)

This is why I choose not to vote. The problem with choosing the lesser of the two evils is that it implies that evil is acceptable. If X and Y are both pretty bad, then screw them both. Neither of them gets my support.

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050332)

Your reasoning is probably not all that different from everyone else. Many people (probably you and certainly I) *WANT* more choices, and the ability to cast an approval vote for a "third party" without throwing our vote away.

Voters are so apathetic, many don't even bother to vote- knowing that voting for a Republicrat or a Republicrat doesn't result in any meaningful change.

I don't know which "approval voting" system is best- there are many, and they can be complicated. But with the current system, it is nearly impossible for any candidate not in the "big two" to win for anything other than small/local type elections. So in this regard, just about ANY other system of voting is better than what we have now.

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050254)

The Legislature would still be dominated by the Rep and Dem monopoly.

However, for primaries this is big, because it means there might actually be competition and choice. Approval voting at least reduces the problem of the 3rd option spoiler (i.e., I could safely have voted for Kucinich 1st, Obama 2nd, etc.). This dynamic could drastically change how money in these elections would affect outcomes, and thus change the general election as well... what would have happened if, say, Huckabee the republican primary in New Hampshire in 2008? No more McCain, Obama might have not been such a desirable candidate vs. now front-runner Huckabee... who knows.

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050408)

Maybe initially, but over time a system like this would erode the two party system. There is little reason for two parties if you don't have the vote splitting effect that we have in our current system. Their power would go away since centrist candidates would have the advantage in a system with approval voting.

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050442)

I prefer that we do away with political parties. George Washington seemed to be against them and didn't have one himself though afaik he was the only one so it didn't last long. I think he was spot on that the party would put their interests above the nations.

If you agree with someone why does it matter which party they're in?

Re:Doubt it would make any difference (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050446)

It's not really rigged. For the most part, at least in areas I am families with, if you held 5 or 10 percent of the populous vote the previous election, your party is automatically on the ballot for that same seat. You just need to hold a caucus or primary according to the state's laws to decide who that candidate is going to be. That's nothing different from the two major parties.

Where it does become different is that you need signatures on petition to get your candidate on the ballot if you didn't hold 5 or 10 percent of the vote in the previous election for that same seat. The number of signatures usually varies but it's generally tied to the number of people who voted for the last elected governor of the state (eg, number totaling 5% of the total number of votes cast in favor of the last elected governor in the last gubernatorial race)..

Awesome if it works (4)

HamSammy (1716116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050072)

If it really does make elections easier for third parties, I'm all for it (especially the Libertarians!). Personally, I'd love to see more parties come to power; our current two-party system is pretty much broken. Hopefully it would reduce or eliminate gridlock caused by representatives voting along party lines, and eliminate representatives put in their positions due to the same voting by the American People. One can dream...

Re:Awesome if it works (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050250)

Technically, it eliminates the main reason for parties to form in the first place, which is to minimize the effects of vote-splitting by way of reducing similar candidates on the ballot. Instead of parties, there might simply be organizations that promote their agendas and the thereby promote all candidates that advance those agendas. In the end, we get centrist candidates. Elections would be a lot less dramatic and exciting, but I think we can live with that.

Re:Awesome if it works (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050454)

I think we should do away with political parties completely. Either you agree with someone's views or not. The party they're in shouldn't make difference.

Re:Awesome if it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050412)

I wouldn't get your hopes up. Two states, Louisiana and Washington, switched from first-past-the-post to instant runoff voting a while ago, and it hasn't done anything for third parties. Instead, what they got was four or five Democrats running against four or five Republicans. While I can see changes to voting systems killing off the practice of running spoiler candidates to split the vote, I can't see this improving things for third parties.

Wonderful start (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050092)

This is a WONDERFUL start. I have been saying, for so many years, that until the electoral college is removed and things are switched to approval voting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting [wikipedia.org] like Instant Runoff or similar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRV [wikipedia.org] we will NEVER see any real change. The "two party system" ("Republicrats") we have is one of several factors that is slowly ruining the country.

Citizens deserve more choice, more power, and more say in who is elected. People should not be forced to throw away their vote by voting their true position OR vote defensively for someone they see as the "lesser of two evils"... which is often their only choice right now.

Re:Wonderful start (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050116)

It's a shame they're not looking at the Schulze Method instead. Approval voting fails a fair number of voting criteria: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-winner_voting_system#Comparison_of_single-winner_election_methods

I disapprove of Approval Voting (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050112)

Approval Voting is a poor choice in comparison to the Schulze Method. Please stop advocating for a broken method.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schulze_method#Comparison_with_other_preferential_single-winner_election_methods [wikipedia.org]

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (2)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050182)

I approve of

  1. Schulze Method
  2. Kemeny-Young
  3. Approval Voting

Consider the first two on same preference, approval as second choice and other preferences skipped.

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (3, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050222)

The problem with the schulze method is that it is too difficult for the average voter to wrap their head around. People have a difficult time understanding how votes are counted with the systems in place today. At least with approval voting the method of tabulation is still clear cut and easy to understand. Nevermind the the fact that the Schulze method has a lot room for human error when it comes time to actually apply it.

I agree that the schulze method is preferential to approval voting, however I prefer approval voting over our current process in any election.

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050246)

All voting system are inherently broken due to Arrow's impossibility theorem. Some are just better than others. In this case, though, any preference-based system is light years ahead of FPTP, so getting there first is a big achievement in and of itself; the details can always be ironed out later (or, you know, it might just work well enough as it is).

At least it's an improvement (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050260)

Note to anyone looking for approval voting in the linked chart: it's not there, that chart only compares "ranking" voting systems, and approval voting isn't one. Here's the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting [wikipedia.org]

Sounds like a good move. Getting Schulze voting would be better, and I hope it takes off in the future (I heard Australia uses a form of Schulze voting). I'd definitely be in favour of moving from first-past-the-post to approval voting.

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050262)

Range voting is easier to understand for non-geek voters, and does a good job minimizing the regret metric.
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Gaming-the-Vote/William-Poundstone/e/9780809048922/?itm=2&USRI=gaming+the+vote [barnesandnoble.com]

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050444)

No, despite Poundstone's conclusions, range voting is terrible. A smart (i.e. strategic) voter in a range system would simply vote 0 or 100 for every candidate (giving 100 to all candidates that they prefer to the one they feel is most likely to win, zero to the others). But then all those good people trying to vote "honestly" would have less influence.

Approval is a very good system, as it doesn't really offer an choice between honesty and strategy. You vote strategically by default.

(although Condorcet systems such as Schulze are better, because you don't even have to think about how others are likely to vote, except in extremely contrived cases)

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050296)

I agree that Schulze is better, but Approval is a huge step in the right direction. The biggest problem with Approval is that you need to know who others are likely to vote for if you are to vote most effectively (you should typically approve all candidates that you prefer [or consider equal] to the one you think is most likely to win). This explains the issues pretty well: http://karmatics.com/voting/movienite.html [karmatics.com]

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050348)

Is is FAR more important to get a single non-approval vote method up and in place than to pick the single best one. In effect, your insistence on selecting the 'best' system, rather than making any choice available at all is in fact a kind of Approval voting. You are voting for the single candidate you consider to be the best, as opposed to voting for multiple candidates.

Re:I disapprove of Approval Voting (1)

Broolucks (1978922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050452)

In theory, I guess it is better, but considering the fact most people don't know what they are doing, I reckon that the gains one would get using Schulze over approval are not particularly meaningful. In all likeliness, parties will simply publish a canonical "preference list" for their supporters to use, and they will know no better. Approval voting solves the vote fragmentation problem, which most people will understand with minimal explanations, whereas I would be hard pressed to explain the advantages of the Schulze method to laymen.

I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050122)

Hopefully, this will pass, and they will follow it up with getting rid of the primaries altogether. There's no need for a playoff if you're using a system like this.

Although, I think a weighted system would work a little better. Just because two or more candidates might be acceptable to me, doesn't mean that they're equally acceptable to me.

I think the best system, though, is one where everyone ranks the acceptable candidates, then the computer runs through every possible paring (shouldn't be too bad, it's just O(N^2) in the obvious algorithm, and there are a number of obvious things you can do to pare down N and reduce the data). In one of those pairs, the winning candidate will have more votes than in all of the other pairs. That's the most acceptable candidate. I'm sure that there's a name for such a system, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050152)

Upon further reflection, I think the method I outlined will not necessarily get the most preferred candidate. But I still think the idea of trying out every possible pair is part of the way to find the most preferred candidate.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050396)

This is something like "instant runoff", I think- they keep adding in 2nd, 3rd etc choices until someone gets over 50%. It means you can't win with a plurality alone: you have to have a majority of the 1st and 2nd choices, or the 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050470)

If some right wing radical nationalist got 20% while everyone else got 15%, that would make him the "most preferred candidate". The idea is to have less radicals and more people that are the most acceptable. A country that is ruled by radicals, becomes a radical country. US is not a radical country, you can see that by the president/VP combos. Even Bush wasn't, with all his stupidity/naivety/whatever, a radical.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050166)

To answer your title question: house prices are a lot more affordable here than in many neighboring states like CT, NY, MA. No income tax/sales tax either.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (3, Informative)

brian_tanner (1022773) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050242)

...then the computer runs through every possible paring...

Because you are taking the time to think this through, I'd like to point you to the well-established research field of voting theory [wikipedia.org].

It's actually quite interesting. There are many criteria an election might hope to satisfy. Provably no voting system can satisfy even a small set of desirable criteria (see Arrow's impossibility theorem). However, in my view (and many others), the methods that consider all pairwise elections seem in some sense to be the fairest according to my own personal aesthetics. These are called Condorcet methods. They are actually even used in practice for some things, some even in the open-source community [wikipedia.org].

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

wompa (656355) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050266)

You're describing instant runoff voting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting [wikipedia.org] This is a great way to allow you to vote for third party candidates without "throwing your vote away". If we had used IRV in the 2000 elections Gore would have won by a mile as most of the Greens would have ranked Nader first and Gore second.

No, pair-wise voting. (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050434)

No, that is different. In IRV you don't compare every candidate to every other candidate; You rank them according to how many people voted each candidate as their first choice. Furthermore, you don't use all the votes at once; your second choice (and lower) votes only matter if your first choice candidate was eliminated.

What he is talking about is Pair-Wise or Condorcet voting. In that method all the votes are used from the beginning and each candidate is compared to each other candidate simultaneously. This removes many undesirable characteristics of instant runoff voting that result from the fact that only some people's second choice vote matters. The difficulty is that there are corner cases where there is no clear "correct" way to determine a winner in all cases, so there are a bunch of variations of pairwise voting with different ideas on how to do this, and they are all much harder to explain to the general public than approval or instant-runoff voting.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050460)

Actually, what zippthorne is describing sounds like Condorcet voting. There is some debate as to whether IRV is actually an improvement, and whether it would have changed to outcome of the 2000 U.S. Presidential election. In IRV, if there is not a majority winner upon first count of everyone's first choice, the candidate with the lowest first choice vote count is dropped and the second choice on each of those ballots is use to produce new totals. The process is repeated until a candidate has a majority of the votes.

So, for instance, if there were conservative or right-wing candidates with smaller vote totals than Nader, for whom votes would be thrown to Bush during the "instant runoffs", Bush could very well have had a majority before Nader's first choice ballots would have shifted to Gore.

Condorcet seems to be better in a theoretical, math geek kind of way, but it has one problem that also comes with IRV: how to design ballots for ranking candidates. It requires either a grid with the same number of columns and rows as there are candidates, or fill in the blank, in which case they must be hand entered (note: not the same as hand counted) into computers for tabulation and recounting in the case of IRV.

I like approval voting because it is so simple to implement and allows more expression of the will of each voter. The only change required is to turn the ballot boxes from radio buttons to check boxes (http://approvalvoting.org/ballots.html). Every voting district in the country should already be capable of handling it since we already do the same thing for other races--school boards, judges, etc.--where the voter is able to vote for more than one candidate in a single race and the top N candidates win the election. In this case N would be one, but the process is the same.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050268)

Hopefully, this will pass, and they will follow it up with getting rid of the primaries altogether. There's no need for a playoff if you're using a system like this.

The problem is that the primary system focuses the effort. All the R/D backers can pool their money and effort behind one candidate, as opposed to spreading it out among multiple people. This is especially relevant when you have an unopposed incumbent on one side. He gets all the money/effort/attention, where his opponents split everything 4-5 ways, putting the non-incumbent party at a disadvantage. (Even though with approval voting, you can select all 5 opposing candidates)

I think the best system, though, is one where everyone ranks the acceptable candidates, then the computer runs through every possible paring ... In one of those pairs, the winning candidate will have more votes than in all of the other pairs.

It sounds like you're talking about Condorcet voting [wikipedia.org]. It turns out that you can have situations where you have cycles. In paired match-ups A beats B, and B beats C, but C beats A. That's not fatal, as it happens rarely, and people have come up with tie-breaker systems.

That said, I much prefer approval voting to Condorcet, for several reasons. It's much easier to explain, and easier to see how your voting choices affect the election. Secondly, it's a very simple extension of the current system: instead of checking one choice, you check multiple ones. Third, and to me most importantly, the tenor of the choice changes. It's no longer "who's best" but "who would I find acceptable". In fact, I think your criticism ("they're not equally acceptable") points to exactly the reason I like approval voting. It throws out all the devious strategery and complicated horseraceing and presents a simple choice: "Do I want this person to be my representative?" Yeah, you might not like them all equally , but it's up to you where to draw the line.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050336)

A simpler method that roughly achieves your goal is the preferential system practiced in Australia

* The voter ranks the candidates from 1 to n, where n is number of candidates
    - In a variation called "optional preferential" , the voter ranks from 1 to m, where m=n
* The 1 votes are counted
* The candidate with the least number of votes is dropped, and they are redrisribuetd according to the next peference
* Repeat until only two candidtes left
* The candidate with most votes wins
 

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050354)

"Just because two or more candidates might be acceptable to me, doesn't mean that they're equally acceptable to me."

Which do you think is most common? (a) Having two or more acceptable candidates with distinctly different levels of likability, or (b) Having two or more unacceptable candidates with equal levels of "I don't really give a damn". (Or at least: equal levels of "I don't care enough to spend time ranking them.") I'll bet (b) is enormously more common -- and so we should optimize for that.

In short, most people don't have the time or attention span (or incentive) for condorcet voting. Acceptance voting is both actually feasible and a major improvement.

Re:I wonder what are housing prices like in NH... (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050400)

We have something similar. We just have half of the parliament elected on proportional basis. Parties publish a list of candidates and people not only select a party, but also five people of that party they want to see in the parliament(in descending order of importance). This brings a fun possibility - a leader of the party may not be elected as a member of parliament.
It's not a problem calculating the will of the people these days, it just brings a lot of new possibilities of expressing exactly what people want.

Who's New Hampshire Bill? (4, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050244)

I hope some day the city government of Buffalo enacts some bill that gets a /. story

Next logical step is range voting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050300)

Instead of being forced to assign a score of 0% or 100% to one (or more in this case) candidates, the obvious best choice is Range Voting. [wikimedia.org]
Assigning a score from worthless to perfect for every candidate is what any reasonable (techie/engineer/math/science) person would design if creating the system from scratch.

What we have now is stale legacy code. It's time to refactor.

Won't pass (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050318)

I can think of no way this isn't equally good for everyone. In light of that, there's a very slim chance this will pass.

Welcome to the 21st century democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050362)

2 party system is only one step from 1 party system.

Holy Smoke (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050366)

I honestly think that this is the single most important change we can make for our democracy (not to say that it's a total silver bullet, either). I'm kind of amazed that this might actually have traction anyplace. Go NH.

Blue Juice, Red Juice (1)

hercubus (755805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050416)

I'm sure the Republicans aren't just using this to get some of their NH political juice back. And if they got some back, I'm sure they wouldn't reconsider the merits of the system.
I'm also sure the Democrats will wholeheartedly support allowing voters to have more choice, even at the expense of some of their own newfound political juice in NH.
Yes, I'm being totally serious. No, reeeeallllyyyyy

Hopefully this doesn't just lead to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35050418)

...voters flip-flopping at an alarming rate between just Democrats and Republicans because they don't get a specific thing they wanted. I know people hope this will open people's eyes to other parties, but power comes from $$$ for commercials/campain ads and people not wanting to think into detail about what their candidates really stand for outside of their affiliated party's definition.

This arguing between the standards (1)

Yosho-sama (800703) | more than 3 years ago | (#35050450)

... of right and left is getting pretty absurd. There's more than one right and left. They're just general guidelines that show a position between communism and fascism, progressiveness and conservatism and atheism versus religiosity. All those are mutually exclusive of each other. You can be be progressive or conservative and still be fascist. North Korea is a great example of that. It's a "communist" state that's completely conservative and there are no Gods in North Korea save Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il. Of course you can completely rip that statement apart, but that's why the idea of polar opposites is a guideline and all this arguing I see on slashdot is completely ridiculous. I'm intrigued by the post on slashdot, but the attached link is pretty sparse on details, so I came in here to read up on what other people had to say and I was amazed by the amount of eye-spitting and bullshit I had to sift through before I said enough.
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