The Default Is The Worst

Let me tell you about the default option, vote-for-1.

We are allowed to approve of one, and all other candidates are rated as equally undesirable.
Maybe we like two? Too bad!
Your vote is interpreted as love for one, and indifference for all the others.
Vote-for-1 is a bad gauge of what voters actually want.
In fact, it has conditioned us to believe that there can be only one.
The two-party system loves that.

So based on a farcical survey, the candidate who is allegedly most loved wins the election.
What if most voters hate him?
Too bad!
Vote-for-1 does not measure consensus.

Three candidates:
– Rapist
– Lawyer
– Entrepreneur
65% of voters despise Rapist, and would prefer anyone else. Vote-for-1 doesn’t care.
– Rapist 35% (Tax cuts.)
– Lawyer 34%
– Entrepreneur 31%
* Rapist wins. Yay. *
THE MOST OFFENSIVE CANDIDATE WINS, because vote-for-1 hires the one having the largest number of favorite votes.

For the sake of conforming to this defective election method, people feel pressure to not run.
In the example above, Professor Taxcutter decided to not run, out of concern that splitting voters with Rapist would have elected Lawyer. But anti-tax voters who desired an alternative to Rapist – including the ones that chose to not vote – might have elected the Professor.
If Entrepreneur had dropped out, it would probably be Lawyer by a landslide, and vice-versa.

Vote-splitting is not an issue when there are only two candidates.
Because of that, and because the two major parties don’t like competition, we have laws that guide elections in that direction, such as:
– Partisan primaries / private organizations exploiting government resources
– Sore-loser laws / political parties’ rights over the rights of individuals
– High fees and high numbers of petition signatures / restricting ballot access
– Top-2 elections. They’re not the worst, but limiting people to one vote entrenches the two-party system. A single-ballot Approval vote when there are few candidates, or a Top-3 with Vote-for-2, would be much better.

Summary of why vote-for-1 is awful:
1. Inaccurately measures approval.
2. Ignores disapproval.
3. Discourages candidates from running.
4. Promotes a divisive two-party duopoly.
5. Most pathetically stupid, the least popular candidate will occasionally win.
In a close 3-way race, DRAWING STRAWS will produce better winners than letting vote-splitting spoil the process.

So that’s the default. That’s the mess you’re choosing when you don’t ask for Ranked Choice.
ANY other election method would be better than vote-for-1, which, due to the reasons above, can do justice maybe only 50% of the time.

Instant-Runoff Ranked Choice is likely to work right 95% of the time.
Ranking collects more information from voters.
Vote-splitting is much less of a concern.
The most popular one might not win if vote-splitting eliminates them early (that’s part of the 5%).
But I’d rather have a rare glitch than a constant stupidity.

We can tune it up later. We can use a combo of Favorite and Approval, or a Condorcet final. I have plans.

But for now, NOW, tell the legislature and governor that it’s time to make a change. In Nebraska, in 2021, the bill is LB125, for Ranked Choice in elections for legislature, governor, and congress.

Most importantly, it’s time to stop using vote-for-1.


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