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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Thursday May 23, 2002
08:05 PM

Alternative Vote system

[ #5189 ]
Dear Log,

«Under the Jenkins proposals, even a Le Pen-sized vote for the BNP would not have brought it within shooting distance of winning a constituency seat. The alternative vote system (AV) proposed by Jenkins - in which voters rank candidates in order of preference - requires the winning candidate to get the support of at least half of those voting.

AV is a good way of stopping the far right winning constituency seats. In Australia in 1998, for example, Pauline Hanson - a far-right candidate - won 36% of the first preference votes in her Queensland constituency. But the AV system meant that that was not enough to win. The Liberals took the seat. Had AV been used in France Le Pen would have been defeated.»

--"Is this the end for electoral reform?: Some see Le Pen's victory as proof that PR can't work. They are wrong"

The depressing part is that while other countries can talk about electoral system reform, in the US this is considered as inherently unrealistic as talking about changing the atomic weight of carbon. And this intertia is mostly self-fulfilling: These days, the chances of a substantial chance to the US federal constitution are zero, plus or minus zero, with a long-term projected increase of zero.
The only laws that would get the kind of necessary support are ones that are pushed by a massive corporation (and/or a TV priest), have "Patriot" in the title, or are named after a dead child. Compared to that, there's not much glamor in, say, instituting a "confusing" new electoral system that might have such upsetting potential effects as eroding the US's two-party bipolar system. God forbid.

Altho I am wary of the very American tendency to underestimate Americans and am aware of being subject to it myself, I do worry about the mental fitness of a country that couldn't even wrap its collective mind around the metric system, and whose reaction to all other countries' electoral systems is basically "they vote there? how cute!".

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  • Changes (Score:2, Insightful)

    Your misinterpretation of the facts regarding your concern over the mental fitness of the nation aside, there is a lot of room for changes in the election system that would not involve any changes to the Constitution. For example, the system you mention could be instituted in any or all of the states, as a means of deciding who gets which electoral votes, as long as the 14th Amendment Sections 1 and 2, for due process and right to vote, are followed.

    Sure, you can't just dissolve the electoral system easil
  • It seems to me that plenty of people are either contemplating electoral reform or open to considering it. After the 2000 election every other pundit (and especially the Democratic ones) were wondering aloud what could be done to prevent a minority-elected president in the future. But most people who start thinking about this run into the sense that there's no easy fix that would never break down or that won't come back to haunt them later on. (E.g.: Republicans who voted for the 22nd Amendment in the wak