Election Systems Widen The Political Divide

The political divide we know

There is a divide in our nation’s political landscape. That’s not news as everyone is suffering through the vitriol language and the win-at-all-coststype of political maneuverings.

060618 political divide

We may not clearly see what divides us as we live on either side of these fault lines. It’s easy to blame political policies, politicians, and political parties. That’s only part of the picture.

The political system limits our ability to choose

We are mostly politically divided due to the democratic system we exercise. In elections, we are asked to make a binary decision between two choices. We vote for or against a given candidate. We vote for or against an issue. The voting system does not allow us to reveal our sentiments along a spectrum.

Our voting choices deserve better treatment and respect.

We are a choosy species, making selections every day. We can be pretty picky. Consider our big purchases in life. Where we choose to live depends on a wide range of options: location, price, type of home, age of neighborhood, amenities, and so on.

Selecting a vehicle is also dependent upon options—so many options! Such as: new car or used, make, safety ratings, gas mileage, style, color, and so on.

The point here is that we tend to make major choices along a spectrum, not across a divide. We fine-tune our choices, avoiding either-or dilemmas. As individuals, that’s important to us. We like being in control.

Proportional voting promises better results

David Brooks in the New York Times writes in favor of proportional voting in his article, “One Reform to Save America.” He points out that we select candidates mostly via a two-party system (that divide thing again). He’s an advocate for multimember districts and ranked-choice voting. It can seem complicated (it’s really not). Voting for state and local government positions would indicate favorites along a spectrum of desirability.

Mr. Brooks points out:

There’s a reason voters in proportional representation countries are less disenchanted with politics than we are. Their systems work better.

If you wish to learn more about Ranked Choice Voting, check out Ballotopedia’s explanation of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Seven states have cities that use RCV. Maine voters have approved RCV for selecting U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, the governor, state senators, and state representatives.

Note: RCV is not the same as the top two-primary system, exercised by California. To learn more of this check out the Los Angeles Times article. It’s a rather radical approach that, in my view, creates more confusion than needed.

Lee Drutman’s article, “The Case for Proportional Voting” in National Affairstells of democratic voting history both here and in Europe. It’s a good hike through the pages of history, both here and abroad, and helps us appreciate our voting mechanisms. Mr. Drutman points out that foreign governments using proportional voting:

… do a better job of representing the median voter, and politics is generally more stable; voting rates are higher, and support for democracy is higher; and it is easier to marginalize extremism.

This is appealing on an individual voter level. Our true voting sentiment is better captured. How would proportional voting affect a state’s votes (electoral votes) for a nation’s president?

Equal Voice Voting narrows the political divide

The Electoral College captures our voting sentiment on a state-by-state basis. Imagine if your state’s voting for our nation’s president did not result in a binary (for/against) vote for a candidate. What if your state, at the end of the voting experience, was not simply colored red or blue (Republican or Democrat)? Imagine if your state’s election results was a blend of colors.

The 2016 election results, if Equal Voice Voting(EVV) had been used across the nation, would appear like this:

060618 EVV 2016 results

The states would mostly be shades of purple. As you can see, few states would remain red: North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Vermont and Washington, D.C. would remain blue. The rest would be varying purple hues.

To build on Mr. Drutman’s proportional voting assessment above, Equal Voice Voting likewise would provide substantial advantages such as:

  • Improved voter representation
  • Improved candidate representation
  • Improved voter turnout.

It follows that support for our democratic process would narrow the political divide that stretches our patience today. EVV is simply a more practical, less radical means to select our president than what we currently experience. EVV needs neither a Constitutional amendment nor a risky interstate compact (as required by the National Popular Vote bill). It honors the Electoral College and rids the voting public of the winner-takes-all burden.

Please take steps to ensure your presidential vote makes a difference. Share this information with those you know. Tell them you support EVV because it:

  • Makes every vote count
  • Make all states matter