What voting mechanism would you like/prefer?

Assume you had the option of changing the electoral system in the United States, how would you change it? Poll options above with potential voting mechanism. The “Other” option is also in this poll in case I missed something.

EDIT: Poll in development.

While we’re talking about voting systems, Cardinal voting rules are in effect for the poll so that if you are split between two systems (you can discuss which is better), you may do so.

EDIT: I went with Electoral College/Ranked voting. The winner take all system is detrimental to third/fourth party candidates, a ranked system would work better, in my opinion. While it’s easier to say yes or no, electing Presidents shouldn’t be easy decision for the US.

Electoral college selects 2-3 candidates, using whatever method they decide. They get to choose who they want to bring in as potential candidaets. They are able to call those candidates in, as well as any subject experts they might wish, etc. and question them (similar to how congress runs a hearing). After a couple of weeks of deliberation, they provide their vetted candidates.

The candidates will then have a chance to present (powerpoint style) their goals and strategy for the nation to the people. This would be their only real “campaign” for the position. Though, everything from the electoral college investigation would be public, of course.

From there, a popular vote, using ranked voting, will be performed and be decisive. This vote could follow either the flat popular vote or the electoral college apportionment, I am not particular.

For me, the important thing is hiring people who are good at what they do and have a clear plan that passes a hard look. After you’ve got that, most anything is fine. The goal isn’t to find the person who the majority is less unhappy with, nor is it to find the person who sides with the cities against the countryside. Giving the countryside a slight advantage probably don’t hurt since they’re the minority and our system of government was set up to serve minorities as much as it serves the majority. Ultimately, so long as the candidates themselves are reasonable and capable human beings who care about the fate of the nation, the selection process after that can be whatever you want.


Over the long run, I feel like this would probably result in military rule.

I would prefer something like the original system, refined. There would be one or two electors from each state and one or two from each of about 150 or so federally apportioned districts. They would have a convention to choose a new president or, if they could not, affirm by default the sitting president, unless that was not an option. I would also use them to choose the Speaker and perhaps a few cabinet positions, as needed.

There would be an election every two years. There would be no VP, because the most recent group of electors would simply reconvene to choose a replacement (with the Speaker filling in in the interim). Term limits would be open-ended: the president, for example, would be allowed to serve 10 of 16 years before becoming eligible for re-election.

You’ll be happy to hear our wise and enlightened friends, the Iranians, do this already. :slight_smile:

At the moment, I see that people like direct voting compared to the college. It’s a small collection, so with a bigger collection, I might be able to see truly what people in this forum like.

I voted Other, because a system that I originally proposed as a joke back in school seems more and more like it might actually do some good. (It’s simple enough that I doubt I actually invented it, but in my occasional jaunts through Wikipedia’s election systems articles, I haven’t found it yet. Feel free to fight my ignorance if you know otherwise!)

My system begins with an election similar to the current process, except that every voter may either cast a vote for their preferred candidate, -OR- an “anti-vote” for the candidate they least prefer. The winner is the candidate with the highest positive vote total. In the event that no candidate’s total is positive, an abbreviated re-nomination process occurs to select new candidates, since obviously nobody liked the ones we had, and then a two-month campaign and re-election follows.

I originally proposed this system as a cure for the falsely-dichotomous status quo the U.S. seems unable to escape from, where (IMO) more people vote [D/R] in opposition to [R/D] than because they feel that person is the overall best candidate…and again, I was half-joking at the time. In the current environment, though, I suspect that the vote totals for both Trump and Clinton would’ve been close to straight-up swapped from positive to negative, give or take about 20%. Granted, in this election cycle we’d likely have ended up with President Gary Johnson, but you have to ask yourself if that’d really be worse than where we are now.

As a bonus side-effect, this system would essentially eliminate negative campaign ads, since parties would be strongly incented to encourage positive votes for themselves rather than negative votes for other candidates. Overall, I think the Roland System™ would be a plus.

Parliamentary. Have some arbitrary method for drawing Congressional districts so that, whatever the biases of the method, the districts were immune to human manipulation. Then let the majority party in Congress choose the President. Turn the Senate into a House of Lords with perhaps a limited veto power.

Can someone explain what the poll options means?

My preferred system is a multi party system (at least 4 or 5 parties, not just the major 2) with instant runoff voting (or something similar).

I’m not sure if I prefer a parlimentary system or our system. Under a parlimentary system, the winning party has more power. But with partisanship being what it is in the US, that probably means every 2-6 years the parties switch and try to undo what the last party does.

Every state should elect to do what Maine will start doing with the 2020 election. I’m not just saying that because I live here but because I think it makes a lot of sense and wouldn’t require a constitutional amendment to implement. The statewide winner of the popular vote gets two electoral votes and the winner of each congressional district gets one electoral vote. (This process has been in place since the 1972 election, I believe). Furthermore, thanks to a referendum that passed last month, Maine will use ranked-choice ballots (the “instant runoff”) to determine the popular vote winner rather than a plurality vote.

Our current system is fine. It protects the interest of the small states while giving the large states proportional representation. It’s funny how with all the calls to eliminate the EC I haven’t heard anyone talking about how the Senate is undemocratic.

That’s funny, because more than once since the election, I’ve seen calls to eliminate the EC that specifically referenced that the Senate already gave the less populous states enough extra power.

First of all, it doesn’t give the large states proportional representation. If they did have proportional representation, then California would have nearly 200 electoral votes (in proportion to Wyoming’s three). Second, plenty of folks talk about how the Senate is undemocratic; it’s just that that’s nearly impossible to change. And third, even if you want to keep the electoral college, there’s still plenty of room for variation in how the electors are chosen.

Personally, what I’d like to see is representation by sortition, as this manages to bypass Arrow’s theorem and all of the associated paradoxes, and also ensures fair representation of all forms of demographics, no matter how small or finely-sliced. The basic idea is that you’d choose representatives the same way we choose jurors: Randomly selected from the entire pool of adult citizens. Ideally, I’d do away with the congressional districts, and just (for instance) make 53 random selections from the entirety of California. Or maybe even just do it nationwide, though that would be similar enough and hard enough to pass politically that it might not be worth it.

The one modification I would make, though, is that I wouldn’t choose the representatives directly, since most folks know someone else whom they think would make a better representative. So I’d instead randomly-select the appropriate number of electors, and each elector can choose one representative (whoever they want, including a friend, family member, or themself).

Now, a system like this would be too volatile to use for the President, and even within the legislature, it might still be good to have some seasoned hands who stick around long-term and can preserve institutional knowledge. So I think what I’d do would be to keep the Senate more or less as it is, but make the House of Representatives randomly-chosen. Bills would be passed by majority vote of the entire legislature (so one Senator’s vote counts the same as one Representative’s): This would decrease the power of the Senate, which I regard as a feature, not a bug. And the entire legislature would likewise vote to select the President, parliamentary-style, complete with a Vote of No Confidence mechanism to change leadership if the current guy screws up too badly.

So do we:


There are 5 systems in the options, Electoral College is the system we have now, Direct voting is popular voting only, Two-round system (used in Chicago) is two elections with a runoff, and exhaustive ballot is multiple elections, with runoffs for when candidates have enough votes. The last one is the original design for the 1787 system, where congress gets to decide.

You can pick multiple options, for example, you would like direct voting, but also with runoffs, or let congress decide with exceptions, etc. Other is for what you think should be implemented that is not covered by the options.

Additionally, there is winner-take-all options and ranked-voting options. Ranked is when you select a candidate by rank, for example, 1. Harold Washington, 2. Richard M. Daley, 3. Jane Byrne, 4. Alphonse Capone, etc. (The election I listed never took place).

I still think we should pick our government on the football field. “Voting” is silly. You don’t get a Super Bowl ring just because more fans showed up with painted faces for you.

Keep the current system, but eliminate the Electoral College. That is, keep the ‘electoral college votes’, but do away with the electors themselves; whichever candidate wins the majority of EC votes wins the Presidency, without having to wait 6 weeks for 538 people to get together to cast the “official” votes.

I’d also like to see Presidential candidates without running mates. The winner of the general election becomes POTUS, and the runner up becomes VP.

Approval Voting. It retains the relationship between the elected and electorate, negates to a large extent the party system, and allows for multi-member constituencies.