Why is it so difficult to create a voting system everyone can agree upon?

Alright, how does this sound?

First, we make an electronic voting machine with whatever features that most electronic voting systems work upon. We get the advantage of quickly and accurately compiled results, cost saving from human vote-counters in non-disputed elections, and whatever other reasons people want to switch over from current voting systems for.

Second, we attach a “vote receipt” printer to this electronic system. After someone fills out their “electronic ballot,” before the ballot is submitted, this reciept prints out in large letters. People are told to verify the reciept manually, and if it is acceptable, the ballot is submitted and the reciept is then placed in a large ballot lock box to serve as a permanent, non-electronic, relatively tamper-proof, auditable record of the election. If a mistake has been made, people can start over and get a new ballot. Each vote could be coded with its own digital key or string of digits to make it even harder to tamper with. Of course, this key would correspond in no way with the individual to cast that vote.

If someone objects to the election results, all the county has to do is open up their big old box o’ votes, read the clear digital print outs, and retabulate the results.

How much does a reciept printer like this cost compared to the fiasco in Florida or the complete price of a new electronic voting machine? Can we all be quiet and happy with our spiffy new voting system?

Any objections?

Well, if you’re voting, you’re trying to be democratic. In so doing, you essentially guarantee that not everyone will agree on the voting method. You’ll even get into an argument about how you voted on the voting method. It would be an endless and fruitless debate.

The best approach should be to say “Screw what you may think, I’ve thought long and hard, and this is the best way to vote. This is the method you will use. If you don’t like it, too effing bad.”

Maybe your idea is the best; it doesn’t matter. The reason we can’t find a better electoral system is not because no better systems exist, but because we’d need a vote to ratify it. Ironically, by trying to find a way to cast the vote that best allows the will of the people to be done, you will upset some segment of the electorate, and your efforts to reform will likely be foiled. Hence, oddly, it is easier to stick with the pathetic system we have now, even if, on occasion, it makes the majority of voters unhappy with the outcome.