I don't know whether others have proposed this idea in the past or not, but a simple and effective way to achieve major voter reform and dramatically increase voter turn-out and citizen participation would be to maintain everything that exists in the voting process as it now stands, with one simple difference. Instead of only being allowed to cast one's vote for the candidate that they support, they would have the alternative of casting their vote AGAINST a candidate on the ballot whom, above all others, they oppose.
This simple extension of choice available to voters would allow them to have a meaningful role in casting their vote in an era where their is often great ambivalence among voters about who could do a better job than the current candidate (in circumstances where an incumbent is on the ballot). Those who have convictions about their candidate of choice will, no doubt, cast their vote as an affirmative vote for that candidate, whereas those who are ambivalent in their support for a given candidate (and hence are the ones most likely to not cast their vote) and now given a new powerful option to cast their vote as a negative vote against a candidate they feel strongly opposed to.
The ballot as we know it, would now have two columns instead of one against the list of candidates. One column would represent an affirmative vote in support of the candidate opposite the x, whereas the second column would represent a negative vote in opposition to the candidate opposite the x.
Think about the effect this would have on voter turnout and citizen participation. It would almost be like a conventional vote and a recall vote (like they have in California, for example) all rolled into one. Additionally this idea would introduce elements of proportional representation into today's system which goes by the name of first past the post.
As we have learned firsthand from the Robocall scandal currently enveloping the Harper government, in which voters were called by unscrupulous persons who impersonated Elections Canada in the hopes of sending targeted voters to bogus polling stations to cast their votes, that voter turnout and conversely voter suppression is an election strategy in its own right, An election strategy that can dramatically effect the election outcome and one that inherently benefits certain candidates over others (even where robocalls are not taking place). This proposal for voter reform I am recommending would take away the element of voter turnout (that is subject to direct tactics of voter suppression) from the dynamics of elections, while achieving all of its other benefits and the extension of voter choice.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Posted by Brent Fullard at 1:05 PM