Is voting the best way to elect people?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by LethalWolfe, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    Something leekohler said in another thread started the snowballing of thoughts in my head and here's where I've ended up.

    Since voluntary polls aren't statistically accurate as typically only the people that very feel strongly one way or the other on the given issue will bother to take the poll, and voting is basically a voluntary poll, why not use scientific polls instead of votes to decide elections?

    What are the pros and cons (besides the who Constitution thing)?


    Lethal
     
  2. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #2
    I'm all for voting, but you cannot argue that the current US system isn't failing the electorate. Your problem is that the corrupt top brass of the Republican and Democrat parties get to pick the candidates from amongst their own number, then present them to you all as if there's an actual difference.

    So you get spoilt rich brat vs. spoilt rich brat, with both sides heavily funded by special interest groups and promoted by their friends in the media as the only alternatives.

    The vibration you feel is George Washington spinning in his grave :rolleyes:
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #3
    ooh! a renewable energy source!
     
  4. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a

    OnceUGoMac

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    #4
    That's not entirely true. The political parties have committees in each state. These committees decide who they'll back financially. Each state also has primaries to determine who'll be the party's nominee. That said, it is true that the national committees back nominees, but that is usually reserved for a state where the election is close. For example, Connecticut's Republican challanger for the senate is backed by the state party, but not by the national party, mainly because there's no chance of him winning. It'd be a waste of resources. On a final note, while I agree that the affluant have an advantage, that certainly doesn't keep the qualified from taking office. Clinton and Obama spring to mind. Neither of them were groomed to be in office by the elite. Most of our leaders are grass roots.
     
  5. beatsme macrumors 65816

    beatsme

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    #5
    I'd always thought the danger was that, as with any poll (or so I think), the manner in which the questions are framed can affect the outcome. For example, and I'm pulling this from memory, during the 1992 Presidential, Ross Perot polled favorably on candidate preference questionaires when the choices appeared like this:

    Do you prefer
    Bush
    Clinton
    Perot

    but when the choices appeared like this

    Do you prefer
    Bush
    Perot
    Clinton

    Perot faired much worse. I believe the reasoning was that the order of the candidates affected the respondent's perception. When Perot was lumped in the middle of the two candidates, it appeared that he was just another candidate and one without a clearly defined message at that. But when Perot's name appeared at the end, it appeared that he was a viable alternative to the two established politicians.

    Or so the argument went anyway.

    Really, I think the problem exists at the state level. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the candidate who wins the popular vote in any particular state is to receive all of that state's electoral votes. We just do it that way, because...well, we just do. IMHO a more equitable arrangement would be for the candidates to split the electoral vote count i.e. if you get 40% of the state vote, then you get 40% of that state's electoral votes.

    Just my opinion...
     
  6. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #6
    But from what I can see the primary system gets heavily manipulated by the national parties, especially when Presidential candidates are involved. In the run up to John Kerry's nomination you could almost see the media lining up to promote him as the "natural choice", to the point where I suspected the Republican Party where actually orchestrating it as he was a far weaker candidate IMO than others the Democrats could have put forward.

    The process also appears to have changed greatly towards favouring the already privileged since Clinton was chosen as a candidate in 1992, although I'm guessing that's a cyclical thing more than anything.
     
  7. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #7
    I've been mulling over this very question in another thread.

    I think that between software, good ID solutions, decent integration of services and random selection of voters to cut back on "poll fatigue" (see "Jury pool") the system could be juiced up tremendously.


    I think I'll post a long answer later today, but for now, my Friday is over. ;)
     
  8. Macnoviz macrumors 65816

    Macnoviz

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Roeselare, Belgium
    #8
    There are a few flaws in US voting (I'm from Belgium, so I don't know the finesses)
    In our country, people are obliged to go voting (they can of course choose to vote blank, but they have to go anyway)
    Of course, we have a lot of people concentrated in a relatively small country, so most of us can just walk to the place where you have to vote)
    When voting is voluntary, it distorts the image of what all Americans think.

    There is also the fact that a president is mostly elected based on how much "support" from business he has, and how well he is connected (nephews and such)
    It's hard to solve, but there should really be a way to make that better.

    Lastly, a 2 party system is really narrow, we have about 6 parties, (liberals, socialists, christian democrats(no, not like that, Catholics, and very central), green (enviromentalists), NVA (a bit like the Christian democrats) and one extreme right party (gaining votes every year)

    Mostly, different parties have to form a coalition to have a majority, and I think that represents the will of the people in a better way.


    We have our problems, too, of course, but I think voting in US can definitly be improved
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #9
    I'm afraid old George will eventually wear out. Tom Jefferson spun so much and in so many different directions that he completely stripped his gimbals ages ago.
     
  10. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #10
    when people get to know the candidate through this kind of psychological way, u know the system is failing.....
     
  11. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #11
    Yeah, a two party system is very narrow and really doesn't represent the US population.
     
  12. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #12
    Our voting system could work very well if the corporations money was removed from it. At the moment its more about getting money from the corporations to smear your opponet over and over on Tv. Then the politician is obligated to work for the corporations who has bank rolled all those commercials, trips, golfing,dinners,. What is worse though is the corporations pad both sides of the isle so in the end they are represented and we are not. This is America's biggest problem and a threat to our republic.
     
  13. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #13
    What did I say? :) It's nice to know that I'm thought-provoking. ;)
     
  14. thedude110 macrumors 68020

    thedude110

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    #14
    A little bit too Enlightenmenty for me. Science does a real good job of measuring perception but a real lousy job of disassociating perception and truth. And as hypotheses go, democracy is pretty messy, anyway.

    In fair turn, I'd say divine right is probably the way to go if we could just get around to finding the right god.
     
  15. Lau Guest

    #15
    I think the principle of compulsory voting is interesting.

    On one hand, it gets everyone there and voting, and probably gets a fair few folk there who do feel strongly about a party or a candidate to vote when they wouldn't have otherwise. I also think the motion of spoiling your paper is a strong one. If 50% of the voters spoil their paper — what does that say about the current government? If 50% of the voters don't bother to turn up in a voluntary election, who knows how many of them are actually pissed off, and how many just don't care? In other words, it makes everyone state their position (even if that position is a protest) and that's not a bad thing, in my opinion.

    On the other hand, the whole process of voting is supposed to be democratic, and so forcing someone to do so seems slightly against that principle, I think. The other danger of compulsory voting is that it would force people who don't give a toss to vote for someone. I absolutely agree that everyone should have the opportunity to vote, but should someone who usually can't be arsed to walk round the corner to vote be forced to do so? I don't think you have to know a lot about politics to vote, but to have enough of an interest to be bothered to vote is hugely important, in my opinion, even if it's a protest vote. Having said that, if voting was compulsory, maybe at least some people would pay more attention. You never know. :p

    I do think the turnout for voting is absolutely shocking in both the UK and the US, but I'm not sure the answer is compulsory voting. Having inspiring, straightforward and moderate politicians to vote for would be a good start, preferably without a penchant for being bought by big industry and starting illegal wars...
     
  16. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #16
    We have compulsory voting here in Australia just like the guy earlier from Belgium. We are obliged to turn up to the polling booth but don't have to actually vote if we don't wish - you just turn in a blank card in your little envelope.

    I think voting should be compulsory, no government has the right to declare a mandate if it doesn't have the support of the majority of the people. If only 50% of the voting public turn up then a government could claim power with a theoretical majority of 25.1% of the actual voting population. That's not good enough.

    Remember, you're not made to VOTE, just to appear at the venue and have your name ticked off the electoral roll. We all vote anyway though, it's not like it's hard to do - just numbering a card from 1 to whatever next to the names of your local candidates. None of this electronic butterfly-form malarkey here.
     
  17. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #17
    While I don't much care for the idea of compulsory voting, I do rather fancy the idea of making Election Day a federal holiday, perhaps even a mandatory paid holiday if you can show that you went to vote.
     
  18. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a

    OnceUGoMac

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    #18
    I agree with making Election Day a Federal holiday. I'm not too sure about the mandatory pay, however. Small businesses would be hurt by that.
     
  19. beatsme macrumors 65816

    beatsme

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    #19
    it practically is already since all the schools, all the banks, and the post office are closed...

    personally, I think we'd get better voter turnout if instead of having only one day to cast your ballot, you got two: Saturday and Sunday. You'd get two days to cast your ballot instead of one, and you wouldn't have to bother missing work. The way it is now, if you're a 9 to 5 guy, you either get up early to vote before work, or you stop by on your way home, either of which is a pain in the @ss. Making it easier would be a step in the right direction. Plus you know the networks would love it. Have the polls close at 5pm PST, and then you can probably have the full count in by midnight eastern...
     
  20. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a

    OnceUGoMac

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    #20
    I've lived all over the country and no place has had the schools, banks, and post offices closed on Election Day. Where do you live?
     
  21. beatsme macrumors 65816

    beatsme

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    #21
    in VA & WV it's all closed...

    well, let me qualify, in WV it's all closed, and in VA it certainly used to be (a few years back), though whether that's the case now I can't say for sure.

    EDIT: this is the general election we're talking about, right?
     
  22. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #22
    It's either late or just wishful thinking, but I read this thread title as "Is voting the best way to EJECT people?" three times before I got it right. :p

    B
     
  23. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #23
    That could be a good idea but people may still stay at home I think compulsory voting is probably the way forward, as is voting for as many candidates as you like (ALA in Austrialia) as it means you can vote for a smaller party more easily.

    LOL sounds like Big Brother, which ironically got more votes in 2001 (and possibly 2005 too) than for the Labour party (or possibly all parties) in the actual election.
     
  24. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
  25. Macnoviz macrumors 65816

    Macnoviz

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Roeselare, Belgium
    #25
    I do have to remark that protest votes are a common side effect of compulsory votes. This can be harmless, like voting for SEX (actual party name in Antwerp)

    But more harmful is voting for extremist parties, like the one we have in Belgium, who now has quite good results (over 20%, but remember that there are more than two parties, and scores over 30 % are quite rare)

    Normally the largest party (now this extremist party is second) decides what other party(ies) to form a coalition with, but in this case all the other parties have made an agreement not to go into a coalition with that party. This "cordon sanitaire" has been very controversial, and just keeps making this party bigger, because they are always in the opposition, and blame the governement for everything that goes wrong, although their solutions aren't really that great. If they had let hem govern for one term, it would have killed then instantly, but now, they get votes whenever something goes wrong.


    Bottom Line: democracy is very hard to organise, and so far no one has ever come up with "the right way" to give all power to the people.
     

Share This Page