Thursday, May 1, 2008

None of the Above

How about a new amendment mandating a None-of-the-Above option on all votes in America? I hear people talking about it, but try to take it seriously for a moment. How would it work?

Obviously, in the presidential elections, should none-of-the-above actually win, all official candidates would be barred from the do-over that would surely ensue. Is that enough? Should we bar all those who ran for their party's nomination? Does it make sense to merely count each vote separately, or should we count none-of-the-above and the votes of the loser together and compare it against the candidate with the most votes? Who fills the office while we go through yet another election?

We should have the option, but we'd have to get the language down solidly enough so that these politicians can't use it to their advantage. Imagine Bill Clinton throwing the election over and over again so that he could stay in the oval office. Or the annoyance of endless elections.

Still, even an imperfect amendment would have serious effects on the political system. The two parties would find their current power sharing agreements destablized. In an ideal world, there would be fewer elections, not more, but in a practical sense, sometimes the easiest way to break the machine is to increase the load.

This is really needed within states too, both in elections and the various votes for state amendments and/or laws. If you don't believe me, read the Louisiana constitution sometime. Oddly enough, I've not heard of an analysis on what this type of option would do in the long run, which is strange because game theorists seem to like coming up with alternative voting schemes.

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