Voting Rules for
 Accurate
Democracy

Different uses for voting need different types of voting.

Arguments Against Democracy

Campaign Funding

Introduction to single-winner voting systems
 

The Problems

“[M]oney in the political process has become an end in itself, and when money equals policy, the public interest is shut out. Where money equals policy, you have an auction, you don't have a democracy. The democratic system has been highjacked by special interest groups.

“The political system has broken down and is failing people. It's failing to prevent monopolization and the concentration of wealth. Government is supposed to be at least a referee. Well, in this case the referee has walked off the field.” [Or has been bought: Policies on energy, polution and health care are set by and for CEOs of oil companies and HMOs, not by and for consumers and non-consumers.]
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich interviewed in Yes! magazine

 

What, exactly, is information?

“[T]he term seemed as hopelessly subjective as 'beauty' or 'truth.' But in 1948 [Claude] Shannon, then working for Bell Laboratories, gave information almost magically precise, quantitative definition: The information in a message is inversely proportional to its probability. Random 'noise' is quite uniform; the more surprising a message, the more information it contains.”
From “Little Bits Go a Long Way,” John Horgan's review of James Gkeick's book “The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood.” The Wall Street Journal; March 1, 2011; A13.

A depiction of static     or random noise.

A political ad repeated ad nausium is static. It does not surprise viewers with new information. Its loud 'noise' blocks new information from other sources. Sources that cannot afford to pay for ads over and over again will not be noticed or heard above the din of the highly-funded ad campaigns.

Negative Campaigns

In winner-take-all elections, negative campaigning is very effective. Usually there are just two people (and often just one) with a strong chance to win. Let us say I am a candidate in a winner-take-all race. If I can get some of my opponent's supporters turned off to her or to the whole idea of voting, that is just as good as getting an undecided voter to vote for me. It is also a lot easier to try and attack my opponent to make her look bad than it is to convince voters to support me. It's easier to run a commercial on television with frightening music in the background and distort my opponent's record than it is to explain issues and policies.

In proportional systems, though, more than one person can win. If I spend all my time attacking an opponent, that doesn't mean I'll get anything for it. When there are five seats up for grabs and a dozen candidates running, it doesn't make as much sense to bash another candidate - because some other third candidate can end up getting the votes of the supporters of the candidates I have been bashing. Those voters won't like me.

When there are several contenders, hurting an opponent might not win votes for the attacker. A third candidate can gather supporters of the smeared candidate. If Alice attacks Boregard, Charles might attract Boregard's ex-supporters; they probably won't like Alice. Negative campaigning doesn't work well when there are several contenders.


“The financial and economic crisis has made the term “financial bubble” a household word...
“The formation of bubbles is linked to the emotional as opposed to the rational component of human behavior...
“[T]he success of marketing campaigns that promote consumerism by appealing to emotions...
“This mode of communication has also successfully colonized political communication...
“This crisis has economic causes, but finds its origins in deeper reasons, namely the growing acceptance of selfish individualism and escalating inequality. Thus more shared, collaborative behavior is to be encourage in order to foster the search for a common good...”
Fabrizio Pezzani, Dept. of Institutional Analysis and Public Management, Bocconi The Political Bubble Translated by Alex Foti

 Next chapter: Electing a Chairperson



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