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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Unusual Voting Reform Proposal - Randomized Voting

The correct answer is "Voting does not legitimize taxation. All taxation is theft, no matter how the rulers are chosen." However, it's interesting to discuss alternative voting systems.

There's a logical paradox known as "Arrow's Theorem". It says that, no matter what voting system you use, there are flaws.

I saw a bizarre proposal. To choose the winner in an election, select a ballot at random, and that voter picks the winner. By introducing a random element, this eliminates the logical contradiction of Arrow's theorem.

Of course, this reform has zero chance of passing. Insiders like their ability to rig elections. The current winner-takes-all voting system makes third-party formation practically impossible.

One nice feature of randomized voting is that it gives third parties a chance. Suppose that 5% of the population feels strongly about X, but the 5% is spread uniformly in each district. They won't be able to elect an X candidate. Instead, they'll pick the major party candidate closest to their beliefs. With randomized voting, if 5% of the people strongly support X third-party, then 5% of the elected candidates will be from X. In the current system, 5% of the vote in every district is worthless.

In the present, your individual vote matters only if all other votes are exactly tied. (Even in that case, the election is more likely to be decided via a lawsuit than by actually counting the votes.) In a randomized voting system, your vote helps your candidate's chances, even if he already has a majority. Your vote gives your candidate a chance, even if he doesn't have a majority.

In the present, if a candidate has 60% of the votes locked up, then your vote is meaningless. In a randomized voting system, your vote increases your candidate's chance of winning.

This proposal would also work against incumbents. Even a "lock" incumbent gets only 75% of the vote. That's only a 3/4 chance of getting reelected, guaranteeing eventual defeat. Plus, randomized voting gives a strong incentive to campaign hard even if you won't get a majority.

Randomized voting is an interesting reform proposal. It has zero chance of passing. Insiders like the current system, which maximizes their power. The problem with "voting reform" is that there's no way to convince the current rulers to adopt a system that decreases their power.

If it was possible to force voting reform, then the same mechanism could be used to prevent all sorts of other State evils.

I only mention "randomized voting" as an interest abstract exercise. The correct answer is "All taxation is theft. No voting system legitimizes taxation/theft/extortion/slavery. You don't have an individual right to rob me. Therefore, via voting, you can't authorize someone else to rob me on your behalf."


Scott said...

It's a pretty cool idea. Would it help to introduce a control like the selected candidate needs at least 100 other votes, to stop people voting themselves or friends or fictional characters in just for the perks?

FSK said...

There are ballot access requirements. In the present, if you vote for someone who hasn't formally declared themselves to be a candidate and complied with all the bureaucracy, it's counted as an invalid ballot.

It would be an improvement, to remove ballot access requirements and having small groups support their friends.

One extreme idea is to have the representatives chosen truly at random.

Scott said...

Well the Greeks selected representatives at random and that practice was considered an essential foundation of Democracy. Worked out pretty well for them too.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter how you say the system might work, - it will always work only in one way - rigged. With this random voting, they will simply decide who is going to "win" behind the doors, and announce the "random" winner.

Other than this the idea is interesting, because the candidate with majority votes would have better chances to be randomly picked, therefore removing the circus of "electoral college".

Note, that the Greeks, had a truly open trusted random picking mechanisms. We do not want to have that today. The devices the Greek employed, allowed anyone to be sure the choice was done fair and by the rules. Obviously, if we wanted to have honestly executed process, we could have simply picked their process to the last detail, since we are to regressed to invent anything that hones ourselves. But we don't, because the point is - whatever happens, there must be no transparency! Meaning in no event there should be true, transparent mechanism that might create truly "unguided" election results, that's why. Everyone except those running the circus, must explicitly trust the show, there is no way for anyone to be sure the election wasn't rigged. You're going to go and count ballots? Most ballots you will encounter will be fake. This is why they want fully computerized system, - so that there is no need to produce any physical evidence.

But, like FSK, I believe that even if we had truly democratic and trustworthy or transparent elections, it is still a full's game. Because I will always have a despotic king, unless I am a majority. The system of voting makes sure that the minorities are abused.

If you vote, you are explicitly giving your consent to be ruled by the current form of government, you make your government legitimate. You agree to accept the violent outcome in case if you don't win. You sign up for an animal, doggy-dog idea of "winner is always right", and you agree to make that your life-guiding principle. You effectively declare that you are NOT a human being.

I did not vote for Obama. Citizen or not, he has no right whatsoever to affect my life. He does not have my consent, and therefore his rule over me is illegitimate. The fact that many others voted for him, makes no difference and does not grant him any legitimacy to rule my life. By ignoring this, and still attempting to rule my life, he is not any more legitimate than Hitler, deciding on a life of a Polish Jew.

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