Is it time to rethink our voting system?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

There's an Internet meme going around that would be funny if it weren't so true.

Me: I don't like Trump.

Everyone: "So you support a liar like Hillary? She should be in jail!"

Me: I don't like Hillary

Everyone: "So you support a racist like Trump!? He doesn't stand for American values!"

Me: I don't like either.

Everyone: "So you're going to waste your vote on a third party!? They're never going to win!"

Me: So ... there's no point in voting


Literally our voting system in America.

That's the way many voters feel, and it's no wonder they're frustrated.

It wasn't much better in 2000, when Al Gore had about half a million more popular votes than George W. Bush, but Bush received 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266, only after a Supreme Court decision regarding the voting in Florida, where Bush's brother Jeb happened to be governor.

Results of that election created much debate about the electoral system, created in the horse-and-buggy days of the founding of our republic, but still a major factor in modern elections.

Despite its flaws, it has served us well over more than two centuries, but there are alternative methods of voting not tied so closely to the two-party system that gave us our current choice.

Some governments use a two-round system whereby only two candidates from the first round of voting for multiple candidates advance to the second round, from which the final winner is selected.

There's the instant-runoff voting system, where voters rank the candidates in order of preference, or the contingent vote, a two-round system of instant-runoff voting.

Then there's exhaustive balloting, where rounds of voting continue until one candidate achieves a majority.

You can bet that the two major parties would fight any serious attempting to change the current system in which they have so much invested.

But regardless of the outcome of today's election, with more than half of voters disapproving of either candidate, momentum for changing the system may begin to grow.

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