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New Electoral Process (a Political Issue)


There are many problems with our current electoral process that prevent us from being fairly and equitably represented. These problems include such things as the disproportionate influence of special interest groups and political parties, shady campaign financing, dirty politics, an unfair simple plurality voting system, and many others. Each attempt at patching our current process has resulted in shifting the problem to a new place. Numerous examples exist just from the last few elections.

For instance, even though there are some limits on what an individual can contribute to a candidate to prevent someone from buying a candidate, people have just needed to be a little more creative in finding ways around them. Some people contribute in the name of their minor children. Other people pool the contributions of many other individuals so that they can still present a large check to a candidate. In some cases, the people pooling the money have paid back the amounts donated by other people.

Another problem is that independent candidates miss out, since they do not have the backing of a political party nor the money that was contributed to it. We also now have PACs (Political Action Committees) that can collect and spend unlimited amounts in support of a candidate. There is also a lot of money coming from outside the state or district that the candidate would be representing, which gives these outsiders the ability to buy influence.

There is also a vast amount of negative advertising, exaggerations, fake news, and outright lies that come from the candidates and their supporters. It has been said that knowledge (facts, information and skills) is power. However, that only works when the facts and information are true. When they are false, you actually lose power. Studies have shown that people will often believe what they first hear, even if they later learn that what they heard is not true. This and many other manipulative tricks can lead too many people to vote for the biggest liars and cheats. Electing liars and cheats leads to government corruption and a lot of wasted taxpayer money.

We also have vastly different election laws in different states. There are differences in voter ID requirements, early voting hours and locations, mail in ballot eligibility and processing rules, access to drop boxes, election day voting hours and locations. In some cases, these differences are meant to suppress the votes of specific voters. Even when these differences are not meant to suppress voters, they can make elections more confusing and more or less fair from state to state.

The answer resides in taking all that we have learned about the democratic process over the past centuries and using it to create a new electoral process. We want to revamp it in such a way as to eliminate our current problems. Unfortunately, many groups and individuals have a vested interest in keeping our current electoral process, because it gives them unfair advantages in our political process.

For instance, some people have invested a great deal of time and money into obtaining some extra influence, which they could end up losing if the electoral process was changed. Therefore, it may be an uphill battle to make any real change, but the right changes could make things a whole lot better for most people and for the future of our country and the world. Therefore, we must try to make the needed changes.

Government’s Role

Let's start at the beginning and take a look at the role our government should have. In a free society, the government's main role should be to protect its citizens, land and resources, and to provide an environment where all its citizens can get the most out of their lives. A really good government should create the environment where its citizens are better off than they would be without a government or with any other form of government.

The following is the preamble to the United States Constitution, which basically states that the above is what our constitution is meant to do.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In order for the government to do the best job it can for all its people, it will need to be run by the best people. Therefore, our electoral process needs to help us to find and to elect the individuals who will do the best job of representing us and running our government, and not those individuals who are just better at getting elected.

In addition, we cannot limit our candidates to those who belong to a political party or who are backed by special interest groups. Therefore, we need to remove the political parties from the process and to limit the influence of special interest groups. (See Political Parties.)

With the above considerations in mind, it seems like we need to do more of a talent search instead of having political campaigns. Therefore, we would first need a process for recruiting, evaluating and selecting the best and most qualified candidates. Since we still want to give everyone a say in who represents us in our governments, we would still want to have an election. This means that everyone would still need to learn about the candidates, and to do their own evaluations and selection.

Since we want the best candidate for the job and not the candidate who is best at campaigning, we will need a new method for the voters to learn about the candidates. This new method would need to provide each and every voter and candidate a fair and equitable opportunity to ask and to answer questions, and to discuss the issues. Then, once the voters have made their selections, we need to have a better way for voters to vote for their choices.

In order to make these and other changes and to ensure that they are made uniformly across the United States, we should make them at the Federal level. This could be done with some appropriate legislation. However, there would undoubtedly be some Constitutional challenges to these laws. Therefore, to fend off court challenges and future attempts at undoing these changes, it would be best to add the appropriate changes in an amendment to the Constitution.


In order to protect the integrity and validity of our elections, we must be able to ensure that only legitimate voters can cast a single ballet each. This new election process should help to reduce the incentive for voter fraud, but it alone may not eliminate it entirely. Since voter fraud is only truly effective when it goes unnoticed, we do not really know its full extent. Therefore, it is better to err on the side of caution and do all we can to reduce the possibility of it happening, but without going so far that it causes voter suppression.

The first step would be to ensure that we have a good method of ensuring that only people who are authorized to vote can register to vote. We also need to ensure that the voter rolls remain clean, so that only the authorized voters in a given precinct are listed.

One way that is currently used to keep voter rolls clean is to require anyone who has not voted in some number of years to be removed unless the individual provides proof that they are still around. Of course, all appropriate means and time would need to be given to try to contact the individual before removing that person from the voting rolls. However, this is not a very efficient nor reliable way of keeping the voting rolls clean.

A better way to keep the voting rolls clean would be to move it up to the federal level. The federal government would keep track of all voters. Each voter could only be listed with one address that would correspond with one and only one voting precinct. This means a voter could not be registered to vote in more than one precinct. When someone moves or dies, the federal roll would be updated. There would be no need for a voter to reregister to vote.

Each precinct could then pull their current clean voting roll from the federal voting roll. Any local rules, like no convicted felons or non-citizen, that would prevent someone from voting in a given precinct could them be applied.

Then we want to make sure that the people showing up to vote are who they say they are. This means that everyone would need to provide some appropriate proof as to who they are. This may be as simple as some form of valid identification that has a picture, or something more high tech like a finger print scanner or facial recognition software. Whatever method is used, it must ensure that people who are authorized to vote can do so. We also need to ensure everyone has appropriate identification that can be fairly easily obtained without an excessive cost associated with it, since we do not want to suppress the right of any valid voter to vote.


For the most part, candidates for office decide what issues they want to talk about, when and where or even if they will debate their opponents, and even who can come to their rallies. It sometimes seems like these candidates think they are the bosses, and that we work for them. The truth is that these candidates are applying for a political office (a job) where we would be their bosses. Therefore, we should have every right to decide what they need to do during the campaign in order to have a chance to get our votes.

Instead of the candidates being in charge of their campaigns, we must take control. We should have the right to decide what the candidates need to talk about, what questions they need to answer, when and where they must debate their opponents, and what other events they should come to. Since we would be their bosses, we need to show them that we are their bosses right from the start.

Campaign Financing

The most important change we need to make in our political campaigns is with the way they are financed. This could start with some incremental changes, but would really need to be completely overhauled in order to truly fix the way our political campaigns are financed.

The first issue is with all the money coming in from outside the candidates' districts. Some individuals and groups want more influence over some legislation or policy than they could get with just their representatives. Therefore, they may donate to candidate campaigns in other states and other districts in order to buy some extra influence. If these candidates want or need this money for their current campaigns or want or need additional money for future campaigns, then they may feel obligated to represent the interests of these outsiders over the interests of their constituents.

Our representative need to represent the interests of their constituents, so the first thing we need to do is to bar all money coming from outside groups. This would need to include any outside money being funneled through special interest groups, political action committees, and political parties Of course, in order to ensure there is no outside money, the source of all campaign donations would need to be reported. That is, there could not be any dark money coming in.

The next issue is with people who can afford to make really big donations. Since less money would come in from outside donors, a really rich individual living in the district could potentially donate a significant portion of a candidates' campaign money. If the candidate that this rich individual donated to was elected, then this donor could end up having bought some extra influence. The only way to prevent this extra influence buying would be to limit donations to some relatively small amount per person.

With the above limits on outside and individual donations, we would end up with a new issue. That is, campaigns may not be about to get enough money donated in order to finance an effective campaign. This leads us to what really should be done to overhaul our campaign financing. We need clean election laws that would have our governments provide all the campaign financing. This would eliminate any donor influence buying, and shift our political campaigns from who can buy the most advertising to who is truly the best candidate.

The government would budget the same amount of funds for all qualified candidates in each district. Each candidate would get a budget that would be proportionate to the size of the district that that candidate was running in. There would be one budget for each primary candidate and a separate budget for each general election candidate.

The campaign funds would be dispersed directly by the government and the government would ensure that funds would only be used for authorized campaign expenses. These funds would cover such things as debates, rallies, advertising and other campaign related expenses. Our governments should have more than enough to pay for the campaigns, since our elected representatives would not need to include all the earmarks intended to pay back their campaign donors in the bills they pass.

The government would also sponsor a number of events like debates, meet and greets, and town hall meetings, where voters would have an opportunity to get to know and to compare the candidates. In addition to any government sponsored events, any group or individual could also sponsor an election related event. These additional events would not be to support a given candidate, but would provide the sponsors and their guests an additional opportunity to get to know and to compare the candidates.

For all of these events, whether it was for a government sponsored or a privately sponsored event, each candidate would need to be invited and provided any appropriate transportation, meals and accommodations. Speaking order at all these events would be random or would be rotated. Each candidate would also be provided equal time to talk, to answer questions and to respond to comments made by other candidates.

Advertising space would also need to be equally distributed among all the candidates. Individuals and groups would still have the right to express their opinions about the candidates when talking to others, but would not be allowed to buy advertising without giving each candidate equal time to respond. This would preserve everyone’s right to free speech, but eliminate someone being able to buy extra speech rights, which might give them some extra influence over a candidate.

Campaign Promises

During a campaign, a lot of candidates spend a lot of time promising to do various things that are popular with their current audience while avoiding talking about the things that are unpopular. Since each candidate will often promise a lot of different things for different people, it is likely that most people will like some promises, but dislike others. In addition, many campaign promises are vague. Candidates may promise things like lower taxes or more jobs, but do not give any details as to how they will do it.

Another problem with campaign promises is that they are not always kept or what is actually done is not what people thought they were voting for. In addition, legislation is often passed for the things that the candidates did not talk about and for which most people may not have wanted or that would not really be good for most of us.

When a candidate is elected, we do not always know whether voters really preferred this candidate over the others, were swayed by one or more of that candidate’s promises, or settled for the candidate that they hoped would do the least amount of harm.

In fact, most people may not even like many or most of the positions taken and promises made by any of the candidates. Therefore, voters may simply end up electing the candidate with positions and promises they liked on some issues important to them or with the least positions and promises they disliked. I often find myself voting for whichever candidate seems like the lesser of two or more evils.

Although we may want to elect someone who can come up with ideas that could help solve our problems, what we really need is someone who is good at listening to and evaluating many ideas from many different people. We need to separate the issues from the candidates. We want to elect people who would be best at representing and protecting our interests, at running the government, and at handling whatever issues arise. We want representatives who are able to gather all the relevant information, to be open to new ideas, and to be able to evaluate and analyze everything in order to select the best solutions to our problems no matter where the ideas came from.

Candidates often promise to do things like lower taxes, spend more on some things, spend less on other things, or to fix this or that issue. Most of the time, these promises are vague. We should not allow candidates to be making these types of vague campaign promises. If a candidate has a specific well thought out plan to do something, then they should present it so that we can see the details and make up our minds on whether or not we think it would work.

Barring a well defined plan, candidates should stick to discussing the issues and the plusses and minuses of possible solutions. We want our candidates to show us that they are well informed about the issues and the job they are running for, will listen to our views, and can evaluate and analyze issues and any possible solutions. We do not need representatives who manipulate their way into office with vague promises.

What we want is to give everyone the chance to express and to debate their ideas about the issues and to propose solutions. We should be able to submit our ideas to our representatives or to bring them up at town hall like meetings. Our representatives should also have the right to debate the issues just like any other citizen, but they should not be allowed to simply impose their ideas on their constituents.

People should not be forced to vote for the combination of a candidate, a bunch of campaign promises and a package of proposals. People should be able to vote for their representatives and for individual proposals separately. For instance, instead of being forced to vote for a vegetarian pizza with broccoli, cauliflower and pineapple slices or a meat pizza with spam, haggis and liver bits, we could vote for a vegetarian or meat pizza, and then be able to vote for a separate list of topping.

Voting Systen

In many places in the United States, we have a simple plurality voting system. In this type of voting, the candidate that receives more votes than his or her opponents would win the election. With 2 candidates for a single office, this means that one of them must receive a majority of the votes. With 3 or more candidates, a candidate can often win the election even when he or she receives far less than the majority of the votes. In fact, the votes can sometimes be split between the candidates in such a way that the least preferred candidate wins the election.

For instance, we can look at a case with 3 candidates. In head to head races, candidate B would win 60% to 40% over candidate A, candidate C would win 60% to 40% over candidate A, and candidates B and C would split the vote with about 50% each. With all 3 candidates in the race, candidate A would get about 40% of the votes and candidates B and C would then split the vote of their supporters so that each would only get about 30% of the vote. This would mean that the least preferred candidate would win with only 40% of the vote.

With 3 or more candidates in the race, it is very likely that 2 or more candidates will appeal to the same voters, but that one of them has a far better chance of being elected than the others. Since these other candidates have less of a chance of being elected and could take away votes from the more electable candidate, they are sometimes called spoilers.

With a simple plurality voting system, voters often have to decide between voting for their preferred candidate and possibly allowing an undesirable candidate to win, or voting for a less desirable candidate that has a better chance of winning. Although limiting the election to just 2 candidates would ensure that the winner needed to get a majority of the votes, this would deprive us of our right to have a real choice.

For instance, It would be like telling everyone that they could only vote for vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Although, given the extreme candidates we are now getting, it would be more like needing to choose between just two types of pizza. where one was vegetarian with broccoli, cauliflower and pineapple slices and one that was all meat with spam, haggis and liver bits.

We also need to look at this from a potential candidate's point of view. If there were already 2 candidates (X and Y) in the race and this third candidate (Z) wanted to run, then this third candidate (Z) might have to worry about being a spoiler. That would especially be true if candidate Z would appeal to a lot more of the voters who would have voted for the candidate that would have won the race in a head to head race between candidates X and Y.

For instance, let's say that candidate X would win 55% to 45% in a head to head matchup with candidate Y. Let's also say that candidate Z would win 65% to 35% over candidate X, and would win 60% to 40% over candidate Y. Given the results of these head to head matchups, it would seem like candidate Z should be the favorite to win in a 3 way race. However, in an actual 3 way race candidates X, Y and Z would most likely get 35% 40% and 25% of the votes. This means that candidate Y, who was the least favored candidate, would win with just 40% of the votes.

From the above, we can see the dilemma that candidate Z is in. Even thought candidate Z would be preferred by more voters than either of the other 2 candidates, candidate Z would not only lose in a 3 way race, but would allow the least favored candidate to win. Therefore, candidate Z and a lot of other great candidates may not run for office for fear of being a spoiler.

What we need is a voting system that will allow us to vote for our preferred candidate without worrying that our vote might be wasted on a candidate that may have less of a chance of winning or that we might allow a far less desirable candidate to win. The way to ensure that the most desirable candidate wins would be to require that the winning candidate must get a majority of the votes. However, with more than 2 candidates, that is easier said than done.

When no one gets a required majority, the usual thing to do is have a runoff election. Of course, having a runoff election has a number of its own problems. For instance, it would be time consuming, expensive and inconvenient for everyone involved. In addition, fewer people usually bother to vote in runoff elections, which reduces their legitimacy. We also would have a issue in cases where there were more than 3 candidates, in that it might not be fair to limit the runoff to just the top 2 candidates.

Luckily, we can eliminate most of the problems of having a runoff by incorporating the runoff in the original election. This instant runoff can easily be done by allowing people to rank the candidates as their first choice, second choice, third choice, etc. If no candidate gets a majority of the first choice votes, then the candidate with the least votes would be eliminated. If a voter's first choice candidate is eliminated, then that voter's second choice would become the voter's new first choice. This would be repeated until a candidate gets a majority of the new first choice votes.

This type of instant runoff election is usually called Ranked Choice Voting, but is also known as Preferential Voting, Instant Runoff Voting, and Alternative Voting. This eliminates all the problems with having a separate runoff election. It also allows you to vote for all of your preferred candidates without worrying that some of them may turn out to be spoilers. In fact, when voters do not need to worry about spoilers, they may find that some of those supposed spoilers were actually the preferred candidates of the majority of the voters. In addition, if potential candidates did not need to worry about being a spoiler, we would get more and potentially better candidates.

Ranked Choice Voting

Although Ranked Choice Voting has recently been gaining some following in many different places here in the United States and around the world, many people still find it a bit confusing. Therefore, we should take a little bit of a closer look at it before we move on to a description of the new electoral process.

Unlike with plurality voting, this form of voting requires that a candidate needs to get a majority of the votes to win. However, it eliminates the need for any runoff elections, and ensures that all voters' votes count instead of some potentially being wasted on "spoiler" candidates. One of the biggest advantages of Ranked Choice Voting is that it greatly increases the odds of the voters' preferred candidates winning the elections.

It has also been found that candidates have engaged in much less negative campaigning when Ranked Choice Voting is used. Candidates may have worried about getting more than just first choice votes. Therefore, they did not want to alienate voters who might prefer the candidates that they would have attached and then lose those voters possible second or third choice votes. In addition, since candidates need to appeal to more voters in order to get a majority, more centrist or moderate candidates have more of an edge over the more extreme candidates.

One way to look at this form of voting is that it simulates a series of one on one matchups of the candidates. We would keep eliminating the losing candidates until we had a winner. This would be something like the playoffs in sports, except that all the matchups get played at once and only one candidate gets eliminated in each round.

We would also only use Ranked Choice Voting when we need to select between 3 or more candidates. With 3 candidates, we would have the option to select our first and second choices. We would not need to select our third choice, since that would obviously be the unselected candidate. With 5 candidates, we would have the option to select our first, second, third and fourth choices.

In addition, voters would need to think more about their preferences in order to use Ranked Choice Voting correctly. That is, not only would voters need to decide their first choice, but they would also need to rank all the other candidates and to mark those choices correctly on the ballot. One way to rank the candidates would be for a voter to match each candidate head to head with the other candidates and to see who comes out ahead in each case.

The following are examples of what the races with 3 and 5 candidates might look like on a ballot, but with the candidates' names replaced with how we might feel about then and with our corresponding choices already marked.

Mark one circle in each column 1st Choice 2nd Choice
Love this one
Like this one
Hate this one

Mark one circle in each column 1st Choice 2nd Choice 3rd Choice 4th Choice
Like this one
Dislike this one
Love this one
Hate this one
Tolerate this one

Notice that in the example above with 5 candidates, we still marked the candidate that we dislike as our fourth choice. Since we still prefer that candidate over the one we hate, we want to ensure that our vote is counted in the event that it comes down to a final choice between the candidate we dislike and the one we hate

Now, let's take a closer look at the example we looked at above with candidates A, B and C, where candidate A is preferred by 40% of the voters and candidates B and C are both preferred by 60% of the voters over candidate A, However, candidates B and C are fairly similar in the eyes of the voters, so the voters are fairly evenly split on their preferences for candidates B and C.

With plurality voting, candidate A could win with just 40% of the vote, since the other candidates might only get about 30% each. This would be in spite of the fact that candidate A would lose 40% to 60% in a head to head matchup with either candidate B or C. In order to complete this picture, let's say that voters who preferred candidate A would split evenly for candidates B and C, and that candidate B would win in a matchup with candidate C.

With Ranked Choice Voting, the outcome of the 3 way matchup would more closely mirror the outcomes of the head to head matchups. Since none of the 3 candidates would get a majority of the votes, the candidate with the least first choice votes would be eliminated, and the second choices of the voters who had preferred that candidate would be used. Based on the above information, we know that candidate C would get the fewest first choice votes, and we know that those voters second choice would be candidate B. Therefore, candidate B, who we know was the voters' preferred candidate, would win 60% to 40% over candidate A.

In the rare case that the top two candidates end up with the same number of votes, the number of first choice votes could be used to break the tie. That is, the candidate with the most first choice votes would be the preferred candidate, so would be the winner. With more than 3 candidates, it is possible that there might even be a tie in the first choice votes, so the number of second choice votes would need to be used. If both candidates happen to get the same number of each choice votes, we might need to resort to a coin toss.

However, even though Ranked Choice Voting is a big improvement over plurality voting, even when there would have been a runoff election. There could be rare situations where a more preferred candidate is elected, but the most preferred candidate may not be elected. For example, in the above example, let's say that the people who voted for candidate A had all preferred candidate C over candidate B. In that case, a head to head match of candidates B and C would have resulted in candidate C winning almost 70% to 30% over candidate B.

Although the above situation is mathematically possible, it would be unlikely in this situation. That is, since we know that candidates B and C are fairly similar, it is more likely that the voters who preferred candidate A would be fairly evenly split on their second choice between candidates B and C. If so, then candidate B would most likely still win in a head to head matchup with a bit more than 50% of the votes.

Another situation might be the case where we have 3 candidates that are fairly similar in education, experience, ethics and so forth, except they lean Left, Center and Right. If one of these candidates is preferred by a few more voters (34%) than the others (33% each), then that candidate would win when using plurality voting with just 34% of the vote.

However, with Ranked Choice Voting the outcome would depend on the second choice votes. The second choice of both the Left and Right first choice voters would most likely be the Center candidate, since the Center candidate would be closer to their views, even if not as close as their first choice. Therefore, if the Left or Right candidate had the fewest votes and was eliminated, the Center candidate should almost certainly win with about 66% of the vote.

If the Center candidate had the fewest first choice votes, then the outcome may not be as clear, since it would depend on which way the voters who preferred the Center candidate leaned. If they leaned enough to the left, then the Left candidate would win, but if they leaned enough to the right, then the Right candidate would win. Basically, the outcome should come out the same as if there had been a head to head matchup between the Left and Right candidates.

On the other hand, there could be an issue with the above situation if the Center candidate was eliminated. With the voters fairly evenly split, the winning Left or Right candidate might have only gotten 51% of the vote. However, with a head to head matchup between the Center candidate and either the Left or Right candidate, the Center candidate would probably win with about 66% of the vote. Meaning the Center candidate was actually the voters' preferred candidate.

Like with the previous rare situation with candidates A, B and C, this situation should also be rare. Either the voters lean so far to the left or right, that the candidate leaning in the other direction would always be eliminated, or the voters are so centered that the Center candidate should not get the least first choice votes, so would not be eliminated and would probably always win.

The question is whether or not these rare situations would occur often enough to be a problem. Although these situations are mathematically possible, they would probably be fairly rate in real world elections so that it would not be worth trying to fix them. Therefore, the answer would seem to be no. However, it may be a good idea to study this further. If we did try to fix these rare situations, we would probably need to modify the way we decide on which candidate to eliminate.

One alternative selection method might be to eliminate the candidate that had the most last choice votes instead of the least first choice votes. Although this might do better in electing the more preferred candidate in some cases, it might not do any better overall. When this method did do better at electing the most preferred candidate, it would be in cases where that candidate had the least first choice votes. People might then falsely use that as criticism to say it elected the wrong candidate.

Another alternative selection method would be to do head to head matchups of all the various combinations of candidates. A candidate would get a vote for each case where the candidate had a higher choice vote than his or her head to head opponent. Then, the candidate with the most head to head wins would be the winner. In case of a tie, the candidate with the most first choice votes would win.

Given the way voters would likely rank their choices, one candidate should always win all the head to head matchups, and would therefore be the obvious winner. However, it is possible to come up with scenarios where none of the candidates wins all the head to head matchups. In fact, it is possible for each candidate to win once. If no candidate wins more of the head to head matchups, then we would need to use a backup method. We could use one of the elimination methods, revert to making the candidate with the most first choice votes the winner, or come up with something else.

Although this head to head method should always elect the most preferred candidate, some people may still try to criticize it if the winning candidate had the least first choice votes. However, for the candidate with the least first choice votes to win in a 3 candidate race, the candidate must have gotten a lot of second choice votes and gotten fewer last choice votes. This means that the winning candidate was liked by a lot of people, but fewer people had strong positive or negative feeling about the winning candidate. Therefore, this candidate may not bring out as much passion in people, but should be better at bringing people together instead of dividing them.

Elect Multiple candidates

In some cases, we need to elect more than one person for an office. For instance, a school board may have several members, and every couple of years or so two or more of their seats may be up for election. Therefore, we may be asked to select two or more of the candidates for that office. For these multiple person races, we should still use Ranked Choice Voting, even though the ballot might be a bit more complicated than for a single person race, since there may be more candidates and therefore more choices to make, but it would still help to ensure we elect our preferred candidates.

Let's take a look at a race to elect 3 persons for some office. There are a number of ways to handle this. One way would be to rank all the candidates, just as we would with a single person race. However, we would stop eliminating candidates when we got down to the top 3 candidates. Another way would be to make 3 first choices, and then rank the remaining candidates. This way would simplify the ballot, since it would eliminate 2 choice columns from the ballot. However, needing to select 3 first choices may be a bit more confusing.

Instead of stopping the elimination process when we get down to the required number of candidates, we could go all the way down to selecting the top choice, and then repeat the process to get the additional choices. Of course, you could also use the head to head selection process. The winners would be the ones with the most head to head matchup wins. One candidate should win all the matchups, another candidate should win all but one matchup, etc.


There are many cases where there are a lot of candidates wanting to run for a given elected office. With our current plurality voting system, multiple candidates from one political party could split the votes in such a way as to let a candidate for the other party to win with less than a majority of the votes. Therefore, each political party will want to whittle down the number of their candidates to just one. They would do that with a primary election. However, there are a number of issues with the way our current primary elections work.

One big issue is that if several or more candidates compete in a political party's primary election and we use a plurality voting system, then the political party could select a less preferred candidate. That is, several candidates that would best represent the party could split the vote so that a more extreme candidate is selected. The simple answer to this issue would be to use Ranked Choice Voting.

A bigger issue with primary elections is that most of them limit the elections to just members of the given political party. That is, unless you are a member of the given political party, you are not allowed to vote in their primary elections. In these cases, your only options are to join that political party or not be able to vote in their primary elections. Of course, if you do join a political party, you still would not be able to vote in the primary elections of any other political party.

In some locations, one political party dominates the political landscape so much that their candidates are pretty much guaranteed to win in the general elections for all local, state and federal offices. In these cases, the only people who get a real vote in who is elected are the members of that political party. This means that if you are not a member of that party, your vote would not really count. Therefore, even if you think that party stinks, you might just need to hold your nose and join the party anyway, or you could stand your moral ground and be deprived of your vote.

On the other hand, you may live in a location that is still competitive or where different parties dominate at the local, state and federal level. In these cases, even if you did join one of the political parties, you would still only be able to vote in their primary elections and not in those of the other political party. Therefore, you may at least have a say in who gets elected in some cases, but not in all cases.

The answer would be to do away with these partisan primaries in some way. The political parties would argue that that would deprive them of their right to chose the candidate that will represent their political party. However, the candidate who we want to elect is one who will represent all of their constituents, and not just their political party. Therefore, their argument does not hold water.

One option might be to do away with the primary elections altogether, and just let everyone who wanted to run for office to do so. However, you might then end up with a dozen or more candidates running for the same office. That would lead to a number of problems, including the ones that originally led to the creation of political parties and primaries.

Having a dozen or more candidates for an elected office would make it extremely difficult for voters to get to know each one well enough to make an informed decision. In addition, if we used a plurality voting system, a candidate could then win with as little as 10% of the vote. Using Ranked Choice Voting would ensure that a candidate would need to get a majority of the vote, but voters might have a hard time doing the thorough evaluation needed to rank them. Therefore, we would still need to have primaries.


The solution would be to have open primaries where all the candidates would run against each other irrespective of any political party affiliation, and all voters irrespective of any political party affiliation would get to vote. Having open primaries has two important advantages over partisan primaries. It allows all voters to have a say in who the candidates will be for the elected offices, and gives voters more and better choices in the general election.

Since all voters would have a vote, they would chose candidates that are more representative of all their positions and values, instead of getting the more extreme candidates that would be elected in partisan primaries. Voters could also have more choices in the general election. Even if all the winning candidates in the open primary election turn out to be from the same political party, they would still be more representative of the voters.

The top four or five candidates for each office would then go on to the general election. Voters would still need to evaluate and to rank all the candidates, but this would just be an initial cut, so voters would only need to make an initial judgment of the candidates. For the general election, they would only need to make a more detailed assessment of the four or five remaining candidates.

Even though we are selecting some number of top candidates instead of just the one top candidate, a plurality voting system could still give us some or all of the least preferred candidates. Therefore, we want to use Rank Choice Voting in our primary elections, just as we should do in our general elections.

Voters would rank the candidates for each office from their first choice to their last choice. Once the ballots had been counted, the one candidate with the least number of votes for each office would be eliminated. Then, for each office, the votes would be counted again, but this time using the second choices from those ballots that listed the eliminated candidate as those voters’ first choice. This bottom up elimination process would continue until we were left with just the needed number or primary winners.

For instance, let’s take a primary with 10 candidates in which we needed to reduce the list to the top 5 candidates. Each of the first 5 candidates are each favored by about 12 percent of the voters, but are each disliked by most of the other 88 percent of the voters. The last 5 candidates are liked by almost all voters with 40 percent of the voters favoring any one of them over any of the first 5 candidates.

The problem with a plurality voting system occurs when these 40 percent of the voters do not have a clear favorite. They could then split their votes so that none of the last 5 preferred candidates would get even 10 percent of the vote and then all get eliminated.

If we used Ranked Choice Voting to rank and to do a bottom up elimination process for the above primary election example, then at least a few of the 5 preferred candidates should be selected. Although most real primaries would probably not be as extreme as the above example, this process would pretty much guarantee that some of the voters’ preferred candidates would be selected in the primary and continue on to the general campaign trail and election.

An improvement to this bottom up elimination process would be to continue the elimination process until we had the first clear winner (i.e. until a candidate had more than 50 percent of the votes). After the first primary winner was selected, that candidate’s votes would be eliminated from the original ballots to get the next round's starting ballots and a new elimination process would be done with the remaining votes to get the second primary winner.

After each subsequent primary winner was selected, that candidate’s votes would be eliminated from the next round's starting ballots and the process would be repeated until enough candidates were selected to be on the ballot for the specified office. This multiple elimination selection process would help to ensure that more, if not all, of the preferred candidates would go on to the general election.


Based on an evaluation of our current electoral process, what I have discussed so far and more, I came up with some ideas for some changes. The following is what I have come up with for how a new electoral process could work.

Election Boards

The first thing we need is an Election Board that would handle all aspects of the appropriate election process. Members could be hired or elected. Since we want the board members to work for the people and not for whoever hired them, then we should probably elect them. This also means that candidates for the Election Boards should not be allowed to belong to a Political Party for some period of time before the election and while they serve on an Election Board so that they are not beholden to a political party.

In order to prevent these board members from having control of their own elections, we need to bar members from working on their own election. This would include running for another term on the board, or running for a different office. We could either limit them from serving for more than one term at a time, or have a different election board handle these elections, which could be done at a different time than other elections. We could either bar a board member from running for another office, or require that the election board member must resign before running for another office.

All actions taken by the members of the Election Boards would be open for review and oversight. We would need to ensure that they do not use their positions to exert undue influence over the election process or the candidates. Any attempt to do so would need to be promptly dealt with so that the election process would not be compromised.

Candidate Selection

During a suitable, but short time frame, any eligible individual could apply for a political office by submitting an application to the appropriate Election Board. Candidates would have to meet the usual age and residency requirements, and may need to pass some appropriate candidate exam. This candidate exam could be similar to a civil service exam given for people to qualify for a government job, but would also include a specific section that asks questions about the office the candidate is seeking to be elected to.

On the other hand, there would not be any requirement to gather some number of signatures, since the screening process and primary should weed out the unqualified candidates. For some state and national offices like governor, senator and president, there should also be a requirement for the candidates to have previously held some other public office where they would have gained some needed experience.

Then, the Election Board would do an initial screening and background check to reject any invalid applications. Every valid and invalid application, with its status, would be made available for review by any interested individual at the Election Board offices and on a public web site. In order to keep everything above board, all information and decisions must be made available and open for review and challenge by anyone at any time during the process.

Once the application deadline had passed, the public would have the option to submit any comments about any of the prospective candidates. In addition, the Election Board would start putting each application through a thorough screening process. If any legitimate problem is found with a candidate, the candidate’s application would be rejected.

All comments, responses, documentation, decisions and resulting application status changes coming out of the screening process would be available at the Election Board and on the public web site. Challenges to and appeals of decisions would be handled in an expedited manner through the courts or through some review board made up of members of other election boards.

During this process, the goal of the Election Board would be to get the candidate list down to some appropriate manageable number. For campaigning and the election, we might want to keep the number of candidates down to something between 4 and 6 or maybe 5 and 7, depending on the office. However, no valid candidate should ever be eliminated by the board.

After the screening process, if there are more candidates remaining than there should be for the general campaign and the general election, a primary could be held. Although the Election Board should not eliminate anyone who is truly qualified, too many candidates may make a primary difficult. Therefore, the Election Board should make every effort to get the candidate list down below some maximum number such as 10. In the unlikely event that there are more candidates than can be handled in a primary, some other screening rules could be used. Maybe eliminate the candidates who scored the lowest on the candidate exam.


Once the candidate list for a primary or general election had been certified, the actual campaigning would begin. Candidates would not finance their primary and general election campaigns through donations. Instead, we would have clean election laws that would have the appropriate local, state or national government provide most or all of the financing as explained above in the Campaign Financing subsection.

The Election Boards would be responsible for dispersing the government provided funds and for ensuring that the funds were used for legitimate campaign expenses, and that candidates did not spend more than their budgeted amounts.

The Election Boards would also be responsible for reviewing and for giving all candidates a chance to review all advertising. Any false, misleading or unsubstantiated claims would have to be fixed or removed before being published or aired. Challenges to and appeals of advertising decisions would be handled in an expedited manner.

Starting a few days before Election Day, candidates and the news media would be barred from introducing anything new that the election board and the candidates had not been given fair warning of and sufficient time to respond to.


When a primary is needed, the remaining qualified candidates would go through a short period of campaigning as described above. This would be a very short campaigning session that would be designed to give voters an opportunity to get enough of an initial impression of the candidates in order to pick their top choices.

This would be an Open Primary using Ranked Choice Voting as described above. These primaries would not be limited to nor split by political party. All candidates for each office would run in the same primary. Each candidate would also run independent of any political party. All voters, irrespective of any political affiliation would be able to vote in the primary for any of the candidates.

The top four or five candidates for each office would go on to the general campaign and election. Since all the candidates for each office would run in the same primary, the top candidates could be of any mix of political affiliations, even all having the same political affiliation. The important thing is that the winning candidates would be the ones that the voters thought would be best qualified to represent them.


Voters cannot always get to a polling station on election day, or at all. A voter may know that he or she would be out of town or must work on that day. A voter may also be laid up in the hospital or at home, and would not be able to get to a polling station at all. Even if voters think they should be able to get to a polling station on election day, they may get sick or be in an accident, and not be able to make it. There could also be some natural disaster, like a major snow storm, that might keep a lot of people from getting to a polling station.

Given the above, we need to ensure that we have adequate early voting and absentee voting. Since there are a few more potential problems with absentee ballots, like late mail delivery, than with in person ballots, every effort should be made to encourage and to make it easier to vote in person and to vote early. This means having lots of early voting days and locations, so there would be a time and place that would be convenient for almost everyone.

Since people work different days of the week and different hours of the day, it would be best to provide early voting 7 days a week and 24 hours a day for at least a couple of weeks before Election day. We also need to have plenty of voting locations so that no one has to travel too far, and each location would need to be sized so that it would be able to accommodate all the voters in that location so that wait times would be similar in all locations. Information should be sent out in advance to let voters know when and where they will be able to vote.

In those cases where voters must use absentee ballots, we want to have some consistency in the requirements. First off, it would be a waste to simply mail absentee ballots to everyone, but information should be mailed out well enough in advance so that voters who needed absentee ballots could request them, get them, and return them in time. The Post Office should be required to expedite the delivery of absentee ballots, and to guarantee delivery if they are mailed by an appropriate cutoff date.

Ballots and Counting

The candidates' names would be placed on the ballot in some alphabetical or random order. There would be no mention of any affiliation with any group nor any additional information not absolutely needed to allow each candidate to be identified. Maybe photographs could be provided to make it easier to identify candidates, especially when some candidates have similar names. Paper ballots should be generated and stored to provide a convenient means for a recount.

With more than two candidates for a given office, there would be the possibility that no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote. Therefore, we should use Ranked Choice Voting as described above. Voters would have the option for each office to vote for their first choice, second choice, third choice, etc., so there could be instant runoffs. If no candidate receives more than fifty percent of the vote, the lowest vote getter would be removed, and the second choices of those individuals who voted for the removed candidate would be used. This procedure would be repeated until one candidate got at least fifty percent of the vote and could be declared the winner.

In those cases where we need to vote for multiple candidates to fill multiple seats on some council or board, we could handle the selection process similar to the way we would handle a primary election. That is, by eliminating the lowest vote getters until we get down to the needed number of candidates, or by narrowing down to the first winner, and then repeating the process for the second and subsequent winners.


Since all candidates would receive the same government funding, there would be no fund raising issues, and no individual or special interest group would be able to buy influence. Since the candidates would not belong to any political parties, soft money would not be a problem and there would be no party influence. Since all candidates and their ads would go through a screening process, attack ads and dirty politics would be greatly reduced. With much of the politics and influence buying taken out of the process, more and better qualified people would be willing to serve and to represent us.

Some additional changes would be needed for after the election. The Election Boards could serve as watchdogs to monitor the performance of our representatives. They, or anyone else, could question the actions of our representatives. If a representative could not convince his or her constituents of the correctness of a vote on some issue, his or her constituents could vote to overturn their representative’s vote. If our representative continued to not represent our interests, then we could call a new or special election to elect a new representative. This would help us take back control of our government.


We would not need to implement these changes in all elections all at the same time. The changes could start in individual communities and move to the county and state level before going national. The benefits could start to be felt immediately by the voters in the locations that made the change. For instance, if a state started to elect its U.S. senators and congressional representatives using this new electoral process, each of their representatives would immediately be free to better serve the interests of their state instead of the interests of some political party and other special interests.

In fact, until a lot of other states switched over to this new electoral process, this state’s representatives would become key swing votes on many issues. They would always be able to vote with their states best interest in mind. In some cases where the vote could go either way, they could be able to use their vote to influence something else that was important to their state. Of course, when all elections are converted over to the new electoral process, this extra influence would go away, but it could be initially used to help convince people to switch to this new electoral process.

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Representation - How to improve the way our Representatives do their jobs.

Last Updated:
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
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