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US Elections Flawed -- Mathematicians

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Nov 3, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Science News Online reports: 'With recent reports of malfunctioning voter machines and uncounted votes during primaries in Florida, Maryland, and elsewhere, reformers are once again clamoring for extensive changes.

    But while attention is focused on these familiar irregularities, a much more serious problem is being neglected: the fundamental flaws of the voting procedure itself.

    Mathematics <a href="http://www.sciencenews.org/20021102/bob8.asp">are shedding light</a> on questions about how well different voting procedures capture the will of the voters.' The verdict: the U.S. system might be the worst of the lot.
  2. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Sorry, but plurality has been and will still be the best way, the article refuses to consider in the Florida explaination the strong showing fourth by Pat Buchanan and the Reform Party. Especially in the so called Democratic Counties of Dade and Broward. I think the article has a pre-determined conclusion, and seeks to get their by most any means. Even they point out that Lincoln would not of won his election under the other systems, which would of meant a later showdown over the issue of slavery. We are not a true democracy by numbers, we are a representative democracy by population and number of total states. This was done so that no state was marginalized.
  3. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    I am struggling with whether or not you actually read the article?
    I thought it was a well written article that I plan on showing to as many people as I can.

    There has been a feeling in this country that our 2 party system does not allow the freedom of choice that an election should foster. Most people feel they need to vote against someone more than vote for someone. Votes for Nader were usually more of a vote against the other 2. One of the 2 systems proposed in the article would solve that problem, as well as doing something that has been hard to do for quite some time now in politics. One of those systems would result in the candidate that was agreeable to truely the majority of people being elected.

    It just dawned on me. conservatives and liberals would fear this kind of a change in the election system. It would allow moderates to be moderate and not have to choose between absolute right and absolute left. That could spell the end of the money train the Dems and Reps have built for themselves. That would be just tragic, wouldn't it?:rolleyes:

  4. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    LOL...apparently so, at least in my case. I've decided to register as "non-affiliated" for the next round of elections, because I just don't like the extremes which either party seems to elicit at the drop of a hat.

  5. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I feel like voting for independents all around tomorrow.
  6. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    What do you think about Golisano?

  7. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I love him. Not in THAT way, but he is much better than that Cuomo clone called Pataki.

    Did anyone see him with Guilliani throughout post-9.11.01 He was like a wooden puppet smiling with twinkles in his eyes or looking somber when the situation presented itself.

    His policies have have been horrid and the economy of NY should be partly blamed on Pataki not just 9.11.01.
  8. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Nope, sorry. I read the article. Anything other than a winner by majority vote is too much like gaming the system.

    There was an incredible brou-ha-ha over the Census Bureau using statistical analysis to manipulate the census count to "compensate" for undercounted people.

    Imagine the stink if a similar proposal is made to manipulate the votes in a similar fashion.

    Using Florida, Maryland, and "other places" as examples is disingenous, at best. If those places have problems, they need to fix their problems. Here in Pennsylvania, and in most other states (I assume from the lack of reported problems), the voting system works just fine.

    One person, one vote, majority candidate wins. It is the only fair method.

    Before anyone proposes "gaming the system", they should propose genuine reform: registering people to vote; educating people, starting at an early age, on the importance and privilege of voting; outlawing "attack" ads; requiring candidates to stick to discussions of the their platform in terms of what they will do, and not comparing their opponent's platform to point out real or imaginary faults.

    Americans are sick of politics because the process has mostly become a power grab at the expense of the country. Most people choose not to participate in that power grab. Fix that, and I believe we'll find the current voting system works just fine, thank you.
  9. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I agree with many points of your reform paragraph. But we cannot and should not call a halt to attacking the other's platform, particularly if it is based on lies on bad information. Who will call attention to this if not the opponent? The press? Only if it fits their political agenda that day.
  10. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Perhaps I should define my interpretation of an "attack ad".

    An attack ad is one that has a primary purpose of distorting the facts in order to make the opposing candidate appear to be inept, corrupt, or otherwise unattractive to the voters.

    An attack ad's key attributes include distortion of the facts, selective misquoting of the opposing candidate, and broad appeals to emotional issues, not factual ones.

    An attack ad's sole point is "Him bad, me good".

    I have no objection, of course, to a candidate expressing opposition to another candidate's platform, as long as that opposition takes some form other than what I call an "attack ad".
  11. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I like Golisano too, but he's gonna have his hands full trying to strike up consensus with the current state leadership. :)

    McCall and Pataki are boneheads, but I would rather have the enemy I know as opposed to one I don't. I think McCall would be a terrible governor.

  12. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    McCall sucks, plain and simple. Wooden politician.
  13. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    Gaming the system is what happens when accept the results based on the definition of majority. 2/3s vs simple is gaming the system as well.
    I agree there would be a big stink if a similar plan as the one proposed for the census were proposed for elections. However, the alternate voting procedures in the article are not based on guesses the way the census proposal, or political polls for that matter, are based on guesses. Educated guesses, but guesses none the less. They are 2 completely different issues.
    Using the places that have had problems gives the reader of the article perspective. That is a normal writing tactic. The discussion in the article does not say that our current voting system does not work. it says there are some that work better. I have an Apple IIc at home and a dot matrix printer. It works perfectly fine for writing a letter, but I have another computer that works better.
    Once again we are back to the definition of majority. Putting that aside, and speaking fairly let me ask what would be fair in this context related to ice cream. I hate chocolate and you hate vanilla, we both like strawberry. We each have $1 and the ice cream is $2. Ideally we would try and buy Neopolitan, but they are sold out. Choosing Chocolate would be unfair to me. Choosing vanilla would be unfair to you. Most likely we would compromise and choose Strawberry, it is neither of our first choices, but it is a flavor we will both be happy with.

    Those are the kinds of decisions and compromises we are asking our politicians to make all the time. One of these alternate voting systems would allow the voters to compromise as well.

    Everything before outlawing attack ads is already being done, but to no avail. Everything after(even taking into account you further definition in a later post) is not possible because it deals with opinions. If we do not allow the candidate the opportunity to express their opinions of their opponent in terms of the decisions that opponent has made, how then could we allow that opponent to use those decisions in their side of the race? We would end up with a system based on who has the best picture, because that would be all we could see of the candidates.

    Here is where we agree. We just have differing views on how the fixes should be brought about. Plurality voting would mean that it is either your way or my way. One of the other methods proposed in the article would allow for other possibilities that we may not be seeing yet.

    Interesting just the same.


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