There is more than one type of voting system. The simplest system is the system that Americans use, although we use it in a very complicated way. This voting system is called “First-Past-the-Post” voting, and it’s called that because the winner is the person with the most votes and there is no second place.  This system, also called “Winner Take All,” works by taking the votes, putting them in piles, and handing everything to the candidate who got the biggest pile. Everybody else gets nothing. This is an old system, and it works, but it’s a bit brutal.

As human beings have used this system for so long, we know a lot of things about it. One thing that political scientists have learned is that First-Past-the-Post voting systems always evolve into entrenched two-party systems. If this is a result that we would like to avoid, then we have to change the way we vote. Ranked choice voting, where every voter can state their first, second, and third choices for an elected position, would contribute naturally to a more even distribution of power, a smoother political process, and a less alienated electorate. There are also other systems to consider, all of whom have their benefits. A state-wide dialogue about better voting practices will result in a stronger democracy.


    • geoffsebesta

      Exactly. I’m actually down with trying anything beyond first-past-the-post, there’s no reason to not experiment here. For example, we could just do an election two or three different ways at one time (with the original agreement that only the simple majority counts) and let everybody see the results, then we would know which one we preferred.

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