Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Why Vote?

Dr. Paul Hein has a great essay on LewRockwell.com about why voting does no good.  I agree with him, but there is one small flaw in his argument - while not voting make sense from the point of view of the non-voter, it tells the person up for election absolutely nothing.  There is nothing that differentiates the indifferent, apathetic non-voter from the principled non-voter.  Thus, someone who gets 75% of the vote (with a 25% voter turnout, this means 2 of every 10 Americans) claims a mandate for their particular views.

How to resolve this situation?  We need a way to separate lazy people from principled people who don't like thei system or their choices.  One way to do this is an idea I stole from L. Neil Smith, author and libertarian.  The idea comes from one of his books (either The Probability Broach or The American Zone, I've forgotten which one - doesn't matter, buy them both and read them).  The idea is rather simple, and can be ramped up from a grass-roots write-in campaign to deliver a message to true democratic reform.

For every election where there is a person running for an office (i.e. not referendums or initiatives), one additional selection will be added to the list of people running for that office.  That entry will be titled "None of the above are acceptable."  That's it - nothing could be simpler.

If NOTAAA wins a majority of the vote, then the second place finisher gets the office, knowing he failed to appeal to a majority of the voters and, more importantly, having any "mandate" he may have felt taken forcibly away from him.  It also gives local, state, and federal officials a good idea of how many people came out to vote and didn't like their choices, as well as an historical record of

Here's where the ramp-up comes in - at a later point in time, this can be expanded to where, if NOTAAA wins, the office remains unfilled (I like this option, as it cuts down on the size of government).  There are problems here - unfilled seats on the state or federal level may have to be filled by appointment or other method that sidesteps the voting issue, and it does nothing to address the huge pyramid of civil servants who are never elected to office but do all the work. 

So, there you have it - the reason why not to vote, and one reason why I would consider voting again.  It's too late for this election to put NOTAAA on the ballots, but by 2008, I'd like to see this taking off in local elections in my home state, wherever that is at the time.

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