Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Primary election today

Today is primary election day in Washington state.  Despite some of my preivous posts and rants, I voted today, for a few reasons:

  1. This is a primary election, not a general election.
  2. Everyone running today is a state office seeker, not national.
  3. In uncontested races in Washington, you need to get 1% of the vote to move on to the eneral election in November.  This is critical for Libertarian candidates in Washington, who are mostly running uncontested in the their parties for some seats.
  4. Simple game theory.

That last point needs some explaining.  The application of game theory here deals with actions and outcomes.  There are two possible actions: voting and not voting.  There are (simplistically) two outcomes: a wasted vote or a vote that counts.  By applying game theory, I see that if I don't vote, I have a 100% chance of wasting my vote, and a 0% chance of making it count.  If I vote, I have a 50% chance of wasting my vote, and a 50% chance of making it count.  These percentages can be argued, but the important point is there is a non-zero probability for either outcome if I vote, and a zero probability of having a vote count if I don't.  Simple game theory - if I want my vote to count, I need to vote.

That said, I also support Initiative 318, Instant Runoff Voting, currently being circulated.  I feel this makes a much better alternative to a primary or caucus system and saves money - how much better can it get?

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