Re: Move to North Dakota if you really want a secret ballot, or ....

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Thu Aug 05 2004 - 09:51:50 CDT

there are pragmatic and socio-political aspects to consider as well.

It unlikely that most voters would appreciate the platform issues that
divide candidates in the communist party. What would happen if all
voters were allowed to vote in that case? then the winner would simply
be the most mainstream candidate in every case. And he would not even
represent his party's platform.

There is also the issue of how our government functions. Its a
hot-button question but one could make an argument that far from being
a good idea, instant run-off voting might be a bad idea since it
disrupts the inherent bi-stability of our defacto two party system.
Some people compare instant-runoff voting to a parlimentary
proportional representation system. But even a proportionally elected
governementis governed by the majority party, or more precisely, tho
opposition part is specifically excluded. This allows them to govern
practically and not get stalemated or end up in the middle.
conflicting philosophies to the left and to the right are deliberatley
not muddled but instead acheive a dynamic ergodic balance over time, so
that any one time the governing philosophy is somewhat self consistent.

Note I'm being a bit of a devils advocate here, since I beleive we
should experiment with instant run-off voting. I just am also aware
that it is that while it may be optimal in the sense of maximizing
voter preference on a race by race basis it may not be the best way to
actually govern. Or at least that remains to be seen.

So if everyone votes in every primary we in effect have a tyranny of
the majority over all the small parties. And in the big parties we
lose all nuance in positions intrinsic to the platform.

The fact that states run the voting for conceptually private groups
simply acknowledges that this sub-divided focused choice process is
integral to our government systems stability.

On Aug 5, 2004, at 8:37 AM, Douglas W. Jones wrote:

> On Aug 5, 2004, at 7:50 AM, Alan Dechert wrote:
>> I contend that revealing your party when you vote in a primary is a
>> compromise of the right to a secret ballot.
> This depends entirely on what you believe should be the role of the
> primary.
> Is a primary election primarily a matter of internal party governance,
> where
> the members of the party select their candidate using secret ballots,
> as an
> alternative to selecting their candidates through a caucus-convention
> model,
> or is it something else.
> If a primary is essentially an internal matter, then requiring party
> membership
> for voting in a primary is no different from a corporation limiting
> the right
> to vote in corporate elections to the shareholders in that corporation.
> In contrast, if you view primaries as part of a public runoff process
> designed
> to limit the number of candidates in the general election, then open
> primaries
> make a bit more sense, but it is also fair to ask, what is the role of
> parties
> in this context? Why not just have a straight nonpartisan runoff
> election
> instead of preserving the fiction of political parties in the primary?
> My personal belief is that open primaries bring the entire concept of
> political party into question. Imagine if the Sierra Club, for
> example, or
> General Motors, had to hold their internal governance elections under
> the
> rules of an open primary where the entire public was entitled to vote
> in their
> corporate elections.
> Another interesting question is, when primary elections are purely
> partisan
> matters, what business does government have in running them? In some
> states,
> the government charges the parties for the cost of running the
> primaries.
> My guess is that there is a legitimate government interest in assuring
> that
> the integrity of elections that determine candidates put forth by the
> parties
> for public office. One way to gain such assurance is to have the
> government
> itself administer party primaries.
> There are also economic reasons not to have full duplicate voting
> systems,
> one for government elections and one for primaries. If you've got
> enough
> equipment to run the polling places in a general election, there are
> good
> economic reasons to use that same equipment in primaries and other
> elections,
> instead of having some other organization run elections in those other
> contexts.
> (This economic justification fades into meaningless if you use simple
> printed
> paper ballots with hand counting because, in that case, there are no
> capital
> costs to amortize over multiple elections.)
> Doug Jones
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:03 2004

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