Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day Two: Part Two -- Electoral Reform

The Australian, Pete, and I also talked about the difference between the American electoral system and the Australian system. He said that in Australia all elections are compulsory -- if you do not vote, you are fined. Candidate elections are also ranked. If 16 people are running for president, you can rank each candidate in order of preference. San Francisco now has a similar system -- called ranked-choice voting or instant run-off voting -- but San Franciscans can only rank up to three candidates because the voting machines are not yet capable of processing more than three rankings. In Australia, technology is not a problem because, according to Pete, everyone votes manually and ballots are tallied by hand. If we had had ranked-choice voting, manual voting, and hand-counted ballots in 2000, Al Gore would have become the president, as many supporters of Ralph Nader would have ranked Gore second.

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