Story Road Business

your vote doesn't count

Posted in: Sunnyhills
  • Avatar
  • robmeans
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Milpitas, CA
  • 2 Posts
  • Respect-O-Meter: Respected Neighbor

''A small fraction of the community is really making the choices of who should govern.'' The Post's Nov. 18th editorial is correct. But so what? When our country started 250 years ago, only 10% of the populace was eligible to vote. Today we have lots of eligibility, but nearly the lowest turnout rate of all democracies worldwide.

I also agree that ''democracy begins and grows with local participation.'' But is the answer to ''continue to convince our young people that the system really works ...''? Why not change the system so it does work?

Today, in most cases, your vote doesn't count. Ask any republican whether their vote counts in their gerrymandered-by-Democrats voting district? We've got nothing but Democrats. You'd think there were no Republicans living in Silcon Valley. The system is rigged to keep incumbents in office. And it's very effective at that. If we want that to change, we must change the election rules. We have a winner-take-all system. Most democracies use different voting systems.

For example, we could require a majority vote to elect someone to office. Under our current plurality system, all the votes for third-party candidates are discarded. Rather than being discarded, why not give those voters a second-choice vote in a majority voting system. That's what they do in San Francisco - where it's called ''instant runoff voting''.

On voting day, I offered voters the chance to vote by different rules for City Council candidates. The results from two different methods reflected the official vote: four closely matched strong candidates with two weak ones. My little experiment didn't point to any profound differences due to voting rules. However, I did a similar experiment with presidential candidates in 2000 which yielded major differences. I think it's a local vs. state/national thing. The farther one gets from local control the wider becomes the disconnect between what people want, and what their state and federal governments actually do.

To get a clear picture of that disconnect, read ''Fixing Elections'' by Steven Hill. (The library has a copy.) Mr. Hill brings into focus all the things we hate about big-time politics: congressional gridlock, sound-bite and attack campaigns, boondoggles, gerrymandering, etc. Then he shows how our winner-take-all voting rules spawn these problems. So much of our so-called representative democracy is neither. And it's about time we start questioning our 250 year-old set of rules for voting.

If we want more local participation, we must create a set of rules that gives power to the participants. If voting really counts for something, then people will vote.

Votes in Milpitas count for sure

I have seen some of the studies for a couple of the candidates and it's amazine how just a shift of few votes this way or that and the whole results would be very different.

So anybody that did not vote should not complain about anybody holding office now, they have voted for them simply by not voting for anybody else they would consider better.

By Neil
Advertise Here!

Promote Your Business or Product for $10/mo


For just $10/mo you can promote your business or product directly to nearby residents. Buy 12 months and save 50%!