“Operation Election Integrity”
By Roy Minet (Rev. 03/02/21)
Elections are the only mechanism by which citizens can hope to have meaningful control over their government. Elections are democracy; without elections that citizens can implicitly trust, there is no democracy.
The primary objective of an election is to make the best possible decisions when choosing citizens’ representatives who will wield the fearsome force of government over everyone’s lives. The definition of “best possible decision” is: that result which maximizes voter satisfaction (net of dissatisfaction) when summed for all who voted.
Two aspects of elections are crucially important: First, does the election mechanism itself reliably render the correct result (as defined above)? Second, election outcomes (decisions) must be solely the result of voters freely expressing their sincere opinions through guaranteed-to-be-secret ballots; there must be complete confidence that election results cannot be fraudulently manipulated.
About 14 years ago, I began seriously looking into the first aspect. It is a trickier problem than it seems. It has been agreed for 250 years that the Plurality voting method is awful, but there has been no consensus regarding a best replacement method. There have been two main “religious cults” – those advocating IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) and those advocating AV (Approval Voting). More definitive, data-based results became available early last year.
IRV provides only a very small improvement over Plurality. AV is considerably better, but still not great. We libertarians should be proud to have long sensed that there is a missing ingredient: NOTA (None Of The Above). The most important voter input is indeed the candidate each voter thinks is the best one. The second most important voter input is (not too surprisingly) the candidate each voter thinks is worst. For several quite logical reasons, no voting method can work really well without utilizing this additional voter input.
Recently, and especially following the 2020 election, the second aspect has commanded much attention. No one, especially the losers, should ever think it necessary or worthwhile to question results, insist on recounts or file lawsuits. We have seen how horribly disruptive that can be.
Whether or not fraud occurred, there cannot be any reason for doubt. This is not a tricky problem that requires a 250-year-long debate! Fixes can and must be implemented. Legislators currently are being pounded by constituents and are providing their customary response: lots of hearings and ad hoc study commissions.
Citizens cannot allow the usual outcome: politicians run out the clock with hearings and commissions until the furor subsides, then return to business as usual; perhaps passing someminor tweaks. The pressure for specific and meaningful fixes must be maintained.
To that end, I initiated “Operation Election Integrity” and prepared a “Roadmap To Ensuring Election Integrity” document that urges five fixes in prioritized order. A hard copy was mailed to each PA Senator and Representative, plus twenty members of the US Congress. The “Roadmap” can be viewed, along with voluminoussupporting detail, here: http://royminet.org/voting-elections/
Please, everyone call and writeyour representatives advocating the reforms as summarized below:
· Substantially all voters should vote in-person at their neighborhood polling place on election day. Eliminate use of mail-in voting and early voting. Both haveserious vulnerabilities that might be reduced, but cannot be adequately fixed. Allow only the minimum number of absentee ballots required for voters who apply for them and have a bona fide, compelling reason. Beyond such very limited exceptions, there simply is no good reason not to vote at a polling place. If grocery stores and even Disney World can operate safely with masks and distancing, surely this can be done at polling places.
· Replace the Plurality voting method with a dramatically better one. BAWV (Best/Alternate/Worst Voting) is the recommended replacement.
· Remove artificial barriers to ballot access. All political parties should be “created equal.” Any party that has a modicum of public support (simply defined to be at least 0.05% of statewide voter registration) should be qualified to nominate candidates for general election ballots. More competition (voter choices) is needed. Parties may establish their own rules for nominating procedures, primaries and conventions, but must bear all costs of their operations. No taxpayer dollars should ever be spent for the benefit of any private political organization (such as funding primary elections or subsidizing conventions).
· Cleanly and simply eliminate any possibility of gerrymandering. Electoral district boundaries should be drawn using a guaranteed-to-be-completely-impartial geometric procedure called “Precinct-Preserving Splitline.”
· Improve polling place procedure through careful use of modern computer technology. Final results can be available within half an hour of poll closing and 100% auditing is practical to ensure unquestionable integrity. It is worth the money to increase throughput so that peak wait times never exceed ten minutes.