Expanding reform by a few

donald at mich.com donald at mich.com
Fri Nov 29 00:58:31 PST 1996

Dear methods list,

Awhile back, Steve had this good idea of a few states starting Electoral
College reform and then maybe the reform would expand to more states. I was
thinking that maybe this general policy of starting a reform with a few of
something could be used in other elections.

For example: The race for senator in a state. If the few minor political
parties would get together and agree on a plan then maybe it could be the
start of reform for the race for senator. It is not far fetched to think
that one of the major two parties in a state might join the plan at times.

The plan could work as follows: A few weeks before the primary election a
straw poll is taken using some single winner method. This straw poll would
include all the candidates running for the senator position. The political
parties that are in the plan would agrree that the candidate in the plan
that receives the most votes will be the candidate of the plan and the rest
of the candidates in the plan will drop out of the race. Now I know that
this is asking a lot of the candidates in the plan - but if it is a well
run straw poll it is the same as knowing the results of the coming election
two weeks before the primary. When the hand writing is on the wall everyone
might as well act accordingly.

In the begining I would not expect the plan to change any elections, but
these straw polls would be the best education of reform election methods
that the public could receive. Much better than asking the public to buy a
pig in a poke.

The 1987 Korean election is a prime example for using something like this
straw poll policy. The election had four candidates for president. The
winner was the then current leader of the military junta. He won with 37
percent of the vote. The other three candidates were civilian candidates.
Two of them were close in the election 26.7% to 26.1%. The third civilian
had eight percent. If these three civilian candidates would have gotten
together and agreed upon a plan using a well run straw poll to select one
of them to face the military candidate the results of the entire election
would have been different.


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