Electoral Reform

I think that democracy is falling short in countries that don't have "preferential voting" of the sort that Australia has. Preferential voting allows you to vote for a minor party, but when that minor party gets nowhere as expected, instead of your vote being wasted, the next preference is taken. E.g. in the 2004 US presidential elections, there would be 3 boxes, and a far left person could put number 1 for Ralph Nader, number 2 for the Democrats and number 3 for the Republicans. When the votes are counted and the Republicans failed to reach 50% of the total vote, the lowest party (Nader) is eliminated from the race and the second preference (in this case, for the Democrats) is chosen. So just because the Republicans got more "1" votes than the Democrats, doesn't mean that they will win. It depends on how the preferences from Nader get distributed. If they overwhelmingly go to the Democrats, then the Democrats will get elected. There is no need for runoff elections either.

You could see this problem in action with the French presidential elections where the runoff was between two right-wing parties, because the left-wing vote had been split. I think that countries that don't have preferential voting, which is most of them, need to have election reform. Although in the short term, I was relieved that Nader managed to split the left-wing vote by enough to get Bush over the line. Bush's reelection was key to ensuring that the War on Terror is won.

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