Comments: I'm Nothin' But Soapboxes

Yeah, I've been trying to avoid thinking about this too much, because the question of vote integrity kind of trumps vote system, but this is a favorite idea of mine (http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/3177.html) My father, many years ago, planted the idea in my head, suggesting that states could pass proportional representation systems that would kick in when a certain minimum number of other states had also passed similar systems. This reduces the "we don't want to be the first do it and reduce our importance" whing. I think it increases the importance of all states as battlegrounds, as you say, and reduces the distortion effect of the electoral college.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at May 11, 2004 01:53 PM

I knew I'd seen the topic discussed somewhere not that long ago. (Thanks for the link.)

I sort of take issue with the "we don't want to be the first" situation. First, a couple of states already do it, so no new states would be first. Second...well, what's wrong with being first with such a sensible idea?

Posted by Anne at May 12, 2004 07:54 AM

Well, tactically speaking, a state with two or three delegates at stake (under proportional representation) is actually going to get less attention than a state with all their delegates at stake. So as long as a significant number of all-or-nothing states still exist, proportional representation states will be underplayed. Moreover, the party which wins the presidential election vote in a state is often the party which controls governorship/legislature, and shifting to proportional representation would be giving votes away to the other side.

Now, if the political operatives were smart, they might realize that proportional representation allows them to "run up" the score in stronghold states and make ground, so the concept of the 'battleground' state loses meaning. But that's only if they're smart, and enough states join in.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at May 12, 2004 06:07 PM

Yes, it's easier for candidates if they can "strategically target" certain states instead of having to campaign to the country at large, but it's not easier for the voters in state that are habitually ignored. (It's not that easy in "swing" states where voters are innundated with a bewildering excess of campaign advertisements, I guess.)

If the political operatives were smart, they might stop and consider that they're not always going to be the ones in office and a system that's fair to both parties is going to be better for them in the future than a system that favors the party in power.

Posted by Anne at May 13, 2004 07:41 AM