Destroying the two-party system

A snip from a comment on a Vox Popoli post about How to Save the United States (in case you felt like doing that):

James Dixon: 10/13/11 7:57 AM:
End the power of the two party system (I have no idea how to go about doing that though)

One remotely plausible approach: forbid the printing of party affiliation on ballots. Straight-ticket voting becomes onerous, requiring a cheat sheet or a good memory. This has little effect on high-profile positions, but great potential for breaking the parties’ grip on local offices.

Further down the same path: Reduce or eliminate the requirements for a candidate to get his name on the ballot. At the extreme end, forbid the printing of names on ballots entirely. Ballots must contain only the titles of the elected positions; all votes are write-ins. De facto literacy test.

This presumes that we don’t scrap voting as a farce in the first place.

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1 Comment

Filed under Civilization

One response to “Destroying the two-party system

  1. I worked in the elections voting system in Chicago for a few elections. I was behind the voting table checking people’s names, eligibility to vote, handing out ballots, etc. The party machines were so much more organized than I ever imagined. I remember a cute white girl with a pretty voice who was allowed to sit next to me as I worked. She worked for one of the parties. Her job was to observe who had and hadn’t voted. She was checking a list of names she had against a list of names of people who had come in to vote. If she noticed someone she’d expected to vote hadn’t come in to vote yet she’d call them and encourage them to come vote. I met other people who were paying or were paid to vote according to a party produced cheat sheet they’d been handed. There were many more people who used party produced cheat sheets not because they were being paid but because they wanted to vote for their party.

    I haven’t voted in a long time. I don’t even remember if and how the party affiliation appears on the ballot. Cheat sheets are everywhere and would overcome this.

    Eliminating the requirements for candidates to get their names on ballots would result in an overwhelming number of names on ballots, right?

    All votes being write-ins would require all vote counting to be manual i.e. the electronic ballot counters wouldn’t be able to read all of the written in names and tally the votes.

    Interesting stuff.

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