Monday, May 3, 2010

Range Voting Idea Springs Up in BC's Clearwater Times

British Columbia (BC) has failed twice attempting to overhaul their voting system. The first time it wanted to implement a system called single transferrable vote (STV). This is a more complicated, though more proportional and mathematically fair system. It just missed the 60% needed to implement the system. The second attempt to implement STV was worse. Its support dropped by 20%.

Currently, BC uses the traditional first past the post/plurality system. Plurality suffers from numerous flaws such as distorting the representation of officials to the voters when electing an office body. It is probably best known for its high vulnerability to vote splitting.

This Clearwater Times article tosses around the idea of an alternate voting system: range voting, described in detail within the article. Given that the voters of B.C. rejected STV (nonsensically in my opinion), I think a transition from plurality to range voting is good. However, this is not where range voting shines its brightest. The proposal suggested is for electing a legislature whereas range voting is good for single office positions. Yes, those elected under a range system would be better than under plurality, no doubt. But those selected under range would not be proportional to the voter population.

This is like having Nolan Ryan replace a minor leaguer in the outfield. Sure, he'll do much better than the chump being replaced. But you'd be better off having him pitch. Others are much better outfielders. I will be split in happiness if this goes through. I'll be happy that range is implemented somewhere, but disappointed that it's not playing its best position.


For a modern discussion on range voting, see: Gaming the Vote or visit The Center for Range Voting.

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