On April 25, 2012, I proposed a new election system to ensure that political candidates were qualified and that special interests did not control the outcome of elections–two of the major problems that result from the process in which votes are cast many places today. While that system would be superior, it would require major changes that many governments are not ready to make. However, there is one simple measure that would take very little effort to change, that would improve the quality of our governments significantly: remove party affiliation from ballots.
Ballots that simply list the names of people without political party would prevent people from learning the political party of the candidate at the polling booth. They would need to know something about the candidate before entering the polling booth or their vote would effectively be random. This means that uninformed votes would cancel each other out and that informed votes would determine the election outcome.
Many ballots include party affiliations under the rationale that if a voter doesn’t really know the candidates, they can vote for whoever a political party nominates. This is the party’s argument that the voter can still cast a meaningful vote (for the party’s interests) without being an informed citizen. While this may aid the individual cause of uninformed voters, it does not serve the cause of good governance, but exacerbates the problem of faction. The U.S. founders sought to prevent the highjacking of government by factions, and political parties are the very definition of a political faction. Continue reading →