There are a thousand issues that politicians are making policies for. But few are addressing voting issues, so why should we listen to Andrew Yang?
One of the most shocking pictures I saw coming out of the 2016 election was this one. If every absent voter had voted for a third candidate called "nobody," then Donald Trump would have had 21 electoral votes. Hillary Clinton would have had 72. And "nobody'' would have had 445.
With so drastically few people voting, it begs the question...does the United States election system work? Some people think yes. Most, actually think no. A survey was done to asses how Americans felt about the election process. 71% of people said that they wanted to vote for presidential candidates with a direct vote, and cut out delegates completely. 27% of people had no idea about how the primaries worked, and 44% of people didn't know why delegates were there in the first place. (You can learn about all of that here and here.) Ironically, a majority of Americans (53%) support abolishing the electoral college, but the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact lacks the electoral votes necessary to make that happen.
But the problem goes beyond just the presidential race and the electoral college. Only 1 in 10 Americans think that the two-party system works well. Current election practices are even frowned on by election scientists. Here's a few reasons why;
- The election is vulnerable to a third party candidate getting just enough votes that they "spoil" the election for a candidate that may have won with their votes.
- It can lead to partisanship and extremism.
- It forces people to vote on someone based on if they can win or not. Not based on support of their policies.
- It can depress voter turnout in states that are always blue or always red.
Most embarrassing of all, America has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the developed world. Something has got to change.
The first goal would be registering people to vote easily. Andrew Yang supports automatic voter registration, which works by passing along your information when you first interact with a government agency, like the DMV. States that have done this have seen better voter turnout, but there are often other issues that prevent people from voting. Lack of transportation, or being unable to take time off of work while living paycheck to paycheck are two common examples. Andrew Yang addresses these problems in two other policies; Making Election Day a Federal Holiday, and Rebuilding American Infrastructure.
Once people are able to vote easily, we need to make sure that they feel their votes matter. The way that Andrew Yang proposes we do this, is with Ranked Choice Voting. (A great podcast explains it better than I) Ranked Choice voting works like this; let's say there are 3 candidates running for president in a country of 100 people. As a citizen in this country, you decide that you like Candidate A a lot, you're okay with Candidate B, and you really hate Candidate C. Under Ranked Choice Voting, you can mark more than one candidate based on preference. So, Candidate A would get a 1 from you, Candidate B would get a 2, and Candidate C would get a 3, unless you really didn't like them, then you wouldn't mark Candidate C for anything.
Then the votes are tallied. If one candidate gets over 50% of the vote, they automatically win, but if not, then the real fun of Ranked Choice Voting begins. Lets say 40 people chose Candidate A as their number one choice, 40 people chose Candidate B as their number one choice, and only 20 people put Candidate C as their number one choice. Since Candidate C has the least "number one" votes, they are kicked out of the race. But the votes don't stop being counted. Candidates A and B each keep their 40 number one votes, but the 20 votes from Candidate C are counted, now they are tallying up "number two" choice votes. If 10 of those votes go to Candidate A, and 5 go to Candidate B, then Candidate A wins. Thus, your vote counts until you stop putting down preference numbers.
This system can be done with any number of candidates, since they always drop off the person with the least amount of votes, and then continue tallying. The system also boasts many benefits, like;
- Decreasing negative campaigning
- Providing more choice for voters.
- Increasing voter turnout
- Better capturing voting preferences
These benefits are not just speculated. Ranked Choice Voting is already in place in the national election in Ireland, and even in federal elections in Maine. Andrew Yang supports working with the DNC to use this system to choose candidates in the primaries, as well as implementing it on a national scale.
These solutions and more are provided on yang2020.com. But what do you think? Could these solutions work?