And now for the most topical utopia post so far: elections. It’s no secret the US election process is so messed up that it can barely reach “suboptimal” at even the best of times. Clearly a utopia can’t use the US system as a model. I shall instead take the best ideas I’ve heard and mash them together with a couple thoughts of my own.
there should be no political parties. None of this group identification
shortcut crap that shuts out candidates who don’t toe the party line
exactly. They can, instead, represent their actual constituents.
candidate for office should run campaigns based on actual issues of
interest to the public. Prior to election season (which shouldn’t last
as long as an actual season), public comments and questions are
submitted to a qualified news outlet (remember those from Part 2?), and are consolidated into a single questionnaire for candidates to fill out.
These questionnaires can pull double duty in an “I Side With” kind of way, allowing voters to see which candidates most closely represent their views once the election is underway.
money changes hands as part of an election. Every candidate gets a few
infomercials on qualified news outlets to explain policy positions; an
equal amount of time across the board. And these must be factual - the
independent fact-checkers get their review before the ads are allowed to
air. Political advertising of any other kind is prohibited.
are encouraged to have blogs and participate in social media. In fact, I
think that’s where the debates should go. Put the debates online, where
everyone can participate in real-time chat; candidates, media,
fact-checkers, and the public. The Google town hall with Obama earlier
this year might make a decent template for these events.
should be cast by ranked order of preference. This gets you a clear
winner no matter how many candidates there are. In case you’re
unfamiliar with the idea, here’s basically how it works. When you vote,
you don’t just check one box; you order the entire slate of candidates
from most preferred to least.
counting starts with everyone’s most preferred candidate. If one of the
candidates has a clear majority, that’s the winner. If no candidate has
a clear majority, the candidate with the least amount of votes is
removed, and all votes for that candidate switched to the next most
preferred candidate. Repeat this procedure until one candidate gets a
kind of a system doesn't work well with human vote counters, so would
have to be done by machine. Voting machines should be
commodity-hardware, open source solutions. Any closed-source solution is
capable of being subverted to the will of the controller. Only an
open-source solution, where everyone can examine the source code for
flaws, is trustworthy enough for a task as important as voting.
assumption I haven't stated yet is that everyone gets to vote.
Participatory systems work best when people actually participate. Online
registration would be the easiest to implement since the entire
population has internet access (Part 2 again).
I'm sure I've overlooked something. Feel free to let me know what I've missed.