Liberty in Voting


Under our nation’s laws governing presidential elections, each state is empowered to choose how their citizens’ votes will count in the Electoral College.  Most states have chosen a “winner takes all” system.  The exceptions are Maine and Nebraska.  In those states, the winner of the popular vote receives two Electoral College votes, and the winners of the two individual congressional districts in Maine and three in Nebraska receive one vote each.  But there are other systems that would bring more Liberty in voting, so that people could both vote their consciences and also keep from “wasting their vote” by voting their consciences.  The most promising systems are “Instant Runoff Voting” and “Approval Voting.”

Instant Runoff allows people to vote for their favorite candidates, and also for their second choice at the same time.  Then if their first choice doesn’t win, and no other candidate received 50 percent of the votes plus one, there would be an immediate “runoff” between the top two remaining candidates in the race.  In the runoff the lowest candidates would be eliminated, and there would be a recount.  Voters who still had a candidate among the top two would have their votes counted.  In Approval Voting, people would vote for all candidates of whom they approved or accepted, but no one could vote more than once for any one candidate.  Then the votes would be tabulated, with the highest vote-getter winning the election.  Under that system if voters pretty much would be content with Candidate A or B, but really disapproved of Candidate C, their vote would count for Candidate C not to win the election.  In both of these systems, people could vote for the “best” candidate, but still have their choice for the “lesser of two evils” votes counted.  In that way, there would be much more Liberty in voting.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President