Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What If Voting For President Was Like Voting For Best Podcast?

I think the 2008 Best WeBlog Award voting rules are very interesting (vote for EconTalk here): One vote per day per IP Address.

So today, I was able to vote at work, and on both my home computers (3 votes total).

I suspect this rule is simply due to a technological limitation, but it also captures to some extent how much more the fans enjoy their favorite podcast than the runner-up. In other words, we get an idea of a cardinal ranking instead of just an ordinal one.

I'm not advocating it, but since we have blogged about alternative voting systems before, I think it is worth some discussion. (I also can't help but think it is a different form of the electorate college.) Suppose the polls would be open for 10-days, and you could vote once-per day, how would people's behavior change? My guesses:
  1. If people vote based on the probability they cast the decisive vote, those who are close to the indifference point won't vote at all. As a result, the total number of voters fall.
  2. A new class of voters would emerge, no longer just the "I voted today" but perhaps "I'm a 10-voter." Also for particular voters of candidates: "Don't blame me, I voted for X 10 Times!"
  3. There will be less "buyer remorse." I recall a friend who told me "I went in planning to vote for Nader, but panicked and voted Libertarian." Now she could return and cancel her vote out to some extent, assuming she would not just panic another 9 times in the same manner.
Any other guesses?

1 comment:

Matt E. Ryan said...

Selling votes would be far easier. Despite the fact it's illegal, it's really hard to convince someone to change their one and only vote in an election-- democracy has sanctity thanks to our elementary education. However, if you could cast your vote AND a vote for something else, maybe in a race in which you don't particularly care...I'd expect to see that.

Also-- more groups like MADD would end up dominating elections, in my opinion. I'd say the average MADD-esque supporter would care a lot more about an issue than its opponents, and since in this case, caring more means more votes, they'd tilt things their way.

Both just guesses...