To Build a Better Ballot

an interactive guide to alternative voting systems

One of my favorite Twitter mutuals tried for a while to convince me that range/approval voting are superior to instant runoff, and while I still sort of think the later-no-harm principle makes intuitive sense, this webpage actually convinced me of what I’d argued against.

Which is pretty cool.

Dreeg Ocedam

I feel like the voting system doesn’t really matter when there are only two parties, as it is the case in the US.

But one can hope that a better voting system, which doesn’t suffer from the spoiler effect, might make it easier new candidates and parties to appear without fearing splitting the votes.


Pace Duverger’s Law, I do think that that causality goes from the voting system to the craven calibration towards the center. I am the person who would never vote for a third party under the US’s current system who’d be happy to with a different one. (While I’m dreaming, though, wouldn’t it be nice if public campaign financing evened the playing field a bit?)

Dreeg Ocedam

I think that public campaign financing is not the most important.

In France, there is a limit to how much an individual can donate to a political campaign (4600€) and corporations/organizations can’t donate. Campaign spending per candidate have a ceiling that candidates can’t go over (roughly 20M €) and there are some rules regarding how much airtime can candidates have.

Campaign ads are forbidden (though candidates have things that are similar to ads, but they are all displayed consecutively so that candidates can’t benefit from just buying more ad space).

It’s still not perfect, and some of it might not work for a federated country like the US (there are often debates around European elections because not all EU countries have the same laws regarding political ads, there risks being similar debates if not all US states apply the same election law), but we often have more than two candidates that have decent chances of winning the elections.

Also, there are two turns in our elections (the first one eliminates all but 2 candidates) which eliminates part of the need to vote strategic in the first turn.

Discussion about better voting methods, including Approval, STAR and Ranked Choice.