Possible Language for a Ballot Initiative for "Democracy Improvement"
[The hyperlinks lead to additional explanatory or justifying information.
In item III we are not fixated on the range 0 to 99
and are fully amenable to other ranges such as
0 to 9 or, less desirably -10 to +10,
if those are felt superior; the range 0-99 is chosen merely for
We hereby outlaw gerrymandering:
All election districts shall be
chosen by the following completely unbiased automatic procedure:
Start with the boundary outline of the state. (Note: for states containing major
separate islands or
pieces such as Michigan or Hawaii, the pieces must be pre-joined by line-segments to create
an artificial all-enclosing boundary. Each line used must have the property that the
entire state lies on one side of it. Second note:
The procedure described holds for congressional districts and statehouse seats.
For county or city governments based in districts within that county, the same procedure must
be used but starting from the county or city outline not the state outline.)
Let N=A+B where A and B are as nearly equal whole numbers as possible.
(For example, 7=4+3.)
Among all possible dividing lines
that split the state into two parts with population ratio A:B,
choose the shortest. (Note: since the Earth is round, when we say "line" we more precisely mean
"great circle." If there is an exact length-tie for "shortest" then break that tie by using
the line closest to North-South orientation, and if it's still a tie, then use the Westernmost of
the tied dividing lines.)
We now have two hemi-states, each to contain a specified number (namely A and B)
of districts. Handle them recursively via the same splitting procedure.
(After this initiative is passed, redistricting to meet these
standards must happen within 365 days. After that, exactly one redistricting must
happen between US censuses, and it is to be conducted within 365 days after the census
data is made public. Exception to the preceding 2 sentences: we allow
redistricting caused by any successful court challenge
arguing that our rules were not followed during those district drawings. The maximally-populous
district must have population at most 6% higher than the minimally-populous one,
otherwise our rules have not been followed well enough.)
For examples of how all 50 states would look if districted in this manner, see
If anybody's residence is split in two by one of the splitlines (which would happen,
albeit very rarely)
then they are automatically declared to lie in
the most-western (or if line is EW, then northern)
of the two districts.
We hereby enact Uniform ballot standards:
each voter's ballot
must be immediately checked for validity, and the voter immediately notified
of its non-validity so that he/she can try again to produce a valid ballot.
Voting machines that silently reject invalid ballots are hereby illegal.
(Exception: in locales that use hand-counted, not machine-counted, ballots,
this statute is dropped since it would conflict with the desire for
ballot secrecy and anonymity.)
In any statewide race, all ballots for that race must have the same format statewide
wherever the same type of voting machine is used.
We hereby improve the voting system to allow voters to express more information
in their votes and to reconcile the desire to express their opinions honestly
in their vote, with the desire not to be strategically foolish:
Each vote in an N-candidate election with N>2
(Note: N includes all "write-in" candidates, if they are allowed)
shall consist of one numerical score from 0 to 99
awarded to each candidate (for example "57, 0, 34, 99" could be one vote in a 4-candidate
Voters are allowed to fill entries with an "X" ("intentional blank")
if they desire not to express an
opinion about that candidate (for example "57, 0, X, 99");
A candidate's "total" is the average of all his non-blank scores;
The candidate with the highest total wins.
(Exception: to prevent
candidates admired by a small group but unknown to everybody else from winning,
each candidate is pre-awarded K artificial zero scores, where K is 5% of the number of
voters in the previous iteration of that race.
This also is intended to remove
any fear from voters about honestly putting "blank.")
Any illegible or out-of-range score shall be treated as "blank" so that the rest of that ballot's
scores still get used.
We hereby democratize ballot access:
Anybody can get on any ballot for any office provided they collect at least 2,500
signatures of citizens legally qualified to be voters, or
at least the square root of the number of voters in the preceding election for that post
(if there was a precedent, otherwise 100 signatures will suffice),
whichever is fewer; and provided they submit this petition a month
or more before election day.
We hereby free access to election information:
All election results including precinct by precinct counts (where those precincts produce them)
should be publicly posted on the internet within 5 days of the election
as some measure of protection against fraud.
Mathematical facts about the
"range voting" system in III:
Please note that awarding a high or low score to
candidate C in no way affects the battle purely between candidates A and B, so that
voters may feel free to express their honest opinion of C without fear of
hurting A by "denying him your vote."
Also please note that if candidate A has several "clones" A2, A3,
then that will neither hurt nor help them, unlike in the old system where the
clones might "split the vote" and lose. Also note that, surprisingly, it is known how to
run this kind of election on any voting machine in the USA
with no modification needed.
Finally note that voters now can express information about all the candidates instead
of just one, or, by voting like (0,99,0,0), can choose to act just like voters in the
Historical facts about ballot access in IV:
In all US history since the age of preprinted ballots began (about 1890)
up to 2005, there have only been two cases where a
ballot for some statewide office (or US presidential race)
has ever had more than 10 candidates on it,
provided at least 2500 signatures were required to get on ballot
(and even in those cases, there were ≤12 candidates).