## Range voting and some of its theoretical advantages (for Democrats)

In this post I would like to introduce you to a very simple but revolutionary voting reform called "range voting." I am a PhD mathematician and the founder of the Center for Range Voting.

For a ton more information about RV, please browse that site. Please join the CRV and/or its own blog.

Range voting is simply this:

1. voters supply ratings on an 0-10 scale (the "range") to each candidate.
2. candidate with highest average score wins.
(You've seen it in the Olympics.)

The current "plurality" system is inferior to range voting in many ways.
First, "name one candidate then shut up" causes each voter to express far less information – in fact the minimum possible amount of information, making that the least-democratic possible voting system. A Nader voter cannot express his opinion about Gore versus Bush.

Second, plurality votes not only give less information, but they tend to be less-honest information. For example, studies showed in 2000 that about 9 out of 10 voters who honestly regarded Nader as the best, in fact voted for Gore or Bush because they were afraid of "wasting their vote" or causing Gore to lose, etc (a fear that in fact came true in Florida). That is a huge amount of dishonesty, in this case dishonesty that hurt Nader by distorting his vote count to make his support appear far smaller than it actually was. I do not consider a system in which 9 out of 10 supporters of somebody feel forced to lie, and the remaining 1 out of 10 cause the election to swing in a direction they did not intend, to be a "democracy" at all. It is a "joke."

With range voting, a Nader supporter could give Nader a full 10, but then also give Gore a full 10, if he wanted. The whole phenomenon of "vote splitting" simply would no longer exist. Gore would have won easily in 2000 with RV.

Now some have got the idea that the cure for these ills is instead "Instant Runoff Voting." That is a mistake:

1. IRV cannot be done on most of today's voting machines. Range Voting (and this is non-obvious, but true, e.g. see the demos on the CRV web site) can be run on every voting machine in the USA, computerized or not. Right now. Zero hardware and zero software modification needed. It is also easy to total range elections by hand, but it's not easy with IRV.
2. IRV tends to lead to foul-ups. San Francisco adopted it with the result that for every one of their nonobvious 2004 races, the software froze and the election results were delayed weeks. The only way IRV elections can be done is if either all the votes (not just totals, but every vote individually) are transported to one central headquarters, or if all voting machines are linked in a network. Both ways are just asking for security/manipulability/fraud nightmares.