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Sam Chang

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Improve all democracies in the world, implement the Negative Vote.

Almost all the democracies in the world suffer from a common phenomenon where a minority, often the more extreme elements, could hijack a major party and force the society as a whole into conflicts that the majority population does not like. We see this kind of situation in the United States, in Israel, in Taiwan, etc. repeated again and again.

My proposal is to let people have the right to cast a Negative Vote in all elections. Each voter would still be entitled to cast only one vote, he/she may cast the vote for a candidate or against a candidate, but not both. Winner is the person who gets the most net positive votes, i.e. the person whose YES votes minus NO votes is the highest.

I believe over time this will prevent the extreme elements from winning any significant political office. Political rhetoric will also naturally move away from extreme rhetoric and more toward the middle. Eventually even the news media might find it difficult to help spread the extreme rhetoric because people aspiring for power or politics will learn quickly that extremism will attract the most NO votes and block them from such power in a democracy.

Voter participation will increase and the election results will more accurately reflect the people’s will.

In a democracy, I should have the right to say, through the ballot, “NO, I do not want this person to be in power”. This should be a basic right.

I’ve started a social group on Facebook called Allow NO Vote in Elections. It is public and I hope you will join and help spread the message.



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  • Dec 29 2013: I'm not sure how negative voting would actually effect the outcomes of elections, but I think it would make negative campaigning tactics rampant. I understand why you think it would do the opposite, but in the US it's rare for negative campaigning to be met with backlash on a large scale. Ideally, a negative voting system would allow the electorate to be accurately represented. The problem is that it gives politicians a much greater incentive to have extremely negative campaigns to have the most undecided voters go out and down vote a demonized candidate. It's hard to like any politician, and it's really easy to hate them.

    I think that requiring voters to vote for two different parties would solve that problem much better. By requiring two votes, the interests of highly mobilized extremist parties is negated because they will most likely vote for a more moderate party with similar beliefs. The problem with this approach is that it makes it near impossible for fringe parties to gain power, but it would certainly bring a more reasonable voice to political discourse. At the same time however, it gives fringe parties far more influence on elections, forcing major parties to break party lines to appeal to them.
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      Dec 30 2013: Negative campaigning already exists. Negative vote does not yet exists (except perhaps as Jimmy Strobl in this forum says it is practiced in his party in Sweden). Many voters I know among the younger generation do not go to the polls because they distrust the politicians and their promises, for good reasons. The same people all reacted very positively when I explained this Negative Vote concept to them and say they would then go the polls. If Negative Vote achieves significant increase in voter participation, that in itself would be a very good improvement for democracy.
      As I have explained elsewhere already, I also see this as a basic right we should have. I as a voter should have the right to express my objection to a particular person becoming my leader with my ballot, regardless of how I might or might not be influenced by negative campaigning. The existing powers should not use that excuse (or any other excuse) to bar me from exercising this basic right. If that is a valid reason to deny a basic right, one can probably come up with many other reasons.

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