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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 30 2013: Chang its an interesting ideology. I fully agree with you that you should have the democratic right to choose who you want to lead you. Democratic systems are complex and vary. For instance in the US they elect the president from the floor here in South Africa we vote for a political party and we don't choose whom we want as a president the party that you vote for does. This has implications of its own, noteworthy the public cannot remove the president unless through a coup and other means (only the political party can remove him from office and/or himself /herself resigns).

    Hypothetically let say we working with 100 voters who happen to equal 100%.

    Party A=69%
    Party B=10%
    Party C=5%
    Party D=7%
    Party E=9%

    For argument sake lets say party B to E is not satisfied with part A who has majority votes and they all decide to vote against party A. Party A will still have 38% of votes and have total rulership and the minority parties will be completely silenced vote wise. Of course it can happen the other way around when people are not satisfied with their own party but still we have no guarantee that they will vote against it or if they willing to transfer power to someone else. Its more prudent to vote for someone else that might offer you something different than just to say I don't want party A or B. The role of minority parties is immense especially for young democracies like ours.
    When these minority parties are silenced vote wise and have no power democracy will remain a dream.

    Think of it like an exam at school if you get 50% for writing the right answers and negative 50% for writing the wrong answers what do you gain?
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      Dec 31 2013: Hi, Samkelo. You expressed similar concern as Nadav Tropp did. Let's start with your school analogy. Using that analogy, if someone (or some party) has 50% support and 50% against, under today's system where only positive votes are allowed, that someone or party will win and claim an overwhelming mandate to lead. If Negative Votes are allowed, that same person or party will have 50% positive votes and 50% negative votes, which of these two results reflect the true will of the people? I respectfully submit it is the latter and this is one of the reasons why Negative Vote should be allowed and why it is an improvement for democracy: it allows a better reflection of the people's will.

      The hypothetical scenario you described assumes people will follow obediently instructions on how they should cast their positive or negative votes. That is not a democratic country. Freedom to choose is an essence of democracy. The small parties will not disappear as long as they have a core group of supporters. A fringe party that advocates an extremist position might attract the most negative votes from the electorate in the middle who are often tolerant of different political views but do not like the extreme left or extreme right. If such a party does not gain power because it attracted more negative votes than positive votes, that would be democracy in action.

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