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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 31 2013: Sam I quote you said in your response Freedom to choose is an essence of democracy. That is so true my friend, we also have a freedom not to choose which is still the essence of democracy. In all democracies not everyone votes or allowed to vote. That creates an uneven situation where reality dictates that when people vote not all will be equal in terms of numbers.

    The picture I painted of party A to part D is what is currently happening here in RSA where the ANC had an overwhelming majority of votes and if we applied negative voting as you say we would not have any minority representation in parliament and the major party can do as they please. But because minority still keep their votes as small as they are, the minority still plays a fundamental role in our democracy. The cancelation of one vote by another would have denied them this democratic right and also denied them access to parliament.
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      Dec 31 2013: Hi, Samkelo. RSA is not unique that there is a dominant ruling party. Singapore comes to mind immediately. I suspect in both countries (like many other countries), a lot of people just sit out the election because they feel powerless to change the status quo. I also believe many of these same group of people would go to the polls if they are given the chance to vote NO, the Negative Vote, either against the ruling party or against the candidate of the ruling party. Allowing people to cast a Negative Vote does not prevent any one from choosing to not vote which is the freedom to not choose you talked about. I am not advocating forcing anyone to do anything at all. I am saying that we should have the right to vote NO.
      I can appreciate your concern that the voters who vote for ANC might be told by its leadership to cast votes in a certain way such that some will be allocated to cast positive votes and some will be will be allocated to cast negative votes. A foolish leader might attempt that, he/she will soon find out it will backfire. People who have the freedom to vote will treasure their votes and will not listen to such directive. Will the ANC be able to claim overwhelming mandate to lead if their popular vote percentage drops from 69% to 38%( in your scenario)?

      Again, I see the Negative Vote as a basic right every voter should have, it is a choice denied in the existing systems.

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