TED Conversations

Sam Chang

This conversation is closed.

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.



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jan 9 2014: A friend in Taiwan wrote an e-mail to me and expressed concern that Negative Vote would lead to more negative campaign.

    My response: Negative campaign already exists. It will not necessarily increase or decrease because the voters have the choice to cast a Negative Vote. You think it will increase but I think it will decrease because the middle-electorate will use their ballots to show their objection to candidates who use smear tactics. In a baseball or basketball game, the fans often would boo some player they do not like. Should I be prohibited from booing because it might lead to more booing by others? Should the fans be restricted to only clapping their hands to show approval or keep silent? The current election systems basically restrict the voters to clapping hands only or keep silent.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.