Changing our Election System Would Make Alternative Candidates More Viable
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jan. 10, 2017 -- The 2016 presidential election's result has put the merits of our country's Electoral College system squarely in the spotlight. But instead of focusing on how we determine a winner, election experts believe a more fundamental question deserves to be addressed: Is there a better way to conduct American elections?
According to a study by the Center for Election Science, the answer is a resounding "yes."
"Our presidential voting method failures extend well past the national popular vote," said Aaron Hamlin, executive director of the Center for Election Science. "Fortunately, we can fix it. And it doesn't take a constitutional amendment."
The Center for Election Science, with the support of donors from a crowdfunding campaign, contracted international polling agency GfK to conduct two polls of more than 1,000 eligible voters apiece, and then used the results to project how the use of different voting methods would have affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The first poll allowed respondents to choose between the candidates of the Republican, Democratic, Green and Libertarian parties, while the other poll allowed voters to choose from nine candidates, including hypothetical candidates like Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg.
The analysis compared four different voting methods: Plurality voting, the system currently used in most United Sates elections today; approval voting, which allows voters to select as many candidates as they like, with each choice receiving equal weight; score voting; and ranked-choice voting, which asks voters to rank candidates in order of preference.
Here are some of the study's highlights:
When asked to respond honestly, voters preferred Bernie Sanders over any other candidate when he was an option;