Election “reform” gets talked about quite a bit in American discourse. But most of what gets talked about is some form of tweaking the existing systems. They’re not talking about expanding Congress to its maximum size, or going even further and expanding the number of States (and thus Senators). Even things like Ranked Choice Voting or even ballot access reform get nowhere near the attention they generally deserve. (Particularly ballot access reform in the State of Georgia, where getting on the ballot for any Partisan office that isn’t Statewide is nearly impossible.)
But this is a woolgathering, and I want to talk about something *truly* radical, and one of few things the Libertarian Party continues to get generally right.
You see, in every Party election within the LP, “None of the Above” is, per their bylaws, *always* an option. What happens if it wins is somewhat different depending on the exact LP organization at times, though generally a new slate of candidates has to run and none of the former candidates are allowed to run in the new election.
And that is a *great* thing… except it doesn’t go far enough, and indeed allows the few to control the many.
Because even in LP elections, they happen at Party Conventions (mostly), where only a small fraction of Party members show up. Generally (again, somewhat dependent on exact organization bylaws), any member that *does* show up is allowed to vote… but *only* the members that can be physically present at the Convention (or otherwise “authorized” Convention participants) are allowed to vote.
What if – and perhaps the LP itself could experiment with this – elections were held in such a way that not only is “None of the Above” *always* an option, but it is the *default* option? Thus, a valid member (or, in the case of public elections, a registered voter) who does not – for any reason – cast a ballot is automatically counted as having cast a ballot for “None of the Above”.
This would encourage better candidates that drove more voter participation… but it would also ensure *actual* majorities for any winning candidate, rather than just a majority of those who bothered to participate. Because now, silence says what it already actually does – that none of the candidates at hand in a given race were someone the voter in question cared enough about to vote either for them or against their opponent. They don’t support *any* given candidate, and therefore *none* of the candidates at hand have their active “consent of the governed”.
Passive consent is no consent at all, and it is time our elections reflected this reality that we already accept in so many other situations.
It is time that the will of the vast majority of voters who do not vote is reflected in the actual counting of winners of elections.
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