The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New York: con-Fusion Voting

Lesson to be learned by outsiders on Hoffman's loss in New York's U.S. Congressional District 23: don't ever allow "Fusion Voting" in your state!

Yesterday, twitterer @RightKlik posted a URL to a sample ballot in NY23 which we post below:
2009 ny23rd ballot

So say you've decided as a voter to vote for Doug Hoffman. Can you find him on the ballot? Not too easy. How about William Owens, his Democratic counterpart--well he's a lot easier to find because his name is on their TWICE. Or how about Dede Scozzafava who withdrew from the race? Yes, she's easy to find as well as she, too, is listed TWICE.

So how in the world does a non-candidate get listed TWICE, your opponent get listed TWICE, but your name is listed once? Welcome to the world of fusion voting where political parties get power not candidates.

If you happened to know that Mr. Hoffman was running on the "Conservative Party" ticket, he is much easier to find. The problem is that Hoffman was often described as an "Independent" in the media which can be confused with the "Independence Party" which endorsed Scozzafava (and later Owens). When Scozzafava withdrew, the Republican Party endorsed Hoffman, so one might also think that one could find Hoffman under the Republican Party line. What a mess, indeed!

The solution for solving these problems under con-fusion voting rules lies in the creation of multiple parties cross-endorsing the desired candidate to provide maximum exposure. For example, you could create the "9/12 Party" which could cross endorse Hoffman and bingo! Hoffman has his name twice on the ballot like everyone else. But we wouldn't stop there. Let's get the "Tea Party" Party on there with a "Rush Limbaugh" Party and a "Matt Drudge" Party and heck, lets just throw in the "Obamanation" Party for good riddance! Now we've got Hoffman's name on the ballot six times and you'll have to hunt for anyone else running in the race.

The point is fusion voting is ridiculous and while we won't blame Hoffman's loss solely on a terrible ballot we need to be alert in all our states for nonsensical voter reforms such as New York's.


Dee said...

If those who wanted to support Hoffman weren't bright enough to find him on the ballot, they probably shouldn't have their vote count anyway. Such morons shouldn't be weighing in on representation. (This is sarcasm, the ballot is not that complicated. Hoffman lost because while the tea party buffoons may love their screaming rhetoric the fact is the rest of the electorate who thankfully outnumber them find it nonsensical, distasteful, and trite like a school yard skirmish)

nacilbupera said...

Dee: Although we disagree do we admire your “caustic criticisms and rugged adjectives.” (not sarcastic)

We feel that as an example our local ballot is so much more lucid and thus superior to ny23. It’s one name, one vote.

Interestingly, we know of no screaming rhetoric from Hoffman supporters and no one at the tea party seemed buffoonish (we’re confident there is one somewhere, but we haven’t found Waldo yet).

Furthermore, with all the last-minute upheaval in the NY23 election we view our combined efforts as successful. Owens may have edged Hoffman in a narrow victory but failed to achieve even a plurality of the vote. We will concede victory if Owens goes Progressive and votes for Universal Healthcare yet retains the seat next year.