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Voting Reform; Ballot Access

Section 1.
Voting is not a simple nor self-evident process. In fact, there are various voting systems (plurality, approval, ranked-choice, range, Condorcet, etc.), and they can produce very different results. Some systems can even deteriorate the dynamics of democracy within the voting population by forcing the voters to vote "strategically" rather than authentically, which in turn enables certain interest groups to artificially divide the public and exploit that for their own advantage. The worst of these systems––and ironically, the one that is most commonly used in public elections (at the time of writing)––is the plurality voting system (each voter has only one vote to cast and the option/candidate with the most votes wins).
     That being the case, we must switch all voting processes to the approval voting system as the default (in some specific applications, other systems might be more appropriate). To clarify, approval voting means that every voter can vote for, or "approve", all options/candidates that they prefer, and the option/candidate with the most votes becomes selected by the voting population (it is also possible for more than one option/candidate to be selected this way). This system is just as easy to implement as plurality voting, with which everyone is already familiar, and it has none of the flaws of the other systems. Also, due to its technological simplicity, it is available to us at the lowest cost. Taking all relevant factors into account, the approval voting system is one of the most important steps we can take to enhance the democratic process.

Section 2.
An extremely important aspect of making elections fair is equal ballot access for all candidates. In some places it is standard practice that established political parties and candidates have a much lower signature requirement on ballot petitions. The main argument in favor of this practice is that making ballot access too easy will generate too much 'noise', which will confuse the voters with too many new and ever-changing options, while 'established' parties are more deserving of the voter's attention. However, this argument is an absolute absurdity, and this practice is nothing but a strategy for those in power to hold onto power. Furthermore, it is already difficult enough for new candidates and political brands to garner sufficient public support to actually win an election.
     Therefore, if we want elections to be fair, then the standards must be equal for all petitioning candidates seeking to access the ballot.  However, if the 'noise' from too many options on the ballot is indeed a problem, there are better solutions to this problem. For example, one simple solution is that only the top five petitioners make it on the ballot. Another solution is that the specific number of signatures required for the current election is adjusted by the election commission based on the number of candidates in the previous election, so that the number of candidates is kept at approximately five.

To participate in developing new ideas and more specific proposals about Election Reform, please join the "Election Reform" Egora community.

For a video explanation of Approval Voting, please watch:

For a very informative and highly entertaining comparison of different voting systems, please read:
Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It) – by William Poundstone
Approval Rating
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