mike at zelea.com
Thu Oct 20 02:29:35 EDT 2011
Craig and Paul,
Paul Nollen wrote:
> I know there are argument for and against secret voting but I think
> the most valuable argument is that people are now used to it. And if
> we want to break the governments monopoly to hold secret votings, at
> least we have to do better.
I think the monopoly will prove illusory. An elector is *technically*
free to vote by any method, in the sense of publishing the intended
vote ahead of time. That's a kind of primary vote. States often
regulate the primary electoral systems of the parties (perhaps
requiring a secret ballot), but not the non-party primaries run by
unorganized electors; they never heard of those yet.
Non-party primaries are inevitable, however, because independent
candidates are preferred by at least some electors . Inevitably
some of those will prefer to cast their primary votes in public,
because a public vote always has more power. 
I mention this to illustrate how a proliferation of voting systems can
open up possibilities that weren't apparent before. If most of the
electors cast primary votes in public, then the secret ballot of the
*general* election would be bypassed *in general*, even while the
guarantees of privacy would remain in effect for *each individual*.
Nobody could possibly know how any given individual actually voted on
election day, but everyone would know the general results in advance.
Craig Simon wrote:
> I wouldn't dismiss the problem of vote buying so easily. It has a
> long sordid history in the US, and from what I've read about
> electioneering in India, it has become a serious problem in some
If public votes are controlled by citizens and freely shiftable, then
they're less likely to be bought and sold systematically, or otherwise
coerced en masse. I think the most important reasons are:
* Vote sellers can shift their votes after selling them, which makes
vote buying a poor investment.
* Vote buyers and sellers are detectable by statistical pattern
analysis of vote shifts.
 Fwd: list of indy candidate requirements.
 In fact, a private vote has a power of zero; it has no effect on
the political outcome of the election.
 For discussion of these and other remedies against coercion, see:
Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
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