The Right to Express All Opinions
by Genvieve Iwanicki on Friday, April 20th, 2012
Built on the basis of freedom and choice, the American political system is cherished and protected among voters. Having the liberty to choose leaders or vote a leader out of office is a fundamental aspect of our society. Yet in a electoral system where a citizen can only pick one candidate from many, does the best candidate always win?
Preferential voting, where “voters rank candidates in order of preference,” allows weaker and less supported candidates to be knocked out of the running early on and keeps more supported and often better qualified candidates in contention.This system is nothing but beneficial in electing new officials and finding the correct candidates to lead.
A system that can be used for multiple types of elections, preferential voting involves ranking candidates in an effort to separate them. Completed in many rounds of voting, until only the two top candidates are left in the final round, the system provides an accurate depiction of the support behind each candidate, and often selects the candidate most suitable for the position. Starting from a large pool of candidates and moving to successively smaller pools also helps to manage an election and pinpoint the most worthy candidates.
While some people may try to cheat the preferential voting system by ranking the biggest rival to their chosen candidate last on the ballot, the system balances itself out. The rival to one’s chosen candidate would likely be the last choice vote anyway because of strong differences, regardless of the type of voting system. Chances are, the votes for both opponents will even out in the end. Allowing a single voter to express support for multiple candidates and their ideas, not just one candidate, allows each participant to provide more information about all the candidates’ relative popularity.
By giving the voter a chance to fully express their thoughts on the candidates by ranking them, preferential voting is a truer exercise of freedom of speech and the freedom to choose elected officials. In other types of elections, simply checking off a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box, or circling the name of one candidate, does not fully allow a voter to give insight on a candidate’s abilities. Preferential voting, however, clearly shows which candidate has the most support, and gives insight into which candidate is the best for the position.
In a choice between picking one option on a ballot or using preferential voting, I would always choose to be able to express my views more fully with the latter option. With this system, a voter is free to completely articulate his or her viewpoints on candidates.
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