The modern electoral system used for elections to various authorities (let’s leave the conversation - how democratic and fair these elections are) - appeared in the 19th and early 20th century. It is clear that no modern computers existed (although special calculating devices — tabulators, the remote descendants of which are modern computers, the future IBM firm developed just for holding elections and population censuses in the USA). In those years, communications were often limited to the possibility of sending the results of local elections by regular mail or special mail, so that the voting procedure was extended for weeks.
By the way, the current election system in the United States, where first elected commissioners, who already vote, is rooted in those times, and it becomes clear that such strange, in our opinion, procedures are quite practical in those years. The electors were both transmitters of information and the supervisory authority, ensuring that the votes sent were taken into account. Plus, sending several people instead of one meant greater security, both in terms of fake results and in purely physical terms - then the expanses of the Wild West were really wild, and the lone traveler had very good chances not to get anywhere at all.
So the weak points of modern elections
- Inability to verify whether your vote is correctly accounted for. From here flows a lot of problems - from fraud with votes to low electoral activity.
- In general, it is impossible to vote for several parties / candidates at once.
- One person - one voice.
- Opaque post-election processing of votes - I mean all these entry barriers and what happens with spoiled and non-voting ballots.
The main difficulty in building an electoral system is the contradictory requirements for it. The most obvious difficulties:
- The voter should have been certified as having the right to receive the ballot (that is, you need to check his documents and see if he is on the list, and if he did not vote already), but it should be done so that this check could not provide information about the choice which made the voter. This is now ensured by making the ballots the same, certifying the signature and the seals and prohibiting them from being taken out of the voting room. Thus, their number is determined, and the voter is anonymized.
- The voter usually has the right not to vote, but it must be ensured that it is impossible to “cast out” the votes of such non-voters.
- The voter must be ensured the right to vote in secret, and the voter’s ability must be prevented from documenting his choice. This is important - because voters often try to bribe and demand the demonstration of the “correct” voting.
The second difficulty is the unreliability of all the main components of the electoral system. A voter, a member of the commission and a higher authority can be dishonest and corrupt. It is necessary that the system was as protected as possible from cheating and deception on all three levels.
Here, of course, one has to choose priorities and the lesser evil.
So let's get started.
It is necessary to immediately divide the planned improvements into the electoral system into two categories - a change in the principles of voting and a change in the procedure itself. Let's start with the principles.
I will propose several principles that can be applied both together and separately.
- Electoral pledge. Two weeks before the elections, every citizen receives a certain amount of money from the state - say, the equivalent of 30-40 dollars. He is obliged to return this amount at the polling station before the vote. If he cannot or does not want to return this amount, he will not participate in the voting. Thus, citizens with low social responsibility, alcoholics and drug addicts are cut off. And it happens on a voluntary basis - I did not want to spend money on elections, I spent it on myself - great, your right.
- Electoral points are not directly related to the electoral system, but I think that this idea should be voiced. All competent citizens have at least one electoral vote. At the same time, there are certain conditions that allow to get additional electoral points or lose previously earned. Say, the state “rewards” citizens for paying taxes, charity, raising children and “punishing” for having problems with the law.
- The ability to vote for several parties or to give more than one vote to "your" candidate. Related to clause 2.
- Installing a “backup” method of voting in cases of an electoral barrier. This is to protect against "burning of the voice" in the case of voting for a non-through party. That is, the ability to specify priorities in the newsletter.
These principles complicate the voting system, but at the same time dramatically improve the quality of voting, clarifying the wishes of the population and reducing the percentage of irresponsible electors.
Regarding the voting procedure - I believe that it should be done as much as possible computerized, online and transparent.
- The voting period must be seriously lengthened. Now in most countries, the elections are trying to fit as far as possible in one day. This is done due to the fact that the election infrastructure is expensive, the probability of problems and information leakage increases with time. However, this has a downside - a huge amount of people who need to be processed in one day, the likelihood of errors, which then do not have time to correct. If the voting lines are moved up to a month, then the number of people coming to the polls in one day will be much less.
- Each voting booth must contain - voting buttons and a computer screen on which the current distribution of votes is displayed ON THIS SITE. That is, yes, after leaving the cabin, the citizen will know how many points each candidate has on this section. Knowledge of this, in principle, does not represent anything special from itself - similar data can be obtained by interviewing neighbors. Why do you need a screen with the results? The fact is that voting takes place online - by pressing a button, a citizen immediately sees the addition of a voice to the number of the candidate he chose. The voter, making his choice, should notice the time on the clock - for what, I will write further.
- How is anti-cheat protection performed? Well, firstly - a complete record of the entire voting process with timekeeping. That is, each voice entering the system is marked on the central server with the exact time that the button is pressed. As a result, attempts to "mass stuffing" quite stupidly cut off. Well, a person cannot run into a cabin and make a choice in a tenth of a second. Even every second vote already looks out suspiciously. Moreover - after the end of the voting, the entire protocol of it becomes publicly accessible - through the same system of voting booths. There you can view it with any degree of detail, and check, for example, whether your vote has been added (this is where the exact voting time will come in handy).
- The most difficult in such a system is the separation of two electronic systems - voting and accounting of those who voted. If you delete citizens from the global list at the moment of voting (so that they cannot use their vote for the second time), then the databases of both of them easily turn the secret ballot into an explicit one. Therefore, the system should be like this - a citizen calls or comes to the polling station where he is going to vote and is attached to it. At this moment it is deleted from the general lists and left only in local ones. Which should be synchronized with large lists, say, once a week. This will protect the citizen from “identification”.
I am not sure that now the state bodies in a race will run to realize the flight of my thoughts, but here the more important is the system itself, and the attempt to rethink.