By Bobb Rousseau
Your vote is not counted when the candidate you vote does not win. Universal suffrage or “a person a vote” is a bad ingredient of the democratic concept and an effective tool for manipulation, fraud, and violation of citizens’ freedom of expression.
By nature, whatever the type of voting system and whatever the country, elections are never fair. They are by far a symbol of democracy because the voice of the majority is never the voice of the people. The philosophy that promotes “power to the greatest number” does not prove effective in a voting system where the absolute majority overshadows the choices of a large part of the population. In short, since 51% of a population elects a president does not mean that 100% of the population wants or will support this president. A pure democracy must allow citizens to choose three candidates in order of preference. If their first choice obtains fewer votes, the system would recycle their second and third choice to redistribute them to the candidates they checked for their second and third choice; intending to obtain an absolute majority to imprint the will of the whole population. I will present a scenario to help you better understand.
Consider a population of 20 inhabitants who must elect a president among four candidates by checking their top first choice. They will choose their top three or which of their three they want first, second, or third.
Number of votes to win: 11
Candidates: Jerome, Gina, Pierre-Michel, and Moses
Election Day and elimination procedure:
Jerome: 7 – Jerome is the first choice of seven voters
Moses: 5 – Moses is the first choice of five voters
Gina: 5 – Gina is also the first choice of five voters
Pierre -Michel: 3 – Pierre-Michel is the first choice of three voters.
Explanation of results
Pierre-Michel obtained fewer first-choice votes from the population. Automatically, he loses the elections, but no candidate is the winner as of yet because none of them obtained the absolute majority, which is 11. The other three candidates have at least one other chance to win the elections. Shall a candidate is not the first choice of any voter, he is neither the second nor the third choice of any voter, and therefore, he will not be considered for the rest of the procedure.
Recycling and redistribution
The CEP, through the Communal Electoral Offices, will consider the second choice of those who voted Pierre-Michel to redistribute them to the candidates who obtained these votes. Two people who voted Pierre-Michel for their first choice voted Gina for their second choice and the other voted Moses for his second choice. So two of Pierre-Michel’s votes will be attributed to Gina and the other vote to Moses.
Jerome: 7: Jerome remains the first choice of seven voters
Gina: 5 + 2 = 7 – Gina becomes the first choice of seven voters, just like Jerome
Moses: 5 + 1 = 6 – Moses loses his place because he is the candidate who is the first choice of fewer voters (6). Therefore, he loses, but there is no winner so far since no candidate has obtained 11 votes.
Recycling and redistribution
The CEP, through the Communal Electoral Offices, will consider the second choice of those who voted Moses to redistribute them to the candidates who obtained them. Thus, five people who voted Moses for their first choice voted Gina for their second choice and the other two voted Jerome for their second choice. So five of Moses’ votes will be attributed to Gina and the other two to Jerome.
Third count and subsequent if necessary
Gina: 7 + 4= 11: Gina becomes the first choice of 11 voters
Jerome: 7 + 2 = 9: Jerome is the first choice of only nine voters
Thus, Gina wins the elections with 11 votes. If only three of those who voted Moses as their first choice and Gina as their second choice, and the other three had Jerome as their second choice; it would automatically be another round of counting, as the two candidates would have ten votes each. The procedure would be repeated until the population reaches an absolute majority.
This new voting system ranked in order of preference could be initiated for indirect elections to elect municipal, departmental and interdepartmental assemblies to be gradually introduced for local elections. With this “one person three choices” system, voters will have more choices and their votes would be counted even when their first and second choices were not agreed. This system would be the purest symbol of democracy in the sense that it would be aligned with the principle “one person one vote. With this new system, voters would only go to the polls once, as it would eliminate the need for a second round of elections. Clubs, associations, teams, or organizations can use this voting system to elect their CEO.
Dr. Bobb Rousseau is a law and public policy expert. He is a frequent contributor to The Haitian Times.