Donkey Vote Problem Solved!
At this recent Australian election, we’ve seen the Liberal Democrats win a senate seat in NSW, Clive Palmer Personality Cult Party win a seat in Queensland, and we might have Sports Party in WA, Motorist’s Party in Victoria and Family First in South. These minor parties, often without policies to speak of, get elected largely through preference deals. The Liberal Democrats have, it is thought, benefited from people confusing them with either the Liberal party or the Democrats (who don’t even exist any more, well, not really), and through being in first place on the paper.
Well, I can’t do much about the first two causes (preferences, confusion) but I can kill the donkey vote problem stone dead. (No donkeys were harmed during the preparation of this post.)
Here I present a conceptual design for every future ballot paper for use in elections at all levels of government in Australia forever until the end of time. I do not think it is anything but somewhat outrageous to say that this is the single most important contribution to democracy in the history of Australia. I have resolutely refused to search the web or any other source of information for any similar suggestion, since that way I don’t have to acknowledge any precedents or do any research.
The new circular ballot paper, avoiding the donkey vote through roundness.
Clearly, the new paper has a whole lot of benefits. Parties will still need to have a raffle to decide the order on the paper, but no one gets the top or the bottom. The senate paper with something like 48 parties on it might be a little on the wide side, but unused ballot papers could be recycled as parasols or something. It might be necessary to do some clever pleat fold to get the senate paper into the booth, but that is a minor issue compared to the promotion of robust and representative democracy! And the lack of corners should help reduce election-related eye injuries and paper cuts.
“Now, everyone, take out your circle of paper and a pencil.”
The time for change has come!