Thursday, September 4, 2008

Raleigh, NC overwhelmingly endorses Approval voting!

Met up with some friends last night at the Flying Saucer. It was "glass night" and you could vote for a presidential candidate (Obama or McCain) by buying their glasses. You could buy more than one, so I guess this was "approval voting" night at the Saucer - no IRV for these people.

The voting commenced at 7PM, and Obama had the lead until we left, varying between 58% to 60%. A crew of Obama volunteers came in. A McCain team came in, consisting of a rather constipated-looking young man and two Cindy McCain clones. We were surrounded by McCain supporters - some of whom couldn't believe that two small business owners (Jesse and myself) could possibly be Obama supporters.

Some Libertarians came in and were pissed there were no LIB glasses, or write-ins. You could recognize them because one looked like he lived in a cabin in the woods for years, and the other wore a "Munger for Gov" t-shirt.

When we left at 8:50, it was 223 Obama to 142 McCain. At closing time last night (verified by me by phone), and the result was 251 Obama to 187 McCain - Obama lead through the night and defeated McCain by 57%-43%

I am taking that as a good sign - and an endorsement of approval voting that produced an actual majority winner with no one arguing about it! No one needed a calculator to figure out who won, there was no complicated sorting of glasses, where some of them might break (so they wouldn't get counted), and no calculator error. No one came in and faked an accent or asked leading questions to get you to buy a glass or two or more.

This was a ringing endorsement of Approval Voting over traditional first past the post and IRV since no one objected to being able to cast as many votes as they wanted to. Money was not a factor in the Obama victory - no deep-pocket Republican came in and bought enough glasses for themselves or for other voters to keep up with Obama - there was just not enough interest in McCain to justify that sort of election trickery.

And even though there were only two glasses, there was plenty of choice to go around - you bought the glass, but could put any one of 200+ beers in the glass. So there were no crybabies bitching about not having choice or how people couldn't vote their hopes and dreams. Everybody supported the candidate and drank the beer of their choice!

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