Sunday, May 05, 2002

Still on the subject of the French presidential election, why is it that nobody takes this opportunity to make fun of the French voting system, the way countless pundits did in the 2000 American presidential election? Back then, the Electoral College was criticized, and approval voting and instant run-off preference voting were both chic alternatives. But it should be clear from an honest examination of elections that all voting systems are to some extent subject to either strategic voting or spoiler candidates (and if examples aren't enough, there's proof). For example, if enough extreme left-wing voters honestly selected their preferred candidate in the first round rather than Jospin, this could have caused Jospin to get fewer votes than Le Pen even if Jospin would be preferred to Le Pen head-to-head. We can discuss better voting systems, but there is no clear winner. How ironic.

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