Commentary & Analysis

How Will You Improve The World?

Those words are burned into my memory. I was 17, wearing a cheap sports jacket and a clip-on tie. That was the question I was asked in my first college interview. I rambled on a few minutes, touching on eliminating hunger and improving education.

The interviewer wasn’t buying it. “You don’t have a magic wand,” he said. “What would you do to achieve that?”

I was stumped. I couldn’t think of anything I could do that would contribute in the least.

In the years since, I’ve had the privilege to interview many of the most distinguished experts on the science of voting for my book Gaming the Vote. Thanks to that experience, I now know the answer to the question—the one practical and realistic thing that would make the world a better place. And together, we can make it happen.

The most important thing we do as a society is to elect leaders. The better those leaders represent the will of the voters, the more our nation will be able to meet its shared goals. America’s founders realized this. But just as our ideas about electricity have come a long way from Ben Franklin, so has the science of voting.

Scholars now recognize that choose-one voting—used in nearly all American elections—has serious problems.

It makes it harder for new ideas and solutions—whether from major or third-party candidates—to get a fair hearing. It can even lead to unfair outcomes in which the most popular candidate loses.

Fortunately, a solution already exists: approval voting.

The Center for Election Science (CES) is committed to making our elections more fair and representative. Through their research on alternative voting methods and their initiatives to educate voters in cities pursuing approval voting, they are improving our world by improving our elections. CES just saw great success in their campaign to bring approval voting to Fargo, ND—winning with over 63 percent of the vote.

Your contribution can help make approval voting a reality. And not a moment too soon. Today our democracy is under attack from many fronts: hyper-partisanism, negative campaigning, polarized media, and suppressed ideas. It is more important than ever to ensure that our election methods work in this changing political landscape—and to make sure that every voter’s opinion counts.

As I learned long ago, none of us have a magic wand. But we can all do our part by investing in the solutions that will make a real difference. Approval voting is an idea that will do more good than anything else I can think of—and it’s an idea destined to go viral.

You can make this happen. Please help The Center for Election Science improve our world.

William Poundstone
Author and Member of Board of Advisors, CES

P.S. Now more than ever you have the opportunity to make sure your support has the opportunity to improve the world. A private donor has agreed to match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $30,000. Will you take advantage of this chance to double your impact?