The Corner

Elections

Ever Wish You Could Vote against the Greatest Evil?

A great many Americans who are prepared to vote for Biden are really Trump opponents. By the same token, many of those who are prepared to vote for Trump are actually most desirous of avoiding a Biden presidency. Unfortunately, our voting system doesn’t allow us to express our strongest preference if it is negative. We have to vote for the lesser of two evils — but why?

States ought to amend their election laws so as to allow negative voting. People could either vote for one candidate or against one candidate. Each candidate’s for number would be reduced by the votes against, giving a net-favorability total.

I make the case for negative voting in this Detroit News op-ed.

Why do this?

First, I think voters ought to be allowed to vote their strongest preference, which is often to see a certain candidate lose.

Second, it could make third parties competitive. When you have two major-party candidates who elicit strong opposition, it’s possible that a third-party candidate could emerge with the highest net-vote total. Breaking down our political duopoly would, I think, be good.

Third, it might cause some voters to seriously contemplate the damage that candidates might do rather than just thinking about their glowing promises.

I have been in favor of negative voting for a long time, but this year seems to make it a particularly good idea.

Here’s a site devoted to the idea.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.