Search This Blog

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Primary Dates

I disagree with Jonathan Soros (Vote Early, Count Often, New York Times, October 30, 2007: A27) when he says that proposed solutions [to the rush to hold upfront primary elections] "mistake randomness for fairness."

He is wrong, when there is a scarce resource, like Tuesdays in the first two months of the year, the fairest way to allocate this scarce resource is through randomization. What Mr Soros's intriguing proposal (A June 1st primary deadline with open voting from Jan 1st) does is to remove the resource constraint. Now every day in the first half of an election year is voting day. The inhabitants of Pinkham Notch can still gather at midnight on New Year's Eve and cast all their votes at one second after midnight so that they can be the leading edge of the leading State of the primary season.

I am sure that there will be complaints that this will be technically infeasible, that it will be difficult to keep ballots safe for a six month period, and that politicians will have difficulty deciding where to campaign. I am sure such mundane details can be worked out. His suggestion is worthy of careful consideration.

Sent to New York Times

No comments: