Monday, February 19, 2007

A Better Way to Vote

A post over at Utah Amicus, repeating a Trib editorial by Rep. Roz McGee, talks about her beef with the current districting process in Utah. I wrote the following comment as a follow up to that post.
I agree with the district boundary principles you have set forth here. However, if the 42% of voters who prefer Democrats were evenly distributed throughout the state, our current system of winner-take-all voting would not allow ANY seats for Democrats.

I think we should improve the process of creating voting districts. We should also look at other solutions such as instant-runoff elections that can elect multiple people in proportion to the preferences of the people. There is a site dedicated to the principle at

I've written about Instant Runoff Voting before on this blog. For a succinct and convincing explanation of how IRV can eliminate the "spoiler effect" in elections and give a greater voice to third parties, check out this short animation from the folks at

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Contribution to "Blog for Choice"

Let's take a small glimpse into an alternate universe.

In this place, the struggle for a balance of power between the sexes has been ongoing for a great many years. Women, who are naturally much stronger than men, have been traditionally dominant in this society--though men have historically benefited greatly from laws protecting them. However, a couple of decades ago, the balance of power shifted. A court ruled that a woman could kill her husband if he proved to be incapable of repairing large appliances.

The court ruling ignited a firestorm. The women explained what a burden it was for them to live in a home without a working refrigerator. Sure, they could try to keep their food fresh by placing it in on a coat hanger in a shady spot in the back yard or in a dark alley, but the steady stream of food poisonings was ample evidence that this strategy just wasn't working. The only solution, they passionately exclaimed, was to continue to allow them to kill their non-handy husbands, freeing them to find a better one.

Many of the men, and not a few women, argued that divorce would be a much more humane option. Wouldn't it be okay to just borrow some space in a neighbor's fridge until you could get yours repaired? Yes, it would be terribly inconvenient, but certainly preferable to killing a person, right?

Oh no, persist the women. Don't lecture us or tell us to just "bear it." You don't know what it is like. You can't judge us. This is our choice and our homes and our appliances and our husbands. Don't you know what a painful decision it is for a woman to kill her husband? Don't lecture me about pain until you've had to stay up at nights in a cold sweat thinking about the husband you had to extinguish. You have to respect our choice.

The men respond that their lives ought to count for something in this equation. Sure, if your husband is threatening your life, you could kill in self defense, they say. We don't question that. But it's barbaric to kill him just because he has become inconvenient.

A militant woman becomes bitter that anyone should question the choice she makes to kill her husband. "It wasn't an easy choice!" she screams, shouting down her opposition. "It's about trusting women."