Current IssuesThere are the current issues on this year’s ballot. The questions ask whether the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of a direct, popular vote, if online voting should be offered, if voting should be mandatory, and if New Jersey should implement a system of ranked voting. Learn more about each issue with the introduction and additional resources below:
Electoral College or Popular Vote?Should the Electoral College be abolished in favor of a direct popular vote for president? The founding fathers established an Electoral College in Article II of the Constitution as a compromise between electing the President by a vote in Congress and electing the President by a popular vote. There have been five presidential elections (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016) where the Electoral College produced a winner who did not receive the most votes in the general election. Is the Electoral College still a good idea in 2020? Is it a valuable way to avoid having the most populous states determine the winner of the presidential election or is it inherently unfair and should be abolished in favor of a popular vote, which would require a constitutional amendment?
Online Voting in NJ?Should New Jersey permit online voting? Voter participation in the United States has been at a consistently low level for an advanced democracy. One possible solution that has been suggested is permitting online voting to assist voters who find it difficult to get to a polling site. Although possibly the wave of the future, the proposal is not without concerns.
Mandatory Voting?Should voting be mandatory in the United States for registered voters? A different proposed solution to the problem of low voter turnout is to make voting mandatory for registered voters. Several countries have enacted versions of mandatory voting, but the question remains as to whether this is a viable policy for the United States.
Ranking of Candidates?Should New Jersey’s primaries include ranking of candidates? Most elections in the United States employ a “winner takes all” system of voting where voters choose one candidate on the ballot. This often works to the detriment of third-party candidates, as voters decide to vote for the candidate with the perceived best chance of winning, rather than the candidate who best represents their positions and beliefs. In an age of political polarization, a system of ranked voting has been suggested as a means to allow more moderate candidates to have a greater chance of success.
- Ranked Choice Voting – National Conference of State Legislatures (with links to additional resources)
- Ranked Choice Voting, Pros and Cons – Ballotpedia.org
- “Ranking Candidates Is More Accurate Than Voting” – Scientific American
- “Ranked Choice Voting And The Quest To Save Democracy In The U.S.” – Quartz.com
- “A Mathematical Approach to Moderacy” – Smerconish.com