October 13, 2020
I cast my absentee ballot yesterday.
There were a total of 21 (count ’em) Presidential tickets to choose from, including four self-identified Independents, the traditional Libertarian, Green and Socialist Workers party candidates, and parties I’d never heard of before: Approval Voting, American Solidarity, Bread and Roses and Grumpy Old Patriots. Not to mention an apparent resurrection of Theodore Roosevelt’s old Bull Moose Party.
I found it interesting that the candidates were listed alphabetically. There is a body of research that suggests that candidates at the top of a ballot have a statistical advantage over those listed below them. New Hampshire tries to level the playing field by conducting a random drawing among the candidates and then printing the ballot accordingly. That technique, though, doesn’t really do the trick, since one lucky candidate still ends up at the top of the list on every ballot. It strikes me that the fairest thing to do is to randomize the order on every single ballot. It might might make counting ballots more difficult, but surely we can develop software that can accommodate that.
In any event, since the Vermont Presidential ballot is alphabetical, Joe Biden finds his name at the very top of the list (just ahead of Don Blankenship of the Constitution Party and Brian Carroll of the American Solidarity Party), while President Trump is squeezed between Gary Swing of the Boiling Frog Party and Independent Kanye West.