"Ralph Nader had been a hero of mine for almost four decades... But the more politically practical side of me was angry in 2000 about having gone down to yet another glorious liberal defeat because people of remarkably similar principles could or would not compromise with each other. I had fantasized with friends about a vote swap... So along comes votepair.org to turn my fantasy into a reality. To whoever is reading this, I say, 'Nader voters of America, join us. You have nothing to lose but George Bush.'"
First votepair.org registrant
More Stories from Participants
The Electoral College and winner-take-all voting are flaws in our electoral system that can be exploited by strong parties to exclude new third-party voices and resist democratic change. Votepairing is one way to work around these flaws until a system that more accurately reflects voter preferences is adopted.
The 2000 presidential election results illustrated the critical role of the Electoral College. Under the Electoral College system, Electors are selected based on winner-take-all statewide contests. These Electors cast the ballots that finally elect the president. Because these contests happen at the state level, there is little chance that the preferences of Democratic voters in strongly Republican states or Republican voters in traditionally Democratic states will affect the final tally of Electoral votes. On the other hand, small numbers of voters in states where the presidential race is very close can have major impacts on the final election results. More on the Electoral College
One way to avoid all kinds of winner-take-all elections would be to adopt instant runoff voting (IRV). IRV allows voters to rank candidates in their order of preference. If a candidate receives a majority of first place votes, they win. If not, the last place candidate is eliminated and ballots that ranked that candidate first are counted instead as votes for the second ranked candidate. IRV eliminates "spoilers" and vote-splitting and more accurately reflects voter preference.