A Nevada ballot initiative proposal filed this month by an organization called Common Sense for Uniting America (CSUA) aims to “bridge the great American divide” by adopting a star rating system for voting.
The organization’s founder believes the division in America is the result of a flawed voting method and says his creation, Max Voting, will be the solution. The ballot initiative seeks a constitutional amendment to implement the concept, although it is described as a “division free vote”.
“Who Americans vote for is far less important than how they vote,” said Ted Getschman, a retired naval commander and gaming systems specialist who founded the AUSC. “It’s not Mitch McConnell or Nancy Pelosi or even black money… It’s the unintended by-product of an antiquated voting system.”
Similar to product reviews on Amazon, Max Voting asks voters to express their opinion in a star rating system on a scale of zero to seven that reflects how closely they align with a candidate’s position on the Questions. The voting method would award the election to the candidate with the highest average score.
Proposed constitutional amendment says voters don’t need to score all candidates and can only contribute to a candidate’s average score if they indicate points, including zero, on the ballot .
“Replacing majority rule with majority opinion rule would encourage candidates to move to the center, in order to align with America’s stable heartbeat, rather than the volatile extremes of today’ today,” Getschman said in a press release. “It would change everything practically overnight.”
Getschman was in the US Navy for 20 years before joining US European Command in 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. His biography indicates that he created the AUSC with the intention of ending the partisan politics of the two-party system. Getschman did not respond to multiple interview requests from The Nevada Independent.
Max Voting is part of a category of pre-existing voting methods used in some parts of the United States, such as Approval Voting and STAR Voting.
Approval voting allows a voter to choose the number of candidates they want and leads to a single winner with the most favorable opinions. The voting method is practiced in municipal races in Fargo, North Dakota and St. Louis, Missouri.
STAR voting, or Score Then Automatic Runoff voting, refers to a system by which voters rate candidates on a scale of zero to five. The two finalists with the highest scores are selected for a “runoff”, in which the finalist with the highest score on the most ballots ultimately wins. STAR voting is widely used in Oregon.
Getschman’s video on the organization’s website says that once the initiative garners the support of about 3% of the population, the organization will poll supporters to ask them what form of Max Vote system they prefer. . Whether it’s the approval vote or the STAR vote, Getschman says that as long as it’s a Max voting method, it will be an improvement.
The organization said the Nevada ballot initiative’s filing is the first step in a broader state-by-state effort to update the US voting process, and it aims to gain the support of a quarter of the population of each state.
To qualify for the Nevada ballot, supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment will need approximately 150,000 valid signatures by June 21, 2022. If the initiative wins the ballot this year, then it will need to win at again in the next general election to be part of the state constitution.
In Nevada, 892 voters – less than 1% – have registered their support online for changing the method of voting so far.
He said in the video that even if the organization does not receive enough support from registered voters by June, he plans to continue his efforts in the future.
“We could heal the political divide in America, and no one would have to change their mind about anything,” Getschman added. “In most states, we wouldn’t even have to reprint ballots.”
The proposal isn’t the only one in Nevada seeking to move beyond the traditional system where people vote for a single candidate in a race. Last November, the Institute for Policy Innovation filed a ballot initiative proposal to transform Nevada’s electoral system by moving to open primaries with a preferential-choice general election system. The proposed ballot initiative is on hold as it requires nearly 150,000 valid signatures from registered voters.