The Constitution and Condorcet: Democracy Protection through Electoral Reform

23 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2022

See all articles by Edward B. Foley

Edward B. Foley

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: June 3, 2022

Abstract

The Madisonian premises of the Constitution need modernization. This modernization, ironically, requires drawing upon the insights of Madison’s fellow Enlightenment Era political theorist, the Marquis de Condorcet. A Condorcet-based electoral system would enable the election of the candidate who is most preferred by a majority of voters, while simultaneously reducing the risk of electing authoritarian candidates who are preferred by only a minority of voters and, if given the opportunity to take power, would work to subvert the democratic choice of voters in future elections.

Not all Condorcet-based electoral systems are equally vulnerable to strategic manipulation. Given the possibility that authoritarian candidates would seek victory through an organized campaign of strategic voting, while pro-democracy candidates and voters would endeavor to defeat these authoritarian candidates by sincerely voting their preference to protect democracy, it should be recognized that some Condorcet-based electoral systems are more capable than others of foiling this kind of anti-democratic strategic voting and thereby allowing the sincere pro-democracy preferences to prevail. While the topic of “asymmetrical strategic voting” (where some candidates and voters vote strategically, while others vote sincerely) requires more development, the analysis here provides a foundation and framework for further investigation of this topic, especially in the context of how best to safeguard Madisonian republicanism from present and future threats.

Keywords: ranked choice voting, instant runoff voting, round robin voting, Borda, bullet voting, burying strategy, majority rule

Suggested Citation

Foley, Edward B., The Constitution and Condorcet: Democracy Protection through Electoral Reform (June 3, 2022). Drake Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4127560 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4127560

Edward B. Foley (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-4288 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://moritzlaw.osu.edu/faculty/edward-b-foley/

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