Building A Better Ballot Box

Listen nowDownload file
Embed player
Original Air Date: 
October 30, 2016

How do we put the fairness and the fun back in American elections? In this hour, we present a few simple ideas for how to remake the electoral process.

Some are small tweaks — like mandatory voting — that could make the whole system run more smoothly: Others may sound a little crazy, like letting 10-year-olds vote. Or creating a marketplace where people buy, sell and trade their votes. Or making election day a national holiday, with parades. And cake.

Lady Liberty
Interactive

Historian Carol Anderson walks us through the timeline of truly free and fair elections in the United States, a period she says lasted from the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 until a fateful Supreme Court decision in 2013.

Length: 
10:44
Audio

Consider that the average American voter doesn't understand basic political facts like who their local representatives are. Should they still be allowed to vote? Philosopher Jason Brennan makes the case for an epistocracy: the rule of the knowledgeable.

Length: 
10:43
American flag
Audio

If you want to know what a state-of-the-art election system looks like, you won't find it in the United States. Pippa Norris runs the Electoral Integrity Project at Harvard and the University of Sidney, which monitors elections in 153 countries. She told Rehman Tungekar that most of our democratic neighbors do a better job.

Length: 
8:12
markets
Audio

Glen Weyl is an economist at Microsoft Research and he’s invented a whole new formula for collective decision making. It’s called quadratic voting — it sets up a marketplace where you can trade your vote, based on what you care about most.

Length: 
6:28
baby yawns
Audio

Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein makes the case for lowering the voting age considerably. Like, to birth.

Length: 
4:41
Fun outside on election day
Audio

Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, tells us why citizens are more powerful than they think and how he's trying to reinvigorate the culture of voting — by making it more fun.

Length: 
8:05
Voting Day
Articles

Could we make our elections more secure, more inclusive, or just more fun? Depends on who you ask, and we asked a lot of people.

Targeted person
Audio

Cathy O'Neil, data scientist and author of the blog mathbabe.org, warns that politicians are perilously close to being able to tell voters only what they want to hear.

Length: 
7:26
Show Details 📻
Airdates
October 30, 2016
August 26, 2017
November 03, 2018
Last modified: 
November 02, 2018