The Hugo Awards are a fan-voted series of awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy writers and fans.
They use ranked-choice voting.
(Which I discussed in No Spoilers: Ranked Choice Voting, and which I’ll be abbreviating below to “RCV” when I remember to.)
This means that, as a participating fan, when you fill out your ballot you rank the nominees in the order in which you think they deserve the award.
It’s a well though-out system and, since it’s mostly online, is easy to manage and does not overwhelm anyone with the complexity of the system (which is frankly a red-herring complaint about ranked-choice voting).
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.
The Hugos have a very interesting tweak to their rankings.
There’s an option in each category for “No Award”, and you can rank nominees below that.
And vote-counting stops when “No Award” is reached, meaning that any nominee with fewer votes than that cannot win.
It means that the voters have a mechanism to say, “none of these deserve it”.
(And they use it, too: in some years, “No Award” has taken several categories; the Hugos gave out no awards in those categories then.)
We need this in political elections.
Well, first we need to fully adopt RCV for any elections that are choosing a single winner. Obviously.
But as we do that we need to make sure that we include a “No Winner” option.
What to do if “No Winner” wins is an interesting question.
Some attractive possibilities are:
- proceed with the electoral office empty for a term
- re-run the election with the losing candidates barred from competing
- automatically call a Constitutional Convention on the desirability of that office
You can probably come up with some other variations too.
That’d be great.
I favor a mixed result where the election is re-run with different candidates, but if “No Winner” wins that second election then automatically calling a Constitutional Convention.
I vote in every election now, mainly because I’ve accepted that it’s important to vote against some candidates rather than waiting for a candidate I’d actually want to vote for, but when I was younger I refused to vote in elections where I didn’t support any of the candidates.
This would have given me something to vote for every time.