Better Ballots

Better Ballots Are the Keystone to Saving Our Democratic Republic

Voting for the person you hate the least is absurd when you could so easily vote for all the candidates you approve of, perhaps even in order. This is the Saturday Keynote when we land this week’s flight of articles on a critical political flap of POLI THE AI’s left and right wings.

Gaming the
Choice Creation

The two-party system, which has a monopoly in the political industry, uses public funds for private primary elections—to tell the rest of us who will be on the ballot. Almost half of the country is independent. That’s not what the founders had in mind, or they would have put the two parties in the constitution, which they didn’t.

Electoral Reform

What’s the Flap
over Voting Methods?

Plurality voting, or First Past The Post (FPTP), often distorts democratic representation by allowing candidates to win without majority support. It discourages independent candidates and third parties, leading to two-party dominance that perpetuates a cycle of polarization and political stagnation.

Approval, Ranked Choice, Score, or Star ballots means voting for all the candidates you approve of and/or in order of most to least. You can find links to all these voting methods in the Fly Higher section at the end of the article.

Shortly, we’ll also be scoring Proportional Representation. We rank solutions by individual components whenever possible.

Before we get started, here are our values.

Politics 4.0
PolicyKeys Values

  1. Be open to private and/or public sector solutions.
  2. Talk about public policies, not public figures.
  3. Score any solution (but the leaderboard-worthy first).
  4. Show our work (be transparent).


If you’d prefer first to role-play this week’s puzzle, then swoop on over to the…

Puzzle of the Week

Puzzle Drop Introduction
First Past the Post Voting

Voting Methods, Mudslinging, and Parrot ‘n Boots

Politically Strange Bedfellows
Voting in Bed 2: New Ballots Can Fix Our Democratic Republic

Political Digital Twin
Your Twin’s Double Take on New vs Old Ballots

BOX Score
The Better Ballot BOX Score to Replace Plurality Voting

What’s Our Shared
Politics 4.0 Political DNA (ACGT) says about Replacing Plurality Voting with Better Ballots?

Poetically, our Political DNA is also ACGT, comprised of Abundance, Commerce, Governance, and Thrift. You can see more about this below in the Methodology section.


Abundance is more than just material wealth and includes resources, intellectual depth, and a generosity of spirit.

Majority Opinion: New ballots and voting methods enrich the democratic process, offering an abundance of choices and perspectives, thereby enhancing intellectual depth and fostering a more generous and inclusive political environment.

Minority Opinion: The complexity of new voting methods may lead to an overabundance of choices, causing confusion and diluting the clarity and straightforwardness that traditional methods provide.


Thrift is not just spending less but also resource management, risk mitigation, and the principle of doing more with less.

Majority Opinion: Modernizing ballots and voting methods better manages public electoral resources, reduces the risk of misrepresenting the people’s will, and both with less partisan strife.

Minority Opinion: The shift to new voting methods can be seen as an unnecessary expenditure for new voting equipment and complicating a system that functions adequately, thus violating the principle of thrift.


Governance is public sector activity and synchronous decision-making, with liberty and justice for all.

Majority Opinion: These voting methods improve governance by synchronizing decision-making with the diverse will of the people, balancing fairness and justice in electoral outcomes.

Minority Opinion: Such changes might introduce unpredictability into governance, potentially disrupting the established order and complicating the decision-making process.


Commerce covers the private sector and asynchronous decision-making (decisions not made simultaneously but at different times by different people), competition, and innovation.

Majority Opinion: Adopting varied voting methods encourages innovation and competition in the political arena, bringing the dynamic nature of commerce to the public sector.

Minority Opinion: The potential complexity of new voting systems may hinder commerce’s swift, competitive decision-making characteristic, disrupting the chain of command.


Ladies and gentlemen of the United States, as we stand at this critical juncture in our democratic-republic journey, and it may boil down to a few small adjustments in voting methods and better ballots to reduce hyper-partisanship and dysfunction.

The adoption of new voting systems is a testimony to our commitment to abundance, reflecting a democracy rich in choices and perspectives.

It is an exercise in thrift to get the most out of every ballot cast and not fund private primaries with public funds.

In terms of governance, it’s difficult to get liberty and justice for all when half the electorate is shut out of the primary system and forced to vote for the candidate they dislike the least.

And regarding commerce, better ballots mirror the innovative and competitive spirit that drives our private sector, vital for a growing middle class without dampening the competitive spirit that makes America exceptional.

Therefore, POLI urges you, dear readers, as guardians of our democratic republic, to deeply consider whether you are for or against better ballots and why.


The US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) ranks solutions so ‘us people’ can keep track of what’s most important to the silent supermajority. Political parrots hate it when we think for ourselves. POLI THE AI helps us make sense of complicated choices.

Should We Replace Plurality Voting?

POLI found VAST SUPERMAJORITY support. Our editors were a bit less convinced. We predict a 67% ±5 (13 roles) STRONG SUPERMAJORITY of roles in this country to support Replacing Plurality Voting including a majority of each of the four sides of the political tablemaking this a US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) worthy idea. 

90% and up Near Unanimous
80% – 89% Near Consensus
60% – 66% Supermajority
50% – 59% Majority

By Contrast

SCOTUS’s approval rating is 40%,
the media is 27%, and
Congress is 13%.

The average score of the policies on the PolicyKeys™ US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) Sweet Sixteen is 76%, with many above 80%Politics 4.0 is already a 2x to 5x better model of US political sentiment and direction than politics as usual.

Cue the
Patriotic Music

Imagine an America not paralyzed by political squawking. A Parrotopia oasis in a desert of division. Where the sounds of the silent super-majority drown out the droning of the hyper-partisan parrots.

We’ll be freed from the cages of entrenched ideology to fly higher in the big sky of American beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. To boldly go where no political parrot has gone before—rating solutions with a nonpartisan score.


Where Can We Agree? 
(Why Don’t You Want To Know?)


Politics 1.0 is each party wanting to be a one-party system. Then, Politics 2.0 is the two-party gridlock that blocks the silent supermajority from getting what it needs. Next, Politics 3.0 is all the noise from special interest groups trying to influence us to see things their way. Finally, Politics 4.0 ranks solutions with a nonpartisan score and lets the best ideas rise up the leaderboard so people can choose.

The Four Laws of
Public Policy Formation

The First Law of Public Policy Formation is that people with short-term focus will naturally protect their wages, jobs, status, profits, and wealth.

The Second Law of Public Policy Formation is that people with a longer-term focus place bets to make life better, longer, easier, or different.

The Third Law of Public Policy Formation states that the short- and long-term clash causes noise, angst, conflict, and harm.

The Fourth Law of Public Policy Formation is that nonpartisan scoring can rank ideas.

(OPNT) One-Page
Narrative Tool

Uses the following ground truth:

There’s a time to save
and a time to spend,
a time for freedom
and a time for laws.
Where can we agree?”

This yields four legs of the political table: Abundance, Thrift, Governance, and Commerce, poetically our Political DNA, ACGT.

A Level
Playing Field

The four sides of the table are…

Abundance Governance (AG)
National Public Sector and NGOs,

Abundance Commerce (AC)
Technology and New Businesses,

Thrift Government (TG)
Local Municipalities, Guilds, and Consumers, and

Thrift Commerce (TC)
Established Supply Chains and Jobs.

Each side has a bias for change and a bias for the status quo. We scan these eight Information Walls for Key YES and NO Reasons, no cherry-picking.


The Political Parrots have a key reason they don’t want us to know about because it ruins their argument. We search for these, like a treasure hunt, and sort them using our EMIT format: Emotions, Money, Information, and Timespan. We listen for these key signals in the political noise.

Key Reasons can look similar, so we edit for redundancy and look for errors, omissions, and innovations.

We search for solutions with the highest hypothetical nonpartisan rating. Something that would solve 80% of the problem with the simplest 20% solution. The Pareto principle, hence a Parrotopia.

Definition of
Political Parrots

Are you making up your own mind or marching to the beat of a political parrot?

  1. Political Parrots get paid to squawk the same thing over and over again.
  2. They don’t listen if you’re not paying.
  3. They don’t fully understand what they’re saying.
  4. They are charming and sport every color.

We look to filter out the GRIFTERS, Gaslighting, Red-herrings, Idolizing, False-dilemmas, Tunnel-vision, Exclusions, Reductions, and Straw-man arguments. 

You can make up your mind. Where can we agree?

Birds of a Feather

Once the Key Reasons are set, we use the Birds of a Feather AI for loose ties to beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. Over 16 million combinations are possible for the 128 roles. The game board starts balanced at zero, with an equal bias for change and the status quo.

We then prescore the puzzle using 56 arch-type roles that most embody each of the 56 loose ties. This yields a general bias for change or status quo and reveals ties.

The editors break the ties and review all 128 roles for specific reasons to overrule the general AI where necessary. These are noted in the Tuesday Tiebreaker article.

Then, we finish the puzzle by applying the most fitting YES or NO reason per role on all four sides of the Political Table: eight Information Walls, sixteen Subcultural Windows, sixteen Bias Columns, and sixteen Influence Rows.


When the scoring is done, a second AI looks for inconsistencies using the SAT9 AI filter (Situational Assessment Tool). This is 256 ‘supreme courts’ where each role is the chief justice in a presumed 5-4 and 4-5 bench. This generates a ± error margin.

The engine for the AI is our One-Page Narrative Tool (OPNT), which we gamified for role-playing at We call our AI, POLI for Political Omnibus Leadership Initiative. Soon, you can use it as your Political Digital Twin and generate a personal public policy advisor report on any PolicyKeys puzzle.

You can read more about PolicyKeys™ in the upcoming book, Politics 4.0: How Gamification, AI, and National Idea Leaderboards Can Help You Depolarize the World. The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recognized PolicyKeys™ for digital engagement.


We seek to partner with a lead university to host a national collegiate PolicyKeys association for political depolarization, innovation in public policy, idea competitions, team competitions, AI upgrades, polling, data science, and journalism. Just respond on social media, @policykeys on Mastodon.


new PolicyKeys™
Where Can We Agree?® puzzle 
drops every 
Monday at 7 a.m. Eastern at

PolicyKeys™ Where Can We Agree? is a real-life role-playing game. Each week, there are sixteen sets of eight ‘rival’ roles. Sit awhile in each of their eight chairs and predict whether a majority of people in those roles would say Yes or No to the week’s question.

The best ideas land on the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) if a majority of each of the four sides of the political table agree.



Record Number of Political Independents

63% of Americans Want a Third Party

Winner-Take-All Elections: A Formula for Unfair Elections
Second-Rate Democracy

The Flaws of Ranked Choice
Law & Liberty

Why First-Past-The-Post Voting is Fundamentally Flawed
New Scientist

And the Loser is…Plurality Voting
Hal Science

Science Can Restore America’s Faith in Democracy
Wired Opinion

Should We Choose Ranked Choice Voting
Cato Unbound

Top Five Ways Plurality Voting Fails
Center for Election Science

Campaign civility under preferential and plurality voting
Iowa Public Policy Center

Pros and Cons of Instant Runoff (Ranked Choice) Voting
League of Women Voters

US presidential election: the problem is majority voting, not the Electoral College
The Conversation

Eight Ways Ranked Choice Voting Can Improve Voting and Elections
Campaign Legal Center

The Case For Approval Voting
Springer Link

The Problem

Approval voting: The political reform engineers — and voters — love
Roll Call Opinion

Can STAR and Approval Voting Fix Our Elections?
Divided We Fall

More US locations are experimenting with new voting methods

Could Math Decide the Perfect Electoral System
Scientific American

Ranked Choice Voting
Fair Vote

Score Voting

STAR Voting

Approval Voting
The Center for Election Science

It takes guts to see things from all four sides of the political table.