The "Hare" system or Single Transferable Vote is a great way of having all the advantages of single member electoral districts, and none of the attendant disadvantages of gerrymandered districts.
It is no more complicated than being asked to rank your 5 favorite movies. Which is no doubt why thinking people all over the web like it.
It is not immediately clear how it would translate into the American system. I'm sure that Dakotans at both points on the compass can rank their 1 preference in at-large election, but as a commenter points out, that's much harder in California if you had to rank 54 people. Now, you can have a perfectly good STV election even if people don't fill out all their preferences. You can tick the party line, and have your votes go in the nominated order of the party you vote for. This is what happens in Australia.
But this starts to diminish the electors closeness to individual candidates and representatives. Hence, the need for smaller multi-member districts. These would still need to have boundaries drawn from them ... but gerrymandering would have much less effect in this system.
But the chances of this happening are slim to none! A paradox of American democracy is that its institutions were founded in a revolutionary moment, yet the barriers to further institutional reform are very high, and the existing institutions have powerful defenders, whose conservative arguments for the continuation of those institutions are somewhat ironic in light of their beginnings.Posted by robe0419 at September 20, 2004 8:54 PM