The Write In Only (WIO) election system is a unique approach to voting that eliminates preprinted names on ballots. Instead, voters are required to type the name of their preferred candidate into a digital voting machine. The machine provides an autocomplete feature to avoid spelling mistakes. Upon finalizing the ballot, the machine prints two paper copies – one for the vote tabulation machine and one for the voter to keep as a record.
WIO elections have several advantages over traditional preprinted ballots. First, they save a significant amount of money by only printing ballots for votes cast, thereby reducing waste. This cost-saving measure is not only good for taxpayers but also for the environment.
Second, the WIO system ends the two-party monopoly on ballot access. As it stands, preprinted ballots give a considerable advantage to established parties who have their candidates and party designations printed on the ballot. WIO elections offer a level playing field for all candidates, regardless of their party affiliation. This approach encourages more independent and third-party candidates to run for office and increases voter choice.
Third, WIO elections require voters to be informed about their preferred candidates. With no preprinted names, voters must know which candidates they want to vote for. This requirement puts the responsibility of informed voting on the voter rather than the political parties. While voters can still bring a cheat sheet into the voting booth, this approach forces voters to be more informed about the candidates they are voting for, leading to more educated voters.
Fourth, WIO elections use machine-printed paper ballots, eliminating the possibility of “hanging chads.” Every ballot is counted, and voters can trace their ballot to ensure it was counted correctly. Voters can manually validate their printed ballot before inserting it into the voting tabulation machine. This approach increases confidence in the voting process and reduces concerns about fraud or tampering.
Fifth, WIO elections eliminate “sore loser” laws that restrict candidates from running on the general election ballot after losing a primary. Primaries are run by private political parties and should not control voting options for the general election. WIO elections also allow the state to stop paying for partisan primaries. Political parties should bear the cost of their primaries.
Sixth, WIO elections allow for greater voter flexibility and customization. Voters can write in the names of candidates who are not affiliated with major political parties, giving them a greater voice in the democratic process. This approach helps level the playing field for independent and third-party candidates who may not have the same financial and institutional support as major party candidates.
Seventh, WIO elections encourage greater voter engagement and participation. When voters must actively select and write in their preferred candidate, they are more likely to take ownership of their vote and feel a greater sense of responsibility in the democratic process. This can lead to increased voter turnout and greater political engagement at all levels of government.
Eighth, the WIO system reduces the influence of special interest groups and political action committees (PACs). Without preprinted ballots, these groups cannot rely on name recognition to sway voters. Instead, they must actively campaign and engage with voters to earn their support.
Ninth, WIO elections provide greater transparency and accountability in the voting process. By printing out two copies of the ballot, one for the voter and one for the vote tabulation machine, voters can ensure that their vote has been accurately recorded and counted. This can increase public confidence in the election process and reduce concerns about fraud or tampering.
Finally, WIO elections can, by eliminating the need for primaries, WIO help to streamline the election process and reduce bureaucratic red tape.
In conclusion, the Write In Only (WIO) election system is a cost-effective, transparent, and democratic approach to voting that eliminates the two-party monopoly on ballot access, encourages voter engagement, and increases transparency and accountability. The WIO system allows voters to take ownership of their vote and requires them to be informed about their preferred candidates. It also reduces the influence of special interest groups and eliminates the need for costly preprinted ballots and partisan primaries. Overall, WIO elections offer a modern and efficient way to ensure fair and democratic elections and should be considered as an alternative to traditional preprinted ballot systems.