Monday, December 26, 2005

The 1% solution: Tullock wins!

A friend (I'll link to him if he gives permission) tells of a curious incident in voting.

I should give some background: In the 1997 Hinich-Munger book, Analytical Politics, we describe an incident in Florida where there was a special election with zero (yes, zero!) turnout. That incident had been pointed to me years ago by Gary Cox (who deserves credit for finding it in the first place....)

Well, something even cooler has happened: Apparently, a fellow noticed that there was a blank on a ballot, because no one was running. He thought, "I'll write in my own name!" And...he won, by one vote.

Here is his description of events:

(I'm going to leave this anonymous for now. I have not been able to check the election outcome officially, and I do not have permission to release the name, so I'll hold off)


I just wanted to let you know that I've been elected. As of January 1st 2006, I'll be the Judge of Elections in the 27th division of Philadelphia's 8th ward.

I never intended to run, but when I went to vote a month ago, I noticed that no one at all was running for one particular job I've never heard of. So I wrote myself in. Apparently I was the only one to do that, because I got a certificate in the mail today. I'm still trying to figure out what the job entails and what I get paid, but I suspect that the answers are "not much" and "even less". Nonetheless, it's kind of fun.

I'm still unemployed other than this, but I swear I've got the most interesting resume around.

Now, this may not be an entirely new thought. There is, for example, this perspective., here's the cool thing. This (write in your own name) has for decades been known as the "Tullock Solution" to the problem of voting. Tullock always claims the real paradox of voting is this: "Why doesn't everyone just vote for themselves?" Bless Gordon's heart.....

UPDATE: The author, and new election judge (maybe) is Josh ("Desh") Rosenberg. We are all checking to see if the election result went through. Potential problem (from personal email from Desh):

I haven't seen the official results. All I've received so far is that certificate in the mail, even though I've asked City Hall to mail me an official job description. I met a fellow Judge of Election recently, who told me that more information will be forthcoming within a couple months of the next primary election.
Aside from an optional training session, I apparently have no official responsibility outside of election days themselves.

This person also told me that my election may have been in error. To the best of his knowledge (which I haven't verified), the city policy is to only elect people in this situation who have received as many write-in votes as are required on a petition to get on the ballot in the first place, which he suspects is 15 for this particular position. Apparently this rule was ignored when sending my certificate (and, presumably, at least a handful of others within the city). But he doesn't think the city is about to renege and revoke my position. Which is a good thing, because if I'm the leading vote getter, I don't know who else would be appointed in my stead, but whoever it is, it would be a major travesty of democracy! Okay, not that major.

No, MAJOR! From the city that brought you "Free Mumia:" FREE DESH ROSENBERG'S JUDGESHIP!