Democracy is such a misunderstood term. Almost nobody in the world has experienced true democracy and almost never on a large scale. Many of us live in countries that have implemented representative democracies, specifically republics. Yet such a small proportion of those who live in republics understand how republics work, specifically how voting works in a republic.
An Unrestricted Analyst could debunk many of the popular misconceptions about voting in a republic. One such misconception is that a vote reveals what is wanted by the voter.
- Anyone who has ever held a paper ballot knows that there is no where near enough space on it to hold a complete and unambiguous express of what is wanted.
- Anyone who has ever tried to express any requirement or specification knows that the space to present it is the least of the problems (issues of completeness and ambiguity are overwhelming).
- One does not have to scratch deeply into the study of decision making by organisations to find that a huge portion of influence is exerted by the framer of the question(s) (as are being asked on the ballot).
- If the answer to the question is other than “yes” or “no”, then there is no general algorithm for combining answers from multiple ballots into a single answer from the election, referendum, or plebiscite — as in there are multiple algorithms where few if any give the same result as another.
Given these easily observed limitations (and there are plenty more beyond them), it is hard to justify the view held by so many that they should be able to express what they want on the ballot. Given their failure to understand the tool they are using, it is not hard to see why so many voters are so angry that the results of elections never seem to reflect what they want. And for too many, the misconceptions about ballots and democracy is but the tip of the iceberg that is the failure of their education.