At the recent Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, Sam Chang, who leads the Negative Vote Association, conducted an experiment. How does having the ability to vote no change an election outcome? 

Sam is both Taiwanese and American. He lives in Taipei but is pursuing his idea, of the negative vote, via ballot measures in Taiwan and in the city of Berkeley. The idea is that you should be able to use your vote to vote against a candidate, not just for someone.

In Sam’s experiment, forum attendees were asked to vote in an election for the President of Planet Earth. In one trial, the candidates were Donald Trump and Xi Jingping. In a second trial, Rodrigo Duterte was added as a third choice. 

The vote was conducted in different ways. First, you could only vote in favor of a candidate—the system we have in California now. You could vote for Trump or Xi or Duterte, or not at all. In that election, Trump won, though most people chose not to vote at all.

But then the negative vote option was added. All three candidates got more negative votes than positive votes. It appeared that Xi would win the race. Though Chang suggested that, in the case when all the vote tallies are net negative, the race shouldn’t count, and a new election called. 

That seems like a good idea.

 You can take a look at the election, and even participate yourself, here