This article presents a pretty interesting possibility for what Nader might do this year (New York Times – free registration required). When we vote, we aren’t actually voting for candidates directly – we are voting for the electors our candidate has selected. Since Nader is a 3rd party, and has a (generally negative) reputation as a spoiler, he might select his electors to be a mix of both people who support him exclusively AND people who support Kerry. That way, when the voters go to the voting booth, they could pick Nader and know that they’re still, in a way giving some of their votes to Kerry.
This plan is consistent with the original understanding of the founders. When they created the Electoral College, they did not anticipate the rise of the party system; they expected voters to select community leaders who would make their own judgments when casting their ballots for the presidency. In designating Kerry electors rather than insisting on his own slate, Mr. Nader would be giving new meaning to this tradition that refused to view electors as simply vehicles of a candidate’s will. In effect, he would be enabling his supporters to rank their choices: Mr. Nader first, Mr. Kerry second.
Pretty cool stuff. I still think something like Instant Runoff Voting would be a better option (it’s definitely more easy to explain, and therefore more easy for voters to understand). However, this tactic did give me a better appreciation for the electoral college.