Voting is the end product of carefully considered opinion. Voicing an opinion on a vote can happen after an election, including an intermediate election to filter out choices.
But voting on opinions while a debate is going on in real time? Are you kidding me? The only thing voting is doing in that case is saying “shut up.” It’s mob rule, pure and simple, because a vote counts more than an opinion at any given time.
What we see in social bookmarking regarding this notion of voting cannot be allowed to extend to other mechanisms. I know it sounds like I’m ranting against something specific to social bookmarking, but that’s really not where this is aimed – I know some official election may try to use a mechanism like the social bookmarking sites do in the future, and I want to stop that possibility from even being considered.
Just keep that principle in mind: you vote because you have formed an opinion. Debate is prior to a vote. If voting and opinions voiced are simultaneous, then opinion is irrelevant because the power of the vote trumps all.