The comments here and on the forum topic of the same name have lead me to believe that a simpler popularity score (or rating) might fix the problem of super low ratings. If all you can get is a 1 or a 2, one person can not sabotage your work.
But, then, a problem arises: what about the technical side? Well, there have been several good ideas in this way. Personally, I like DarkLiquid's tag based system where basically keywords are chosen to describe the work, enabling someone to search for similar works. So, a piece could be described as "well-written."
A similar idea that I have hinted at in the past that could work seperately or in tandem with the tag based system is a checkbox system. Someone rating would mark what things were done well and what things were not done so well. So, you could mark "proper use of periods" and "improper use of commas."
This could get complicated fast, though. So, another idea to maintain fairness would be not to allow everyone to participate or at least allow the general member to mark only certain aspects of someone's work. Obviously, the Mods would have access to this entire rating system.
Others, though, that don't serve in any other administrative capacity could serve as registered raters based upon the quality of their work and their ability to recognize certain aspects of good writing. They would be the ones to rate the minute aspects of someone's work.
Advantages: The technical ratings would generally be more fair because the raters would be chosen by the mods. The ratings could be out in the open (we would know who and what was rated; the rating could even show up as a comment). This rating would have no bearing on popularity.
Disadvantages: There would be fewer ratings per work, and some works might be skipped all together unless more and more responsible raters were chosen.
I am sure there are other advantages and disadvantages, but I can't think of any right now. I am sure someone will think of them.