I think if we lowered the minimum vote amount, gave it one week for each poll, and perhaps let the mods do a preliminary "yes" or "no" on prospects, then we'd be A) voting on people that already were filtered and B) in a system that was quicker and easier on people.
Still, if we need to let a select few individuals decide on who gets in to appease some old-time posters, then perhaps the problem isn't with the system it's with the individuals. But as I said, I truly don't believe our voting process has much to do with why they're gone.
It's impossible to keep any community exactly the same. It changes with the times. Even if you keep processes similar, you're going to have turnover. It's understandable that we're talking about changing the voting process, but I don't think taking the vote out of the members' hands is the way to go.