Category Archives: voting

VOTING Questions

Election Day is Tuesday, and you’ll be sure to discover on Wednesday that fewer people vote in off-year/non-Presidential years than will vote next year, as shown here (PDF), here and here. It’s ironic, I think, because one has a much greater voice in municipal elections than in the Presidential race. Even next November, more people will vote at the top of the ticket, and ignore the “lesser” races.

I’ve been involved in “get-out-the-vote” pitches before. My last strategy, sort of a reverse psychology thing, was “don’t vote – mote power for me”. So:

1. Are you voting on Tuesday? Why or why not/ I am, just so I can kvetch about the results.
2. What would it take to get more people to vote? (Electronic voting, instant runoff voting, bribery – somewhere in the Southwest, they offered a random voter a cash prize for voting, which turned out to be of dubious legality.) I think IRV’s a good idea in multi-candidate (3 or more) elections, but it won’t solve the ennui problem.
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Pulse Poll of the Democratic candidates for President, with videos delineating a couple of their positions.


ROG

Can't Keep Up with the News

I read and watch the news regularly. Yet it was only yesterday that I discovered Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”: Track-By-Track Preview, posted on October 1 by Rolling Stone magazine. As you may know, the new album has an unusual “pay what you will” pricing schedule.

I somehow missed the story about what’s her face suggesting that we’d better off if women were denied the vote in the United States. On the other hand, there’s a movement afoot to just ignore her, which, in fact, I usually do.

But mostly, I’m surprised that it wasn’t until yesterday that I discovered that we are in the midst of “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week“, reportedly on 200 college campuses, “to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat. Nothing could be more politically incorrect than to point this out. But nothing could be more important for American students to hear…Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a national effort to oppose these lies and to rally American students to defend their country.” The reaction against this can be found here and here and probably lots of places in ways better than I could.

And, yes, I’m one of those “liberals” who have trouble with the term Islamofascist. I think many people would balk a term such as Christofascist, which suggests, at least to me, that the faith is INHERENTLY fascistic, rather than an aberration of Christianity, expressed well in this story from three years ago about the Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism by Chris Hedges, that I read recently.

ROG

The Candidates QUESTIONS

This is an audience participation thing, or as Frank Zappa once put it, “enforced recreation.”

1. Go to http://www.vajoe.com/candidate_calculator.html and answer the questions, but leave your intensity about the issues at Medium.

2. Cut/paste and send me the results (or post on your blog, and let me know in the comments section.)

3. Re-vote, but this time, indicate the intensity of your position.

4. Cut/paste and send me THOSE results (or post on your blog, and let me know in the comments section.)

Before revealing my picks, you’ll note that there is something called the Composite Candidate: “The calculator compiles the most popular responses from all voters to create a composite candidate, a candidate whose views match most with the average responses of users.”

Composite Candidate
* Delaware Senator Joseph Biden (D) – 43.48%
* Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D) – 41.30%
* Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson (R) – 41.30%
* Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd (D) – 36.96%
* Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards (D) – 36.96%
* New York Senator Hillary Clinton (D) – 34.78%
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) – 34.78%
* New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) – 34.78%
* Businessman John Cox (R) – 32.61%
* Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (D) – 30.43%
* Arizona Senator John McCain (R) – 28.26%
* Texas Representative Ron Paul (R) – 28.26%
* Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) – 28.26%
* Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson (R) – 28.26%
* Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) – 26.09%
* Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich (D) – 23.91%
* Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R) – 21.74%
* Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo (R) – 21.74%

Also, there’s a list of Most Top-Matched Candidates
* Gravel – 14.20%
* Tommy Thompson – 12.42%
* Romney – 10.95%
* Giuliani – 10.93%
* Kucinich – 10.52%
* Biden – 6.40%
* Clinton – 4.68%
* Cox – 4.47%
* Obama – 4.19%
* Hunter – 3.64%
* Dodd – 3.63%
* Fred Thompson – 2.66%
* Tancredo – 2.51%
* Paul – 2.16%
* Huckabee – 2.06%
* Richardson – 1.82%
* Edwards – 1.32%
* Brownback – 1.02%
* McCain – 0.42%

Now, here are my top selections, with no regard to intensity:
Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (D) 100.00% match
Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich (D) – 94.74%
Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D) – 84.21%
Delaware Senator Joseph Biden (D) – 78.95%
Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd (D) – 78.95%
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards (D) – 78.95%
New York Senator Hillary Clinton (D) – 73.68%
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) – 73.68%
Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson (R) – 57.89%
Businessman John Cox (R) – 47.37%
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) – 42.11%
Texas Representative Ron Paul (R) – 36.84%
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) – 31.58%
Arizona Senator John McCain (R) – 26.32%
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R) – 21.05%
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) – 21.05%
Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo (R) – 15.79%
Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson (R) – 15.79%

Whereas, when I add my intensity factors:
Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich (D) 96.88% match
Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (D) – 81.25%
New York Senator Hillary Clinton (D) – 71.88%
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards (D) – 68.75%
Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd (D) – 65.63%
Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D) – 65.63%
Delaware Senator Joseph Biden (D) – 59.38%
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) – 56.25%
Texas Representative Ron Paul (R) – 37.50%
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) – 28.13%
Businessman John Cox (R) – 25.00%
Arizona Senator John McCain (R) – 25.00%
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) – 12.50%
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R) – 9.38%
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) – 9.38%
Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson (R) – 9.38%
California Representative Duncan Hunter (R) – 6.25%
Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo (R) – 6.25%

Strange: Kucinich and Gravel, the two guys left off some recent Iowa debate, switch for the top spot, Clinton (who I’ve never voted for) moves from 7th to 3rd, and Obama falls from 3rd to 6th, but the Top 7 are still the Top 7, with Richardson 8th in both scenarios. One thing is for sure: I won’t be voting for Tom Tancredo. Or for Sam Brownback, though I’d probably enjoy hanging out with him, based on his appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows.

A curious glitch: Duncan Hunter isn’t on the first list (or on the composite candidate roster), while Fred Thompson’s missing from the second.
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“In his new book, The Evangelical President, Bill Sammon paints a riveting portrait of a president who is as committed to worldwide democracy as he is to his faith—and guided by legitimate principles that his critics aren’t willing to understand. In this far-reaching book, Sammon details:
Why Bush believes the Republicans will hold the White House in 2008″

Interesting. Haven’t read the book, probably won’t read the book, but I’m beginning to come to the same conclusion.
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Let the most popular candidate win: Instant runoff voting is simple and effective.
By John B. Anderson (1980 Presidential candidate)
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I wish we could get as 72-25 vote, condemning Blackwater, something actually under Congressional budgetary control. Anyway, MoveOn has moved from Petraeus – Leave Petraeus alone! to a much more appealing target, Rudy Giuliani:

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Pat Buchanan (!) on the hysteria that greeted the request of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to lay a wreath at Ground Zero.
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If Bill O’Reilly Was a Rapper.

ROG

The Wrong Way

When I first voted in an election primary, back in 1972, the New York State primary day was in June. There was one primary date for President, and for other offices. This was about the right length for the campaign.

Because of the nature of Presidential politics, though, the Presidential primary was moved to April, while the other primaries moved to September, creating, not so incidentally, greater expense. In subsequent years, the Presidential primary moved back into March, and in 2008, will move to February 5, where it will be on Supa Dupa Lollapalooza Tuesday. Meanwhile, the September primary has been moved this year from September 11 to September 18, out of “respect” for 9/11. You may recall, especially if you lived in New York State at the time, that 9/11 was Primary Day in the state six years ago. The primary was postponed at the time for a couple weeks.

The early Presidential primary bothers me because we could have a protracted, undoubtedly nasty, nine-month race for the White House, which will almost certainly generate a situation in which most voters will say, “A pox on both houses.”

The later non-Presidential primary bothers me too, because usually there is an incumbent in the race. Running against two or more challengers who aren’t winnowed out until eight weeks before the general election, gives even more advantage to the current officeholder. Moving the Primary from September 11 to the 18th just worsens that.

More to the point, I think voting on September 11 honors the victims of 9/11. Democracy is not postponed; the terrorists haven’t won, or whatever.

Expect this never to happen.
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Shock Doctrine, a short (less than seven minutes) film by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein, directed by Jonás Cuarón, on Klein’s book.
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While working on a reference question last week, I discovered, to my surprise, that most Arab-Americans identify as Christians.

ROG

VOTING Questions

I was reading in Newsweek a couple weeks ago about some (Republican) politician complaining about ex-cons voting. I don’t see the problem. I think the ex-cons SHOULD vote. Perhaps:
1) They’ll feel more a part of the society as engaged citizens.
2) They’ll be able to better suss out the crooks who actually get elected, the Duke Cunninghams, the Bob Neys.

If anything, I’d think we would like to get MORE people to vote. Are people afraid that a bunch of former felons will get together and take over the town? If so, they should get out and register (and vote) themselves.

(Greg noted this story about the White House pursing legal efforts to limit voter turnout. This is not just unjust, it’s pathetic.)

I also was interested in the recent French election. Apparently, the top two vote getters, Nicolas Sarkozy, who got 31% in the first round, and Ségolène Royal (26%), will be in a runoff, but the candidate who is reportedly most acceptable (or least unacceptable) to the widest number of people, François Bayrou, came in third (19%), so won’t be in the runoff.

So I’m wondering:

1) What restrictions, beyond making sure somebody is of age and actually lives in the district, should there be on voters? I’m against too many restridctions.

2) What can be done to engage more people in the political process? Would Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) or other alternate voting methodologies work? How about voting over several days and/or online?
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For free IRV? stickers send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: voteIRV.org, 26 Glen Street, Malden, MA 02148. Spread the word and make it stick: IRV; for a better democracy!
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Dennis Kucinich, member of Congress and Presidential candidate, has introduced Articles of Impeachment Against Vice-President Richard Cheney. Kindly, Kucinich waited until the the Veep’s blood clot was under control to reintroduce the measure.
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Bush v. Bush.
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Erin Davies makes the best of a bad situation, letting the world see and contemplate the hate speech scrawled on her vehicle. The initial act of vandalism was especially disturbing to me since it happened in my city (Albany), but Erin’s reframing is quite intriguing.
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What the rains of last week did to the basement of the David Sarnoff Library last week.
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Last, but certainly not least, send some love to Kelly and Lefty.

ROG

Watching the President Tonight

It’s the State of the Union tonight. I feel, as a patriotic American who wants to be an informed citizen, as though I ought to watch. Yet listening to George Bush Jr. makes me verklempt, not just with the content but the delivery as well. So I need your help. I need to come up with a drinking game. For instance, every time he says “war on terror” or “homefront”, I can have a shot of something. Likewise if he announces an aggressive environmental program which will never get funded. (Has anything happened with the switchgrass initiative he mentioned in last year’s speech?)

I also need to set up a pool to figure out at what minute and second he will first evoke 9/11; no cheating by looking at the press copy of the speech.

OK, so I’m being cheeky, and I won’t REALLY watch the speech inebriated. Will I?

Why is this man jumping for joy? Because he’s looking better all the time by comparison.
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As for the 2008 race, the GOP attack dogs are in full force: Hillary’s Kerryoake On Iraq. I’m not even likely to vote for her, but yeesh…
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U.S. Bars Lab From Testing Electronic Voting
By CHRISTOPHER DREW

A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests.
The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come under fire from analysts hired by New York State over its plans to test new voting machines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices.
Experts on voting systems say the Ciber problems underscore longstanding worries about lax inspections in the secretive world of voting-machine testing. The action by the federal Election Assistance Commission seems certain to fan growing concerns about the reliability and security of the devices.

Voting machines

Radio Interview – Weds. Aug. 3, Re: NY Voting Machine Issues

VOTING MACHINES -Which ones will New York end up with? Is touch screen voting in our future? Aimee Allaud, election specialist, for The League of Women Voters of New York State, in a twenty minute interview, answers questions and provides information New Yorkers need to hear about the process of choosing voting machines for their state. Decisions will be made without our input if we are not informed! Tune in tomorrow, August 3, 7:30-8:30 a.m. to WRPI-Troy on 91.5 FM.

Copies of the interview may be obtained for replay on your local radio stations. Contact Helena Kosorek.