Friday, October 12, 2012

Tired of the Presidential campaign? Want to vote online, like they do in Estonia?

  From 2008 article: Doing Democracy Right

Why are other countries so much better at conducting elections than we are?

"In 2007, Estonia held the world's first general Internet election. Over the course of three days, Estonians could vote by placing their state-issued ID cards (which have an electronic chip) into a computer reader, entering two passwords, and then choosing their favorite candidates from a list. These votes were then encrypted, archived, stripped of personally identifiable information, and decoded. About 30,000 people, or a bit less than 4 percent of the registered population, cast their ballots in this way. (The rest used polling stations.) Although computer scientists worried that Estonia's e-vote would be vulnerable to hacking, the experiment went off without a hitch, and surveys conducted afterward found high voter confidence in the election results."

She also speaks about the old regulation that claimed Tuesday- a work and school day- a voting day.  
"In 1845, Congress fixed upon Tuesday because getting to and from polling places used to be a two-day ordeal, and voting on the weekend or Monday would have meant traveling on the Sabbath."

 We should be voting on a holiday or a weekend, like the people in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, and others.
 If we are a super power, shouldn't our electoral system be super powered?
And then, there are the Voting Rights- Registration and Requirements. Hoo boy. look at this mess.
 Sure, there have been some changes in recent years, some for better, some for worse, but with the basis of these "rights" coming from an act signed into law in 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson, we are still far, far behind.

Is this why we don't vote? Why we sit home and status update and tweet and bitch, but never make it to the long lines at the polls?

In the end, how much does your vote really count?

The pres­i­den­tial seat is selected through the Elec­toral Col­lege, which was cre­ated over 200 years ago as a com­pro­mise for the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion process. Some politi­cians at that time believed a pop­u­lar elec­tion was too reck­less; some objected to giv­ing Con­gress the power to select the pres­i­dent. The agree­ment was to set up an Elec­toral Col­lege sys­tem that allowed vot­ers to vote for elec­tors, who would then cast their votes for can­di­dates (a sys­tem described in Arti­cle II, sec­tion 1 of the Constitution.

SO. More than a month after we all run to the polls, see the popular vote and wring our hands wondering if "our Guy" is in... the Electoral College meets and places the real votes for President and Vice President. (Dec 17, 2012)
 Usually they vote the way the popular vote came up, BUT they do not have to.( In some states, this would mean a fine of $10,000. Which is nothing to the elector, given the kind of money campaigns spend.) Remember how Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, but WAS NOT elected President?

Con­gress will meet on Jan. 6, 2013, to con­duct an offi­cial tally of the elec­toral votes. Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden will pre­side and declare the win­ner. Hmmmmm.

 Here's a question. Have you ever watched the election unfold on TV news broadcasts and seen the Electoral College numbers, and the popular vote numbers? And didn't you say, well, they already are saying my state is electing Incumbent or New Guy, so why should I even bother going to polls? I'll just have a beer and go to bed.

There  are 538 votes in the Elec­toral Col­lege. A can­di­date must have at least 270 to win.

Remember 2008? Even though John McCain won Nebraska’s statewide pop­u­lar vote, Barack Obama won the 2nd Con­gres­sional Dis­trict and earned one of the state’s five 
elec­toral votes.
Robert Longley says, However, in every presidential election, one problem with the Electoral College emerges: once the major candidates decide that certain states are "locked up" on their side, they tend to ignore those states and spend all their time campaigning in – and catering to – voters in the remaining small number of undecided or "battleground" states. "
Again, does your vote count and who really cares? These are after all, only predictions? Right? 
See for yourself on this page.  Go ahead, follow along. Then decide in a few weeks, if you'd rather be drinking a Grande Mocha Latte and reading Fifty Shades, or standing out in the cold waiting to press a button.
* information gathered from multiple sources including this article, rest noted above.
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