Election day is nearly here. In fact, I would bet most of us in Oregon have already voted.
People give a few reasons why we should vote:
Vote now or shut up later
Voting is your best chance to change the government
Voting is your civic duty
I’m not convinced I agree with any of them.
You don’t give up your right to participate in democracy when you don’t vote. You only give up one avenue.
Voting might not be your best opportunity to effect change. Depending on where you live, your vote is unlikely to have any impact. A better way to make a change might be to work to change how campaigns are financed. Another good idea is to email your representatives. Because so few do so, you have a disproportionate voice.
I’m not sure I buy into the duty idea. Maybe if the those elected acted like they had any duty, this would be more convincing.
Use election season as an opportunity to educate yourself on the issues.1 Spend some time with your voters’ pamphlet. From there, it’s only a little more effort to vote.
My hope for the next four years is that Obama makes good on some of the promises he made during his first presidential bid: get us out of war, restore our civil rights, and lead a transparent, constitutional government.
“A new study by social psychologist Christopher Bryan and his colleagues at Stanford University shows just how easily people can be manipulated using their own vanity; by doing nothing more than changing the word “vote,” to “voter,” on a survey, Bryan et al, have demonstrated that it’s possible to increase voter turnout in real-world elections.” (Source.)
I just saw a scary prediction on Twitter. And it’s probably true: Presidential election 2012 will be about winning the Facebook news feed.
Not my news feed.
Facebook is like a party: people getting together, bragging, sharing, and telling jokes. It has the same social rules. Don’t be rude. Don’t get drunk and embarrass yourself. Don’t tell terribly embarrassing stories about your friends. And if you’re going to talk politics and religion, you better make sure those you’re talking to want to hear it.
Sorry, but I don’t.
I’ve never seen anyone change a political view or a religious belief because of a discussion, whether online or in person. I’ve seen lots of people expose their ignorance about religion and politics. I’ve seen many fallacious arguments. I’ve done it myself.
No more. Not on Facebook.
There are places where politics is the order of the day, same for religious discussions. Usually, it’s forums designed specifically for these topics.
I realize these are just my opinions about the appropriate use of Facebook. I can’t stop you from using Facebook for other purposes.
How well are the candidates doing in the primaries in their homes states? Can they carry at least a majority? Is having more than two viable candidates affecting the Republicans? The following charts might provide a little insight to these questions.
John McCain in Arizona
John McCain stands alone as the candidate not to win a majority vote in his home state. Ron Paul is the only remaining candidate who could match this “achievement.”
If the 3% that voted for Rudy Giuliani had voted for McCain, his total would have been 50%. And if bullfrogs had wings… It’s pretty weak support for the likely winner of the Republican nomination.
Mike Huckabee in Arkansas
Republican Arkansas voters turned out to give Mike Huckabee a clear win at 60% compared to McCain’s 20% and Romney’s 14%.
Mitt Romney in Massachusetts
Mitt Romney wins in a squeaker with 51% of the vote in a virtual two-man race against John McCain. The other three candidates received less than 10% of the vote combined.
Ron Paul in Texas
This primary will occur on March 4.
Hillary Clinton in Arkansas
Not much to see here — move along. Hillary Clinton trounces Barack Obama with 70% vs. 27%.
Barack Obama in Illinois
Barack Obama returns the favor by beating Hillary Clinton, though not by quite the same margin, at 64% vs. 33%.
RangeVoting.org discusses various vote tallying procedures and advocates why “range voting” is preferred. RangeVoting has enough information to keep you reading, entertaining and educating you throughout.
I’m in awe. Somewhere between 8 and 10 million Iraqis turned up to vote this past weekend. That amounts to 57 to 72 percent of Iraq’s 11.4 million eligible voters.
Compare that to the 60.0% voter turnout for the 2004 U.S. presidential election. But in that comparison, don’t forget to consider:
Iraqis were threatened with beheading if they showed up to vote. This was no idle threat. At least three poll workers and the governor of Baghdad were killed in attempts to stop this election.
Iraqis couldn’t drive to or from the polls because of security regulations.
Many Iraqis had to stand in long lines, outdoors, and vulnerable to attack.
Iraqis had to dip their fingers in ink that would brand them as voters (and potential targets) for up to three days.
We don’t yet know who won the election. We won’t ever know what motivated individual voters; some may have cast their vote to speed the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. That works for me. What we do know is that a large percentage of Iraqis were willing to risk their lives to cast their votes.
I say let’s celebrate this great moment in history.