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On Voting - High-Speed Pizza Delivery: A Jack Phelps Production [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Jack Phelps

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On Voting [Oct. 28th, 2004|07:54 pm]
Jack Phelps
A few things about voting:

1. I am voting for Michael Badnarik. If I didn't make that abundantly clear before (as people seem to keep asking me), there you go. This is not a decision I am making because I am a liberetarian, though there are a number of respects in which I agree with their ideology and/or policy outcomes. This is a decision I am making because I currently loath and always have loathed the two-party system. I think it's rotten and hurts our country. We live in a capitalist society which says competition benefits people. We have a government with power distributed among branches which says too much power concentrated under one ideology is a bad thing. And yet despite these foundation, democratic awesomenesses we all learn about as schoolchildren, we for some reason feel the need to support a system in which there are two only marginally different views. Therefore, I will vote third party for my second presidential election as I did with my first, and I will not compromise on a candidate I think is slime merely because he may be slightly better than the opposition. The only reason I really want kerry in office over bush is because I want liberal justices striking down restrictive conservative mandates like "no gay marriage for anyone!" and "no privacy for anyone!" and "perpetual copyrights."

2. I hear San Francisco has moved to instant runoff voting for the local portion of its election ballot. That is pretty awesome. IRV consistently gets a lot of criticism from proponants of other condorcet methods, which I think is pure bullshit. The other condorcet (or, candidate ranking) methods are excessively complicated and really would scare people away from voting like opponants of condorcet voting in general (specifically: incumbent democrats, republicans) say IRV will. I fail to see how IRV is difficult, but then, I am not stupid.

Regular voting:
Me: I'd like some ginger ice cream, please.
Jockey: $3.65 please
Me: Here you go.
Jockey: Thank you.
Me: Can I have my ice cream now?
Jockey: No. Maybe if you'd ordered vanilla or chocolate you could have your ice cream now. But you didn't, you ordered ginger.
Me: Well can I order vanilla instead, then?
Jockey: Sorry, too late. You are fucked and will be given chocolate, which all rational people are allergic to.

Okay, I threw in that last part; it's not usually in there.

Condorcet voting:
Me: I'd like some ginger ice cream, please.
Jockey: $3.65 please
Me: Here you go.
Jockey: Oh, I'm sorry, we're right out of ginger. What is your next choice, choosing between our two main flavors, chocolate and vanilla?
Me: Well, it's too bad, but I guess I'll choose vanilla.
Jockey: Okay, here's your vanilla, and I will write a note to management letting them know that you and many others are actually interested in ginger. They'll probably stock an increasing amount of that flavor in the future because of your interest.
Me: Now that's how competition is supposed to work!

I will be writing about the local and national ballot questions, also, when the city of Cambridge sends me the ballot summary they promised to several weeks ago and which is for some incomprehensible reason not available on the internet.

That is all.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: nyahnyah
2004-10-28 05:53 pm (UTC)
I respect your decision, but I'm kinda sad-- I figure that Bush is awful enough to merit lowering one's standards for president. But your choice, your choice.

Wanted to note that here in Brazil we don't have a two-party system-- I don't understand it myself, but tons of people run for all offices, from the lower-rank-roles to the presidency itself. Yet inevitably there are only two candidates (per position) that end up in the focus, and everyone else is white-noise.

One can be elected only by a margin higher than 50%, which is difficult because of all the different candidates running. What usually happens is that there's the FIRST election, and the two top voted candidates-- with scores of, say, 40% and 41%-- campaign again for another month. And then there's a second election, people vote for either of the two dudes, and that's that.

Floripa is in the middle of such a process-- voting day for local elections was the first of October, but as expected, neither of the two main candidates (Chico and Dario) -- both of them somewhat conservative, mind you-- got more than 50%, so come the end of the month Floripans will vote again. (I'm not voting because I forgot to register. ^^;;)

Food for thought. :D
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[User Picture]From: kayselkiemoon
2004-10-28 07:43 pm (UTC)
may i say again who much I love the word "Floripan"? s'cool ^_^

yay voting!

Jack: If I didn't make that abundantly clear before (as people seem to keep asking me), there you go.

no, you had. anyways, i find it sorta odd that they ask. i suppose i don't refuse to answer people when they ask who i'm voting for, but I always thought it was a personal thing, and the question makes me unconfortable (mainly because i feel ill-equipped to debate my position adequately, unlike yourself *grin*). my mom will tell people who she voted for, but my dad won't, even to my mom. it's just a thing with him. although he did tell me once that he'd almost never voted for the person that won...
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-28 08:01 pm (UTC)
Anonymous voting is still important, but very, very minimally so. It used to be that people would sell their votes or be press-ganged into voting a certain way. While there are plenty of allegations of intentional disenfranchisement being passed around, that is ultimately the result of ignorance, not of voting anonymity. Essentially what I'm saying here is that there's not as much of a good reason anymore to demand anonymity.

As for voluntary disclosure, you know me: I (try to) live transparently. I believe what Einstein said: If you can't explain something to your grandmother, you don't really understand it. My acid test, then, for whether or not I really understand something is through being open about exactly what I think and hearing people's reactions. I occasionally make a statement and have it returned with a nice "You have no idea what you're talking about." And sometimes, that person is right, and I see that I need to investigate a topic more carefully in order to understand it to the extent I think I do. In that respect, posting stuff here on my journal keeps me honest, accountable, and smart.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-28 07:55 pm (UTC)
well, only two candidates may be taken really seriously. But here's the question: are the two parties always the same? I mean, there may be two best candidates, sure, but they don't always have the same platform; aren't of the same exact closely-tied "opposition." the difference is that nobody EVER takes third party candidates in the US seriously; it's almost consistently a joke (Perot was the first scare in many decades in 1992 with a whole 12% or so of the national vote; I couldn't tell you when the last one before that was). Your parties rise and fall; ours have no fears. There will always be democrats and there will always be republicans, and if the two parties generally agree on some things, then no mainstream person will EVER see an opposing view on the topic.
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[User Picture]From: olivia_cochrane
2004-10-29 11:01 am (UTC)
The problem with third-party candidates is that often, they don't care about promoting their views; they know they're not gonna get elected and all they're interested in is stirring up trouble for the Democratic and Republican candidates (see Nader). And since huge populations of citizens all over America like George Bush's "resolve" and one-dimensional statements (anti-intellectuals like viewpoints that are easily quantifiable), Kerry is the one who will suffer. This annoys me, since if anyone wants to go torpedo a candidate's character, political views and what-have-you, I'd rather the target were Bush and only Bush.

It's nice to have ideals about a multi-party government, but the reality is that it ain't gonna happen, at least not any time soon, and all of the candidates know this. The Republicans and the Democrats go at each other's throats because they are the other's only competition, and they know it; the third-party candidates rarely put any effort into a real campaign- instead of their own views on the country's needs, they talk about what's wrong with the other candidates.

I also wish you wouldn't (and I apologize for the extreme frankness) waste your vote in the most important election we've seen in a long time; Kerry needs every vote he can get because otherwise we will get another 4 years of Bush, and that's a fact. I would hope that everyone who is the least bit undecided or opposed to Bush would vote for Kerry, and that isn't as dumb a statement as it was before the debates; I've heard Kerry speak at length and I know that he would make a better president than Bush. Is he perfect? No, of course not; he has views that I disagree with, such as his opposition to gay marriage in the sense that it would be the same thing as heterosexual marriage. On the other hand, unlike Bush, he has expressed no disdain for homosexuality and made it perfectly clear that he would not be opposed to state courts deciding the issue for themselves, and he believes that gay, legally joined couples should have the same legal rights as married couples that they are denied right now, such as being able to name their partner in their will as a beneficiary and their partner being allowed hospital visiting rights.

So in general I have no problem with the informed support of third parties, but can I just say that this is a REALLY bad time for it.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-29 02:09 pm (UTC)
Kerry's gonna win Mass regardless of what I do. I don't think I've talked to a republican besides my friend jason and Amy-from-MIT in a really, really long time. Everyone you meet around here just assumes that you are a democrat. It's generally wonderful to live in one of the most educated cities in the world.

I don't actually like Nader. I prefer my candidates humble, at least to a certain extent, and I don't think he has any of the integrity required to lead the country. But I can't blame him for criticising kerry, because I likewise expect candidates to be honest.

I'm with Reason magazine on this (liberetarian publication which I have an incredible amount of respect for due to 1. its excellent, fact-based analysis and 2. the fact that it wear's its politics on its sleeve so you are free to agree or disagree with it without it trying to subvert your opinions): The democrats had ONE job to do: Pick someone better than bush. Not difficult, and yet they only sort of, kind of, barely succeeded. I may agree with kerry ideologically more than Bush, but I don't think he's much of a person.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-29 02:10 pm (UTC)
I did NOT just say "wear's"
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[User Picture]From: nyahnyah
2004-10-29 05:56 pm (UTC)
You're right-- the parties do shift around, though this may be because Brazil went a few decades under military dictatorship and only recently-- 1989-- have presidential elections started up again. Maybe in another few decades the strongest parties will have cemented.
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[User Picture]From: fruitypoundcake
2004-10-29 01:38 am (UTC)
Ok, I'm gonna sound ignorant probably, but who's Michael Badnarik?

I can immediately see a problem with my question just now because clearly only Bush and Kerry have received enough media coverage for me to know who they are, while other equally qualified other party candidates fall on the wayside. And, considering I'm in Japan, I'm fairly well-informed as a voter (NPR, International Herald Tribune, whatever I can get my hands on). So there's that proof that any parties other than Dems and the GOP won't get their share of the race.

I think in any other race I would agree with you, BUT, this election happens to be the first/most in a lot of things. This is probably the most polarized election in a long time (which makes the 2-party system worse than it usually is). This is also probably the closest race ever held, the one with the most litigation prepared, the one that will probably have the highest voter turnout, the most expensive race (probably), etc. For some, including myself, there is a lot riding on this race, and it's probably a bad sign that we invest so much in this race and in the office of the President, but that's the reality right now, and there's just too much at stake to risk even one vote (remember stupid Florida?). Kerry was never my first choice to begin with - I would have preferred Clark or Dean, and four years ago I voted Nader - but I'm so eager to throw Bush out of office, I'm willing to compromise and support Kerry... Clearly I've been sucked into the political tailspin =\

Oh, and bravada to San Fran, as always.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-29 01:03 pm (UTC)
We'll see about voter turnout. Everyone has an opinion, but I'm not convinced that, despite all the activism going on, it'll really be that much higher than before. Hopefully I'll be wrong, but I already see a lot of people around whom you with think would vote having been too lazy to register by the deadline.
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[User Picture]From: fruitypoundcake
2004-10-29 05:45 pm (UTC)
Hm, well, true. I've been hearing about record voter registration (and record CHALLENGES to voter eligibility), but that doesn't equal voter turnout.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-29 01:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, and to address your first question, he's a liberetarian. If you don't know, they're generally considered right-of-republicans, but they're really off the normal right/left scale. Dems, Reps, Greens all believe in imposing their beliefs on others through government. Liberetarians, simply put, do not. They in many ways exemplify what the republicans stood for way back when: miniscule government, low taxes, pro-business. But they (generally) lack the religious fundamentalism that accompanies the republican mentality that pushes republicans to legislate out abortion, gay marriage (and gay sex in many cases), stem cell research, etc.

Did I mention that I am NOT a liberetarian? I am not pro-business and pro-property, I am pro-competition. I am not small-government I am effective government. So although in a number of ways, like those mentioned above, the pragmatics of my philosophies intersect with the pragmatics of the liberetarian philosophies, in many ways they also diverge significantly.

Moreover, Badnarik is kind of, well, crazy. He doesn't pay his taxes, I hear he doesn't carry a license, etc. But I am in full support of civil disobediance as a legitimate tactic to attempt to change unfair laws.

But I'm really not, like I said, voting for him. I'm voting so that a third party can be better heard and alternative ideas can enter the mainstream. Third parties are great for making it tougher to opiate the masses, which is a definite plus.
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[User Picture]From: fruitypoundcake
2004-10-29 05:51 pm (UTC)
But, see, like it's already said, Massachusetts is pretty much going to Kerry anyway. If you were in Florida your third-party vote would be, well it would be suicidal for one thing, but it would be more prominent considering how Bush "won" Florida last time by some 500 votes.

If people are already writing off Masachusetts for Kerry, then will politicians bother to look at how many people went third-party in that state?... is my question.

Not to suggest anyone's vote is unimportant, I'm just genuinely curious.

'Nother question: Is WV still considered a swing state? Lately it seems the media's been marking it as leaning Republican (god no!).
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[User Picture]From: babzen
2004-10-29 07:03 am (UTC)
To help those in other countries understand: votes in MA don't count at all (for President) because MA is going Democrat anyway. A vote for Kerry will not help Kerry and a vote for Bush will not help Bush. However, a vote for a third party will send a message that either the parties need to be more responsive to the population, or they'll start to lose influence. If I vote, I'm also voting Badnarik. Unfortunately, I don't know where to vote, because nobody is telling anyone in my town where to vote. I guess I can try the internet.
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[User Picture]From: olivia_cochrane
2004-10-29 11:04 am (UTC)
votes in MA don't count at all (for President) because MA is going Democrat anyway.

For the electoral vote, no, they don't count. But there is also the popular vote, and it isn't insignificant.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-29 11:25 am (UTC)
Actually, regardless of the outcome, I'd be quite pleased if the electoral vote was once again non-representative of the popular vote! That would give legistaltors that little extra kick to scrap the college.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-10-29 01:04 pm (UTC)
I had that problem in Wellesley. I didn't vote in Mass in 2000, but I was seriously deflected surrounding the 2002 election and some other random town stuff. I loathe that town.
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From: torpidninja
2004-10-30 10:35 am (UTC)
Can't wait to see a resurgence of those joke letters from England repealing our independance cause we can't get our shit together.

That said, I'ma vote Kerry.

...*sigh*
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-11-01 09:56 am (UTC)
Ohh, I saw one of those already! Yeah the resurgence!
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[User Picture]From: arector
2004-10-30 07:25 pm (UTC)
I love that you used ginger ice cream in your example. I love ginger ice cream. Especially in a ginger frappe with chocolate syrup. Or with hot fudge. Mmm.
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[User Picture]From: tekunokurato
2004-11-01 09:56 am (UTC)
Amanda! This is serious! -_^

Actually, I don't see how you can drink ginger frappes. The ginger bits always get stuck in the straw! I mean, I love the concept, but the implementation is always so buggy that I just gave up trying with ginger frappes long ago.
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