Well, I decided to base my first post here on what I watched on the first day and, whatever that story was, discuss the relevence of that story to online voting. I have been amazed how so many of the big events around the globe recently have relevence to the issue, but I did wonder how tenuous the link between that first day’s choice and the impact of internet voting might be.
So when I watched Rachel Maddow do a feature piece called “ballotproof”, about the efforts underway right now in some states to suppress turnout of certain voting groups, I was amazed at the timing.
No story can better demonstrate the need for online voting than one about voter suppression of any kind. In Rachel’s feature, she used the terms “likely voters” and “voter turnout” numerous times, as well as “voter fraud”.
Rachel has done a great job already of bringing her viewers’ attention to the “nonissue” of “voter fraud” (That is, the need for laws and steps to protect us from people fraudulantly affecting the outcome of elections by voting multiple times, etc. There is basically zero evidence of the outcome of any election being affected by “voter fraud”.) versus the very real issue of election fraud. (That is, election results being definitely tainted by corruption and abuse, and history is full of examples of this.)
Getting certain “demographics” to turnout and others not to has been the story of our entire electoral history. In the 2010 Midterms, it would have been one thing if all the money that got spent was simply to push a particular political argument to the entire electorate, but it wasn’t. Early in that election season, it was basically announced that “older, whiter” voters would be the focus and target of these efforts.
I have nothing against senior voters. I am rapidly becoming an “older,whiter” voter myself. But our voting system should reflect the will of ALL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Not just certain voting groups. Especially with our history being full of so many examples of manipulation of those groups to actually vote against their own interests.
“What’s the Matter With Kansas” is one of the most memorable political books of the last decade as it relates to something at the core of American politics: that is, election results reflecting choices that go against the interest of the very people making those choices.
But it seems me that so little interest has been paid to our actual voting system, that allows and encourages the skewing of our election results by allowing “turnout” to be such an integral part of the process.
I want to make it clear at this point that I, personally, have an unblemished voting turnout record. I vote, EVERY YEAR, in every primary, every election big and small. I remain registered, and physically go to my local polling place for every vote. This may make me feel good. But if there is a better way to get everyone to vote (And online voting is that better way), than the possible impact of full voter turnout is too important to forego just so that people like me can get a warm, fuzzy, civic feeling every once in awhile.
The worst part about having elections with disproportionate results is that, once results are in, we then declare them to represent the “will of the people”, when they often only reflect the will of certain groups who vote in larger numbers.
And the worst thing of all is that we seem to accept the notion that there is no other way. But there is another way, right before us. It is called internet voting.
Let’s make terms like “voter turnout”, “likely voters”, and voter suppression obsolete. Let’s use the same tool we use in every other facet of our lives to help us truly realize the democratic aspirations of our republic.
Let’s make our representative democracy truly By The People, for the people…. OF THE PEOPLE. 100%.
—————— Since this blog is in it’s infancy, I am well aware that early on I am probably mostly talking to myself in these posts. But my hope of course is that as interest spreads all these entries will someday be read, and hopefully commented upon.