In Storm-Ravaged Rockaways, Voting — Against All Odds
At 6:45 a.m. the line was already a dozen deep as the polling super site in Far Rockaway, Queens, struggled to open. The gas for the electric generators, lights and six port-a-johns provided by FEMA had been stolen overnight. Poll workers fumbled with flashlights to set up the polling stations.
A nice little piece from Tumblr + WNYC yesterday, about poll-goers in the Rockaways. — storyboard
A Pennsylvania electronic voting machine has been taken out of service after being captured on video changing a vote for President Obama into one for Mitt Romney, NBC News has confirmed.
(Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
This situation was directly affected by a video posted to Reddit — which had initially pinpointed it as fraud. It appears to have been a mis-calibrated machine. Anyone else see stories like this today in their neck of the woods?
— Ernie @ ShortFormBlog
I often hear the ultimate “shut up”—that if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about politics or society. The reality is the exact opposite: By voting, you are playing a game whose rules are that the majority vote winner gets to control the reins of government, in all its unspeakable power. If you complain about the results of the game you chose to play, you’re just being a sore loser—or winner.
Fuck right the hell off, CNN.
I understand they didn’t do this study but writing about it and giving it credence is just as disgusting.
CNN goes all late 1800s on us to question whether women can ignore their ladyparts long enough to go into Election Day voting with their minds and not their ovulation cycles. News!
“Dr. Leo J. Shapiro interviewed 1,065 Arizona residents 10 consecutive days ending 25 September. Shapiro’s research is nationally recognized for carefully constructed probes designed to minimize the common error created by bias questions.
“Arizonan voters were asked whether they believe ‘the real problems facing the nation will not be solved no matter who is elected President.’ Among those who say they will vote, half did not feel their vote matters.”
Shapiro’s most interesting question, however, was whether a desire to sustain their personal happiness influences the likelihood that someone will vote. Of the happiest 15.8% of Arizonan voters, 94.1% plan to vote. Of the least happy 19% of voters, 79.8% plan to vote. So perhaps voting isn’t so much the pursuit of happiness as it is the maintenance of it.
Of course, what surprised me most was how confident everyone is that they’ll vote in the first place.
Obama criticizes Hilary’s healthcare “penalty” in 2008 mailer.
Just to remind everyone that both candidates have flip-flopped on health care, based on political efficacy.
When you cast your ballot, I just ask everyone to evaluate politicians by their actions, not their promises or their claims. Obama has flip-flopped on a multitude of issues, just as Romney has; Romney’s just not intelligent or eloquent enough to pull it off.
When you explain why you support who you support, don’t say that it’s because Romney isn’t just like Obama or because Obama wants to make college affordable or is good on civil liberties. Make sure your justifications are backed with actual policies signed off on. Political promises are just field-tested rhetoric designed to maximize their share of votes.
Democracy is F*cking Hard
by Matt S*nger and Scott D*ncombe, the B*s Federation
Hey there, smarty pants. Let’s face it, if you’re reading a democracy-themed Tumblr, you’re probably a pretty huge geek, just like us. You’re the sort of person who gets your ballot and probably feels all super smart as you start moving through the questions at the top. Then, half-way through, you’re asked to make a selection for Clerk of District Court and you’re all like
We agree. It ain’t reasonable. We love democracy, but sometimes there’s just so much of it. Social scientists talk about “decision fatigue,” which is why we get tired when making a series of decisions. And a series of decisions it is. A Montanan wandering into the voting booth this November will have 24 candidate races and ballot measures to evaluate with 50 options to choose from. How many? Too many.
And some of these choices are hard. Here’s the actual Alabama Amendment 10 voters are asked to consider this fall:
“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, effective January 1, 2014, to amend Section 247 relating to the authority of the Legislature concerning banks and banking, to repeal various other provisions of Article XIII concerning banks and banking; and to repeal Amendment 154 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 255.01 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, subject to the contingency that a new Article XII of the state constitution is adopted that repeals existing Section 232 of the state constitution, and subject to the contingency that Sections 10A-2-15.01 and 10A-2-15.02, Code of Alabama 1975, are repealed. (Proposed by Act 2012-276)”
Combine this overwhelming and confusing stuff with the message of John Stossel (and those of us who would mock him) that only the well-informed should vote and is it any surprise what we get? Lower turnout rates and people who only vote part of their ballot.
And the folks who do vote are more likely to use simple things like political party affiliation as a heuristic (that’s just a fancy term meaning “thing that makes thinking less necessary”). In other words, highly opinionated partisans like John Stossel push away more independently minded folks by calling them stupid.
But what are folks supposed to do? There are some tools out there to help folks find candidates they support. Often, though, these tools focus simply on the Presidential race and other stuff at the top of the ballot, where there’s already a huge amount of public information. Many of these tools also operate through a short policy quiz, before matching someone to candidates with whom they agree on 5-15 major issues. But this just reduces voters to “rational fools,” removing human agency while discounting the role of character, managerial experience, connections to community, and other factors (the oft cited get-a-beer-with-y-ness) voters might want to include.
Here’s our basic idea: we can crowdsource democracy. Let anyone in the country create a voter guide and promote it through Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest. Then we’ll compile these thoughts into user-friendly formats so anyone can see what their friends and neighbors think about the stuff they’ll be voting on.
It turns out that this is easier said than done. There are more than 3,000 counties in the US, all with their own voting rules (some are called parishes, some called townships). There are over 7,000 state legislators. And many different states have their own ways of organizing ballot measures (or, as they’re called, referenda, amendments, or propositions). Organizing all this information and making it approachable is a huge undertaking.
We’re also not doing that alone. By supporting the good work of the Voting Information Project, we’re helping to develop a data set that can be used to power TheBallot.org and other voter education tools across the country. In other words, even if our tool doesn’t work, we just might help someone else invent the thing that will work.
Because for the team behind TheBallot.org, this isn’t about getting rich or famous (although we wouldn’t complain). It’s about making democracy work better. Or at least making it just a little f*cking easier.
Matt Singer and Scott Duncombe are executive director and technology director, respectively, of the Bus Federation. They helped build TheBallot.org, in addition to doing other various things for democracy this year.
Reblogged in all of its GIF-filled glory because these guys are doing great things with TheBallot.org, and I think you should know about it.