March 21, 2011
I recently wrote to my state senator about NPV.
Thank you for responding to my previous communication. I hope you will reconsider your position and withdraw your support of what has been called the “Blue State Suicide Pact”, aka National Popular Vote proposal.
I am no fan of the Electoral College as it currently operates but I oppose the current NPV proposal. In fact, the name is a classic oxymoron. Read the rest of this entry »
July 31, 2010
Right now there’s a lot of hype, hoopla and hyperventilating about the nominating process of one of Oregon’s minor parties, the “Independent Party.” Party leaders called it a “primary” and the media has followed suit.
Political commentators and executives from the private company that conducted the tally using proprietary software are all breathlessly predicting that this is the future of voting and pointing to scattered examples where online voting has been used elsewhere, not always with complete success (that’s the subject of another post, which I’ve partially addressed in a discussion about Hawaii’s low-turnout experiment in 2008). Read the rest of this entry »
June 20, 2010
On the June 17 edition of “Countdown”, Keith Olbermann interviewed The Nation magazine’s Senior Editor, Chris Hays, in a segment about the Democratic Senate Primary in South Carolina. In the course of the conversation Hays pointed out that the only reason there has any attention paid to the surprise victory of Alvin Greene is because he had no money.
If you think about it, there is an implicit assumption in most discussions about Greene that money brings success in politics and most commentators seem bemused by election results where the candidate with the most campaign cash actually lost.
This is not a case of black vs white, as in complexion, but a matter of green, as in cash. It is disheartening to realize that the green of campaign dollars has so clouded our electoral system that we automatically assume that a candidate without access to gobs of cash will surely lose. Read the rest of this entry »
June 19, 2010
This post is not about the rock group of that was famous for innovative virtuoso guitar work and political activism, although they might well join the the chorus of outraged denunciation of the unreliable paperless voting machines used in South Carolina.
Just how bad could the voting machines in SC be?
Answer: really, really, really bad. Flaky. Unreliable. Not ready for prime time. In fact, it’s laughable that a country with our technological knowhow would be relying on these machines to count our votes. Read the rest of this entry »
June 15, 2010
No, this isn’t about your choice at the supermarket checkstand. Nor is this post about the controversial ID law in AZ – that would be a whole different post. Instead this is about the recent Democratic Senate primary in South Carolina, where all the ingredients for an election disaster were present.
First, take two obscure candidates in a statewide race. Yes, one the of the candidates (Rawls) had previously run for office but he was not widely known across the Palmetto state – he at least ran something of a campaign – website, rallies, e-mails, mailings. But the other candidate, come-from-nowhere victor (Greene), mounted no discernible campaign and still cruised to victory with 60 per cent of the vote. How likely is a scenario where an unemployed vet who lives with his Dad and faces felony obscenity charges emerge as the election winner. No wonder lots of folks are scratching their heads and looking for answers.
Next ingredient in this election controversy: paperless touchscreen voting machines. South Carolina uses the ES&S iVotronic DREs without a paper trail. Read the rest of this entry »
May 5, 2010
A new law in the UK has made a late surge in voter registration possible and at the same time made the task of prognosticators and pollsters trying to predict likely election results much more difficult. This new law set the deadline for voter registration the eleventh day of the campaign. Previously on one could add his or her name to the electoral roll once a general election had officially been called by the Prime Ministers.
This has led to an enormous increase in voter registration across the United Kingdom. Pre-election polling shows the three parties locked in a tight race with no party favored to gain a governing majority. A large pool of new voters can only increase the unpredictability as UK voters go to the polls to choose a new Prime Minister. After 13 years of Labor Party rule it seems likely that change is in the air. It is uncertain what form this change will take. Read the rest of this entry »
December 24, 2009
… paging William Shatner … where is “Captain Kirk” when he’s needed? (Putting hand over eyes and squinting into the distance) Hope he’s not too busy being “Priceline Negotiator” to take on this new role that exactly fits his talents. What new role, you might ask?
Well, I’ll tell you: a reprise of his Letterman appearance featuring bongos, a tall stool and black turtleneck sweater – but with a brand new script. Not that old Palin resignation stuff (that’s so last summer!). But a little rhyme by Gregg Levine over at FireDogLake.com about the health care reform spectacle in Congress. Levine does a masterful job of tying the corrupting power of money to the legislative process in the Capitol.
Since Shatner is not available right here and now, we’ll have to make do with making a mental YouTube (aka using our collective imagination) to make this happen. So visualize a black-turtlenecked Shatner propped against a tall stool on a darkened stage. The bongos start. Then Shatner begins reciting the following rhyme. Read the rest of this entry »
December 4, 2009
There was no mention of the GOP’s favorite boogeymen, ACORN and the Black Panthers in a recently released report on the Bush Civil Rights Division of the DOJ. Instead, the report focused on the Bush administration’s disinclination to actively pursue the recommendations of career DOJ attorneys. Take a look at this one egregious example: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/us/politics/03rights.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper
When the Bush administration ran the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, career lawyers wanted to look into accusations that officials in one state had illegally intimidated blacks during a voter-fraud investigation.
But division supervisors refused to “approve further contact with state authorities on this matter,” according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office auditing the activities of the division from 2001 to 2007. Read the rest of this entry »
October 19, 2009
Voting is a risky business in Afghanistan. During the period when Afghanis cast their ballots more than two months ago the Taliban launched grenade attacks at polling places. They also punished voters who sported the ink-stained finger that is proof of voting in Afghanistan by amputating that finger.
This Taliban campaign was so effective that turnout was a below 40 percent nationally and as low as five percent in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Read the rest of this entry »
August 25, 2009
Instead of hiring the fox to guard the chicken coop, why not hire him to give advice on chicken coop security? That seems to be the attitude behind the appointment of voter suppression guru Hans Von Spakovsky to an advisory position in Virginia. http://www.virginiafreepress.org/2009/07/11/vote-suppression-expert-spakovsky-about-to-be-confirmed-in-volunteer-civil-rights-post/
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission apparently couldn’t find another way to keep Von Spakovsky involved in his favorite pastime — finding ingenious new ways to keep minority voters (especially Democratic-leaning ones) from exercising their rights at the ballot box. Read the rest of this entry »