Tag Archives: voting

California: Vote this November!

Californians: If you can vote this November, don’t sit this one out.

We have a governor to choose. We have representatives to select. And we need to shut down the 3-Californias plan hard. It’s a terrible, outlandish, unpopular idea…but in a midterm election (low turnout already) with the specter of voter suppression? Don’t rely on it being too outlandish to pass. No one expected Brexit to happen. No one expected Trump to even be nominated, never mind win the election. Outlandish doesn’t mean impossible.

So check your voter registration status. Make sure it hasn’t been cancelled or otherwise lost, because that does happen.

Breaking up California’s economic and electoral power isn’t going to help California much. And if you think the water situation is bad now, wait until everything’s split across three states, one of which doesn’t touch the Sierras or the Colorado…

Voter Suppression Supreme

Step 1: Refuse to confirm a SCOTUS judge for a year.
Step 2: Install a judge you prefer.
Step 3: Get a SCOTUS ruling upholding a voter purge law that disproportionately impacts people who are more likely to vote for your opponents.

Voter purges aren’t about getting rid of invalid registrations. They’re about suppressing votes. The US, unfortunately, has a long history of finding ways to disenfranchise a group without explicitly identifying them. Look up where “grandfather clause” came from.

The modern version is subtler, but it works like this:

You want more people from group A to be able to vote than group B. Find some classification that applies to more members of group B than group A. Target that classification, and you change the balance of the electorate.

What Ohio did was notice that members of one major party tend to vote in every election, while members of the other tend to skip elections where they don’t feel they have a good choice.

Technically they targeted occasional voters.
Effectively they targeted a political party.

Straight-Party Checkbox: Bad Design Pattern

Putting a straight-party checkbox on a ballot violates a key design principle: The polling place and ballot should strive to avoid steering people toward specific choices. This is also why some places randomize candidates’ names or stick with alphabetical order.

The human brain would rather work on auto-pilot than think carefully. Give it an excuse to stick with auto-pilot, and it’ll happily do so.

Even if that means outsourcing your vote to the people who chose the slate and designed the ballot.

You can choose to vote a straight-party ticket, but the ballot design shouldn’t influence you to do it.

Vote Local!

Remember to vote in local elections.

Initiatives, council and school board members, judges, etc. affect you and your community directly. It may not be as exciting as the Presidential race, but it determines who makes decisions in your town, who passes and enforces city laws and regulations, local taxes, which services are offered and how. If the national government wants to drop the ball, states and cities are going to have to step in, and local elections impact how it gets picked up — or doesn’t.

It impacts national politics too: the people elected locally go on to build the pool of state and national candidates. If you care about 2018 or 2020, get out and vote locally to get the ball rolling!

Voter turnout is always lower in off-years than in Presidential election years, and it’s even lower in local elections. That means your vote makes a bigger share of the result than it does when you vote in November – even in an off-year.

So get out there, register to vote if you haven’t, and help make decisions at the local level.

Election Fallout (and Conan)

  • Going to bed. Very glad to see Obama elected. Disappointed that Prop 8 looks like it might pass. #
  • Wait… 3 MILLION mail-in & provisional ballots remain to be counted in CA? Why on earth are they calling ANY race yet? #
  • Surprised to find no jokes online using the pun “Anvil of Cron,” just typos. There’s always S*P’s Google Crom. #
  • More on the 2.6-3 MILLION mail-in & provisional ballots still to be counted in California. #