Tag Archives | Voting

Hormones Affect Voting Behavior, Researchers Find

voting1Via ScienceDaily:

Researchers from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Rice University have released a study that shows hormone levels can affect voter turnout.

As witnessed by recent voter turnout in primary elections, participation in U.S. national elections is low, relative to other western democracies. In fact, voter turnout in biennial national elections ranges includes only 40 to 60 percent of eligible voters.

The study, published June 22 in Physiology and Behavior, reports that while participation in electoral politics is affected by a host of social and demographic variables, there are also biological factors that may play a role, as well. Specifically, the paper points to low levels of the stress hormone cortisol as a strong predictor of actual voting behavior, determined via voting records maintained by the Secretary of State.

“Politics and political participation is an inherently stressful activity,” explained the paper’s lead author, Jeff French, Varner Professor of Psychology and Biology and director of UNO’s neuroscience program.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Neurobiologist on Understanding Psychopaths

Would we vote for a psychopath? I didn’t know we had any other options.

via A Neurobiologist on Understanding Psychopaths | Think Tank | Big Think

Psychopaths make up 1 to 2 percent of the American population. That’s around 6,278,000 psychopaths who live among us and use intimidation and manipulation to lord over others. In any organization of at least 35 people, one will be a psychopath. Before you start making boss jokes, take some relief in the fact that these types of individuals likely don’t want to murder you in your sleep.

James Fallon should know. He himself is a psychopath. And as a neurobiologist at UC Irvine, Fallon has made a name for himself decoding the psychopathic brain.

What should we look for to spot a psychopath? One easy method is to ask: Is the person running for office? Yes, politicians rank high on the psychopathic scale. And we continue to vote for them.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Voting Machine Manufacturer Diebold Charged Over Bribery, Fraud, And “Worldwide Pattern Of Criminal Conduct”

dieboldNo big deal, they were just the company in charge of making sure that democracy happened. Via the BRAD BLOG:

One of the world’s largest ATM manufacturers and, formerly, one of the largest manufacturers of electronic voting systems, has been indicted by federal prosecutors for bribery and falsification of documents.

The charges represent only the latest in a long series of criminal and/or unethical misconduct by Diebold, Inc. and their executives over the past decade.

A U.S. Attorney says the latest charges are in response to “a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct” by the company…bribing government officials and falsifying documents in China, Indonesia and Russia to obtain and retain contracts to provide ATMs to banks in those countries.

In 2010 the company settled an SEC fraud suit for $25 million. They also admitted in 2008 that they had overstated 2007 election division revenue by some 300% in hopes of manipulating stock prices.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Republicans Now Seeking To Prevent Women From Voting

votersIt’s no longer just about minorities, the poor, and college students; introducing the next target for disenfranchisement. The New Civil Rights Movement notes that Republicans in Texas (and a number of other states) have now devised and passed new voter ID laws that will render a large fraction of female voters, but not male voters, ineligible to vote:

As of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. Only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship. This is largely because women have not updated their documents with their married names. Suddenly 34% of women voters are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99% of men are home free.

A birth certificate is not enough. Women voters will have to show legal proof of a name change: a marriage license, a divorce decree, or court ordered change; and they have to be the original documents.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

North Carolina Passes Sweeping Voting Restrictions Aimed At Minorities And Students

votersSince the Supreme Court’s striking down of a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in June, lawmakers in conservative Southern states have leapt into action passing legislation to restrict the ability of minorities, the young, the poor, and college students to vote. Via Buzzfeed, some of the most extreme changes are coming in North Carolina:

On Thursday, North Carolina legislators passed a revised voter ID bill, supported by Republicans who control the state Legislature, that would will place sweeping new restrictions on when, where, and how citizens can vote.

  • The early voting period will be shortened by a week, from 17 days to 10. Same-day registration during the early voting period will be eliminated.
  • Straight-party ticket voting will be eliminated.
  • Political party chairpersons will be allowed to designate up to 12 poll “observers” to monitor polling locations in order to ferret out voter fraud. Democracy North Carolina refers to these observers as “vigilantes.”
  • Sixteen- and 17-year-olds will no longer be allowed to pre-register to vote.
Read the rest
Continue Reading

Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Portion Of Voting Rights Act

voting rights actThe Supreme Court giveth some rights, and taketh others away. The Los Angeles Times reports:

A sharply divided Supreme Court has struck down a key part of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, freeing the Southern states from federal oversight of their election laws and setting off a fierce reaction from civil rights advocates and Democratic leaders.

The court’s conservative majority moved boldly Tuesday to rein in a law revered by civil rights groups that is credited with transforming the South by ensuring blacks could register and vote. In doing so, the court eliminated a tool that the Justice Department used hundreds of times to prevent cities, counties and states from adopting allegedly discriminatory voting rules.

Speaking for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. pronounced the Voting Rights Act’s pre-clearance process a “resounding success” — and then declared it unconstitutional. The decision is likely to be felt in small towns and cities across the South, legal experts said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Montana Republican Proposes Bill Giving Corporations The Right To Vote

Well, since they are people after all, fair is fair. ThinkProgress reveals:

A bill introduced by Montana state Rep. Steve Lavin would give corporations the right to vote in municipal elections:

Provision for vote by corporate property owner. If a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election.

The bill does contain some limits on these new corporate voting rights. Corporations would not be entitled to vote in “school elections,” and the bill only applies to municipal elections. So state and federal elections would remain beyond the reach of the new corporate voters. In fairness to Lavin’s fellow lawmakers, this bill was tabled shortly after it came before a legislative committee, so it is unlikely to become law.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Will You Vote Not To?

Not voting is often a matter of principle for some people. Stand up comedian Mike Payne makes a seriously good case here:

I don’t vote. I also avoid conversations about voting, because when I mention I don’t vote, otherwise reasonable people respond by shrieking like a hyena that has been freebasing.

MAN travels in packs; even supposed !INDIVIDUALISTS! feel better when they can be part of the mob. Voting helps sate this craving, and trying to argue the herd out of herding is like giving the finger to gravity. Doesn’t accomplish much.

Still, the sanctimony of proud voters during Presidential races is so feverish I can’t help myself.

The least impressive argument I hear from voters: People died to give you the right to vote.

So what? People also died defending the Third Reich. Their dying for a cause doesn’t alter the merits of the cause one bit. Dying isn’t a big deal.

Read the rest
Continue Reading