Tag Archives | Voting
Flip on cable news, and within twenty minutes the host will cite the latest survey as proof of which candidates should run for office and which foreign enemy we must now smite. Writing for New Left Media, John Brissenden tears apart the idea of opinion polls as a gauge for determining what anyone truly wants. The public may respond to opinion polls, but it’s the media, business, and political elite who compose the questions:
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From its inception a century ago, and in its current construction, the terrain of ‘public opinion’ is far from being a neutral space where a representative democracy deliberates and resolves issues. At best, ‘public opinion’, as represented in opinion polls, is a deeply flawed mechanism for gauging the extent of wider support for a particular cause. At worst, it is hostile territory, constructed and owned by the ruling class.
In the 1920s, polling pioneers such as James Gallup advocated polls as a means of capturing and expressing the public will, in a more scientific – and therefore representative – way than, for example, pressure groups.
Via the Guardian, an intriguing concept — children are citizens with a stake in the future (the largest stake in the future!) yet their interests are not adequately represented in elections. Is allowing parents to vote on their behalf a way to counter the disproportionate power of the elderly? Hungary is set to find out:
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“Some 20% of society are children…This is quite a considerable group that is left out of representation. The interests of these future generations are not represented in decision-making. We know at first it seems an unusual idea, but in the 50s it was unusual to give votes to black people; 100 years ago, it was unusual to give votes to women.”
In a move that would be unprecedented in a modern democracy, Hungary’s new government is considering giving mothers with small children extra votes in elections.
The conservative Fidesz party has made several controversial decisions since coming to power on a populist rightwing agenda, including a crackdown on the media, but the latest proposal could be prove to be its most contentious.
William O’Brien, the newly-minted speaker of the state House in New Hampshire, is peeved that college students are able to vote: “Foolish…Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do.” They lack “life experience,” and “they just vote their feelings.”
State Republican lawmakers across the country share O’Brien’s sentiment. In disregard of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, they are mounting a concerted and sustained push to reduce young adults’ voting rights, the Washington Post reports:
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New Hampshire’s new Republican state House speaker is pretty clear about what he thinks of college kids and how they vote. They’re “foolish,” Speaker William O’Brien said in a recent speech to a tea party group.
“Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do,” he added, his comments taped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students lack “life experience,” and “they just vote their feelings.”
New Hampshire House Republicans are pushing for new laws that would prohibit many college students from voting in the state – and effectively keep some from voting at all.
Whoops, turns out it’s actually illegal to bribe/threaten your employees into voting the way your company wants. ThinkProgress writes:
This election season, a local McDonald’s franchise in Canton, Ohio is telling employees how to keep the company happy: vote Republican. Along with their recent paychecks, employees received a pamphlet on company letter head that stated “if the right people are elected we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected we will not.”
BBC journalist Greg Palast has written a new article for TruthOut suggesting that perhaps the real reason for the insane-o “Papieren, bitte” (that’s “Papers, please” to you non-Nazis) law in Arizona is not actually about illegal immigration, so much as it is about voter suppression of LEGAL Hispanic residents.
If past trends in that state are any indicator, he may not be far off the mark. He writes:
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What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote — and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.
In 2008, working for Rolling Stone with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters … directed by one Jan Brewer.
Bill Estep writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader:
FRANKFORT — A former Clay County precinct worker testified Friday that top election officers in the county taught her how to change people’s choices on voting machines to steal votes in the May 2006 primary.
Wanda White testified that Clerk Freddy Thompson — the county’s chief election officer — helped show her how to manipulate voting machines along with Charles Wayne Jones, the Democratic election commissioner.
The scheme involved duping people to walk away from the voting computer before they had finished their selections, then changing their choices, said White, the Democratic judge in a precinct in Manchester.
White said she stole more than 100 votes that election. “It was easy done,” she said.
White said she also went into the booth with people who had sold their vote to make sure they cast ballots for the candidates who had paid.
Read More in the Lexington Herald-Leader
California-based Sequoia Voting Systems is one of the largest distributors of electronic voting systems in the country.
A few days ago they accidentally released SQL code for their voting databases, and according to Slashdot, the existence of the code seems to violate federal voting law:
“What was revealed was thousands of lines of MS-SQL source code” that seemly are intended to control or influence the outcome of an election.
So if you live in New York, California, or somewhere else where Sequoia’s machines are sold, your election day votes may not be going to the candidates you intend.