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The Great Vote Swap 2000

By TheLocust in Internet
Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 01:25:17 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

I ran across this site, VoteSwap2000 while taking a dip in the 'pool.

In the United States, we are currently embroiled in a very tight race for the presidency. However, this race has consistently ignored third party candidates such as the Green Party's Ralph Nader. Unfortunately for some of us whose allegiances lie on the left/liberal side, we'd like to vote for Nader, but that would impact on the Democrat Gore. In some states where the vote is very close (called "swing states") this could spell disaster for the Democratic party. As we all know, a house divided cannot stand. In-fighting on the left could contribute to a win for the Republic candidate, George W. Bush.

But that is where VoteSwap2000 comes in....

Essentially, VoteSwap2000 is a vehicle for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader voters in states (such as mine, Kentucky) which are swing-states, to still cast a vote for Nader, and not have their vote for Nader impact on Democrat Gore's losing a state.

After you submit your state, email address, and you name (optional), and based on whether or not your state is a swing state or a state devoted to Bush, you are paired with another sympathetic voter. For example, I live in Kentucky, a swing-state. I support Nader, but while I would like to vote for him, I can't risk taking away that vote for Gore that could put him over the top. So, I "swap" my Nader vote with a Gore supporter in a Bush devoted state. That way, Gore gets a critical vote in a swing state, and Nader will get the recognition third parties need.

An interesting idea, but is it legal? Is it widely feasible? Is it ethical?


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If you live in the US, who are you voting for?
o George W. Bush / Republican 12%
o Al Gore / Democrat 15%
o Ralph Nader / Green 30%
o Pat Buchanan / Reform 0%
o Harry Browne / Libertarian 23%
o John Hagelin / Natural Law 1%
o I'm Not Voting. 15%

Votes: 209
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o VoteSwap20 00
o 'pool
o Also by TheLocust

Display: Sort:
The Great Vote Swap 2000 | 42 comments (35 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
? (2.14 / 7) (#1)
by djx on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 05:39:56 PM EST

This is probably legal, but I would consider it to be unethical for the simple reason of election-rigging. IANAL, but that's my take on it.

-<end of transmission>-
ethical... shrug (2.66 / 3) (#4)
by joeyo on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:13:25 PM EST

I'm pretty sure they do this in congress. I'm not a poli-sci major so I can't prove it but I'm pretty sure. You sometimes see vote pairings published. Anybody know for sure?

"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi
[ Parent ]

Pairing (3.33 / 3) (#7)
by S.Prat on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:37:31 PM EST

Yes, Congress does do this. It's done so that a congressman can miss a vote without affecting the outcome. The fact that the vote is on record prevents abuse, unlike the situation with a secret ballot.

[ Parent ]
Clarification (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by S.Prat on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:51:21 PM EST

In Pairing, no one changes their vote. The agreement is that two congressmen abstain from voting in a vote that they disagree on, usually in the case that one (or both) will be absent when the vote is taken. Unlike this voteswap, the goal is not to influence the outcome of the vote.

[ Parent ]
Unworkable (4.33 / 6) (#3)
by Delirium on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:00:00 PM EST

Whether it is illegal or unethical is irrelevant if it doesn't actually work. It seems likely that, while the Nader supporter in the swing state will indeed vote for Gore (as he might have anyway, to keep Bush from winning), the Gore supporter in a non-swing state really has no reason to keep his word vote for Nader. With no way to verify that people will vote for who they say they will, I don't see how this can possibly work.

Not quite (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by 0xdeadbeef on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 04:09:46 PM EST

I think you miss the point. The idea is that both voters prefer Nader, but the one in the swing state is afraid of helping Bush by not voting for Gore.

[ Parent ]
Re: Not quite (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by Delirium on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 06:16:24 PM EST

I think you need to go re-read the article. In the situation you describe there's no trading going on. The point of this site is that a Gore-supporter in a "safe state" will vote for Nader in return for the Nader-supporter in a swing state voting for Gore.

[ Parent ]
Re: Not quite (2.00 / 2) (#38)
by 0xdeadbeef on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 10:15:00 PM EST

Hrm, well, that's exactly how nadertrader.org presents itself, but VoteSwap2000 never refers to Gore supporters, just "progressive voters" who don't want Bush to win. Really though, I would tend to agree with you in that situtation, but go one further. I don't see that kind of Gore supporter even bothering to arrange the swap in the first place. There's no further gain doing it in a solid Bush state. You'd have to actively dislike Nader, or be too stupid to recognize the futility breaking your promise.

But it doesn't matter, because those people are far outnumbered by those who would like to vote for Nader but are afraid of "throwing their vote away". To put it another way, "Gore voter" is a much larger superset of "Gore supporter".

[ Parent ]

Distasteful to me (4.30 / 10) (#5)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:17:16 PM EST

I think your assesment of Nader hurting Gore is spot on just as that Perot fella hurt the republicans.

I can't speak to the legality of it. I don't know of it being illegal. Is vote trading illegal?

To me it's distasteful, your vote is for you to vote for who you want. Strategically you're still tossing your vote away. If your vote is going to a non-swing state then Nader's voice will still be ignored.

If Gore is secure in a given state he'll give Nader less credence then the (swing) Republicans in that state. To make Gore/Democrat Party listen you've got to be a threat to them. If you're throwing your vote to a secure state you're muzziling your message.

The question you asked could be rephrased into the following questions:
Will my support of Nader drive the Democrats toward my positions enough to allow me to vote for their candidates?
If not, can I live with myself guilt free if the Republicans win office?

I'm a Libertarian and at different times my answers to the above questions have been different (only in my case Republicans). No easy answers here.

Like I said above, voting Nader in a secure state muzzles Nader and his issues. For Nader to give voice to his issues he's got to have a bite. That bite comes in the form of lost democrat votes and support.

At this time third parties are only for steering one of the two dominant parties.

I pretty much agree . . . (2.50 / 2) (#11)
by acceleriter on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 07:40:23 PM EST

. . . but the workings of the U.S. Congress seem to allow for voting for things in which one doesn't believe in order to achieve a noble end (e.g. getting the votes for a piece of legislation one wants later). I think this concept just allows individual voters to engage in the same cynical manipulation. Leveling the playing field, if you'll forgive the cliche´.

[ Parent ]
Interesting but... (4.60 / 5) (#6)
by h0tr0d on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 06:34:19 PM EST

Who's to say that the person who says they will vote for your candidate actually will. This sounds like a very nice way to rig an election.

Example: The polls show that things are neck and neck between the two media candidates yet I know that there are a lot of people who would like to vote for one of the other 4(or more) candidates. So I set up a web site where I claim that I will connect you with someone whom you can swap votes with. Just as TheLocust has explained. Now, it turns out that all of the vote swapping that has taken place on my end has been with members of a particular party. So, come election day while you are voting for the person that you agreed to vote for in our trade all of the people that had been pre-arranged to do the trading are actually not voting for the candidate that they traded for.

On the other hand I think this is a nifty idea because I live in the one state where Harry Browne is not on the ballot. So it would be nice for me to have someone in another state vote for him and I could vote for their choice of candidate.

But then again, could I really stomach it come election day when I'm staring at that ballot, pen in hand, and trying to mark in someone that I'm possibly totally against. Probably not, and I'd end up voting differently than I had agreed. Lot's of possibilities for error or corruption on this one.

Legal or not, I don't know but I'd definitely have to say unethical.

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.

Doesn't affect election results (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by Potatoswatter on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 07:30:11 PM EST

The purpose of this is to turn useless Democrat votes in Republican states into Green votes. Although the Democratic party only cares about votes that affect the electoral college, the Green Party is looking for a significant percentage of the popular vote. This will allow them to secure federal campaign funding and gain the official right, under the Republican-Democrat agreement, to participate in the 2004 debates.

Although there is always room for corruption, I have to say this type of thing looks like it will help encourage people to vote in the first place. It's the people organizing themselves with the mighty power of the Internet to undermine the evil, anachonistic machinery of the U.S. electoral college system.

In any case, this looks like a good debate on in this pre-post thread, so I'm rating this +1 independent of how well (or how ethically) this system could work.

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]

Say what? (3.66 / 3) (#24)
by Canthros on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 03:26:45 PM EST

The description you give in the write-up says it allows you to vote Democrat at home while someone somewhere else votes Nader, so that the Democrats get the votes they need where they need them and the Green Party doesn't lose the votes it needs to be recognised. The idea that this doesn't change the election results is only true for the state to which you send your vote for Nader.

You do intentionally change the results in Kentucky (home for me, too). Your one vote could make a difference either direction there, even if that vote for Nader or Gore doesn't change who wins the election in another state. And, because of the electoral college system used in this country, you do affect the outcome by changing the final outcome in one state. It might not let Gore win in Kentucky, and even if he won Kentucky, he might still lose the country. Or he might win whether he gets Kentucky or not. So, you can either vote Gore and try and keep Bush out of the White House, or you can vote Nader and try to keep both of them out and keep your conscience clean to boot.

If you're having to rationalise the ethical implications of your actions you need to either re-assess your ethics and morals, or your actions. One of them is out of sorts.

What you're suggesting doing is not ethical for me; my morality does not allow it for me any more than it would allow me to vote for the Libertarians: despite economic policies that are far superior to the ones I did vote for, I felt that other issues which I did not agree with them on were more important. You'll have to make the same sort of decision. Decide what's more important and vote accordingly.

It's now obvious you are either A) Gay or B) Female, or possibly both.
[ Parent ]
Um, electoral college, anyone? (3.80 / 5) (#12)
by Speare on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 09:10:17 PM EST

Folks, the Electoral College is the party responsible for selecting the next president of the USA.

You're just giving your nonbinding vote to the EC, to help it make up its mind. They usually vote along with the winning candidate for that state, but they are not bound to do so.

In fact, if the EC for your state felt there was significant improprieties in the polling booths of your state, they would be forced to use their own judgement as to which candidate would receive your state's EC votes.

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
The Process (4.80 / 5) (#14)
by winthrop on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 11:30:20 PM EST

When you cast your vote, you are voting for electors to become members of the Electoral College this year. They are different people depending on which candidate wins.

So if your state elects the Electoral College members specified on George Bush's ballot petition, it's damn likely they're going to vote for George Bush. These are generally high-ups in whichever party is putting forth the candidate.

Having said that, there is a chance that the Electoral College members wouldn't vote for their original candidate. Let's suppose Bush had 265 EC votes pledged to him, Gore 265, and Nader 10. The Nader and Gore folks, rather than throwing it to the House of Representatives which would surely elect Bush, might strike a deal whereby all 275 of them would vote for Gore for President and Nader for vice-president. Or perhaps Gore would sign specific promises to the Nader campaign in exchange for the votes.

The so-called danger that Gore likes to talk about (the danger that Gore wouldn't be elected), is that Bush might win a plurality in some states, thereby electing his designated members of the EC. Therefore, if Gore really did just want to prevent Bush from winning, he should instruct all his voters in the pro-Nader states to vote for Nader and then strike a deal in the Electoral College. Or perhaps even strike a deal ahead of time; Gore would instruct all his voters in some states to vote for Nader if Nader agreed to instruct all his voters in other states to vote for Gore.

But the preposterousness of this situation is obvious to a lot of people because, in truth, Gore and Nader are basically on opposite sides.

[ Parent ]

Electoral College and why they won't do anything (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by DoorFrame on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 03:51:13 PM EST

A few elections ago, I can't remember which exactly, there was a person on the Electoral College who, in order to show the problems with the system, placed his vote for the VICE presidential candidate that his state had supported as his PRESIDENTIAL vote. No real difference, it would be like writing in Dick Cheney instead of George W Bush. But the party was so horrified that someone would mess with the system that person was removed from the honor of being in the Electoral College and will never ever be asked back. People who like doing that sort of thing WANT to be asked back... politicos love that crap. They will never mess with results, even if they question them, because by doing that the eliminate their chances of ever participating within their party again. The party picks the Electoral College, the party controls it, there will be no shenanigans.

[ Parent ]
Why bother? (3.62 / 8) (#13)
by ZanThrax on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 10:56:15 PM EST

Vote for Nader. As a .sig over on slashdot says, "I'd rather be right than win" So Dubya wins instead of Gore... is the difference that signifigant? They may claim that their differences are vast (between fawning all over each other), but there really isn't much to differentiate them. Yeah, Bush wants to cut a little more tax, Gore wants to help the poor a little more, but both are perfectly happy with the corporate control of the nation, and aren't about to try to do anything to slow the flow of cash from them. Nader won't win, but maybe he can get noticed. (True, he would be completely ineffectual at creating the changes he'd like to see if he ever gets to office, but he'll beable to stop congress from violating people's freedoms and giving more power to the multinationals for four years anyhow.)

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.

Leveraging My Vote (2.90 / 10) (#15)
by the Epopt on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 01:33:23 AM EST

I'm doing my best to help! I've registered at VoteSwap under a number of aliases and gotten several "progressives" to agree to vote for The Nadir. (I will vote for Bush, of course.)

Most people who need to be shot need to be shot soon and a lot.
Very few people need to be shot later or just a little.

reason (3.50 / 4) (#16)
by pope nihil on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 02:32:29 AM EST

you are the reason this sort of thing would never work.

if america would dump this whole electoral college bs and just tally all the votes from everywhere and have it be whoever got the most votes, things would be far simpler.

I voted.

[ Parent ]
Hmm.... (2.00 / 2) (#17)
by plastik55 on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 02:42:05 AM EST

I don't see it working better than the way it does today; the system would still stabilize to two parties. Whereas today a voter in a state whcih solidly supports Gore or Bush has the freedom to cast his vote third-party, if we changed the system so that we simply tallied the votes, you would lose that freedom--the entire nation would become a "swing state."

I got my absentee ballot today, and my state is solidly pro-Gore. I'm voting for Browne without reservation.
[ Parent ]

electoral college (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by pope nihil on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 02:13:41 PM EST

The electoral college helps to drown out any third-parties. If Harry Browne were to get 10% of the vote in every state, the electoral college wouldn't show that he got ANY votes. If your vote isn't with the majority of people in your own state, your vote doesn't count with our current system.

I voted.

[ Parent ]
Why it works (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by winthrop on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 11:02:18 AM EST

The people who will vote for Nader under the assumption that you are voting for Gore will do so in states where there is no contest between Gore and Bush. Presumably, if there suddenly is a contest between Gore and Bush in their state, they would then go back to voting for Gore.

So it won't affect the Electoral College, but it could affect the popular vote.

[ Parent ]

Market rate on Vote trades (2.50 / 4) (#18)
by bmasel on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 02:57:21 AM EST

Gore and Bush have spent more on Ad buys here in Wisconsin than any other State, so our votes must be worth more. Why should i trade 1 for 1? I'll be auctioning my vote on a New York radio station next wednesday, but it'll take 5 New York votes to purchace mine. Ben Masel, Madison
I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State.
Legality (2.85 / 7) (#20)
by ribone on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 10:10:26 AM EST

I'm pretty sure something like this is illegal. This is something very close to the idea of auctioning your vote. Yeah, so you're only doing it within the confines of the "left", but it doesn't matter, because you're still participating in a mass system for affecting the way the election turns out. There's a reason why you go into a closed off booth when you vote: no one is supposed to know how you plan on voting.

Also, I would personally classify this as unethical behavior. I don't let anyone know who I vote for. I don't evangelize my candidate on the rear of my vehicle. I don't try and stump for my candidate in any way. That is their job right now anyway. As much as people like to downplay the significance of voting in our society, I still have to say that voting is a personal exercise of political power. Because of this, I don't feel that banding together to "swap" votes is any damn good at all. I don't want someone else knowing how I vote. If Gore is going to win, let him win on his own. The man is a politician and will do whatever is necessary to get into office anyway.

I think people need to stop thinking about their vote in terms of "who is this hurting?" Seriously, your vote is your choice, not Al Gore's. If you want to vote for Nader or Browne, go ahead, nobody will complain. If your guilt conscience comes into play and you think "Gee, I really don't want to help Bush get into office." Then don't vote for Bush! You won't see an independent win an election like this unless you vote for who you WANT in office, not who has the best chance of winning. That's one of the worst things about election years: people get so programmed into thinking politically that they forget how to think for themselves.

I hadn't intended this to turn into a rant, but unfortunately, it has. I'll end it now, hopefully I've made at least part of the point I wanted.

They do it in Congress all the time (3.75 / 4) (#25)
by RGRistroph on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 03:49:36 PM EST

Not necessarily to change the outcome of the vote, usually, but to make individual legislators look like they are voting with their constituents.

For example, a person in favor of gun control who represents a rural southern district may go to a legislator who normally would vote oppositely but is assured of re-election or not running, and trade. The person with the rural district can vote against the gun control bill knowing that it doesn't make a difference to the total vote account. Later, he may do a vote exchange on other topic that his district doesn't care as much about.

I think this is pretty organized, the party leadership in each house keeps track of the trades to make sure mistakes don't happen.

That example aside, I don't see why this is either illegal or unethical. You aren't trading your vote for money. As far as the ethics of it, think about it this way: the politicans go through incredible gymnastics to gerrymander districts so your vote doesn't count, why is it unethical to trade your vote accross those boundaries to make their gerrymandering pointless ? They trade their votes to trick you into voting for them.

After all, when you sell your vote, you concentrate power in the hands of those with money. But, if I support a third party, then Bush, then Gore, and I live in Texas, and I trade my vote with a like-minded person in Tennesee, we each have more say in process, not less. What's wrong with that ? There is no reason why the electorate has to be less sophisticated than the politicans.

In the worst case, if everyone used this site, it would result in exactly the same result as a popular election instead of using the electoral college. Now, it would be unethical to through some fraud change the election process from the electoral college system to popular without going through the legal process of changing the constitution; but no fraud is involved in this. It only becomes a popular vote if every single voter wants it that way. If I have an unusually large say in the process, say because I support in a major candidate in a swing state, I don't have to give up my say by joining this system, and other people are not taking away my say anymore than voting differently is ever taking away someone's say in the process.

[ Parent ]

And if they all jumped off of a bridge? (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by ribone on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 06:11:34 PM EST

That example aside, I don't see why this is either illegal or unethical. You aren't trading your vote for money. As far as the ethics of it, think about it this way: the politicans go through incredible gymnastics to gerrymander districts so your vote doesn't count, why is it unethical to trade your vote accross those boundaries to make their gerrymandering pointless ? They trade their votes to trick you into voting for them.

Your vote is your own, first of all. Nobody elses. If you happen to live in a state where your opinion matters disproportionately more to one of the leading candidates, you should vote your conscience and screw whoever might be a lesser of three evils. If I want to vote for Nader, I'll do it on my own, without somebody else's promise that they'll do it for me. And I won't be afraid of helping GW Bush. I'll vote my conscience, nothing else. I couldn't vote for someone who didn't represent me at least to a certain degree. Even if it is supposedly a trade.

How exactly do you know that this person you're paired up with is going to vote the way that you both agree? Don't tell me that it's a matter of trust, either. I don't buy it. I have no way of tracking that information, and hence, only another person's word. Maybe I would have trusted them on it sixty or seventy years ago, but not now.

Secondly, voting in congress is not by secret ballot. Besides, most people would agree that politicians are less than credible, so why would you want to try and rationalize something like this in terms of their activities? Yes, you might not be trading your vote for money, or a new DVD, or something similar, but you are letting an organization know how you plan on voting. The last thing we need is another large entity being involved in our political process.

The issue is not whether you have more power by operating like this. The issue is credibility of the voting process. When you start playing games like this on a large enough scale, you have the potential for elections to be rigged. Yes, I know the electoral college isn't representative of popular opinion. Yes, I believe it needs to be changed. Do I believe that this is a step in the right direction for that? No. Why? Because it gives people like Al Gore and George Bush too much reason to play on other people's fears. When you have an electorate voting scared, you have an electorate that isn't thinking clearly. And when you have that bad shit happens.

I had thought about writing quite a bit more, but it would have made you go to sleep, I'm afraid. Really, when I get started on something like this I tend to ramble endlessly, so I'll spare you the pain.

[ Parent ]
How is this illegal, or even unethical? (3.50 / 2) (#36)
by 0xdeadbeef on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 04:29:48 PM EST

Man, what a defeatist attitute. Why don't you stump for you candidate, rather than leave that work for the ad men and influence peddlers? You've bought all their lies, that it's not your place to take part in politics.

You're perfectly within your rights to tell people how you will vote, and have voted, and ask them to vote that way as well. This has nothing to do with a secret ballot, which is to protect against retribution to those who don't vote a certain way.

I think people need to think about what a sham the Electoral College is, and how dumb one vote is in general when there are multiple choices of different desirability. Here is a Kuroshin article on more logical voting systems.

[ Parent ]

our election system is broken, (3.00 / 4) (#29)
by eMBee on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 01:10:28 AM EST

and i thank you very much for pointing that out
if it can make a difference from which state you cast your vote, then this means that your vote in one state does not have the same weight as in another.
this is extremly bad, and proves that the american democracy is not as democratic as it claims to be (for that matter i have yet to see a country, where the voting is truly democratic)

greetings, eMBee
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX

European countries (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by YesNoCancel on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 09:56:31 AM EST

for that matter i have yet to see a country, where the voting is truly democratic

Switzerland comes very close to being truly democratic.
Also, most European countries (Germany, Italy, Austria, France...) have voting systems that are more democratic than the US system. Of course, this also means that there are more parties in parliament (can be up to 15) and coalitions/governments change more often (which is mostly a good thing).

[ Parent ]

re: European countries (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by eMBee on Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 03:25:38 AM EST

i don't consider voting for a party "democratic"
eg. in austria you get 5 choices. which for the most part promise you the same stuff, because they all want to get as many votes as possible, which means they have to appeal to the majority.
in this regard the american elections for senate and house are more democratic, because you actually vote for the people to represent you and not for the party.

greetings, eMBee.
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX
[ Parent ]

Democracy (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by qrz on Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 07:10:02 AM EST

Then please tell me what is a democracy. I mean, this is an old argument, as old as Bakunin, at least. As far as I can understand your main criticism is toward the parliamentary democracy, more then just on the 'voting'. You think that a system giving you the chance of choosing between two persons, instead of voting a party, is more democratic... well, I don't know, I can just point out that in the countries using (or moving towards) a two-party-scheme what should be a choice for the better is actually a choice for the less worse (given that this sentence make sense in English).

[ Parent ]
re: Democracy (none / 0) (#41)
by eMBee on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 02:49:47 AM EST

yes, i do think that choosing between a number of persons, instead of voting for a party is more democratic. and your opinion that in countries using a two party-scheme you actually choose the less worse (i don't know how to put it in better words myself) supports that. the point i'd like to add is, having a choice among 5 parties still makes it a choice for the less worse. nothing gained here at all.

a real democracy would allow me to choose the people who i think are the best for the job. without any one person having an advantage in getting votes over another.
this means that there can not be any advertising for candidates, because as soon as you allow advertising, then those who have more money have more chances.
in fact there should not even be any candidates. everybody should have a chance to be elected.

if you have no candidates and no advertising then the people who are actually most active in the community and are most well known by word-of-mouth for their good actions for the community will get the most votes. they may not even have realized that they could be elected. and that is a good thing too, because:
power should be in the hands of those who are not in love with it

greetings, eMBee.
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX
[ Parent ]

Ignored? (4.00 / 3) (#31)
by WinstonSmith on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 10:17:40 AM EST

> this race has consistently ignored third party
> candidates such as the Green Party's Ralph Nader.

Ignored? He shows up in just about every poll I see. I heard more about him not being in the debates than about the actual debates themselves. I had "Vote Green!" literature put under my windshield this weekend (which I did read, btw). He's on the local news just about every night (and I live in AUSTIN, TX where Bush is from...).

Saying that Ralph Nadar has been ignored is, in my opinion, a stretch. People HAVE heard about him. I just think people aren't that interested in the message enough to vote for him. Same goes for Buchanan, and Browne.

Believe me, I'd love to see 3rd parties do better, especially since I'm a Browne supporter. I just think that people aren't interested in what they've been saying. Now, we can speculate on the reason (throwing away a vote, apathy, change-is-bad, genuine disinterest in the message), but saying that 3rd parties are being ignored (and R.N. specifically) is a stretch at this point.

Vote for policies, not candidates (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by Paul Johnson on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 03:44:49 PM EST

The reason you can't slide a card between the two main candidates positions on most issues is that they both employ the same methodology to figure out what will win votes, and that methodology works. Opinion polls, focus groups and all that stuff really work. So both sides get the same answers. The only differences are due to tactical thinking about particular groups who traditionally vote one way or the other. So Gore supports afirmitive action to get the black vote behind him, and doesn't worry about that section otherwise. Bush opposes AA for exactly the same reason: even if he supported it it wouldn't get many votes from traditional Democrat supporters and would likely lose a lot of votes from elsewhere.

So given that, what is the point of voting?

Well, if one of the minor candidates picks up a larger than expected chunk of votes then the main parties will sit up and take notice. Their policies will shift in the direction of the candidate favoured by the electorate. The situation is not linear: if it could swing a state then they might be willing to go quite a long way. If it only affects non-swing states then they won't take much notice. But don't think that just because your guy doesn't stand a chance of election doesn't mean that your vote for him is "wasted". Its not. It will show up in the figures, and the main parties will take due notice.

We saw this over here in the UK. Suddenly the Green Party got 10% of the vote in the European elections a few years ago. Due to our electoral system this didn't win any seats, and the European Parliament has very little power anyway. Nevertheless the 2.5 major parties here all shifted sharply greenwards at the next election. I was one of those 10% of Green voters, and I'm happy to say that it was one of the most effective votes I ever cast.

In the meantime, if you get picked for a public opinion poll, do take part. These things are becoming an important part of democratic decision making.

You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.

Ethics? (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by Mr.Mustard on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 01:04:32 PM EST

I've read a lot of comments bashing the concept of the voteswap2000 web site (which his now been taken down because some people in CA don't think it's legal).

Objections range from not trusting people to be honest, to not wanting to tamper with the personal expression of voting, to fear of tampering with the election in an unethical way.

I think that the possibility of dishonesty is acceptable. I'm personally for Nader/Green party, but I do not want to see George W. Bush in the oval office. I strongly disagree with many of his ideas. Even though I Al Gore isn't my first choice, I would much rather see him win. Since we aren't talking about two people trading votes on opposite sides of the right/left political fence, I find the risk of dishonesty acceptable. If I swap and vote for Gore and he wins, but my swapping partner doesn't vote Nader so Nader only gets 4% it would be a shame, but I would much rather see Gore in office and Nader with < 5% than see Bush in office and Nader with > 5%.

As far as ruining my vote as an expression of my opinion, I would say that this is totally a personal thing. It's still my opinion in terms of not wanting Bush, and it actually gives my expression more power.

And the arguement that it's unethical to tamper in this way with the election? I feel that it's total crap. The election is already tampered with. Millions of dollars are spent of trying to get us to vote a certain way. Why? Because there are companies and interest groups that want to have the president on speed dial. The system is broken by the electoral college and the money that flows into it. I think that swapping my vote is a way of trying to get around the problems and flaws in this system. I'd much rather have it changed or replaced, but I'll accept this kind of work around until it can me.

Without swapping my vote, I would vote Nader.

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]

The Great Vote Swap 2000 | 42 comments (35 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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