Monday, October 18, 2010

Oregon and Vote-by-Mail

Here in Oregon we vote by the US postal system. They send you a Voter's Guide, and a few days later a ballot, and you fill it out and sent it back. I sent mine back this morning.

Sounds easy and wonderful. But I don't like it.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I like going to the polling booths. It makes you feel like a citizen.

OK, it was especially fun in New Hampshire where, during a presidential-election year, all the polling places are plastered by activists and media and you have to wade through them to get to the booths. You feel like your vote really mattered.

But beyond that, I liked having to go to a community center someplace and showing my face. Not that anyone especially knew me, or that I knew them (though many people did know their neighbors). But you got a sense of community that is missing with vote-by-mail.

With VBM you feel very much on your own. You feel completely alone. And that's just not how a democracy should feel. We have far too little sense of community these days anyhow. VBM just makes it worse, not better.


rhhardin said...

Not voting at all is the way to go.

Do the math.

The odds of your vote changing a race that you care about are zero.

If everybody thought that way, it would be worth voting. But they don't, so it isn't.

But look at this. If your neighbor and you disagree and both vote, you cancel each other out. It's a 1-1 tie.

If you instead of voting convince your neighbor to vote your way, it's 1-0 your way. Convincing him is worth more than voting.

Now consider what happens if you convince a thousand, or a million.

You have a vote that might change something.

So don't waste your time voting; use the time convincing.

Scott Garren and Heather Shay said...

Of course vbm is not private and thus there is no impediment to capitalist democracy i.e. vote selling. So much more fulfilling than spending megabucks on ads when you can just pay voters directly!

Scott Garren and Heather Shay said...

But I will say I have already voted by mail so don't send offers!