VOTE OR DON’T VOTE, BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT FOR STRATEGIC REASONS … WHY AMERICA DISGRACES ITSELF WITH LOW TURNOUTS: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK … plus … PLANET PROGNOSTICATORS PREDICT WINS FOR PRESIDENT, SCOTT BROWN
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, ELECTION DAY, NOV. 6, 2012) — Get out and vote, for the right reasons, or stay away and don’t vote, again, as a strategic decision. Don’t vote because you “have to.” Don’t NOT vote because you’re too lazy. Whatever you do today, Election Day, do it because it is the right thing to do for your life.
With that, below you’ll find an interesting article on why Americans don’t vote. The fact that we don’t, of course, has handed government over to the crooks. Nationally, that’s to be expected, with so much Big Money dictating the game. Statewide, Boston doesn’t know The Berkshires exist, and “western” Massachusetts begins with Worcester. Locally is where is hits and hurts.
The last thing in the world the Special Interests and GOBs in Pittsfield want people to do is vote. They don’t care about today. They care about the “odd-year” municipal elections. They would die of fright to see the kind of poll numbers the city used to get after World War II and through the 1960s: tallies in the 70-80% mark.
THE PLANET knows, though, that a municipal turnout that could shake two-third of the electorate to the polls would turn the GOBs out on their kiesters and give Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski a fighting chance. Until then, it’s more teachers contracts that will give them 16% pay hikes over three years (didn’t know that, did you?) … more Contractgates … more private agendas destroying public service (Carouselgate) … more bothced handlings of deals a la Spectrumgate. Pittsfield will continue to produce Gate after Gate after Gate — until the city as we know it ceases to be.
That day is coming, and only one thing can prevent that (THINK! THINK HARD ON WHAT THAT IS!).
Barring that one thing, THE PLANET shall be looking on from afar, living the life of a gentlemen farmer in Essex, keeping bees, playing international competitive chess, painting, and done with the “Miss Loneyhearts” messiah business (see “Nathaniel West“).
And now, here’s the dope on why America eschews the ballot box.
THE MYSTERY AND MADNESS OF WHY THE U.S. DOESN’T VOTE
By Tia Ghose, Livescience
Special to PLANET VALENTI Science and Technology
The United States may be an iconic democracy, but every year many Americans don’t bother voting at all—regardless of lower turnout caused by events like Hurricane Sandy.
The United States ranks 120th of the 169 countries for which data exists on voter turnout, falling between the Dominican Republic and Benin, according to a January 2012 study from the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. (Not all countries ranked were democracies, a factor that could skew the results.)
About 60 percent of eligible voters will likely cast ballots Tuesday (Nov. 6), a lower percentage than in most other Western democracies, said Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University. [The Strangest Elections in US History]
Experts say the low turnout results from how often Americans conduct elections, the inconvenience of voting and the reality that each individual vote doesn’t count for much.
“Part of the issue is we have too much democracy,” McDonald said. “We’re just voting a lot in the U.S.”
With state, local and national races, as well as mid-term elections, most Americans have a chance to cast a ballot about once every year. Other Western democracies may only have an election every five years, McDonald told LiveScience
That frequency makes voting a hassle, he said.
Other democracies, such as Argentina and Australia, have mandatory voting and small fines for those who skip the polls. Policies like this, that create a social norm for voting, can boost participation, he said.
And most countries with higher voter turnout automatically consider national citizens voters.
“They don’t really even have voter registration. Their national registration card serves as their voter registration,” he said.
But beyond the inconveniences, there’s another reason many people in the U.S. may skip the polls: an individual’s vote doesn’t count for much, because the opposing party can stymie the president’s political party, said Lyle Scruggs, a political scientist at the University of Connecticut.
“The chance that your vote determines the outcome one way or another is very, very small,” Scruggs told LiveScience.
While that’s true in any large democracy, it’s even more characteristic of the United States, he said.
Only a fraction of candidates are up for re-election every cycle, and a Democratic president’s agenda may be sidelined by a Republican Congress, or vice versa. In a parliamentary system, by contrast, the person who wins the prime minister position is part of the majority party and consequently has more power to enact a political agenda. That means a winning vote has more political impact, he said.
Choosing the president through the Electoral College, rather than via popular vote, may also reduce turnout, he said.
Because only a few states are competitive, most presidential campaigns dump money into 10 swing states and spend almost no time campaigning in the other 40, Scruggs said.
“If we had a popular-vote election of the president, where which state you lived in didn’t matter, you would likely see many more national campaigns trying to mobilize a much more national constituency,” he said
When lines keep voters waiting several hours, it’s easy to see why many people skip the whole ordeal.
But states are increasingly adopting more convenient methods for voting, such as mail-in ballots, same-day voter registration and early voting, McDonald said. Most of these efforts improve turnout by a few percentage points, he said.
The best hope for changing turnout long-term is to get young people voting, Scruggs said. If teenagers get used to casting ballots from the get-go, they are likelier to become lifelong voters, he said
“Voting is sort of a habit,” he said. “We should be out in the high schools trying to convince people that it’s a really great habit to vote.”
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By way of predictions, when the dust settles from Election Day tomorrow, The President shall be re-elected and so shall Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate.
“HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT EVA IS THERE?” “WE CAN’T BE SURE, BUT I’M NOT GOING TO SIT AROUND AND LET SCOTLAND YARD LOOK INTO IT.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.