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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.

Voting inconvenient

“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.

Little impact

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

Boosting turnout

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.”

—– 00 —–

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.

 

17 Responses to “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”

  1. Still wondering
    November 6, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    One out of two ain’t bad.

  2. Scott
    November 6, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    I already went and voted and did a little last minute flip flopping, google searches and a conversation with the wife. Now I have some letters to write…

  3. FPR
    November 6, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Hey Dan,

    I don’t if you are religious — Christian?

    Did Jesus vote? When they tried to make him King he said his Kingdom was no part of this world.

    People always pray “Thy Kingdom come” —– what Kingdom?

    Did you know that this Kingdom you pray for is a real government? A Theocratic gov’t ruled by god.

    Why would you vote for the lesser of two evils and they pray for god’s kingdom to come? I will no doubt be attacked for this truth.

    “Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on”.

    - Led Zeppelin
    - Stairway to Heaven

    • Scott
      November 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Led Zeppelin is Satanic.

  4. tito
    November 6, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Agree FPR and we need to get off the warpath’..Tito:-)

  5. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 6, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    DV for Mayor is the Solution!…..From the Hills-We won’t know about the Presidential winner until the Provincial ballots in Ohio are counted 10 days from now and Liz Warren wins by a nose…DV I didn’t know you were an international chess player?

  6. GMHeller
    November 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,

    So stop leaving us in suspense.

    Did you vote, and if so, for whom?

  7. Dave
    November 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I think both your predictions are wrong. I ask people with Warren stickers what makes Scott Brown a bad Senator and I haven’t yet got an answer other than Elizabeth Warren would be better. When I press further it is obvious that the”D” is the only reason around these parts. If I remember correctly, Berkshire County was 2-1 against Brown in the special election-the only county in the commonwealth that skewed. BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH no wonder Worcester is as far west as Boston sees, we are just an open field full of sheep!

    • Dave
      November 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      5a approx 1050 votes cast at this time

  8. tito
    November 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Obama was seen playing hoops, was said tho have scored three points, one rebound, one assist, and six turnovers, he did however sign a new four year deal,said to be in the Trillions.

  9. Still wondering
    November 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    7A had 806 votes at 5:10PM.

  10. tito
    November 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Romney might take Virginia, key.

  11. Joe Blow
    November 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    In other news the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department is now offering meditation classes…….I’ve heard everything now.

    • Scott
      November 7, 2012 at 5:25 am #

      If you had to deal with all the ignorant f’s that land their butts in jail time after time and never learn you’d need something too! It’s either meditation or drink yourself to death.

  12. rivetor
    November 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    I would second what Hilly sez, DV for mayor! Works for me.

  13. tito
    November 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Warren has won, one down.

  14. tito
    November 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    TITO is projecting Barack Obama is the winner of the President of the Yankees States.