mathowie on the vote! October 24, 2008 8:07 AM   Subscribe

mathowie's opinion on the nerd vote has been posted over at boingboing.fyi.
posted by dr. moot to MetaFilter-Related at 8:07 AM (98 comments total)

Mathowie gets almost as much coverage among mefites as does [insert politician] with [insert constituent base here]. Maybe he should run for virtual office?
posted by mrmojoflying at 8:15 AM on October 24, 2008


Despite universal agreement that this platform is FTW, this will be a huge flamewar over whether we do/should care about this being posted on BB.
posted by DU at 8:17 AM on October 24, 2008


ahem
posted by nitsuj at 8:21 AM on October 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Matt discouraged this kind of post two days ago.
posted by scabrous at 8:21 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have the utmost respect for Matt and what he's created here, and for all the admins for that matter, but for fucks sake do we need to hear about any time they say or do anything?
posted by bondcliff at 8:23 AM on October 24, 2008


Congratulations Matt! Now a group of people from some other site get to read a synopsis of your article, judge you based on that, and tear it all apart! If you're lucky they may leave some vowels behind for you to pick up later. Here's some spare bits in case you need 'em:
bcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyzbcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyzbcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyzbcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyzbcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxyzbcdfghjklmnpqrstvwxy

(btw, I thought the article was fantastic)
posted by iamkimiam at 8:24 AM on October 24, 2008


OMG, Matt did something today! Tune in tomorrow, when Matt goes to Whole Foods!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:24 AM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Interesting, and I agree with what Matt is saying, but he's discouraged this kind of stuff, and the constant monitoring of him is beginning to creep a lot of people out (myself included).
posted by piratebowling at 8:26 AM on October 24, 2008


The mods should get equal stalking time too.
posted by Artw at 8:28 AM on October 24, 2008


Who is this Matt guy everyone keeps talking about?
posted by Grither at 8:28 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm really growing weary of the mathowie love around here. I demand more cortex stalking.


In reality, that's a pretty great list and totally post worthy, regardless of who wrote it.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:32 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does anybody know where I can find some powerful, quiet pictures of Matt? You know, in private and mundane moments? Maybe sharing a tender one with his wife? Etc.?
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:35 AM on October 24, 2008 [17 favorites]


The nerds are in the tank, and the tank is a sort of blocky wedge in shape and drawn with vector graphics.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on October 24, 2008


I am just continually baffled at otherwise sensible creative people who come out as opposed to copyright. Baffled.

Leaving aside money, any real artist wants to control his art and how it is used. I don't really want to live in this nerd-topia of filmmakers on welfare and Beatles songs on McCain/Palin ads.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:37 AM on October 24, 2008


What nitsuj and scabrous said. We should respect Matt's wishes.
posted by fixedgear at 8:37 AM on October 24, 2008


Maybe he should run for virtual office?

If he's lucky, he might get elected moderator!

I demand more cortex stalking.

I've been really boring lately.

Does anybody know where I can find some powerful, quiet pictures of Matt?

Quiet. Powerful.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just want an RSS feed called ... "Matt, What Are You Wearing? Mmmm."
posted by adipocere at 8:41 AM on October 24, 2008


Matt needs a campaign slogan for buttons and songs and stuff.

"Wowie Zowie, Vote Matt Haughey!

You guys can do better.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 8:47 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]




Where's mathowie is available, in case someone wanted to start a stalk-blog.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 8:52 AM on October 24, 2008


Matt has become the golden calf.
posted by Stynxno at 8:54 AM on October 24, 2008


Who?
posted by boo_radley at 8:55 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


drjimmy11 writes "I am just continually baffled at otherwise sensible creative people who come out as opposed to copyright. Baffled."

Very few people are opposed to the basic premise of copyright. It's the extension of copyright to centuries thereby strip mining the public domain that people object to. Return to a 14 years initial plus 14 year extension with renewal fee and much of the debate would disappear.
posted by Mitheral at 8:58 AM on October 24, 2008


"Leaving aside money, any real artist wants to control his art and how it is used."

This is your opinion, and is easily proved false just by a quick glance around here. I reject your idea that "real" artists are IP freaks who hate to see their creativity leveraged by others. Disney is not the final word on what is art and who is an artist.
posted by Ragma at 9:01 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this would actually make a better post in the blue than the grey.
posted by Ragma at 9:02 AM on October 24, 2008


Yesterday's "omg, Matt gave to a charity and someone wrote a blog post!" post was enough for the week.

A good piece of writing on the Internet is what this site is about. The nerd-vote blog post is a good piece of writing, and sharing things like that is how MetaFilter got built. Matt has the last word, but I think it would be a good thing to get his nerd agenda in front of more reporters/candidates/pundits.

Are we so far from origins that a good blog post is no longer post-worthy on MetaFilter?
posted by Ragma at 9:12 AM on October 24, 2008


Can we get someone to hide behind Matt's bushes? Maybe we can vote on who searches through his garbage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:13 AM on October 24, 2008


Did you hear what jessamyn did? She sent an unmanned mission to study the poles of the moon!
posted by Mister_A at 9:19 AM on October 24, 2008


Also, cortex farted. SRSLY.
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on October 24, 2008


Matt, do these jeans make my ass look fat?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 AM on October 24, 2008


Unpublish this post immediately!
posted by spiderwire at 9:23 AM on October 24, 2008


Are we so far from origins that a good blog post is no longer post-worthy on MetaFilter?

This would have worked just fine as an FPP without highlighting who wrote it. And the discussion thread would have been about political issues important to nerds instead of OMG MOD STALKING!!

I'm totally fine with these kind of MeTa posts getting closed immediately.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:34 AM on October 24, 2008


Poor Vacapinta, toiling away in England, never getting noticed by the press or teen magazines, the Ringo Starr of Metafilter.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 AM on October 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Another already discussed issue only makes it seem that some "cutting" needs to be done in MeTa. Sad but peeps just do not look or read before they post away.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:54 AM on October 24, 2008


As long as vacapinta doesn't become the Syd Barrett of Metafilter, he should be OK.
posted by lukemeister at 9:55 AM on October 24, 2008


I think it's safe to say that Ringo had an ample surplus of cash, drugs, and groupies at any given point during the Beatles' arc of fame. Don't cry for Ringo.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:57 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe Ringo's unwanted fanmail can be rerouted to vacapinta.
posted by lukemeister at 9:59 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe Ringo's unwanted fanmail can be rerouted to vacapinta.

Marge is going to be so hurt.
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on October 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


My Nerd vote? Apple-coated watermelon.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:12 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I propose a new section--mathowie.metafilter.com. I wonder who we would contact to get that going..

Yeah this is getting old.
posted by booticon at 10:12 AM on October 24, 2008


When I first read Dear Leader's numbers on freelancing in Berlin I thought that someone had badly misinformed him, until I remembered how vowels can go missing on Boing Boing and that he must have been talking about Oberlin, Ohio.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 10:13 AM on October 24, 2008


MATHOWIE/QUONSAR 2012!

You know you deserve it.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:15 AM on October 24, 2008


It does weird me out a bit when these things get posted. I guess I'll leave this one open since some people are discussing particulars.

I feel bad for even writing the original post -- it's something I'd say over dinner to friends, and I felt ok putting it on my personal blog, but it gets weird when a bunch of huge blogs link to it. When I saw kottke and now boingboing link it, I shivered knowing there will be a continued onslaught of people needling me over details and calling me a communist.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:31 AM on October 24, 2008


drjimmy11: "Leaving aside money, any real artist wants to control his art and how it is used."

Wait... I don't... Um... What? Who are you and why do you claim to know what a real artist is?
posted by sveskemus at 10:32 AM on October 24, 2008


continued onslaught of people needling me over details and calling me a communist

Oh, I'll call you what you really are: a wanna-be Canadian.
posted by GuyZero at 10:33 AM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


In Communist Russia, Universal Healthcare covers you!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:36 AM on October 24, 2008


I'll call you what you really are: a wanna-be Canadian.

It's true, I would move up there in a second, but unfortunately the warmest possible parts of Canada begin where the coldest, most awful parts of the US end. Maybe if we can accelerate this climate crisis thing, I'll move up.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:47 AM on October 24, 2008


calling me a communist

Lucky for you the Maothowie photoshop seems to have been pulled from Flickr.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:50 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I shivered knowing there will be a continued onslaught of people needling me over details and calling me a communist.

In their defense, you are often vague. And a communist.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:54 AM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know who else was a vague communist? That's right: Comrade Whathisname!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:04 AM on October 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oh, I didn't realize that mathowie was a red communist. I now understand your cunning plan; say no more.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 11:19 AM on October 24, 2008


Geez, I thought mathowie's transportation plan would be universal Cervelo.
posted by Chuckles at 11:25 AM on October 24, 2008


This is ridiculous! Nerds don't vote as a block! They vote according to their class and alignment!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:47 AM on October 24, 2008 [8 favorites]


Thanks for the update.
posted by Zambrano at 11:55 AM on October 24, 2008


"mathowie's opinion on the nerd vote has been posted over at boingboing.fyi."

A 4-point plan to win the steampunk vote:

1) Build a zeppelin port in every American city with population over 100k.

2) Replace Amtrak's diesel locomotives with steam engines.

3) Legalize whaling for corset production.

4) Make wearing protective eyewear required in public.
posted by Jahaza at 12:06 PM on October 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Sir, are you now, or have you ever been a member of either the Metafilter cabal, or the Metafilter anti-cabal cabal?

Quo ergo errata ipso sum.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:06 PM on October 24, 2008


the warmest possible parts of Canada begin where the coldest, most awful parts of the US end.

Wrong! (there's just nothing there, apparently,)
posted by longsleeves at 12:12 PM on October 24, 2008


Where's the signup list to become a citizen of the People's Democratic Republic of Nerdistan?
posted by lukemeister at 12:13 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess I'll leave this one open since some people are discussing particulars.

Have you been to Whole Foods yet?
posted by Meatbomb at 12:16 PM on October 24, 2008


You should see what they charge for arugula.
posted by fixedgear at 12:23 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


mathowie's opinion on the nerd vote has been posted over at boingboing.fyi.

Can't we just leave the poor guy alone? Sheez!

On the other hand, if there is ever a mathowie celebrity sex tape.....
posted by chillmost at 12:37 PM on October 24, 2008


the warmest possible parts of Canada begin where the coldest, most awful parts of the US end.

Double wrong! (But it's nice to see the Sarah Palin Memory Erasure Pills are working.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:37 PM on October 24, 2008


Oh, they seceded in my mind years ago.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:51 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I shivered knowing there will be a continued onslaught of people needling me over details and calling me a communist.

Communist!

MATHOWIE: WRONG ON THE NERD VOTE, WRONG FOR AMERICA.
posted by languagehat at 1:13 PM on October 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry Matt; the Central Committee has looked over your application for Party membership but we've concluded you're still stuck in a bourgeois social democrat mindset, plus your dialectic is a bit wonky. We've assigned two comrades to assist in your thought work though, and will accept a resubmission at a future date. Please include a covering letter and the severed ears of two Trotskyites.
posted by Abiezer at 1:17 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can you people just follow him on Twitter?
posted by desjardins at 2:33 PM on October 24, 2008


er, can't

Here.
posted by desjardins at 2:34 PM on October 24, 2008


Can't you people just follow him on Twitter?

No GPS coordinates. FAIL.
posted by lukemeister at 2:41 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


No GPS coordinates. FAIL.

That's what the lojack on his car is for.
--Love, the Government
posted by spiderwire at 2:56 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm already a citizen of the People's Democratic Republic of Nerdistan (PDRN, as we are known) - just last week I declared that I'm "too old" to go to a bar because I can't do crossword puzzles and they don't serve tea.

I'm TWENTY SEVEN. Going on eighty. But man, my ranger in PuzzleQuest has some mad awesome spells.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:10 PM on October 24, 2008


I feel like a stalker just reading MetaTalk lately.
posted by gomichild at 8:18 PM on October 24, 2008


Yeah, in retrospect, Ask Metastalker wasn't such a good idea.
posted by lukemeister at 10:49 PM on October 24, 2008


I feel like a stalker just reading MetaTalk lately.

Dilettante.

*Resumes reading of Matt's exploits on the Grey through a high-powered telescope pointed at the computer monitor of the cute couple who live in the tastefully appointed apartment on the fifth floor of the building across the street.*

Now that's MetaStalking, kids.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:14 PM on October 24, 2008


So it's really Mattatalk.metafilter.com....
posted by jouke at 7:13 AM on October 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's time for us to return to the cortex values on which this great site was founded.
posted by lukemeister at 8:12 AM on October 25, 2008


I didn't post about Matt's list because he asked to stop after the yo moma one.

But I think it's a great idea and that there should be a way to add other topics to it, to adapt it to any local situation and to send it to any political party or candidate and tally their answers. I don't know much about coding, but it doesn't look much more complicated than Fuelly.

Umair Haque, Larry Lessig and others are asking "what are we going to do about this mess?" I have no doubt that people who have been experimenting with online communities can reach common grounds about the basics of human decency, independently of actual political parties. There are elections all the times everywhere. In Canada, we just had a federal one, but a provincial one is coming in Quebec. It would be cool to have a general platform to play with, and Matt's list is a great start.
posted by bru at 10:39 AM on October 25, 2008


Can Matt just GHOFB? Sheesh.
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:21 AM on October 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


At least Matt isn't posting about how his manifesto has been translated into Bulgarian and Turkish.
posted by lukemeister at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2008


lukemeister: that stuff makes me actually pretty torn. On one hand, I don't like Cory Doctorow and don't want to read his stuff; on the other hand, it would be a great way to learn the basics of a couple of languages.

Sigh.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 2:27 PM on October 25, 2008


LEAVE MATHOWIE ALONE!
posted by djgh at 2:48 PM on October 25, 2008


"Open source voting machines..."

Even better than that, Matt, would be no voting machines. I've said it before and I'll say it again; paper ballots with a thorough method of scrutiny at several levels is the one and only way to go when it comes to making sure your democracy is never stolen like yours was back in 2000.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:22 PM on October 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Matthowie's mama is so fat her blood type is gravy.
posted by electroboy at 6:06 PM on October 25, 2008


You know what I do when I vote, America?

I step behind a bent sheet of cardboard and use the supplied golf pencil to draw a single X corresponding to the candidate of my choice. Then I fold up the ballot and put it in a cardboard box with a slot in the top.

The whole process takes literally two seconds, and the entire setup can't cost much more than fifty cents Canadian.

I guess there's some bribe-able human on the other end who's tasked with counting the votes, but it's best not to think too much about that.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:13 PM on October 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hey Cory, just in case you're reading this: you're a really shitty author.
posted by Damn That Television at 8:37 PM on October 25, 2008


Sys Rq writes "I guess there's some bribe-able human on the other end who's tasked with counting the votes"

Usually the ballots are only counted under the eyes of scrutinizers from each of the political parties. The conspiracy would have to run pretty deep.
posted by Mitheral at 10:59 PM on October 25, 2008


Hey, you know what, I wouldn't have seen his blog post without the meta link. I'm glad I read it. I'm glad this was posted to meta. So there.
posted by voltairemodern at 11:31 PM on October 25, 2008


Sys Rq writes "I guess there's some bribe-able human on the other end who's tasked with counting the votes"

Mitheral writes "Usually the ballots are only counted under the eyes of scrutinizers from each of the political parties. The conspiracy would have to run pretty deep."

Indeed. I can't speak for the Canadian experience but it sounds similar to the Australian experience, which I can explain in some detail. Here's how paper voting works.

1: People vote, and stick their paper vote in a locked, individually numbered ballot box.

2: After polls close, the candidates scrutineers stay in the polling booth with officials from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), with the doors locked so no one can get in or out.

3: The ballot boxes are opened by the AEC workers and all the paper ballots are emptied onto a table by them.

4. Counting begins. The only people allowed to touch the votes are AEC workers. The candidates scrutineers are NOT allowed to touch them at all. Not even a little bit. If they do the repercussions can be a slap on the wrist, all the way through to the offending scrutineer's candidate being invalidated from the race.

5. The AEC workers start organising the ballots into piles for each candidate. The scrutineers are watching to make sure that the AEC workers are assigning votes correctly. More specifically, I as a scrutinner would be watching to make sure any vote my opponent gets is a vote fro my opponent. If my guy gets a vote that's not his, I don't care one bit; but that's the job of the other guy's scrutineer, and if he dosen't notice, bully for him!

If I believe a vote has been incorrectly assigned to an opponent, or if I think a vote is invalid (as in, has been incorrectly filled out or has a vote for Mickey Mouse etc) I'll call it. The AEC worker will look at it and if he agrees he'll move the vote to the correct pile. If he disagrees with me, but I still think the vote is incorrectly assigned, I can ask the AEC Supervisor to make a final decision. His or her decision in regards to that vote is final.

Once all the votes have been placed into piles, the scrutineers sit back and watch as the AEC workers start to actually count how many votes each candidate gets. This can take a while. Once the counting is done, the AEC Supervisor will tell the scrutineers the results of the first round of counting from that booth. The scrutineers will then call those numbers in to the candidate's campaign office, and the AEC Supervisor will ring the AEC to give them the numbers. This is a very important step... more on why in Step 6.

At this stage, the AEC workers will begin counting preferences etc. Scrutineers will usually take off, unless it's a tight race, in which case they'll stay and watch and essentially repeat Step 5.

6: The reason that this system is far more secure than a voting machine is because now the candidates have the numbers from the booth that were agreed to by all scrutineers and the AEC Supervisor.

Let's say Candidate A got 1988 votes and Candidate B got 1444 votes at a particular booth. After the AEC Supervisor rang this result through to the AEC, where upon they're probably entered into some central computer by some AEC data entry person. Now let's say that this data entry person makes a mistake in entering the data, either maliciously or totally by accident. Let's say that the data is instead entered as 1444 votes for Candidate A and 1988 votes for Candidate B. Eventually that mistake would be picked up because;

* The candidates office would have recieved the correct figures from their scrutineer, which would create grounds for a review of the figures.
* The figures would then be checked off against the AEC Supervisors record sheet. This would show the correct figures, revealing the mistake.

But let's throw a spanner into the works. Let's say that the AEC supervisor changed his records because he's part of the conspiracy. It still dosen't gel with what the scrutineers phoned into the candidate's office. So there's an investigation and the AEC workers are interviewed by police. At least one of the usually 6-strong workers would remember that the first round of figures was 1980-something for Candidate A. For this not to happen, as Mitheral said, the conspiracy would have to run pretty deep.

But even if that didn't happen, at the end of the day the AEC can order a complete recount of the paper votes. No doubt new AEC officials would be deployed and the counting would be watched under much tighter supervision. The correct result would eventually be determined.

So yeah, paper voting is far more secure when it comes to ensuring that your democracy isn't stolen. It takes a lot longer to count votes (tight races can often not produce results for weeks), that's for sure, and it probably costs more than voting machines. But what is that cost compared to your democracy being stolen from you with no verifiable paper trail to prove that this is what happened.

With voting machines, there's just too many ways that things can go wrong. A vote for Candidate A is registered at the computer level for Candidate B. Someone somewhere pushes a button and 2/3 of one candidates votes go to another candidate. Sure, you can write new programs to ensure better accountability but at the end of the day, a paper trail that can be backed up with paper votes is the safest and most secure way of saving democracy from those who would try to subvert it.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:50 PM on October 26, 2008


The Mathowie and MeFi media alert posts have gotten pretty stale. This particular post was quite good, and it's worthwhile to suppress the trivial ones, so that the worthwhile ones can stand.
posted by theora55 at 7:40 AM on October 27, 2008


I am just continually baffled at otherwise sensible creative people who come out as opposed to copyright. Baffled.

Leaving aside money, any real artist wants to control his art and how it is used.


Just because someone wants something, does not mean it should be given to them. So what if all the "real artists" decide to go atlas shrugs and quit because the government won't punish people who copy their work without their permission. Plenty of "fake artists" can fill the void, as clearly there are plenty of talented "fake artists"

You know what I do when I vote, America?

I step behind a bent sheet of cardboard and use the supplied golf pencil to draw a single X corresponding to the candidate of my choice. Then I fold up the ballot and put it in a cardboard box with a slot in the top.


And how do you know your vote actually gets counted properly? How long would it take to count if you had to vote for ten or twenty positions, plus various ballot measures, etc? Most US ballots have 20 or more choices to make.
posted by delmoi at 8:38 AM on October 27, 2008


delmoi writes "And how do you know your vote actually gets counted properly?"

Effigy2000 laid out the essentials of the process very well. It would take a very deep, wide spread conspiracy (plus the cooperation of the losers) to steal an election at the count. And even then it would have to be done on a polling station by polling station basis rather than the statewide compromise capable with voting machines.

delmoi writes "How long would it take to count if you had to vote for ten or twenty positions, plus various ballot measures, etc?"

The thing is it scales very well. You can either use the same staff to count all ballots in which case it scales essentially linearly or you could add extra staff for each position/measure in which case practically no extra time at all. And because most of the "keeping honest" is being done by the assorted parties much of the cost of that is absorbed by them.

Besides it entirely possible to have the best of both worlds. Design the ballots to be machine and human readable. People still check off boxes for each issue on a paper ballot and then that ballot is placed in a hopper. At the end of the night the hopper is run through a machine to read the ballots. Anything the machine has problems with can be kicked to the side for human input. This gives you quick results. The paper ballots can then be counted manually either as an automatic check on the machine or in the case of discrepancy. As a bonus this allows you to automatically count mail in ballots too.
posted by Mitheral at 9:03 AM on October 27, 2008


The 20 so meassures thing has always struck me as a bad idea - the time when you get to choose on all these fiddly little local issues, half of which are probably misleading landmines set up bvy whackjob pressuregroups, is when you're completekly distracted by the big deal OMG Presidential Election? Half the people voting probably just check all the boxes randomly.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on October 27, 2008


You know what I do when I vote, America?

I can't speak for the Canadian experience but it sounds similar to the Australian experience...

Um, so what do you do if you actually have people living in your country (alllllll the way at the bottom, Canada and Australia)? Any mefites from Greenland care to weigh in?
posted by electroboy at 10:29 AM on October 27, 2008


electroboy: Our low population density isn't because no one lives here, but because our countries, among other things, are bigger than yours.

Anyway, lower population density means our population is more spread out. (Duh.) This necessitates more polling stations per capita, so people don't have to travel 1000km just to cast a vote. If America adopted a similar setup, it would theoretically cost much less per voter than in Canada (indeed, your current system, fancy curtains and all, probably already does).
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on October 27, 2008



Anyway, lower population density means our population is more spread out.


Eh, sorta. Your population is centered in urban areas, just like pretty much everywhere else. Moreso, really, because you, like Australia, have vast regions that are more or less uninhabitable, like New Jersey, but colder.

But the issue is not so much density as it is raw population. As someone pointed out upthread, not only do we have lots of ballot questions that need sorting out, but we have 10 times the population and your fancy paper and pencil solution might not easily scale.
posted by electroboy at 1:06 PM on October 27, 2008


electroboy: "Um, so what do you do if you actually have people living in your country (alllllll the way at the bottom, Canada and Australia)? Any mefites from Greenland care to weigh in?"

As you may have noticed from my description of how counting votes works, it's largely done on a booth by booth basis. Surely you have proportional representation like we do? You have more people in your country but all that means is you have more booths. It also means you'll need more workers but given you have more people finding them shouldn't be too hard.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:45 PM on October 27, 2008


electroboy writes "Um, so what do you do if you actually have people living in your country (alllllll the way at the bottom, Canada and Australia)? Any mefites from Greenland care to weigh in?"

Singapore, number 3 on your list, does it with marks on paper. Indonesia, with 220+ million people does it with punches in pieces of paper. It's not like there is any lack of party workers in the US.
posted by Mitheral at 1:52 PM on October 27, 2008


How dare you! Her running mate is a POW!
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on October 27, 2008


"How long would it take to count if you had to vote for ten or twenty positions, plus various ballot measures, etc? Most US ballots have 20 or more choices to make."
posted by delmoi at 2:38 AM on October 28

Two points. First, I firmly believe that you shouldn't have any other ballot measures on the form during a general election other than the names of the candidates. Having other questions on the ballot has been shown to confuse many voters, especially those who aren't as engaged with the electoral process as others.

Case in point, the Australian referendum for a republic back in 1999 was meant to be about whether or not Australia should become a republic, independent of the UK. But our PM at the time, John Howard (a staunch monarchist) decided to sabotage the result by not only chosing a republic model that most people didn't support but further confused many voters by adding a second question which asked if we should add a preamble to our constitution. The preamble was also widely disliked by the people.

The result was that we didn't end up voting for a republic. But later research showed that many people were confused with the two questions, thinking that a vote against the preamble meant a vote against the republic, and vice versa. This demonstrates how competing questions on a ballot can confuse the main issue to be decided; in your case, who should be President of your democracy.

Second (and final) point, I'm not sure expediency is a good counter-argument against paper-voting. I'll concede that getting a result from paper-voting takes far longer than it would with a voting machine, but this is your democracy we're talking about. Who cares if it takes a week or two or three to get a result? What is far more important is having the peace of mind that the result was an accurate reflection of the will of the people, and the ability to check a verifiable paper trail to confirm results if that result is questioned.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:19 PM on October 27, 2008


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