Friday, December 23, 2011

Don’t vote!

I’ve been reconsidering my call for a National Strike, and I believe I have come up with something that is in the realm of the doable.
In a General Election Year, about 58-60% of all eligible voters in this Country actually show up at the polls and cast their votes.

I decided to do a little digging:

Voter suppression
Main article: voter suppression
In some countries voter turnout is low because citizens are prevented from voting. Prevention could be due to legal, racial, or political reasons. In many cases suppression is done to ensure the people in power remain in power. In other states, supporters of candidates who are unable to either get nominated or have their nominated candidature listed on the ballot paper often self-suppress in protest.

This suppression can be in the form of unfair tests or requirements to vote. For example, In the southern United States before and during the civil rights movement, white southerners used many methods to prevent minorities from voting. These included literacy tests, a poll tax, and if all else failed intimidation by threats of violence. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 put a stop to literacy tests and any other methods of preventing people from voting.[47] Excluding convicted from voting and re-including them only on case-by-case decisions by State Governors, as is the case in numereous U.S. states, can lead to voter suppression and can induce biaised voting, as there can be a class biais in the state's decision.,_2008

The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365 electoral votes, and McCain 173. The popular vote was 69,456,897 to 59,934,814, respectively.
A grand total of: 129,391,711

The graph below: vertical=50%-90%; horizontal=1960-2008; U.S. in red, India in blue, Japan in green, UK in dark brown, Germany in light brown.
Trends of decreasing turnout
Change in voter turnout over time for five selected countries
Over the last 40 years, voter turnout has been steadily declining in the established democracies.[1] This trend has been significant in the United States, Western Europe, Japan and Latin America. It has been a matter of concern and controversy among political scientists for several decades. During this same period, other forms of political participation have also declined, such as voluntary participation in political parties and the attendance of observers at town meetings. The decline in voting has also accompanied a general decline in civic participation, such as church attendance, membership in professional, fraternal, and student societies, youth groups, and parent-teacher associations.[54] At the same time, some forms of participation have increased. People have become far more likely to participate in boycotts, demonstrations, and to donate to political campaigns.[55]

[1]    Niemi and Weisberg p. 31
[33]  Powell. p. 13
[34]  U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1982–83, Table no.804, p.492
[54]   Robert D. Putnam "Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America." in 
          Controversies in Voting Behavior p. 40
[55]  Niemi and Weisberg. p. 30

Ø  Boycotting the election process would not hurt anyone financially, as a National Strike would.
Ø  No one would have to shutter their businesses for days, or a whole week, thus losing valuable income. This Nation might have to be a lot worse off than we are now for that to happen.
Ø  By eliminating the popular vote, the Electoral College would be thrown into complete disarray.
Ø  You, therefore, eliminate the political power brokers from deciding the election.  
Ø  Once the power brokers are effectively out of the loop, big money has no power over the governmental process.
Ø  Once the money is out of politics, we can reenter the realm of a true democracy.

In the end, this hurts no one except those seeking to extend their grasp on our future. It would drive career politicians out of Washington, D.C. and return this Nation to government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

So, in the spirit of true bi-partisan civil disobedience, let’s throw an election, and have nobody show up.

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