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Did You VoteOrNot.org? 540

Posted by michael
from the if-you-don't-vote-you-can't-complain dept.
WhiskerBiscuit writes "The boys at Am I Hot or Not have started a sweepstakes to encourage people to register to vote. According to this blogger's analysis, the contest should encourage disempowered people to register (subject to the constraint that poor people don't have computers). The organizers have cleverly split the prize between a lucky winner and whoever happens to have referred them, providing a selection advantage for viral dispersal of the meme."
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Did You VoteOrNot.org?

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  • Virals and sweeps... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BoldAC (735721) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:38PM (#10180859)
    We ran a sweepstakes at tech-recipes.com [tech-recipes.com] not too long ago. The prizes were gift certificates to Amazon, t-shirts, etc. I was amazed how much traffic it brought in.

    These sweepstakes sites must just have tons and tons of traffic because they turfed a lot our way. If you promoting a new site, I suggest it highly.

    The problem with viral campaigns like VoteOrNot is that it is too easy to have multiple on-line personalities. In these days, nobody has one email account... it's easy for one person to be a ton of people online. That's the problem the company will have.

    The problem the rest of us will have is these techniques will likely flood every forum in the world with referrals... much like the free iPod, LCD, hummer, hooker, etc. campaigns have.
    • You have to enter your real name in the form. If you win and it turns out to be a psuedonym, they'll probably disqualify you. Sure they will be flooded with useless traffic but ALL their traffic is useless so what's the problem? :)
    • by mr_z_beeblebrox (591077) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:46PM (#10180986) Journal
      much like the free ...hooker

      I need this URL...for a friend.
    • by Lord Kano (13027)
      The problem with viral campaigns like VoteOrNot is that it is too easy to have multiple on-line personalities. In these days, nobody has one email account... it's easy for one person to be a ton of people online. That's the problem the company will have.

      They ask for your name, address and telephone number in addition to your email address. Most people don't have multiples of all of those too.

      LK
  • Wonder Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by romper (47937) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:38PM (#10180862)
    In case you're wondering why they're doing this. [voteornot.org]
    • Terrible idea (Score:2, Insightful)

      This is a terrible idea, for the same reason the Motor Voter Bill was. Get a bunch of people registered who were otherwise too lazy to do so, when it's illegal to ask for ID at the polls, and not even required for absentee ballots? Great. Just what we need. More ballots floating around for people who can't be bothered to sign up to vote. I'm sure they'll keep track of their ballots and not let other people steal them because they might WIN FREE STUFF.

      Vote early, vote often.
      • Re:Terrible idea (Score:3, Informative)

        by Luyseyal (3154)
        It's not illegal to ask for ID at polls... not in Texas anyway. They ask you for your registration card or gov't ID or you don't get a ballot.

        -l
      • Re:Terrible idea (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jonboy X (319895)
        Frankly, even if the otherwise lazy people actually followed through and voted, I'm not sure it'd be in the country's best interest for them to do so. By encouraging people who really don't care about anything but a free iPod to vote, you effectively dilute the votes of people who genuinely do care about issues that affect them, or are at least willing to put forth the effort required to become an informed voter. I'd start in with some vague ramblings about how apathetic people tend to vote for the incumb
        • Re:Terrible idea (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mcmonkey (96054)
          my tin-foil hat's at the cleaner's

          1. Unless you run a focused campaign, voter registration drives most likely have no short term effects on election outcome.

          Across the US of A, non-voter demographics and party/candidate affiliations are pretty darn close to those of voters. Hopefully, there is a long term effect of more people getting involved in the process and continuing to vote, but something as unfocused as VoteOrNot is highly unlikely to turn the election to one side or the other.

          2. Without drop

        • I'd start in with some vague ramblings about how apathetic people tend to vote for the incumbents just because they've heard the name, and maybe the people pushing for greater voter participation just want to keep things the way they are...

          Quite the opposite, actually. No tinfoil necessary. You're right that GOTV campaigns are never really nonpartisan -- whichever way the demographic being targeted tends to vote, that's the side the organizers are supporting.

          As for the audience for HotOrNot, let's see ..
          • If my guess about the demographic is right, and the organizers aren't Democrats, then they're fools.

            I'd guess you're not as right as you think you are. Old Republicans come form somewhere. Sometimes it's young Republicans. Computer access...possibly more well-off...probably financially above-average...very likely Republican.

            And don't let the subject matter through you off. Just because the Republicans don't want you to see dirty pictures and have fun in the privacy of your own bedroom, doesn't mean

      • by mcmonkey (96054) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @04:06PM (#10182045) Homepage
        I play a little game whenever stuff like this comes up. I call it 'spot the fascist.'

        It's easy. Whatever else someone else says, whatever party they say they're with, whatever point of view they say they are supporting, you know you've found one when they come out against folks getting registered and voting.

        In the USA, most places, you have to register before you can vote. If you don't register, you can't vote. Folks (when meeting the legal requirements of age, residency, etc.) should vote; therefor they should register to vote.

        It doesn't matter why they register. It doesn't matter why they vote. It matters that they do register and vote.

        I'm reminded of a discussion on NPR about prisoner voting. The 'against' side brought up some of the same arguments we hear is the student voting discussions. Dorms/prisons are temporary residence; students/prisoners don't have a stake in the community; have the option of absentee ballet, the usual.

        I found myself starting seeing the logic on the side against, when the guy come out with (paraphrasing) 'large prison populations dominate small communities, and we don't like who prisoners might vote for.'

        Did you spot the fascist?

        In conclusion, I support rules governing the voting process and who gets to vote. I'm not coming out for anarchy. However, someone's motivation for registering or voting, or who they might vote (or not vote) for should have no bearing on their legal status as a voter and should not be used by others as encouragement to not vote.

        Vote early, vote often.

        BTW, where is it illegal for poll workers to ask for ID?
        • by Merk (25521) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:19PM (#10182890) Homepage

          I think you need to widen your political outlook. The political spectrum isn't simply composed of Fascists, Anarchists and Good, Honest, True Americans.

          Just because someone wants to tighten voting rules and regulations doesn't make them a fascist. At the same time, opposing those rules doesn't make someone an anarchist. An anarchist would be pretty offended that you would characterize them as someone who believes in voting for a government under a minimal set of rules. An anarchist doesn't believe that one person should ever have authority over another person -- an outlook that doesn't mesh very well with voting.

          With no rules about who can vote, when they can vote, and how often they can vote, voting becomes completely meaningless. But that isn't the same thing as anarchy.

          On the other hand, if you take voting restrictions to extremes you will end up with meaningless votes. No question there. However, there are a number of political systems which may or may not have restricted elections. The word that best suits a system where the government has control over its citizens' everyday lives is authoritarianism, or at the extreme totalitarianism.

          Really this discussion is all about the right number of restrictions on votes in a democratic system. I guess the answer to that depends on what the desired outcome of the voting is.

          In a totalitarian regime, the purpose of voting is to make the government seem legitimate. In an authoritarian one, it may be that, or it may be to make the people feel as if they have some say in how things go. The question is, what's the purpose of an election in a democratic republic. Is the purpose to express the will of the voters, and have them choose the person they want to represent them, or is it to have the public choose the person who is best qualified to represent them? Those two options may seem like they're the same thing, but they're not.

          In the first case, if the people choose to elect a mass murdering psychopath, the system is working perfectly -- as long as their votes were accurately counted. If the goal is to choose a person who is qualified, then the choice of a psychopath would be a failure.

          So the question is, what's the goal of the US democracy? Is it to choose qualified leaders who will help the country, or is it simply to allow the public to choose anybody they wish, whether that choice is self-destructive or not? If you believe that the country should be allowed to "shoot itself in the foot" if it wants to, then any restrictions on voting would be bad. On the other hand, if you think the goal is to choose leaders who will make the country a better place, then you should consider what restrictions would encourage the choice of good, responsible leaders.

          People who believe that the act of voting is the important part should be ready to defend the right of the completely insane, or the severely mentally retarded to vote. People who believe that the important part is choosing a good leader should be willing to defend restrictions on who is allowed to vote.

          Neither of these camps is "fascist" or "anarchist", they're just different varieties of democrat.

        • It doesn't matter why they register. It doesn't matter why they vote. It matters that they do register and vote ... Vote early, vote often.

          I disagree. I think voting is important, but I think it's more important that you have an informed vote. I know so many people that are voting for a particular candidate because "he's not Bush". Well, that's fine, but when you start pressing them for opinions on some of the major issues, their answer is almost invariably, "Well, I don't know, but at least he's not

    • Ack! At least warn us that it's not work safe next time! ;-)
    • Re:Wonder Why? (Score:3, Informative)

      by IEEEmember (610961)
      Or you could believe the terms and conditions;
      By registering, entrants may sign up to receive email from Eight Days, Inc. ("Sponsor"). You can remove yourself from the email list by following onscreen instructions.

      Which is in direct conflict with the entry form;

      We only need the following info to contact you if you win. You will NOT get junk mail or spam for signing up.
      • Re:Wonder Why? (Score:3, Informative)

        by romper (47937) *
        For what it's worth, I've been a member of their site for a long time (even met a great girl on there), and have never gotten any spam from that signup other than the occasional message from them (and yes, I use unique addresses for different accounts to track this kind of thing), and you can remove yourself from their mailing list if you wish.

        I think what they mean is they're not going to be selling your information to anyone else.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:39PM (#10180873) Homepage Journal
    By actually giving them a candidate they can agree with?
  • by agent dero (680753) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:39PM (#10180877) Homepage
    Shortly after turning 18 I registered to vote

    By voting, I can bitch and moan about politics all I want, because I'm actively trying to change it with my little bit of power
    • by HMA2000 (728266) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:45PM (#10180969)
      Even if you don't vote it is your god given right to complain. The idea that if you don't vote you can't complain is a platitude that makes no sense if you apply even a second of analysis to it.
      • The issues at hand are more important than whether or not you voted. The person that did win the election, whether it is on a school board, or leader of the country, in the end they are all servants to their people. And when they don't serve their people things get messy.
      • by TopShelf (92521) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:58PM (#10181171) Homepage Journal
        Oh you can certainly complain if you don't vote, but it undermines your credibility. Why should anyone care about the political opinion of someone who can't even be bothered to vote?
        • Why should anyone care about the political opinion of someone who can't even be bothered to vote?

          The assumption you're making is that the only reason people don't vote is because they're too lazy to.

          If half the people have lost faith in the system, it's the system that is broken, not the people.

      • True, you can always complain, but it weakens your position immensely when you couldn't even be bothered to put your money where your mouth is.

        It is not as if an American has to go through compulsory military service or run the risk of getting their tounge cut out and stuffed in a shirt pocket by exercising their right to vote. It's not as if it takes a lot of effort to be aware of the canidates or the issues - especially this time around. And it isn't that hard to get up and actually vote. Need a ride? Ca

    • Shortly after turning 18 I registered to vote...

      Me too, on my birthday. I'm still voting, but am considerably less hot. Or not.

    • By voting, I can bitch and moan about politics all I want, because I'm actively trying to change it with my little bit of power

      I think a George Carlin quote (or two) is in order:

      Next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election.

      and my personal favorite:

      Think it through: if you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they screw things up, then you're responsible for what they've done. You voted

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Uh not to question Mr. Carlin, but has he heard of the night of long knives? Full, free democratic would not be the way to describe Germany circa 1932.
        • I don't agree with the sentiment Carlin expresses about voting here at all (and I would suspect even he would argue differently today), but, as others point out, the Night of Long Knives took place two years after Hitler was elected in 1932. He was popular and he was elected in an election. "Full, free, democratic" may be an exaggeration, but one can say the same about U.S. elections. There's no question that Hitler's government was corrupt and evil, but it was a popular government, at least at first, an
      • by Yokaze (70883) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @04:00PM (#10181977)
        > "Next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election"

        And how is this an argument against "civic bullshit"?

        Fact is, Hitler didn't get the majority of the votes (in the last free democratic election 33%).
        The reason why he gained so much power, was because of a lack of such "civic bullshit".

        > "Think it through: [...]"

        I wish, one would. Not voting is as good as voting for whoever gets the post. Not voting is a valid choice. But also one for which you are responsible.
    • by ElForesto (763160) <{elforesto} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:17PM (#10181421) Homepage
      I've put my name on the ballot three times already. Even just being the 3rd option in the general election without doing anything else is challenging people to stop and consider if they really want another Republican or Democrat in office. So far, I've managed 3.5% each time, though I'm hoping for a better showing this year. (I actually spent some money on signs!)
    • Wrong, by voting you are accepting the limited choices presented to you. As Thoreau said, "Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it, it is merely expressing feebly your desire that it should prevail." Change will come through direct action by the people, not by picking the fat cat you find least objectionable.
  • Vote or shut up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jarich (733129) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:40PM (#10180891) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, if you don't care enough to vote, then you shouldn't be complaining about the result.

    Voter registration is web available in my county... it's amazing how few people on my street are even registered!

    Vote republican. Vote democrat. Vote anything, just vote!

    • "Seriously, if you don't care enough to vote, then you shouldn't be complaining about the result."

      So if you cant pick between two nearly identical idiots you shouldn't be complaining about which one wins? Sorry, but I will continue to bitch and not vote until we ditch the two party system or I die, care to guess which will happen first?

      • If you think the two major-party presidential candidates are "nearly identical" on the issues that matter most to people (i.e. those who have ventured beyond the sheltered environment of their college campus), you're a fucking retard. Not to mention, contrary to popular belief, the presidential race isn't the only campaign going on right now.
        • Your right, they are VERY diferent. Ones an idiot fuck which the other is a fucking idiot. Its just too hard for me to chose between such diverse choices.

          As for the rest, yes I vote on local and federal issues that I am knowledable about, however I'm prety sure that the topic of discussion is the presidental race which I will not participate in in case the guy I voted for wins making me partially responsible for their crimes.

      • by Monx (742514)
        I will continue to bitch and not vote until we ditch the two party system or I die

        Then vote for a third party candidate! If you just fail to vote, nobody in power cares. If you vote for a third party candidate, then at least you show up as yet another person who doesn't like the two-party system. People who don't vote get lumped together as lazy and irresponsible whether they do it from sloth or in protest against the system. BTW: if you register with a third party affiliation, the folks in power notice
      • by Bombcar (16057) <racbmob@@@bombcar...com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:34PM (#10181651) Homepage Journal
        The main problem with not voting as a political statement is that there is absolutely nothing to distinguish between someone who doesn't vote because he hates the candidates and someone who doesn't vote because he hates moving.

        You should vote, even if all you do is vote for some local school board official. Or write in Donald Duck. Anything to get a ballot in. If 15% of the presidential vote went to people outside the two parties, they'd sit up and take notice.

        Otherwise they just write you off as apathetical.
    • if you don't care enough to vote, then you shouldn't be complaining about the result.

      I hear this argument every five minutes. What do you propose instead? If I vote blank, my vote is useless because no one will care, I will count as someone who has NOT voted. As long as there is not a good candidate to vote for, you're fscked up.

      Voter registration is web available in my county...

      Where I live, you're automatically registered on your 18th birthday. People just don't care about politics anymore, regist
    • by jadavis (473492) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:30PM (#10181595)
      Why encourage other people to vote? I'd rather be 1 out of 100 registered voters than 1 out of 100 million registered voters.

      What we're really doing when we scrape for more votes is we tell the people who have only seen the rhetoric and catch phrases to make a decision.

      People who don't understand economics are just not going to make good decisions at the polls. People who do not understand the structure of our government are not going to make good decisions at the polls (Do states have any individual power anymore? Not really, everything is Federal now because not enough voters know the difference. So much for the United States of America.).

      People who don't understand these concepts have a right to vote. But why are we encouraging them?

      My theory is that when these people do vote, they vote primarily for one party, and that is the party that encourages them to vote. I don't see much altruism in the "get out the vote" crowd at all.
      • elitism (Score:4, Insightful)

        by commodoresloat (172735) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:10PM (#10182810)
        I'd rather be 1 out of 100 registered voters than 1 out of 100 million registered voters.

        Well, then, why bother with elections at all? Why not just appoint you and your 100 friends monarchs-for-life? The whole point of democracy is that everybody gets to vote, not just the people you think are the smartest or the best informed.

  • I've got "politics" selected as one not to put on "my homepage", I'm logged in, and yet here this story is.

    Anyone else seeing this?
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:43PM (#10180924)
    Think of this vote as your right to bitch for the next four years. If you don't vote you have no right to complain, because you could have done something about it, and didn't.

    Now if you do vote, than by all means, bitch and complain. Ever wonder why younger people always get shafted by congress and the elderly wield lots of power? One reason, and one reason only for this, young people don't vote and elderly people do.

    500 some votes put W in power, (never mind contested stuff), so dont ever think your vote doesn't count.

    • I'm not the biggest fan of this reasoning. You have a right to complain even if you made an informed decision not to vote for either candidate in any race.

      Submitting an empty ballot can be an individually powerful message. It tells both parties that "Hey, I don't like either of you guys. Come up with something that better suits me in the future". Selfish, perhaps, but seeing as they're public servants, better to let them know this way than by idlly letting someone else decide for you.

    • It's not in your interest to vote, at least not from a game theory perspective. Voting takes effort, and the benefit you recieve directly from your act of voting is insignificantly small comparatively. If you want to say "but what if everybody didn't vote?", hit wikipedia for some game theory background first...

      (and before you mod me down for discouraging voting...i vote and don't expect anyone not to based on this argument....but I'd just like to see a good countering argument)
    • If you don't vote you have no right to complain, because you could have done something about it, and didn't.

      You have the right to complain about not having any decent choices to pick from. Republican/Democrat/Minority Party Candidate. Pick the lesser of the evils and suffer with the motherfucker and his cabinet choices for the next four to eight years.

      What happens if you can't stand any of the jackasses running? Do you pick the Minority Party candidate and throw away your vote (no, the majority candi
      • Why do you say voting for a minority party candidate is throwing away your vote? Do you really vote just because you think that your single solitary vote has a chance of changing the outcome of the election? Unless you vote on this belief, there is no such thing as 'throwing away your vote'.

        Once you accept that your vote will have no effect on the outcome of the election, you can vote for whoever you think is the best candidate.

    • by pyrrhonist (701154) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:59PM (#10181176)
      If you don't vote you have no right to complain

      This reminds me of a very old Dilbert:

      Dilbert: ...and people who don't bother to vote have no right to complain.
      Dogbert: Why not?
      Dilbert: Why not? It's obvious. No vote means no right to complain. You can't get much more logical than that. Besides, that's how I was raised.
      Dogbert: You were raised by bumper stickers?

    • IMO those of us who we're drafted (dating myself) into the Armed Services have earned permanent bitching rights. Actively choosing not to vote is also participating.
  • by Jhon (241832) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:43PM (#10180932) Homepage Journal
    to spend time and effort trying to increase awareness of local/state/federal issues -- an INFORMED voter is much more important than getting someone who is too apathetic to even register to vote to get up off his/her arse and actually VOTE. An uninformed vote is as bad (arguably worse) than just flipping a coin.

    "Disempowered" indeed. It takes virtually no time to register and virtually no time to apply for and fill out an absentee ballot. Voting is easy and cost free (other than the effort it takes to take pen to paper).
  • by Nos. (179609) <{ac.srrekeht} {ta} {werdna}> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:43PM (#10180935) Homepage
    Not long ago, we had a federal election in Canada, and this was a focus of some of the candidates, especially getting younger voters out. However, the discussion centered around voting and spoiling your ballot. I'm of the opinion that it is better to show up and spoil your ballot than not vote at all. I don't always vote for someone because often, its a case of "lesser of the evils" and I don't want to support any of them. However, I believe that spoiling my ballot may show the politicians that people are not happy with the choices available to them.
    • by rainman_bc (735332) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:54PM (#10181110)
      Then don't waste your time voting. Chose the lesser of evils because they represent your voice.

      The argument "they are all crap" is horseshit. They all stand for different things, and you pick the one closest. Remember, you aren't supporting them; you're also asking them to support you when they are in office.

      You should vote in respect for the people throughout the world who die fighting for their right to vote. It's disrepesctful of those who've died for the right to vote to spoil your ballot.

      Democracy isn't perfect, but it sure as hell is better than any other alternative out there.
      • The argument "they are all crap" is horseshit. They all stand for different things, and you pick the one closest.

        It's not a bad argument at all. It's sad that the system has degraded to picking the "lesser of two evils" at all. If you do think "they are all crap", then vote for yourself, by write-in.

        That's better than not voting, and it's better than insulting the system by voting for someone you don't want. It's not about winning, or preventing someone from winning. It's about selecting the candidate th
    • However, I believe that spoiling my ballot may show the politicians that people are not happy with the choices available to them.

      Bullshit. If you can't find a candidate you like amongst the Bloc Québécois, The Canadian Action Party, The Christian Heritage Party, The Communist Party of Canada, The Conservative Party of Canada, The Green Party of Canada, The Liberal Party of Canada, The Libertarian Party of Canada, The Marijuana Party, The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, The New Democratic Part

  • by Thng (457255) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:44PM (#10180945)
    I'm not eligible by the letter of the sweepstakes: "To win, you must be a registered voter in time to vote on November 2, 2004."

    ND is the only state [state.nd.us] that does not have voter registration.

  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:44PM (#10180951) Homepage
    In a nutshell, we're doing this because we care, and because we can. We also like the idea of doing this because nobody else has done it before, and we like to do crazy, new things.

    Plenty of institutions (MTV and the Republicans immediately come to mind) have done what they can to get people out to vote. I suppose in this day and age we basically have to coerce people into signing up to vote (which is exactly what the Hot or Not guys are doing).

    My question is why do we have to coerce people to vote? Is it because popular opinion doesn't matter? Is it because of possible cheating at the polls? Is it because people just don't give a fuck?

    Personally I believe it to be a mix of quite a few factors but I lean quite a bit towards not giving a fuck and it not mattering.

    Perhaps part of the standardized testing that GWB has mandated should include more emphasis on Civic Duty? Perhaps they should better explain why it is important to vote even though we have a broken/antequated system that is unnecessary in this day and age. Fuck, perhaps we should just eliminate the entire Election system as it is and reinstate it as an episode of Survivor or American Idol.

    Text message your votes now! Standard SMS rates apply!
  • One good thing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by keiferb (267153) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:45PM (#10180967) Homepage
    ...has come out of the several vehement campaigns to get Bush out of office: Lots of pushes to get people to register and vote. The average voter turnout in the USA is abysmal, so here's hoping some of these efforts succeed.

    Viral distribution, eh? I wonder how long it'll be before one of the recent e-mail worms is rewritten to send out referral links to this thing.
  • English? (Score:3, Funny)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:46PM (#10180982) Journal
    ...providing a selection advantage for viral dispersal of the meme
    Whatever happened to plain English? For a minute I thought my PHB submitted this story :)
  • Sad commentary (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MikeMacK (788889)
    Well, it's a sad commentary on our society when we have to offer people money just to register to vote. Why aren't we all registered automatically when we turn 18? Whether you vote or not is up to you, but at least the excuse of not being registered would be gone.
    • i think you should go one step farther and make it mandatory to vote. of course, it would be valid to cast and empty ballot to say "i don't trust any of the idiots enough to vote for one." but you should at least have to say that and take part in choosing the government.
    • Re:Sad commentary (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tuxette (731067) * <tuxette.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:00PM (#10181196) Homepage Journal
      In Norway, you get your voter card (the one that says where to go and vote and when) automatically sent to your registered address (more or less your tax residency). This is happens for all elections.

      Foreigners in Norway are allowed to vote in local elections after 3 years of legal residency. After my third year here, I got my voter card in the mail. Unprovoked. No registration or anything. Very nice.

      All of the Norwegians I know find the idea of having to register to vote very offensive and provokative. Some say that the reason why automatic "registration" doesn't exist in the US, is that if it were the case, people might actually vote!

  • Mandatory Voting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trifakir (792534) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:48PM (#10181018)
    In Greece [cia.gov] the voting is mandatory [nationbynation.com]. The one who doesn't fulfill her social obligation to be responsible is fined. Greece is the oldest democracy.
    • It's also the case in Belgium. However, those who don't go to vote are not, in most cases, fined. But there is always the possibility ... of being fined and a lot of people prefer avoid it especially as voting is not a terrible task !
    • Does that make it harder to oust the incumbent? It seems like it would: people who are otherwise not involved in politics are usually more likely to at least know the name of the incumbent.

      If the challenger were someone like Ahnold, though, it would be a different story...so I predict that Greece's politics is full of career politicians and movie stars. :)
    • Re:Mandatory Voting (Score:3, Informative)

      by jea6 (117959)
      The city states in the area we now refer to as the country of Greece had various forms of government, none of which were representative of all the people. The BBC has a good write-up [bbc.co.uk]. In any case, the United States is not a Democracy, it is a Republic.
    • by tsg (262138)
      In Greece the voting is mandatory. The one who doesn't fulfill her social obligation to be responsible is fined. Greece is the oldest democracy.

      Making voting mandatory simply increases the number of uninformed voters. Personally, I'd rather the people who can't be bothered stay home and leave the decision making to those who care.

      Make people care and they will find their way to the polls all by themselves.

      • Re:Mandatory Voting (Score:3, Informative)

        by ender81b (520454)
        Making voting mandatory simply increases the number of uninformed voters. Personally, I'd rather the people who can't be bothered stay home and leave the decision making to those who care.

        Poli Sci studies show that those groups tend to just balance each other out so, in the long run, it doesn't matter. Hell - voting for somebody just by basis of their party is, in fact, a somewhat logical choice. Even voting by looks can be argued to be a logical, rational, decision.
    • In some countries election day is a national holiday -- this will bring more people to the polls in the US, since a lot of people here would vote if they didn't have to work on election day. There are many ways to encourage people to vote without giving them free ipods and without making it a crime not to.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:49PM (#10181024)
    Vote Cthulhu! [cthulhu.org] Why settle for the lesser of two evils?
  • Spam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dv8ed (697300) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:56PM (#10181149)
    The organizers have cleverly split the prize between a lucky winner and whoever happens to have referred them, providing a selection advantage for viral dispersal of the meme.
    That's a hell of a lot of words to say that it encourages people to spam.
  • by jsimon12 (207119) <tzzhc4&yahoo,com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:57PM (#10181156) Homepage
    Hmmmm, this whole registar to vote thing seems stronger then ever. Seems like the libreals are depending on people who generally don't vote to turn the tide.
    • The only party I've heard say anything directly on the subject is an official in the Republican Party (though I'm sure both parties are working hard to work on voters). According to the gentleman, they have people standing out saying "Are you Republican or undecided?" If the person says that they're something else, they thank them and send them on their way, and if they say "Republican" or "undecided", they ask them if they'd like a voter registration card.
  • by romper (47937) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:58PM (#10181168)
    What they should have done was offer Free iPods or FlatScreen TV's... Then they'd have it spammed all over Slashdot and the rest of the world! =)
  • Personally I think if you have not voted in the past 3-4 elections you should begin to lose your rights as a citizen of the United States. The Constitution is based largely on the "Social Contract" I think that if one party (The voter) is not fulfilling their duties in the contract, the other party (the govt) should be exempt. Essentially what I am saying is that if you haven't voted in the last 12 years you should have your welfare cut off your fire/police coverage taken away and you should be sent to a
  • Register to vote? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jezral (449476) <mail@tinodidriksen.com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @02:59PM (#10181189) Homepage
    I've always thought registering to vote is silly. In order for a democracy to work, you need as many as possible to vote, so requiring them to register first is inconvenient (and we all want convenience).

    Here in Denmark, every person over 18 is sent a card and a place/time to vote. No registration. The result is that 80+% actually vote...

    Yeah ok, so we are a small (5.3 million) country so it's easier to manage here. Still makes it a much better way.
    • Re:Register to vote? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tuxette (731067) *
      Here in Denmark, every person over 18 is sent a card and a place/time to vote. No registration.

      Yeah, same here in Norway. And I suppose you also allow foreigners to vote in local elections after 3 years? ANd they get their cards automatically, right?

      The result is that 80+% actually vote...

      A whole bunch of people were throwing big fat hissy-fits all over the place after the last local election here (2003) because only an average of 75% (or something like that) voted! And that it was a big scandal (!!!)

  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:15PM (#10181384) Homepage
    I've said this before, so I'll make my point quickly: I think it is a very bad idea to blindly encourage people to vote. PSA's that preach, "I don't care how you vote, just so long as you do" are dangerous. The truth is, not everybody is equipped to vote. The majority of people don't vote, because the majority of poeple don't have a clue what the candidates platforms are. People don't take the time to get informed. They hear a little newsbyte here, or some rumour in the coffee room there, then go and pick the guy who looks nicer.

    My point is, when you encourage ignorant, apathetic people to vote, you're canceling out the votes of those who actually bothered to research the issues and make an informed decision. Voting is far too important to be left to the ignorant, apathetic, sub-100-IQ TV-addicted beer-chuggers.

    Just my opinion.
  • by Randym (25779) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:30PM (#10181597)
    It is illegal to offer anything in exchange for voting. Not just, illegal to offer anything for voting *a certain way*; it is illegal to offer any incentive to vote *at all*. That's why it "hasn't been done before".

    Thanks for trying though.

  • F*** The Vote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kubed (682666) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:42PM (#10181770) Homepage
    Or if you don't think voting matters at all, you can Fuck the Vote [sophists.org].
  • $100K each? (Score:3, Informative)

    by El_Smack (267329) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @03:47PM (#10181826)
    Jim and James are giving away $100K each? Holy Crap, how much is HotorNot bringing in? And yeah, I (kinda) know about the marketing value of this, but it still means they have a $200K marketing budget for HotorNot.
  • Vote randomly! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @04:11PM (#10182112) Homepage
    If you didn't vote in 2000, or know someone who hasn't then listen to this:

    1) In 2000, national voter turnout was 51.3%. (Source http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html [infoplease.com])
    2) For a party to get federal funding, they need to get 5% or more.
    3) That means that if the remaining 48.7% voted randomly then we could have a total of 11 parties running. (9 at 5% each, plus the standard 2).

    11 parties nationally recognized in the US!!!! And all that has to happen is people must just vote - vote for anyone! Their dog! Their mom! Some weird-lookin' independent guy you hear about on the news now and then!

    Ralph Nader wanted to get 5% of the vote in 2000, but only got 3%. That means 2% of the population could have just gotten up and made a powerful statement for change just by walking down the street to your nearest voting place, and pulled a random lever in a booth. You don't even have to agree with the guy.
    (Source http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2000/11/09/Ne ws/Nader.Barely.Misses.Federal.Funding-700791.shtm l [dailytexanonline.com])

    Anyhow, I encourage everyone to pass this on. That may make some of the apathetic voters go out and do some good. Having more alternatives would be a major help to the US election system. (Then, we can push for run-off elections so we can reduce the split-election problem)

  • If you want to hear sad news, get ready. At that start of high school Government, everyone had to take the immigration exam as a test of what we already knew. You need to score 90 or above out of 100 to become an American citizen, right?

    7 of the 30-some people in my class passed that criteria.

    That was pathetic. Especially since the questions practically answered themselves:
    N ) Which of the following is the residence of the President:
    N+1) The White House is the official home of who?

    Or were asked repeatedly:
    8) How many states are there in the Union?
    100) How many states are there in the Union?

    One of the ones most people missed was probably:
    X) How many years can a president hold office?
    A) 2
    B) 4
    C) 2 terms of 4 years
    D) 10


    And you wonder why politicians can get away with the bullshit they do...

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