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VotePair Begins Pairing Voters 118

Brent Emerson writes "Today VotePair started matching up safe state Kerry supporters with swing state third party sympathizers to facilitate strategic voting. They matched 1446 such voters. Their goals are to defeat George Bush, support third parties, and start a conversation about electoral reform in the United States. Whether you agree with their politics or not, their ultimate point is clear: a few hundred votes in particular states could determine the outcome of this election."
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VotePair Begins Pairing Voters

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I live in a 'safe state' for Kerry (NY) ... but *already* planned to vote for Badnarek. So I have nothing to trade.

    • by nelsonal ( 549144 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:45AM (#10523347) Journal
      I'll be your vote swap (I live in a safe state for Bush, Montana) and already planned to vote Libertarian, too.
      • Just think about it.

        Quick break here for disclaimer: I am not a US citizen, and will consequently not be voting in your presidential elections. OK?

        While I would personally be gratified to see Bush voted out of office, this trading of votes is a travesty of democracy. Where do you stop?

        • Actually, it's not. It's a way of making our (undemocratic, Electoral-college-based) system into a more directly democratic system - and it fixes some of the errors caused by first-past-the-post (by allowing people to vote for a 3rd party in a safe state, or trading their vote with someone who will).
          • It's like Gerrymandering. Gaming the system, for its benefits, in this case is wrong IMO. You may think the Electoral-college-based system is undemocratic, unfair, but two wrongs don't make a right.
          • You may not like the Electoral college but it is the law of the land ( US Constitution Article II Section 1 []). It has worked for over 200 years.

            I believe that the vote trading is although not illegal it has a "wrong" feel to it.

            If someone truly feels that they would prefer a particular candidate then just vote for them. Don't be such a wimp that you will not stand by your own convictions unless someone holds your hand and says it is ok.

          • Actually it is wrong. You are attemping to cheat the system.

            This is nothign more then a campain to shift the votes from one state to another in an attemp to make a certain canidate win. This even borders outright paying for votes wich is ilegal.

            The interesting thing is that people like you find nothign wrong with it. I think that is more of a statment for suporting the right's position then actually having them spout it.

            You do the people who can really make a difference, the thrid party canidates, no fav
    • What if I promise to vote for Bush will someone vote for Bardnik for me! Oh I see, this option isn't available because the site doesn't really believe in helping the third parties, just helping Kerry win.
      • I would. I live in MD, and Bush has a snowball's chance in hell here, and I'm sympathetic to the Libertarian position.

        Wait a minute, that would be selling my vote.

        Damned ethics...
        • But your saying you'd vote for Bardnik if I vote for Bush. Well your gonna vote for Bardnik anyways sence kerry has a lock. So how again are you selling?
          • In the simplest sense, I would be offering to vote a certain way if I get "consideration". Consideration doesn't have to be money, it can be goods, or a favor.

            Actually, my post was meant to be taken lightly; I am fully opposed to this sort of scheme specifically on the basis of vote selling.
            • Though I kinda like the "scheme" of saying to a friend of the other side in same state, hey buddy our votes cancel eachother out why don't we both agree to vote 3rd party. Oddly enough I can't find a friend who will go along with it. Oh well.
      • Well, Badnarik's philosophies are more in line with Kerry's than with Bush.
        • Other that Bardnik wanting to pull out of iraq quickly, he shares the general view of less taxes, less regulation. How is this like kerry? Unless of course you guinuinly believe that kerry is for more personal freedoms, which while that is the official platform of the Democratic party, Kerrys senate votes have shown completly the opposite, hell he even fought against Ashcroft when Ashcroft wanted to make encyption legal for civilian use. Now if that doesn't blow your mind with everyones preconceved notion o
    • It's worth mentioning that here in South Carolina a large portion of the Democrat voters are from New England and have changed their state of residence specifically to make the state appear more liberal.

      Florida is such a confusion around election time for much the same reason. It's literally flooded with snowbirds from Canada and New England. This is a serious problem for the schools which are paid for by property taxes and the wealthier homeowners are retirees from up north who really don't consider Flori
    • Here is a quick suggestion, before you head to the polls, at least be aware of the correct spelling of the name of the candidate you plan on voting for. ...
    • My state is "safe" too. I have a friend who has spent the last eight years telling everyone how green he is. Everytime he utters a political opinion, it's prefaced with "I've been a registered Green since 1996, and I think...". He's got a Cobb bumpersticker. Yada, yada, yada.

      Anyway, several weeks ago a Democrat challenged him, "but you're going to vote for Kerry, right?" My friend answered that he was still going to vote for Cobb because "California is a safe state."

      WTF! If you only follow them when it's
  • by inditek ( 150002 ) <(matt) (at) (> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:49AM (#10523404) Homepage

    There's something better than VotePair out there -- and it doesn't capitulate to the idea of "safe states" and it's not "vote trading.

    This alternative allows those of you, from whatever side, fed up with the Republicans or the Democrats, to pick something else -- any third party or independent candidate without "stealing" (if you believe that a politician not earning your vote and your vote going somewhere else is a stolen vote) votes. It leaves the two parties proportionately the same against each other and empowers alternatives.

    It's called VotePact []. There's a simple site explaining it at []

    Basically: you find an equally fed-up person on the other side (a co-worker, friend, significant other, whatever) and you both promise -- make a pact [] -- not to vote for the major party you might normally vote for if their candidate didn't suck so much. Then you can both go vote for a third party or independent.

    • I have a better idea (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nharmon ( 97591 )
      I am going to sign up on this site, and promise to vote for Kerry in exchange for a vote for Badnarik. But then when I get to the polls, I'm going for Badnarik anyway. I mean after all, whats better than a vote for Badnarik? Two votes for Badnarik!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      the important thing with this vote pact site -- which has no infrastructure to sign up or track people (nor does it need it, really) is that you make a personal contact with someone around you or that you know elsewhere already through other means.

      it relies on the idea that you trust these people, and that you both -- despite your conventional leanings towards the Dems or Reps -- are sick of the current system and want to help new things break in.

      i like it.
    • The problem with votepact is that it's very, very simple to abuse. How you vote is private. It's far too easy for that person on the other side (say they're a Liberal, since you know those Liberals!) to just cross their fingers, smile, and pull the lever for Kerry anyway. Not only did they "take out" a would-be Bush voter, they also registered their own vote against Bush! That's, like, two votes for your enemy!

      So, NO. That's not better. *Especially* since they're expecting you to trust someone you on
    • Dear Inditek,
      " is a better alternative", NOT.

      It doesn't work, or, VotePact would work fine if no one cheats. Snort.


      A Bush 'supporter' signs up and lies and votes for Bush.
      A Kerry 'supporter' sings up and tells the truth and votes for Badnarik.

      Net result, one less vote for Kerry. Ditto the reverse.

      By keeping the focus on strategy VotePair avoids this downside (and did so from the beginning). VotePact has no answer to cheaters.

      Workitout. An exercise for the reader.
  • by clausiam ( 609879 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:50AM (#10523417)
    1) Use 100 email addresses.
    2) Register 100 times at VotePair.
    3) Promise 100 times to vote for Nader (or other 3rd party candidate)
    4) Get 100 people in swing states voting for Kerry instead of a 3rd party candidate.
    5) Break promise made on VotePair and voila!

    Finally I CAN make a difference. AND I don't even have to be a US citizen to do so - cool.

    In fact I like the VotePair idea in terms of provoking discussion and election reform. Even being a Kerry supporter I don't like the "vote dealing" and the "exploit" mentioned above though. It's undemocratic and the goal doesn't justify the means. I just wish Sinclair Broadcasting had the same attitude.

    Yeah - I know step 3 above should have been "Profit"...
    • Damned right, I've always failed to see any reason why these "initiatives" wont get grossly abused. How can any of the participants know that the deal is honoured? And please do not answer "trust in human dignity" etc. because that is not knowing.

      And how does these schemes deal with individual votes not having the same impact in different states? I can imagine 1 Kerry being worth 2.3 Naders etc.

      On the other hand I think this kind of vote trading would be highly illegal in europe for the same reasons and
      • Illegal in Europe? It has been done in the UK, years ago. Sorry I cannot give you an exact reference, but I've read about it.

        I don't find it specially illegal. It's the same as making a coalition. It's very nice to see people engaged in the democratic process like this.

        • Interesting, but I still think it would be considered vote-rigging and thus illegal. Then again it probably has to be significant/widespread before anyone takes legal action - I'm sure that if 25% of the voters "exhanged votes" it would become a hot potato in the media and a discussion on legality would appear. Then again I don't think 25% of the voters are stupid enough to actually do this without an absolute certainty that whoever they traded with keeps their promise, and the only way to do that is to bre
    • This has been discussed on conservative blogs too... Pose as a Nader voter, get some Democrat to switch his vote to Nader... bingo! One less vote for Kerry.

      Of course it doesn't help for two reasons. The "Kerry" voter they are swapping with will vote for Kerry anyway, and even if he doesn't it's just one less Kerry vote in a "safe" state.
  • Awesome (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nharmon ( 97591 )
    When Slashdot first started [] these political stories, they promised to "do [their] best to be fair with story selection."

    However, when stories like this are posted I begin to wonder if they truly had any intention of being fair in the first place.
    • Fair is a tough one, Balanced is a bit easier but much like the MSM defines itself as moderate (Only when compared to a convention of Trotskyites IMNSHO), the Slashdot crowd has a heavy left lean so if they say something not entirely horrible about the right it constitutes balance.
    • I think it's really silly to expect any meda outlet to be truly objective/nonpartisan. Nobody can do it because, due to their differing ideas of what is important (which informs their political leanings), they will come up with skewed ideas of what stories to run. And it's all unconscious.

      Besides, combined with the unspoken idea that "nonpartisan" is a synonym for "best" or "correct," it encourages people to swallow what they are told without even chewing it.

      Much better to end the masquerade and have ne
      • That's why I love my XM Radio.

        they have two channels
        Radio Left
        Radio Right

        somewhere around either 67 or 167 and 68 or 168. They clearly identify what they are and I can listen to which ever one I want to piss me off.

        I only now wish they had a Radio Middle/Libertarian. Sure would fit me better.

    • When Slashdot first started [] these political stories, they promised to "do [their] best to be fair with story selection."

      However, when stories like this are posted I begin to wonder if they truly had any intention of being fair in the first place.

      Tell me about it. The hardly accept any of my submissions []
  • Electoral System (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @09:59AM (#10523527)
    The thing I find most interesting about this project is the way it really brings to light the shortcomings of our electoral system. The current winner-take-all system, while it might serve other purposes, really helps to keep the two big parties in power and all others out of the sandbox.

    Our two-party system really isn't serving the country at all. It's not that they're almost the same (argue as you will about that one), but that the turnover of even a couple of seats in the House and/or Senate can potentially have a drastic effect what policy comes out of Congress, especially with everybody voting along partisan lines as they do.

    I worry that it also just generally screws up the electoral process. The two-party system has created a painfully artificial dichotomy. Anybody who doesn't strongly agree with one or the other party gets lumped into this huge group labeled, "Independent." We have people who agree with bits and pieces of each party's ideas and people who strongly disagree with both parties getting lumped into the same group because our mental framework for understanding the space of political ideas is unfit to describe reality.

    So yeah, here's to vote trading, and let's hope the practise starts some conversation that ultimately renders it useless. =D
    • Would you have Kerry take 46 percent of the presidency and Nader take 3% what would that look like Bush M W F Kerry T T S Nader one sunday once a month ?
      • I'm sick of people whining about Ralph Nader. Ralph Nader 2000/04 is NOT Ross Perot 1992.

        You're right, you can make arguments about a third party screwing things up (in the eyes of the party) if that third party takes too many votes from one of the parties. However. . .

        a) Nader did not lose the election in 2000. Nader is, on the other hand, an excellent scapegoat for turning attention away from other things such as the very real likelihood (maybe even the fact) that Florida would have gone Democrat wer
    • Our two-party system really isn't serving the country at all.

      Two-party systems don't serve any country well. The US situation has been pointed out, and I won't repeat it; the same can be seen in Britain and Australia, where parties whose traditional focus has been towards social justice have sold out their principles to pander to insecurities whipped up by "conservatives".

      • In the last elections in the UK - for the Euro Parliament, the Conservatives got 26% of the vote, and Labour got 19%. That isn't too much like a two party system. The anti-software patent UK Independence Party did pretty well in these elections.
    • It's not that they're almost the same (argue as you will about that one), but that the turnover of even a couple of seats in the House and/or Senate can potentially have a drastic effect what policy comes out of Congres

      So... are they almost the same or are they drastically different?

      I find that the more extreme you are in a certain viewpoint, the more the two look alike. If they're going to do drastically different things (often both by serving the loudest people in their respective party), they can't

    • Re:Electoral System (Score:3, Informative)

      by Keebler71 ( 520908 )
      There is no "winner-take-all" system that has anything to do with the electoral college. The electoral college as specified in the constitution is an excellent tool that preserves states rights and sovereignty. Unfortunately, most states have chosen to award their EC delegates in a winner-take-all fashion, which is their perogative. So your problem is with the state legislatures, not the EC itself.
    • One vote per person, majority rules... sounds fair. Sounds American. But the framers of the Constitution were students of history, and from history comes this reminder: pure democracy it failed in Greece, it failed in Rome, and it almost brought down America under the Articles of Confederation.

      It's all checks and balances. You've got the people's representatives in Congress (the House) balanced by the state's representatives (Senate). If the president was elected by sheer majority vote only, winning, in es

  • ---Whether you agree with their politics or not, their ultimate point is clear: a few hundred votes in particular states could determine the outcome of this election."

    It was NOT a few hundred votes in Florida that won GWBush's presidency. It was a panel of 9 elistists in the name of Florida Supreme Court. They singlehandedly could decide which votes "live" and which ones are bad, and not counted. They knew the numbers beforehand.

    For that court "trial", they were essentially picking who our next president
    • And they wouldn't have been *making* that decision if the vote was not so damned close. So YES a few hundred votes either way could have made a difference. Stop belly-aching over the FL decision.

      #include <stdwhinygwbwasnotelected.h>
    • I used to say that uniformed people shouldnt talk about things like math, and patent law (My BS is CS/Math, and I am today a patent attorney). I rather like the idea that people should get to say what they want, where, and how they want. But I wish people would pay attention to what they are saying. No, the supreme court didnt know the numbers before hand. The supreme court said to Al gore, No, we are not going to count the undervotes in democratic counties. Which is what Gore was asking for. It trur
    • No, the cause was that a few hundred votes could change things. This enabled the decision to be made by the courts.

      Even if you assumme Bush cheated, their ability to cheat was *because* the vote was so close. If Gore got 55% of the votes in Florida then to cheat and reverse it would require somehow discounting or miscounting hundreds of thousands of votes, which would be extremely difficult or impossible. But if Gore got 50.001% of the votes like he did then you can cheat by changing or ignoring only *hund
  • why i won't sign (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I live in a swing state, and on election day I will vote for Ralph Nader. I am so disgusted with the lenghts the Kerry campaign has gone to to remove Nader from the ballot, as well as the continued rightward shift of the Democratic party, that I no longer want Kerry to win. By voting for Nader you can send the Democrats the message that their strategy is a losing one. By doing so in a swing state, your message will be louder.
    • By voting for Nader you can send the Democrats the message that their strategy is a losing one. By doing so in a swing state, your message will be louder.

      Yes, however, that message will be "I want 4 more years of Bush" I voted for Nader in 2000 and I don't like Kerry very much either but the simple fact is that Kerry (bad as he is) is far, far better than Bush and while Nader would almost certinly be better than either one the there is no question that Kerry can win and Nader can't. Make no mistake!

      • So what you are saying is stick to the "status quo". The only way any third party will ever be taken seriously is if it garners a non-trivial percentage of the popular vote.

        Besides trying to change anything that you believe is important often calls for personal sacrifice. So if you truly believe that a viable third party is REALLY important to create a better country then you should be willing to make the sacrifice and vote for whomever you feel best represents your ideas.

        Actually Ross Perot's Reform p

    • Silly, silly... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ImaLamer ( 260199 )
      Oh how I want to scream!

      There are groups who have fought to get Nader on the ballot so that Bush can win (Citizens for a Sound Economy and Oregon Council being two). And there are Republican groups, under 527 status, who have petitioned states to get Nader on the ballot as well.

      The "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" have also given money to Ralph Nader... because he doesn't support Kerry? No, because more liberals voting for Nader is good for Bush.
    • good to see an ignorant voter holds part of the future of our planet in their grasp ::sigh::

      you're disgusted with the Kerry campaign.....

      .. But apparently not disgusted with Nader taking money from Republicans under the table not because they support him but simply because the majority of votes he takes from the major parties happens to be from the democrats. This isonly the tip of the iceberg on this issue and it runs as deep as a vein found in the motherlode lol.

      .. Apparently not disgusted he had b

  • Stupid Idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vile Slime ( 638816 )

    To keep Bush supporters from pretending to be Nader supporters and then voting for Bush anyway?

    It might be refered to as hacking the hacking of the system....

  • Approval voting (Score:3, Informative)

    by bonniot ( 633930 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @10:28AM (#10523891) Homepage Journal
    The real solution would be a better election system, a good compromise being Approval Voting []. Approval Voting uses the same ballot format as the current system but allows a voter to approve any number of candidates, effectively allowing a vote for or against each candidate. Approval Voting is a simple reform that gets rid of the spoiler [] and lesser-of-two-evils [] problems and would result in a level playing field for all parties and candidates.
    • Approval voting is subject to voting stratagy though, in some ways more so then our current system.

      I'll agree that we need a better election system; Personally I'm ultimiately in favor of the Condorcet System of voting because it's stratagy free. However, there are actually two problems with the system: The winner take all electoral system results in a couple of key areas in a few key states determining the results of the election, and the voting method we use is subject to stratagy, and pressure to suppo

      • Re:Approval voting (Score:3, Informative)

        by bonniot ( 633930 )

        Approval voting is subject to voting stratagy though, in some ways more so then our current system. I'll agree that we need a better election system; Personally I'm ultimiately in favor of the Condorcet System of voting because it's strategy free.

        Indeed Condorcet voting is better than Approval voting, but it is also more complex to implement. So promoting Approval voting could be the best thing to do in the long run, as advocated [] by the [] website (which I think gives a very clear revi

  • by tetranz ( 446973 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @10:29AM (#10523901)
    Are sympathizers the same as "supporters"?

    I don't recall hearing of Republican or Democratic sympathizers.
    • It's just yet another insult from the two stooges.

      The "bad guys" used to be Communist sympathizers, so sympathizers has a bad ring to it in our culture, and thus it is the word the two main parties supporters use to try to make the third party supporters sound evil...or at the very least disreputable.

      Although if you take the meaning of the word literally, it's not really that bad (from
      1 : to be in keeping, accord, or harmony
      2 : to react or respond in sympathy
      3 : to share in suffering o
    • No. I'm a Democratic supporter, but a 3rd party sympathizer. That means that I support the Dems (with money, votes, whatever), but I like the 3rd party candidate[s] too - just not enough to take my support away from the Dems.
  • Voter Fraud? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindlar ( 707940 )
    This scheme sounds a lot like voter fraud and is very likely to be illegal. Keep that in mind if you choose to sign up.
  • Isn't this illegal? It's like a bizarre form of carpetbagging.
    • I know it's usually illegal to offer money for votes. Whether it's illegal to trade votes for other votes, I don't know, but I do know that it's unethical.

      • 18 USC 597 [] prohibits paying someone for their vote or soliciting someone else to pay you for your vote.

        18 USC 594 [] prohibits intimidating or coercing someone else to vote or not vote in a particular manner.

        There may be additional statutes relevant to this matter, and there may also be case law on the subject. According to this article [], the CA Secretary of State shut down similar websites in 2000, citing California statute as justification for doing so.
      • Yes, of course, it is legal, it is a form of political association and expression protected by the First Amendment. No state even tried to make vote-pairing or 'vote-trading' illegal in 2000 and none of the tens of thousands of people who did it were ever prosecuted for anything.

        The reason people wonder about this is that six Republican state secretaries of state, led by California's Bill Jones, tried to shut down the movement in 2000 by claiming that vote-trading is a form of vote-buying and selling. This
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:20AM (#10524498) Homepage Journal
    How do paired voters know they haven't been cheated by their opposite? That would create not the extra meaningful votes for one's candidate, but double the vote for their opponent. It's quite a dilemma []. Gaming these rickety election systems offers substantial loss when it backfires.
    • I don't see a whole lot of room to abuse this the way it is set up. They are targeting 3rd party supporters in swing states (a) and Kerry supporters in states were Bush is favored heavily (b).

      So your options to game the system are to pose as either a (a) or (b). If you pose as (a), you'll be paired with a (b), so (b) would be expected to vote for your choice of 3rd party candidate, and you would be expected to vote for Kerry. If you instead vote for Bush, well then you've wasted your time signing up, beca

      • Huh? It's not that complicated: Bushite in swingstate promises to vote for Nader if Naderite in Bushstate votes for Bush. Sucker Naderite votes for Bush, and scammer Bushite also votes for Bush. No harm, no foul, since the Naderite's Bush vote probably didn't change anything in his Bushstate, and the Bushite would have voted for Bush anyway, right?

        Wrong. The Naderite would likely have voted for Kerry in his Bushstate, since his "safety" in voting for Nader wouldn't have been assured, even in false promises
        • Your scenario is this: Bushite in swing state promises to vote for Nader, and Naderite in Bush state promises to vote for Bush.

          This isn't what VotePair is doing. VotePair is a partisan effort to oust Bush. Their goal is to match up Kerry supporters in states were Bush is way ahead with 3rd party supporters in swing states. They're not looking to do anything else. A Naderite promising to vote for Bush wouldn't be the result of a pairing from VotePair. Poke around on their site and see if you can find anywh

          • So a Bushite pretends to be a Naderite, then votes Bush. So lots of Bushites do this, like a horde of Freeper zombies. So Bush just scored the actual ballot equivalent of matching funds. That's the problem with any "vote buying" schemes in our country: no accountability of the seller. E Pluribus Unum.
        • Agreeing to vote for Bush isn't possible at this site.

          So there are 4 possible outcomes:

          • Both are honest, and a pair of votes is swapped
          • The one in a swing state is dishonest and votes the way he/she would have voted anyhow, in the non-swing state, a third-party candidate gets more votes
          • The one in the non-swing state is dishonest and votes the way he/she would ahve voted anyhow, in the swing state a 3rd party candidate votes for Kerry
          • Both are dishonest, and both vote the way they would have voted any
          • In a swing state, I agree to vote for Kerry so you vote for Nader in your Kerry state. Then I vote for Bush in my swing state. Bush lost nothing, Nader gained something useless (he's not going to win), and Kerry lost a vote. It's not that big a deal, by itself, but reductions in the popular margin make it easier to hide other rigging in the votes that determine the Electoral College. That makes it easier to hold onto a win decided by the Supreme Court (or otherwise, like split Electors in Colorado and Maine
            • The net result of that is that Kerry loses somewhat in the popular vote, and that Nader wins somewhat in the popular vote. I don't personally think that's a big deal. I think the people who would be using this site are probably ones who would support third-party candidates anyhow. I agree, it has the potential to fudge the numbers a bit, but I still think the benefits outweigh the risks.

              • Reducing Kerry's popular vote isn't merely a risk. Republican vote tampering is a certainty, underscored by their destruction of Democrat registrations in swing states, already revealed in a number of cases. Rigging Bush's vote counts higher will be easier to get away with when Kerry's actual numbers are deflated. To win the election war, and the inauguration peace, Kerry needs all the votes he can get.

                This bind the American electorate is in shows how badly the electoral system needs fixing, to represent u
      • I forgot to say the the prisoner's dilemma doesn't apply, because there isn't a big payoff if the third party supporter defects. The person they would most like to vote for isn't going to win anyway.

        I think vote pair did a good job minimizing the benefits of defecting.

  • I cannot recall if there were any legal cases on it, or how they came out if there were. It certainly looks suspicious, and probably skirts the edge of things if it's actually legal.
  • Have you ever wondered why there is no nice, easy word to describe a person who lives in any one of the United States? Most folks use "American," but we all know that's awfully vague what with dozens of nations in the Americas. There is a reason for this, Folks that live in the United States are citizens of their State. I know South Dakotans, Minnesotans, and Californians, but I don't know any "United Statesians." Even the Constitution of the United States refers to the people as "citizens of the severa

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.