flwyd: (transparent ribbon for government accoun)
I'm doing my part to help democracy tomorrow: I'll be at a polling place for over 12 hours. If I can do that, you can do your part: spend (hopefully) less than an hour to get to your precinct, stand in line for a bit, and make your choices known. If you haven't turned in your mail in ballot, get thee to thy County Clerk's office before 7 PM. If you're voting at a precinct, make sure you're in line by 7 PM. Everyone in line gets to vote, no matter how long it takes.

Do not wear a campaign shirt or button to vote (or bring an overshirt). Electioneering is outlawed within 100 feet of a polling place and you may be asked to cover your shirt.

If you have any legal problems voting (e.g., someone tries to prevent you, you're not on the list you're supposed to be on, etc.), see if there is a lawyer on site. Colorado's status as a swing state means many precincts will have a legally-trained poll watcher on hand. If no one present can help you, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-866-MY-VOTE-1.

Consider taking a cell phone or small digital camera to the polling place. If you have any issues with a touch screen system, video the vote.

If you haven't made up your mind about ballot initiatives, review my post from last week. In the end, I voted NO on 50 (gambling) and 51 (developmental disabilities) for several reasons including those discussed in the comments. I won't be upset if 51 passes, though.

Note: All specifics above apply to Colorado voters. Your state's rules may vary.
flwyd: (Trevor over shoulder double face)
It ain't over 'till it's over.
-- Yogi Berra
Don't get cocky, kid!
-- Han Solo
FINISH HIM!
-- Mortal Kombat and [livejournal.com profile] tongodeon

I believe that in a generation, we'll look back on next Tuesday as the day hope beat fear. But there's still a chance that fear wins yet again. Obama leads in the polls, but 2000 and 2004 showed the strength of Republican vote suppression techniques. Polls measure how people say they'll vote, but they may not account for the people who try to vote and are prevented. Vote suppression takes many forms: challenging voters (because their driver's license has a middle initial but their voter file does not), misinformation (many Democrats and independents in Virginia received a flier telling them to vote next Wednesday... when it will be too late), poor resource allocation (the big story from Ohio in 2004 was few machines and long lines in black areas but sufficient machines and short lines in white areas), and purges of voter rolls.

Even without intentional voter suppression, elections have a significant margin of error. Voters might have a family crisis crop up and not make it to the polls. Voters can get confused by voting machines or ballot layouts. Touch screen voting machines can be miscalibrated (the official story on why West Virginia voters find their selection of Obama switching to McCain or third party candidates). Mail-in ballots can get lost in the mail or never delivered to voters (Sequoia Voting Systems made an error and didn't print ballots for 11,000 of a batch of 21,000 Denver absentee voters). These are important issues, and may work to the advantage of one side. It's important not to assume malice when incompetence is more likely. It's even more important to make sure neither malice or incompetence has a chance to affect the outcome.

The 2000 election came down to Florida having a vote spread that was within the margin of error. (New Mexico was also that close, but didn't have enough electoral votes to change the outcome.) Even though Obama is leading in the polls, it's important to get as many supporters to vote as possible. The Obama campaign needs to run up the score in swing states to be sure they're above the margin of error so there's no opportunity for the election to be lost through malice (voter suppression, electronic vote hacking) or incompetence (machine or human error on the part of election organizers or voters). Don't let Colorado become The Florida of the West.

You can do your part to help hope win. Obama's website has lots of information about where and when you can volunteer. Their focus is making sure their supporters get to the polls. Volunteer tasks include walking door-to-door with a clipboard or sitting in an office and making phone calls. At this point, if you volunteer you will only talk to people you know support the same candidate. You won't get into an argument with someone who thinks your candidate is a terrorist. You won't have to convince someone who's undecided. All you have to do is ask people "Have you voted yet?" If they have, check them off and nobody will bother them further. If they haven't, make sure they know where their polling place is and that it closes at 7pm. I'm an introvert, but I spent part of my Sunday afternoon canvassing and had a great time. I'm uncomfortable talking to strangers and I can do this. So can you. The Colorado forecast for this is for warm weather and streets full of dry leaves. You'll want to take a walk anyway; contact your local Obama office to canvass. You'll spend three hours enjoying the weather, getting exercise, and helping make history. If you don't live in a swing state or don't like walking, sign up for phone banking. If McCain pulls off an upset, you won't be able to do anything about it next Wednesday. Let's not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

If you can spare a few hours on Tuesday (Election Day), even better. I just signed up to be a poll checker -- comparing the precinct list of people who voted with the campaign's list. If you want to volunteer for that sort of job, you need advanced training, so get in contact soon. They also need canvassers and phone bankers, so show up for a shift if you can. If you volunteer, you'll be able to tell your kids "I did my part to elect an amazing president." Not only that, you'll get one of the most charismatic and thoughtful presidents of the last sixty years. If you don't help get out the vote and a McCain victory in Colorado proves the pivot point for the whole electoral college, you'll spend the next four years with a nagging sense of responsibility every time you grumble about the state of the nation.

I don't agree with everything Obama wants to do and I look forward to opportunities to improve upon his plans. But I'm doing what I can to help him get elected because I think they're the best plans we've had in years. If Obama wins, I feel like the federal government will be on the road to getting better. If McCain wins, I fear the government will only get worse. I hope in a generation I'll have to make a tough choice between the Democrats, Republicans, and other parties. But the McCain campaign has continued the practices that are killing the Republican Party's credibility and value to society. They need to hit rock bottom so they can rebuild right. If McCain gets elected, it will only prolong the victim's suffering.

flwyd: (transparent ribbon for government accoun)
The beginning of October means it's time to make sure you're registered to vote at your current location. Colorado Voters can check their registration status online. It will also tell you your polling place, what districts you are in, and so forth. In Colorado, the County Clerk must receive your voter registration by 5pm next Monday in order for you to vote in this fall's election.

Even if you can't make it to your polling place on November 4th, you can still vote by mail; check your County Clerk's website for mail-in ballot information. The advantages of voting by mail include not waiting in line, being able to refer to voter guides before checking boxes, and voting at midnight while drinking a beer on your couch naked.

Colorado is considered a "swing state" in this year's presidential election which means major candidates are expending a lot of effort to convince us to vote for them this year. I've listed all of the presidential choices below. I urge you to inform yourself about the other items on the ballot as well; many of the less-publicized choices will have more of an impact on your day-to-day life. Coloradans this year will vote on an open senate seat, a seat in the house of representatives, the state board of education, University of Colorado regent, state senate, state house, district attorneys, county commissioners, RTD directors, judge retention, 14 initiatives and 4 referenda to amend the state constitution, and various issues at the county, city, and district levels. Educate yourself early so you make an informed decision about the future of your community.


Colorado has rather easy ballot-access laws, so tends to have a lot of minor-party choices. I'm surprised, for instance, that the Prohibition party is still kicking it even after Earl Dodge kicked it. And I've never seen a few of these parties before, particularly the Boston Tea Party (who are not on the ballot in Boston). Presidential candidates on the Colorado ballot:
John McCain / Sarah Palin Republican
Barack Obama / Joe Biden Democratic
Chuck Baldwin / Darrell L. Castle Constitution
Bob Barr / Wayne A. Root Libertarian
Cynthia McKinney / Rosa A. Clemente Green
Jonathan E. Allen / Jeffrey D. Stath HeartQuake '08
Gene C. Amondson / Leroy J. Pletten Prohibition
James Harris / Alyson Kennedy Socialist Workers
Charles Jay / Dan Sallis Jr. Boston Tea
Alan Keyes / Brian Rohrbough America's Independent
Gloria La Riva / Robert Moses Socialism and Liberation
Bradford Lyttle / Abraham Bassford U.S. Pacifist
Frank Edward McEnulty / David Mangan Unaffiliated
Brian Moore / Stewart A. Alexander Socialist, USA
Ralph Nader / Matt Gonzalez Unaffiliated
Thomas Robert Stevens / Alden Link Objectivist
May 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 2017

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