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How Can Nerds Make a Difference In November?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the our-own-sweet-way dept.

Politics 950

Scott Aaronson offers an intriguing call for ideas on how nerds can supercharge the political process this year. He's clearly an Obama admirer and phrases his challenge this way: "What non-obvious things can nerds who are so inclined do to help the Democrats win in November?" But the question itself is not inherently partisan. The analogy Aaronson gives is to the Nadertrading idea in 2000 (which we discussed at the time). What's the Nadertrading for 2008? "The sorts of ideas I'm looking for are ones that (1) exploit nerds' nerdiness, (2) go outside the normal channels of influence, (3) increase nerds' effective voting power by several orders of magnitude, (4) are legal, (5) target critical swing states, and (6) can be done as a hobby."

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I know I know! (5, Funny)

longacre (1090157) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793853)

Get a programming job at Diebold.

Re:I know I know! (0, Redundant)

JeanCroix (99825) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793931)

My first thought was "hack your local electronic voting machine." But you beat me to it.

Re:I know I know! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24793943)

Spam all republicans with a message saying due to voting machine problems, and to avoid overcrownding on the few working termnals, Democrats are asked to vote on tuesday and republicans on wednesday.

Re:I know I know! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794159)

That happened in Iowa City where I live. KCJJ (A local radio station known for their run ins with the court system) were threatened with a lawsuit for telling people on the air that republicans were being asked to vote on Wednesday to help prevent long lines at the voting places. Honestly, if you dont know what DAY you're supposed to go vote, you probably should stay home.

Re:I know I know! (5, Insightful)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794317)

and if it was done the other way would you feel the same about it?

what if they had asked black people to vote on wednesday instead to prevent long lines?

a public broadcast medium making what appears to be a legitimate announcement (and yes i live in iowa and have heard their "parodies" which sound amazingly official) SHOULD be held responsible for their actions.

Just because you thought it was funny, doesn't mean it might not have disenfranchised many people.

Preventing people from casting legitimate votes, regardless of their political affiliation, race, religious background, or any other criteria covered under law, is both legally and morally irresponsible.

Re:I know I know! (5, Insightful)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794383)

Preventing people from casting legitimate votes, regardless of their political affiliation, race, religious background, or any other criteria covered under law, is both legally and morally irresponsible.

And yes, for some reason this does include being stupid enough to fall for something like this in the first place.

Re:I know I know! (2, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793985)

Seriously. The establishment played dirty with the media, let the geeks play dirty with the proprietary voting machine companies with no method of peer review ;-)

Re:I know I know! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794073)

Close, but if you want to really fix electronic voting, there's one sure-fire way of doing it.

  1. Figure out a way of rigging a vote for a believable candidate.
  2. Describe exactly what you are going to do and how you are going to do it, and encrypt this document.
  3. Send the encrypted document anonymously to all the media organisations you can think of in advance of the election.
  4. Rig the vote.
  5. After the election, send the decryption key to all the media organisations.

It's one thing to get somebody to admit the elections are riggable in theory. People don't really believe it until you show them. They still have faith in the process, or the government, or human nature. This way, you can get people to take notice without actually doing any real harm.

What you don't do is rig the election for an unbelievable candidate. That way, they immediately go into damage-control mode, make you out to be a prankster, and find some way of "retrieving" (e.g. making up) the "real" results. The point is that you wait long enough for everybody to congratulate themselves on another well-executed election, make all the acceptance speeches, etc, so they really commit themselves and can't say that they weren't utterly fooled.

Bonus points for giving up your anonymity afterwards and pointing out that you rigged the election in favour of a candidate you don't want to win.

There's actually two (5, Funny)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794235)

Close, but if you want to really fix electronic voting, there's one sure-fire way of doing it.

The other one is an EMP blast.

Re:I know I know! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794157)

When mentioning Diebold, it is always crucial to mention that they now call themselves Premier Election Systems, in an attempt to make people forget that they are "that" company.... you know, the one with broken and insecure voting machines.

Re:I know I know! (1, Insightful)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794333)

Just keep explaining how morally superior Democrats are...and how they need to soak those rich who make over $60K... and how evil those corporations are, and how their obscene profits need to be taxed more...and how much we need union bosses and hip Democrats to make our spending decisions for us...and how they need to redistribute wealth...and how smart Democrats need to tell dumb hicks who cling to their guns and religion how to live and what to drive to keep their carbon foot-prints low...FROM EACH ACCORDING TO HIS ABILITIES AND TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS NEEDS!!! Si! Se puede! That's the ticket. Get it out in the open.

Ummm .. Vote? (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793875)

Or is that obvious?

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793967)

Good luck getting anyone to vote in this country. We've had some of the lowest rates of voter turnout of any democracy for many, many election cycles now.

Besides, it is much easier to say "I didn't vote because there was no candidate that was running on [insert favorite cause here]". And as long as the non-voters continue to not vote (or just complain), we'll continue to have this same system.

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (5, Insightful)

RealityProphet (625675) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794107)

Good luck getting anyone to vote in this country. We've had some of the lowest rates of voter turnout of any democracy for many, many election cycles now.

For someone to do anything requires some amount of motivation on the part of that person. For voting, that would mean getting to understand the issues and know the candidates, and then to form an opinion one way or another on those issues and where the candidates stand on them. What makes you think it would be a good idea to have unmotivated people vote when they obviously have no interest and, more than likely, no understanding, of the issues involved?

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794209)

you must be new here. democrats vote only for democrats and likewise with republicans

re: voting and motivation (4, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794325)

Very good point. I think this gets to the root of why those MTV "Rock the Vote!" style campaigns get on my nerves.

I'm all for people making the effort to learn what's going on in politics, and then being able to make an informed decision.

But at the same time, some people are simply apathetic. If you prod them to go out and vote (by selling the idea as trendy and "cool", applying peer-pressure, etc.), you wind up with people voting for completely wrong reasons. EG. I just like candidate X because he looks better on TV. The other guys look too old and ugly!

All things considered, I think we'd do just as well to have them opt out of the whole process, if that's all the effort they're going to put into it.

At the same time though? I *really* wish the people who don't like either of the two "major candidates" would get out there and vote 3rd. party, rather than skipping the process. That's where I'm at right now, myself. I can't bring myself to cast a vote for yet another person following in the footsteps of Bush, but Obama comes from the typical crooked Chicago politician pool, screwed us over by not fighting the telcom immunity bill, and has professed ideas for public healthcare that I think aren't going to work. Both candidates are apparently fine with a continuation of the "Patriot Act" too, which tells me a LOT about them.

That's why I'm going to cast a vote for Bob Barr. Frankly, the guy's kind of a "tool". He's just trying to ride the coat-tails of Ron Paul, and his V.P. already was heard admitting that he's really only running because he hopes it'll boost his popularity so he can get a book deal or radio show program in the future. But that's not the point. The point is, a vote for him is a protest vote the other guys can CLEARLY see they didn't earn.

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (4, Insightful)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794351)

My favorite is "I live in a (blue|red) state, so my vote doesn't matter, the state will go with (blue|red) candidate regardless, so I won't vote."

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (0, Troll)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794371)

Good luck getting anyone to vote in this country. We've had some of the lowest rates of voter turnout of any democracy for many, many election cycles now.

As long as elections in the US are a choice between fascism (Republicans) and socialism (Democrats), I will vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE by abstaining.

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794213)

Don't be silly. They will be too busy playing computer games and downloading music and porn.

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794295)

Vote?

If Ron Paul runs as an independent, I'll vote for him. I think he'll lose. But I'll still vote for him. Regardless, I think Ron Paul will get maybe 10% or 20% of the vote*, then Obama will walk all over McCain.

I believe Obama to be far superior to McCain, and I'm a registered republican. But even if I thought it were close (in spite of what the polls say), I still wouldn't vote for either. I live in a blue state (Illinois) so it really doesn't matter who I vote for. People always say that your vote counts. But where I live, it really doesn't. It's Don Quixote going to the polls. Luckily, the lesser of two evils that I want is likely to win... this time.

* Who knows? Maybe there's hope. Ross Perot started with 39% of the vote, but it declined to 19%. And Ron Paul is far better than All-Ears ever was. Can you imagine a Ron Paul presidency? He'd wear out the veto stamp and have to wear a bullet-proof vest to bed.

Youth vote (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794305)

They've been going on and on for at least 15 years about "the youth vote", but election after election, statistically the youth vote is a non even. Most of them are too wrapped up in school, work, and partying to involve themselves in the political process.

Re:Ummm .. Vote? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794401)

Yea that is what I was going to say.
What I find interesting is that for some reason people seem to feel that they are justified in hacking the political system.
Why should techies try and make there votes be more "effective" than the average person.
Kind of smacks of extreme Narcissism to me.
Oh and I am sure that there will be a stream of. "others do it already posts" or because "we are smarter than everyone else posts" to follow.

People get out and vote and or be part of the system but don't try and hack it.

Real nerds... (4, Insightful)

subl33t (739983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793883)

... should be smart enough to see that neither party works and would start their own.

OK, flame away. :P

Re:Real nerds... (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793969)

Be smart enough to realize that, as is usually the case in software, starting from scratch is a waste of time.

Refactoring the existing structures to better suit current needs and eliminate bugs saves a lot of set up time and costs.

Re:Real nerds... (1)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793989)

... would be smart enough to see that the political system does not work, and would start their own.

Re:Real nerds... (1)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794081)

...but quickly realise that there is no known way to solve the problem and proceed to refuse to deal with any half-baked solution, while trying to come up with the One True Solution.

Re:Real nerds... (4, Funny)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794161)

... would agree on the goals and vision and then spend years fighting language flame wars. They would create several hundred competing political systems which would then all be bought by Google.

Re:Real nerds... (1)

theamazingjex (1330549) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794281)

... would be smart enough to see that the species is unfit for political society and start their own.

My voting algorithm (2, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794007)

... should be smart enough to see that neither party works and would start their own.

OK, flame away. :P

1. Vote third party.
2. If not third party, vote AGAINST the incumbent.
3. If incumbent is unchallenged, abstain in protest.

I'd run myself, but if I'm asked about my Christian Faith, I'd have to lie. I'm a shitty liar. I'm in the Bible belt here, so it comes up.

Re:My voting algorithm (1, Funny)

Utopia Tree (1040146) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794087)

"1. Vote third party." Go Ahead! Throw Your Vote Away!

Re:My voting algorithm (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794301)

"1. Vote third party." Go Ahead! Throw Your Vote Away!

I'm in GA. Very rarely do the Reps lose anything.

And what kills me, there are so called Libertarians here but when it comes to voting day, they vote Republican. When I ask them why. They say, "I couldn't let the Democrat win!"

Oy!

Re:My voting algorithm (1)

dunnius (1298159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794349)

"1. Vote third party." Go Ahead! Throw Your Vote Away!

As if your vote actually counted anyways in most states where the outcome has already been decided based on voting history. I already know that the democrats will win in California, so there is no point for me to vote in my state. Actually, it doesn't matter who you vote for at all since the two candidates are really the same; they and their parties will continue to ignore the constitution.

Re:My voting algorithm (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794189)

I'd run myself, but if I'm asked about my Christian Faith, I'd have to lie. I'm a shitty liar. I'm in the Bible belt here, so it comes up.

Then don't lie. If people won't vote for someone based on any sort of religious affiliation, or lack thereof, they're morons, and deserve to get bent over by our current politicians. Fuck 'em.

Additionally, you could explain how your lack of belief doesn't mean you won't show respect for their faith, but if they're as stupid as we're assuming, that wouldn't make an impact.

Faking Christianity. (1, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794415)

I'd run myself, but if I'm asked about my Christian Faith, I'd have to lie. I'm a shitty liar. I'm in the Bible belt here, so it comes up.

American Christians take a very simplistic approach to their religion, which makes it very easy to fake Christianity if one is willing to make the effort. You don't have to be C.S. Lewis to convince the average American fundie that you're a believer. In fact, most fundies would probably find C.S. Lewis' brand of Christianity beyond their intellectual grasp.

Re:Real nerds... (2, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794009)

Great idea! I'm signing up for the CowboyNeal party today! It's about time we had a CowboyNeal option in national elections! =)

Re:Real nerds... (1)

RandLS (637452) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794355)

Not amazingly, this already happened about 37 years ago. We call this new party the "Libertarian Party". We Libertarians would be quite happy if you came to join our ranks.

Simple (2, Funny)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793907)

Game the search results on the candidates. Especially for sites in the swing states.

Hack the electronic polling stations (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793915)

Oh, that's right he said it has to be legal...

well i would (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24793917)

blow the hog hard

that's easy (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793921)

Hack the voting machines?

echo chamber (3, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793955)

I don't care who wins the election. Just to get that out of the way.
 
I think that people who spend a lot of time on the internet build up a false sense of community size and influence. If one were spending a lot of time on Digg last year, they were probably surprised by how poorly Ron Paul did.
 
What percentage of Americans are regularly active on the internet? What percentage watch hours of t.v. a day?
 
I'm all for people getting out and doing something they believe in but the fact that this is compared to something involving Nader illustrates my point perfectly. It is a small group of people taking fringe actions what will not increase voting power by orders of magnitude.

Re:echo chamber (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794079)

What percentage of Americans are regularly active on the internet? What percentage watch hours of t.v. a day?

There are actually quite a bit of studies out there that show that the amount of time the average american spends on the internet per day is increasing, and the amount of time spent watching TV is decreasing. Paper newspaper subscriptions are also declining rapidly as well (as rapidly as old people are dying off),... This should not surprise anyone on slashdot.

Re:echo chamber (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794197)

I'm usually on the internet when I watch TV with the wife - take that! (cue replies of "you have a wife???")

I usually do not browse the web when watching movies, however....

Re:echo chamber (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794237)

That does make sense - but what are the raw numbers? It can't be close. Most people in the US are still on dial up. That just blows my mind- because all day I interact with other people like me, and often I forget that most of the rest of the people around me don't live in my world.
 
Then I have a discussion with someone who isn't in IT and doesn't spend a lot of time on-line and it's almost like talking to someone from another country. And the bottom line is that there are a lot more of them than there are of us.

Re:echo chamber (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794389)

% of all adults who look online for news  about the campaign...

Spring 2000     16%
Fall 2000       23%
Spring 2004     31%
Fall 2004       34%
Spring 2008     40%

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Surveys. Margin of error is ±2%.

Sure, even this election, it's less than half.   But considering the greater depth of information the internet provides, it's certainly not inconcievable that online coverage & political debate forums might be the deciding factor in various states.

start by caring who wins (1)

davido42 (956948) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794269)

"I don't care who wins the election."

Well, assuming you are a nerd (read: person of above avg intelligence), you should realize that the past 8 years of the Bush administration have made a difference in our personal lives. We are paying directly for the policies of this administration, and sure, this is my partisan opinion, but there is no doubt that the nation financially "challenged", to put it mildly, right now. It's not by accident that we have reached this point--it is by the decisions made by those in power.

What happens in Washington affects us directly, and who is in the White House sets the tone. If you do not see the difference between the two choices we have, because "it won't make a difference anyway", you might want to remember how it was before Bozo got into office.

So.. you should care.

development as direct action (2, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793961)

According to the criteria, I would say contributing labor to key "political" software projects such as GPG or TOR would be best. It can be done as a hobby, definitely exploits our nerdiness, and absolutely goes outside the normal channels of influence.

Granted, this has nothing to do with getting a politician elected, but that's exactly the point. Taking direct action to solve the problems of privacy and government surveillance increases our "effective voting power" many times over, because we don't have to hope that whatever shmuck we put in office will do what we elected him to do. In a certain sense it makes us even more powerful than the president.

I guess my point is that the most powerful things nerds have done to change the political landscape haven't had anything to do (directly) with elections. Because our power and potential is bigger than any politician.

Re:development as direct action (1)

taubz (322102) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794245)

Here are some open-source projects aimed at improving the democratic process directly:

http://wiki.opengovdata.org/index.php/OGosh [opengovdata.org]

Simple.. (5, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | more than 6 years ago | (#24793993)

I'm Canadian, but I do hope Obama wins, In the recent weeks, I've been working on getting work in the US, I think it would be nice to expand my computer consulting horizons. As I've been following US politics for the last 10 yrs, I do think Obama is indeed going to be a great president. I would consider moving to the US if a president like Obama was elected!

But really, the problem with Obama, like anything else, are the myths propagated by others, or the misinformation about him. I say that anyone who wishes to help Obama (nerds included), only need to ensure that the facts are made clear to anyone willing to listen.

Nerds and the web, can obviously create ads for Obama such as "did you know" blurbs on their websites for example.

It's not about tricking people into voting for Obama, but about ensuring he's clearly understood by people. So, anyone who can clearly explain who Obama is, what he stands for and most of all, get his message across, is obviously going to help!

Re:Simple.. (2, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794069)

Did you know that Obama lied about not voting for telecom immunity?

You mean like that? Or, did you mean

Did you know Obama lied about the source of a negative ad about himself and attributed it McCain instead of the third party source who actually created the ad?

Re:Simple.. (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794227)

Dude, are you serious? Obama sold us out. He voted for telecom immunity for their illegal wiretaps, and thus proved he'll bend us over just as hard and fast as any other politician would. How can you say you want him as president, when he already killed our ability to have any faith in him?

Re:Simple.. (4, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794315)

Think of it as a strategic move. If he voted against the entire bill containing the immunity clause, then yes, he's probably get a whole lot of respect from people like you and me.

However, that's going to be a big thing that the McCain camp is going to harp on, and drill it in that Obama doesn't support measures to tackle terrorism.

Obama has already voiced his opposition to the immunity clause by voting for the amendment to ditch it. That's didn't go through so you can imagine it's not a easy move to play.

Re:Simple.. (1)

cwAllenPoole (1228672) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794273)

I'm Canadian, but I do hope Obama wins, In the recent weeks, I've been working on getting work in the US, I think it would be nice to expand my computer consulting horizons. As I've been following US politics for the last 10 yrs, I do think Obama is indeed going to be a great president.

Not to start a flame war, but he just proposed to add additional educational programs without increasing taxes in a nation which is facing over one trillion dollars in debt... Why do you view him as helpful?

Re:Simple.. (2, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794311)

I know he's for "change." That's evidenced by getting a VP pick who's been involved in normal Washington politics for 35 years. I know that not voting for him will "prove the US is racist" [newsweek.com] , so failure to vote for him will obviously prove I'm racist regardless of how I feel about his stance on issues. I guess the US is already sexist because of our failure to get Hillary elected. I know he voted for telecom immunity.

The more I learn about him, the more I view him as just another politician.

Re:Simple.. (2, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794337)

"But really, the problem with Obama, like anything else, are the myths propagated by others, or the misinformation about him."

Really? That's it? My problem with Obama comes straight from his mouth, from his supporters' mouths, and even from his wife's mouth:

"We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another -- that we cannot measure the greatness of our society by the strongest and richest of us, but we have to measure our greatness by the least of these. That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done...

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation. That you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual; uninvolved, uninformed."

Re:Simple.. (2, Insightful)

keithltaylor (966667) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794405)

you find that a problem? Holy cow, dude.

hahahaha (-1, Flamebait)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794341)

Obama a good president? What are you smoking up there? John McCain may not be the best choice for President, but Obama ranks near the worst in history (Right next to Hillary).

If you want to get work in the US, then you better root for McCain, because Obama will cause a major recession (Government reports last week show the economy improving, and NOT in a recessaion, as the Democrats would have you believe).

Re:Simple.. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794343)

If you are basing your decision to live here on who is president, you are using the wrong criteria. Every election cycle, in attempt to garner votes, both parties act like if they don't win it will be the end of everything good and right. Yet, having lived here my whole life, as I look back over the good and bad times - I can't think of a single one where the president had any major impact on whether or not they were good or bad.
 
Local government and policies where you want to live will have much more to do with what your life is like. Presidents come and go - I guess you could prepare to pack up and go 4 years. I've got friends who threaten to move to Canada every 4 years. I guess you could join in with them. The fact that none of them actually ever move does give away (in my mind) the fact that it doesn't matter so much who gets elected.

Get a job as a journalist (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794017)

Get a job as a journalist/reporter and write pro-obama articles. Oh, wait, that's already being done.

But you could blog (ugh) about actual issues, using actual facts and actual research. tv/print news is generally superficial and simplified. Much of the web is smears and juvenile, but you could improve that.

Not inherently partisan? (1, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794021)

How can that question be anything but partisan when it specifically mentions helping a specific party?

"What non-obvious things can nerds who are so inclined do to help the Democrats win in November?"

That is a VERY partisan question. Maybe the submitter doesn't understand the word partisan, so let me make it simple: If a question or statement singles out a particular party or candidate, then said question or statement is partisan.

An inherently non-partisan question would be "What non-obvious things can nerds do to improve voter turnout and the election process in general?"

Re:Not inherently partisan? (1)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794111)

Maybe the submitter doesn't understand the word partisan,...

Another interpretation is that a poster on the internet does not understand quotation marks [commnet.edu] .

Re:Not inherently partisan? (0, Flamebait)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794309)

Ok, reading comprehension 101:

He's clearly an Obama admirer and phrases his challenge this way: "What non-obvious things can nerds who are so inclined do to help the Democrats win in November?" But the question itself is not inherently partisan.

The statement "But the question itself is not inherently partisan." refers to the question preceding it: "What non-obvious things can nerds who are so inclined do to help the Democrats win in November?".

That question ("What non-obvious things can nerds who are so inclined do to help the Democrats win in November?") is, in fact, partisan.

Is that simple enough for your limited intellect to comprehend?

Re:Not inherently partisan? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794171)

The not inherently partisan question is the one in the headline. How can nerds make a difference in November. Seems pretty similar to the example you provided.

The summary specifically says that the person quoted is obviously an Obama supporter and that he phrases his challenge that way, but the submitter obviously meant that same question applies just as well if you replace Obama and the democrats with McCain and the republicans.

You're being deliberately obtuse.

Re:Not inherently partisan? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794303)

Simple: the story was posted by kdawson and doesn't accuse Republicans of eating babies. Therefore, it's non-partisan.

How is that NOT Partisan?! (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794023)

"What non-obvious things can nerds who are so inclined do to help the Democrats win in November?" But the question itself is not inherently partisan.

You and I seem to have different ideas of what 'partisan' means.

Honestly, the best thing a nerd can do during an election is spread information. Not slanted information but stuff like the folks over at factcheck.org are doing. Another thing is discussing various differences in the voting process like trying to build a grassroots movement to move back to the popular vote or opening up discussions on runoff voting. There's plenty of ways to inform the public, possibly the most important and least rewarded job--in my mind anyhow. I find it humorous when Democrat workers go around alienating Republican voters and vice versa.

If you approach me with the mindset that I need to be voting for your candidate I'm probably not going to react well to it.

Re:How is that NOT Partisan?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794319)

The question isn't partisan. Merely that particular phrasing.

"What non-obvious things can nerds do to help the Republicans win in November?"

Happy?

Re:How is that NOT Partisan?! (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794413)

If you approach me with the mindset that I need to be voting for your candidate I'm probably not going to react well to it.

Well, I think you must [wikipedia.org] vote republican.

Lobby the delegates. (1)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794027)

I would be surprised if you guys haven't noticed, but "democracy" in the states are delegated. It gives the rulers an idea what the general public wants. However when it comes down to it, the public only elect delegates, and those delegates have no obligation in going through with voting the person they say they are going to vote for. Therefore, it is none obvious way to actually make a significant impact on an election.

Re:Lobby the delegates. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794137)

> [...] "democracy" in the states are delegated.

It are?

How can nerds make a difference in November? (0, Redundant)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794031)

Hack Diebold?

Easy (1)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794039)

Throw our own Boston Tea Party and dump all the un-auditable, papertrail-less voting machines into the nearest river/lake/car compactor.

Re:Easy (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794145)

And start a war of independence from, umm, the US?

hack the voting machines! (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794063)

Of course, if you use this option, remember that the last armed revolt in America was over voting issues.

just ask the experts (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794075)

the RON PAUL people seemed to know what they were doing ;-)

Vote third party (5, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794089)

If you want to stop voting for the lesser of two evils, stop voting for the flawed two-party system. Simply vote third party to show that you want to be involved but hate the choices given to us by the corporate controlled parties.

It doesn't matter if you vote for Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader or Alan Keyes.

People need to start demanding that these 3rd party candidates get air time and in the debates. I'm really hoping that google or someone else has a debate with some of these candidates.

The best thing you can do to make real change and a difference is to take over your local government and work up. Get some friends and like minded people and start running for city council, judges, etc....

Re:Vote third party (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794223)

If you want to stop voting for the lesser of two evils, stop voting for the flawed two-party system. Simply vote third party to show that you want to be involved but hate the choices given to us by the corporate controlled parties.

It's hardcoded in; people naturally align into groups, and the larger the scale the fewer the groups. For those countries with more than two effective political parties, in the end it typically comes down to two groups of coalitions.

Anyway in this country we elect a person, not a party. Both parties are broad enough (though the Republicans have narrowed their view of what it means to be a Republican dramatically since the early 90s) to be able to produce candidates who will support any legitimate side of an issue. No, they won't produce candidates who believe in abolishing the income tax system, but that's a strength, not a weakness.

Re:Vote third party (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794271)

Not only this, but the third party you vote for has a chance of gaining more backing in future elections if they can meet the percentage quotas for your particular state.

Beyond this, though, people should focus more on the elections that really matter, such as state and local elections as well as your senators and representatives. Even though one senator or representative doesn't have a great say in the bigger picture, a concerted effort to replace Congress with a more technologically savvy body on the whole by concentrating efforts on getting out to vote every other year and spreading the necessary information about individual voting records for your regional elections would do far more to make a real change in this country than electing anyone to the Presidency.

The whole point of the office of President is a final check and balance over the Congress to prevent unpopular bills from passing that can't get a 2/3 majority in Congress (to overturn a Presidential veto). The whole reason that Bush has been such a poor President is that he went along with Congress on so many poor bills and pushed to increase his own power (and they followed suit and gave it to him).

Focus on moving power back away from the President by paying more attention to what's going on in the other elections. Maybe even generate some way for people to work together on proposing new laws to address technology issues in ways that afford us the rights we value rather than reinforcing corporate values with laws sponsored by Disney and the RIAA/MPAA. Remember that the only reason the President can propose a law is because ANYONE can propose a law, the hard part is getting it into the hands of someone in Congress that understands and is willing to push it through.

Change your name in online games (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794095)

Lets say you are pulling for Obama. Go into Call of Duty 4 and change your name to "McCain 2008" and run around with the shotgun. Or go play Counter-strike and change your name to "McCain Roxors" and camp in a dark corner with a sniper rifle.

You can also go into people's skype channels and spam your love for the candidate that you do not want to win. People will be so put-off by your actions that you may just swing an independent in the opposite direction!

Of course... (3, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794097)

Hack the Gibson.

Share your stance on technology (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794115)

Probably the best thing to do is explain your stance on technology and why you feel it's important. It seems as though there are a lot of people who single issue vote on gun control or abortion so it might not be too difficult to get them to pick up another issue that they care about.

There are also plenty of people who really haven't decided who to vote for yet, so explaining your views on technology and answering their questions might help to influence their choice just a little bit.

As an added bonus if they take the information in and do a little research of their own they might continue to be interested in some technology issues and base their voting in local or state elections on a candidate's tech platform in addition to other areas as well.

Even if you only talk to your parents you've spread the message. For most people this shouldn't be too difficult as they're only upstairs.

Education (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794121)

The most effective thing a geek can do in November is cast an educated, confident vote.

This means that each and ever geek needs to do his or her civic duty and research the candidates using information from a wide variety of sources and people. Personality of the candidates is not as big of a factor as the media makes it out to be. Look at the policies each candidate would like to establish or disestablish, and ponder how if affects you, your family, and your neighbors and friends. Ponder how it affects people in other countries and our soldiers abroad.

Study the history, study the sociological reports, and study the hypothetical fiction which extrapolates these policies.

Considering these policies, think of what is best for you and your family but still fair to other people and their families. This is called liberty, and it should be every geek's goal.

Consider this the most important thing that any geek can do up to November 4: educate him- or herself, and educate others. It's a heavy burden, but we geeks are mentally prepared for the vast knowledge it takes to cast an educated vote.

#3 makes me uncomfortable (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794123)

Call me old fashion, but the one person - one vote system still appeals to me. Trying to increase ones effective voting power feels more like Jim Crow rational: "We're the good guys, so we should have disproportionate power."

Re:#3 makes me uncomfortable (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794173)

I wish I had mod points. I so agree with you on this.

"We know better than our opponents so our votes should count more."

Re:#3 makes me uncomfortable (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794243)

Call me old fashion, but the one person - one vote system still appeals to me. Trying to increase ones effective voting power feels more like Jim Crow rational: "We're the good guys, so we should have disproportionate power."

You realize that you're arguing that it's immoral to try to persuade anyone about anything, right?

Wrong position to take (3, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794131)

"(6) can be done as a hobby"

Affecting a political outcome and changing the policies of your government is NOT a fucking hobby. If you want change you need to put forth commitment and while this might not be a full-time job, it is a second job at the very least. This is not another fucking coding project you can fork if you don't like the way things are going, you can't call others noobs, and you actually have to learn something about social interaction if you want others to listen to your ideas. If you treat this like another OSS project then it will languish in code hell, a perpetual alpha with the occasional vulture picking at the carcass every now and then.

A massively co-ordinated disinformation campaign? (2, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794135)

In these days of sloppy journalism and down right bias on mainstream channels in the US then surely the most "effective" is to learn from the real scum of the political process the people who do the anonymous negative campaigning, shooting malicious falsehoods out into the world via leaflets and other approaches.

Nerds could go hugely further than this by creating fake sites, bombarding social networking sites and editing wikipedia to spread these rumours and even create "verifiable" sources. Low quality videos suggesting illegal or immoral behaviour could be uploaded onto YouTube and main stream news channels could be bombarded with votes/emails/text pushing an agenda, view or revelation.

Oh or did you mean what nerds could do on their own rather than what they will be paid to do in this campaign?

So... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794147)

You don't think both parties aren't already bought and paid for by the same paymasters?

 

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794155)

How Can Nerds Make a Difference In November?

- Explode the Parliament on the 5th. Oh wait...

If voting changed anything, it would be illegal. (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794169)

Here is a radical idea, how about don't vote? I originally posted this in various posts on RevLeft (my "homepage"), and in that context. However, most of the messages in here count for everyone. In short: your vote doesn't count, and when you vote you are telling "the system" that you support the person and everything they stand for.

------
Basically, it doesn't matter who *you* vote for, your vote doesn't count. It is one vote out of thousands, and with the shitty system (first past the post in most places, along with the electoral college), it doesn't mean shit.

OK, so assuming you *do* vote (for whatever fucked up reason you justify to yourself), and you vote for "Obama". You just endorsed capitalism, the state, Christianity, and a whole lot more bullshit. You just supported all Obama's of policies on every single issue. Even if you didn't mean to (the USA presidential system democratic? Not even the term "representative democracy" makes sense in this case).

OK, so don't vote, and the politicians say, people are happy with the status quo. However, we all know that is bullshit, especially in this case where the present president cannot be re-elected. The reasoning behind the claim is totally flawed. To not vote, does not endorse the status quo, because the status quo is changing! OK, what about not voting as "accepting the system"? Yeah, if you vote you are endorsing the system and whomever gets elected, and by not voting the same... Actually, only the first is the case. Not voting depends on your motivation, and when I don't vote I'm objecting (even if only close friends and family know that I don't vote and the reason why).

OK, lets examine burning a tire on the hireway. What does it do? Well, it might rate a mention in the local paper, and it is possible that it might be linked to anti-voting activity (anti-system). But it isn't about to bring about a revolution (but it will do a shit load more then [i]voting[/i] for any of the candidates, whether "socialist" or not). But, it could be fun, and it might cost the state a bit of cash.

But when since is voting fun? Especially when it means that (whether your vote is counted or not, and we all know how many votes aren't counted, whether because you are black or from a Democratic county, or because you foolishly used (or didn't have a choice in using) Diabold [wikipedia.org] machines (regularly giving votes to Republicans and losing Democratic votes, every time) endorsing (tacitly and implicitly, even if not explicitly) a system that you are fundamentally against.

So yeah, if you are against the present system of exploitation etc., then use bullets, the ballots aren't going to change the system.

-----

The lesser of two evils is... evil.

If you are going to vote for evil, vote for Cthulhu, the greater evil.

-----

The rich will always be "the #1 heard voice in America", because they can buy access to politicians, to media, to judges whatever they want. Their vote is worth twice or more of yours.

[About Nader] Another old rich white heterosexual male. Have fun with that.

-----
From an old essay of mine http://www.revleft.com/vb/us-presidential-elections-t21651/index.html [revleft.com]

However, the system currently in place was not meant to be democratic, only to provide a system of rule.

However, the system currently in place was not meant to be democratic, only to provide a system of rule.

The current US Presidential electoral process produces a weak mandate

It is accepted in the US by many political theorists that if a person does not vote, then they are happy with either the status quo or with whoever got elected. Generally from minorities, many people do not vote because they feel disenfranchised. They feel that the system is rigged so that their voice will not be heard anyway, so why bother voting. And because the voting system is 'first past the post' (in the majority of instances) this leads to a situation where it is theoretically possible for a President to be elected with 10% support of the people who voted, with only 10% of people voting (or one percent support).

-----
All this and more can be found at: http://www.revleft.com/vb/best-option-your-t85432/index4.html [revleft.com]

Doing the world a service. (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794175)

Stop DailyKos by Any Means Necessary.

Any legal issues can be resoved by a Presidential pardon after the election

Do the math; don't vote (1)

wigle (676212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794181)

Nerds should be able to estimate the voter turnout in their state here [census.gov] and calculate the probability that their one vote will swing the election in that state. Obviously the closeness of the race plays a huge role too, but there's no way to know how close the race is until after the elections (margin of error is +/- 3%, and the race will be won by less than 3%).

If you've done all this, you will see that the chance of your vote making a difference is extremely remote. Your entire trip to the voting booth is wasted. You're giving away time and money for nothing.

If tons of people stop voting and a single vote becomes meaningful, then it will be time to start voting again.

Re:Do the math; don't vote (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794323)

Nerds should be able to estimate the voter turnout in their state here [census.gov] and calculate the probability that their one vote will swing the election in that state. Obviously the closeness of the race plays a huge role too, but there's no way to know how close the race is until after the elections (margin of error is +/- 3%, and the race will be won by less than 3%).

If you've done all this, you will see that the chance of your vote making a difference is extremely remote. Your entire trip to the voting booth is wasted. You're giving away time and money for nothing.

If tons of people stop voting and a single vote becomes meaningful, then it will be time to start voting again.

On the other hand, if every nerd believed you, 5% fewer people would vote, which will certainly have a good chance of deciding an election.

Stop going to Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24794217)

May not change things in November, but this shithole of SlashKosian socialism and equally poor technical analysis does not deserve the pageviews.

Barak Obama? (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794219)

You mean the guy who voted for telco immunity [cnet.com] ? The guy whose vice-presidential nominee is a MAFIAA crony [yahoo.com] ?

Remind me why I should support either him *OR* the equally scummy McCain?

Nerd is synomous with Democrate (1, Insightful)

jag7720 (685739) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794275)

One thing you can do is stop associating nerds with an effeminate/liberal/bleeding heart/socialist/Marxist/ political party.

More of us than you think, are level headed and conservative and actually love this country.

Nadertrading? Really? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794291)

Wasn't that borderline illegal and entirely ineffective? Come on, that's not a nerd's signature.

This election needs Nerd help the old fashioned way. LEARN! Learn about your candidate, everything there is to know, learn his strengths and weaknesses. The next step is outside the Nerd repertoire, but I think we should give it a try anyway...

Evangelize! Get out and talk about your candidate, defend their position when you are challenged by a detractor. Avoid hyperbole (hard in politics, I know) and don't be afraid to make someone look dumb if their argument is flawed.

This is how election tides are turned. Enough strong-willed people out there converting the unwashed masses of lackadaisical voters. The Nerd challenge should be to convince the other 50% of eligible voters to get off their butts and show up at the polls in November.

Now where did I put my soapbox...

Learn to fire a rifle. (1, Interesting)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794353)

At this point, armed insurrection is the only way for anybody to change anything. The voting process has been defunct since before the Union was established due to gerrymandering, for several decades due to both major parties being crypto-fascist, and recently due to rigged machines. It is true that anyone who dares to physically oppose the US government is almost certain to die, but with enough numbers, change can still be effected. If a thousand men with rifles marched to Washington and got as much politico blood on their hands as they could, that number is too high for them to kill us without consequences. A thousand US citizens' lives can't be swept under the rug in the way even a hundred could be.

Be smart enough not to vote for Obama (0, Flamebait)

wkearney99 (75906) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794359)

He's got NO experience. Just writing fiction isn't enough to do the job.

'Hack' the social network (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#24794363)

Hack the social network :
* Create several facebook profiles, several myspaces and whatever is hype these days.
* Create fictitious profiles that will seem attractive to different demographics that contain a lot of swing voters. Typically, people who claim to not care much about politics.
* Locate "opinion leaders". That doesn't mean people who have 200+ friends, that means people who could make 10 of their friends change their minds if you manage to change their.
* Concentrate on these, become "friends" and make them change their mind.


Optional : Form a group of several people totalizing a lot of fictitious profiles that could give the illusion of a very lively network.

I think that by treating this as a serious hobby, you could get around 100+ votes in your direction. Note that this is just an online analogy of what politicians usually do.
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