12 Nov 2000
I’m trying to avoiding commenting on the outcome and silly political maneuvering going on with the election, as we speak. But there are some side-notes which have caught my interest:
Despite unreliable IM clients, I chatted with jonvw tonight about the Electoral College. I’ve always been somewhat confused about how this system works, until I read this wonderfully clear explanation of the process. Though polls show that most Americans favor abolishing the EC, jonvw is among the many who defend it. For my part, I’m siding with the reactionary, unreflective masses who have neither a proper respect for the legacy of our founding fathers nor a solid understanding of the principles of a republic. It is argued that if the EC is abolished, election campaigns will shift their focus onto densely-populated (urban) areas, ignoring those (rural) regions with too few voters to matter, leading to a tyranny of the masses. But the EC system only works to ‘fix’ one possible type of tyranny, the type based on geography, which I contend is an increasingly irrelevant difference. I fall into a number of minority subcultures (computer programmers, college students, Waterdeep fans, &t.) and some of these cultures have common concerns that affect our political viewpoints. Those elected often exert ‘tyrannical’ control over we ‘minority’ computer programmers and technology advocates. Shouldn’t we be protected? Even though we make up only a small portion of the population, shouldn’t we get protection by having a disproportionally large number of electors representing our viewpoint? No; it’s an unnecessary, outmoded institution that does more harm than good, and it’s time to get rid of it. Just ask the People.
I’ve also been following several discussions on the design of The Ballot. I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend to assign blame on the individual voters for misunderstanding the unclear ballot, and this mentality must change. Poor UI design can kill. It’s all too easy, and it’s terribly wrong, to shrug off the problem as one of “”http://www.smileasshole.com/devourme/index.html">stupid users." (Still, this is awfully funny.)
(Penny for your thoughts?)