7 responses to “POLL OF THE WEEK

  1. If online voting means representatives spend more time in their districts and less money on travel, I’m all for moving as much activity to online as possible. It may also mean less impact by lobbying groups if reps are out of Washington more frequently. Just saying.

    • You bring up an interesting aspect. With all that traveling, politicians are somewhat disconnected with the people who elect them. Keeping an online presence is one way. What I’d really like to see is a politician that takes a survey of the electors of his or her district, before voting on a controversial issue on their behalf. That person would then truly represent.

  2. I think I missed the original point of your question. The principle is the same, though. You talk about engaging democracy right at the root which means the citizenry needs to feel directly involved and most of us don’t. I worked in Washington as an intern years ago and felt like it was a bubble because it’s so isolated. To my previous point, reps spend so much time in Washington, on planes, with peers, with lobbyists, that there really isn’t much time (or maybe effort) to get to town hall meetings or school board meetings or business community meetings. And to be fair, that’s a hefty task regardless. Anyway, I am completely for putting more of the political dialogue online. For the same reasons shopping, banking, news-reading, socializing is online (it’s convenient, it’s expansive, it’s exposing, it’s immediate, it’s resourceful, it’s … democratic, really), the political dialogue should move to a more engaging and, frankly, a more relevant format.Having said that, we get hundreds of visitors every week and only a handful actually push a response on a poll, so that tells you something about the average citizen’s commitment to engagement.

    • True, most people don’t really want to get involved, they would rather take it easy. And I’m the same in a lot of ways.The previous technology forced the electorate into a mind frame that was more about “observation”, than “participation”. And since we currently have the tech know-how to do online credit card payments and other sensitive online interactions, I think that online voting is within our reach. Not that it would be easy to implement.

      And as far as getting people involved, that’s even trickier. There’s something to be said about not forcing people who don’t wanna vote, to be required to vote. Like some people say, maybe the right to vote should be like a citizenship test, or a drivers exam. Maybe, it might be a good idea to have the people who want to carry that responsiblity, to be required to prove they at least understand the basics. A well-informed electorate is usually one that’s harder to fool.

      • I was thinking about this string this morning on my way to work and trying to wrap my head around the feasibility of online voting. How do you think it could be applied? What could be done to minimize fraud (hostile acquisition of accounts for example) or problems with technology itself (… the chads were a huge problem, so I can only imagine what a failed online system could do)?

        • Actually, I was planning to write an article on that subject. But in brief, I would say we would need to start small. Implementing a digital democracy on a municipal level, rather than on a federal level, might be a lot easier to realise at first. There’s small towns and villages out there, that are losing population and are unable to find a mayor. A partnership between a political organization and an ISP, could come in, hook everyone in town to hi-speed internet, and at the same time give them access to an online voting system. The way I see it, everyone in town would be able to suggest ideas, and vote on them. And instead of having a mayor, they would have a chief moderator in charge of moderating the debate in case it gets out-of-control. Obviously funds would have to be collected first, but considering the exodus that’s happening in a lot of small town, I don’t think it would be too hard to find one that’s willing to have all that influx of funds, technology and resources come in into their borough.

          Doing it on a provincial/state/federal level would be a lot harder though. I think it would have to be done very slowly and gradually, using baby steps. And there would be a lot of established powers that would oppose such an initiative.

          … but I’ll try to have a full article on this subject published sometimes this month. I already know what I’ll write, I just have to figure out what to draw to go with the words.

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