Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Voter turnout highest since 1968


Voter turnout highest since 1968 (CNN)

Wednesday, November 3, 2004 Posted: 2:17 PM EST (1917 GMT)

One bright spot of this election is the higher level of interest. This is reflected in voter turnout. On NPR in their interviews with officials around the country, one point that came up over and over is the heavy turnout.

This reminds me of an interchange I had in a college course. The professor was talking about how voter turnout is high in many other countries, primarily the ones with a parliamentary system. He posed the question "why". The answer I shot back was "people here are bored with politics, in those countries the stakes are higher and it's more interesting overall" to which he said "interesting".

As I noted on "Ranked Choice" or "Instant Runoff" voting a few days ago, the U.S. election system isn't very representative. Since it's winner-take-all rather than proportional representation, the voters are highly incentivized to vote for the winner rather than the one who best represents their voice.

In this presidential race I found myself with two poor choices, and picked the least poor of the choices (well, Kerry would have been a pretty good choice, but I had a clear preference for Wesley Clarke). That's because my agenda was to get Bush out, leaving Kerry as the strongest voice to support who stood a chance of defeating Bush.

If the election were proportionally representational, I could have voted my conscious with less qualms. Say Clarke were still votable, I could have listed him as my primary choice, listing Kerry as the secondary choice, etc. Or it might be even more precise than that, because in the countries that do have proportional representation there are lots of parties available to choose from.

Still, it's exciting that so many people turned out. The people seem energized about politics in a way I hadn't thought possible. Heck, I'm energized about politics in a way I hadn't thought possible. I plan to keep up the sort of activism I've been doing, because I know my ideas and voice are worthy of being spoken. Just as everybody elses voices and ideas are worthy of being spoken.

We have a country to take back from the corporatist pseudo-royalty that have hijacked this country. They have bought and paid for the presidency twice now, and their candidate has a real mandate now rather than the pseudo mandate he stole in 2000, and they are about to get their dream supreme court justice (Renhquist will be dead soon). We have to keep the pressure on our representatives to represent us.