Sunday, June 14, 2009

If Only We Could Vote for President 25 Times

Dodgers fans can vote multiple times for their favorite baseball All Star candidates; I wrote in the amazing Juan Pierre twice and then grew weary of seeing the tag line "Every vote matters, so vote up to 25 times!"

It made me think about what voting means in the age of "voting early and often." As the New York Times points out in a piece on American Idol,
"as the show’s audience has declined in recent years, the number of votes being cast has risen sharply."

Pundits often bemoan the electoral naïveté and/or cynicism that these voting schemes seem to inspire, but I worry that the model of mass voting provides such a common -- and obviously flawed -- counter-example to traditional one-person/one-vote/one-candidate schemes, that no one will feel moved to use new computational technologies to try out alternative forms of deliberation, such as Condorcet voting, for example.

(Note also that fans buying tickets are told that their online authentication of themselves as human by typing in two words also helps the Internet Archive digitize their collections and thereby improve on fallible OCR technologies that attempt to read characters in now defunct typefaces.)

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