You Need to Vote

That’s right. I said it. You need to vote. Who cares about work, who cares about school, or whatever obligation you may have. It can wait a day. Drop whatever it is you’re doing tomorrow and go vote. I’ve got my preference of who you should vote for (Obama), but even if you don’t share that opinion just get out to the polls tomorrow and vote.

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San Francisco Barackified

I voted at a community center two blocks from my apartment. While walking to the polling place, I saw on nearly every door for two blocks placards that said “Vote Today” stuck to door handles. On each one there was a sticker that said for that house what the nearest polling location was. As I was driving through 16th and Mission on all four corners of the intersection. People were honking at them as they drove through the intersection (myself included) and they cheered wildly each time.

I’m totally impressed by the organization of Obama’s street teams and supporters. There at signs on the streets, posters in windows, people on the street, phone calls being made all from Obama’s camp. But what of Hillary? Nowhere to be found, at least in this city. Perhaps that’s not too surprising knowing San Francisco, but in SF, it’s Obamamania.

Now, to glue myself to the television for the next 8 hours.

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Political Rally Groupthink

I went to my first rally of this political season last night, put on the Asian Americans and Pacific Islandars for Obama group in San Francisco. Kelly Hu (actress from X2, etc) headlined the event delivering an uninspiring speech on why she supports Obama. Actually, a bunch of the speakers before her (mostly from the SF School Board) gave much more impassioned deliveries on the virtues and merits of voting for Obama.

While I’m an ardent Obama supporter, rallys always seem to pray on groupthink. Since the first time I think in 2000 (or was it 1996?) when I started attending political events, it’s always struck me as interesting how people who have never met a candidate can stand up in front of an audience and profess the candidates undying love and devotion to causes we care about.

Last night as speaker after speaker got up to talk, it continued as it always did, to seem a bit phony and groupthink-esque. I can only believe so much that having never met a candidate, that somebody can legitimately stand up in front of an audience and say “This candidate is going to make America better, going to change your life and blah blah”. I’d feel they would be a lot more honest if they said or started with “I believe that…” instead of abusing the podium.

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California Voting Trickery and Deception

The “Presidential Election Reform Act” is currently hunting around for the required amount of signatories to appear in the 2008 ballot. This proposed Act would change the way California’s electoral college votes are divided up, moving from a winner takes all to a system where a electoral vote would go to the winner of every congressional district, possibly moving away ~22 of the California electoral votes away from the winner of the popular vote. The cleverly named Act is a thinly veiled effort by California Republicans to sway the electoral power of the nation’s largest state away from the popular voting results in to a slanted version of electoral representation.

The number of voices against this proposed Act is growing, and as Slate argues that this is most likely unconstitutional. Article II, Section 1 of the constitution states electors shall be appointed by the states “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” Taking this to the ballot and having the voters decide on how the state’s electoral votes are decided therefore would be unconstitutional. As Slate comments, the attempt to take this directly to the voters is a sly way to avoid the Democraticly controlled State legislature and confuse them with a well titled Act.

Further (and I’m no voting law expert), this would severely disenfranchise voters in more dense districts (e.g. Los Angeles or the Bay Area) by moving voting power to less populated areas. If the proposed Act argues to give more voter control to the individuals, that’s patently false as it is still a winner-takes-all system, only now at the district level. The popular vote is still left discarded under the Act.

As Mark Leno and others argue, we need electoral reform, and we need it badly. But what we don’t need is disingenuous trickery of the public to meet one party’s ends in the name of reform. The worst part of maneuvering like this is that it will drain resources and time to defeat where the state has pressing issues that require attention instead of this Act.

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