Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

November 2008

Can we just vote?

So here’s an interesting system: You sign on to an electronic ballot and start voting as early as one year in advance of an election, you have right up to voting day to amend any vote on the ballot. There would be a constant report on vote totals, with any ballot not yet cast for a candidate listed as undecided. Also on the ballot would be a list of straw votes as well as a demographic profile of the voter and party affiliation if any, all of which would be reported and available for analyses.

Each candidate could send ballot holders three e-mails per day, one for each type of vote — for, against, or undecided. The e-mails would be handled by an automaton or infobot, so privacy would be protected and voters could block receipt of e-mails (or unblock) at any time.

Here’s the way the campaigns would go. First, upon declaring, candidates would try to collect as many committed voters as possible to obtain an electronic ballot and cast a vote (albeit non-binding) for their candidacies. For the first eight months preceding the election day this would be the heart of the battle, with each candidate trying to obtain and hold on to as many votes as possible, while analyzing the demographics like crazy to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their campaigns.

July and August would be the first time to allow attempts to dissuade opponents’ supporters and woo the undecideds and hold the base while candidates and their strategists watched what worked and didn’t work for all the campaigns.

September and October would be just like all the other election year Septembers and Octobers, with Swift-boating, mudslinging spinners getting everyone riled up. The results would begin to harden, the undecideds would narrow, and the margins would become almost impossible to change.

Then, we all just push the button and it would be over. We wouldn’t even have to stay up past the evening news.