The software utility, eVote and the eVote clerk, injects true democracy and deliberation into our real-world landscape.

Monday, November 01, 2004



I won't do it. I have no stomach for it.

I've seen election after election where our choices are the lesser of two evils; or we are allowed to enter a useless radical vote of pitiful protest. This is the wrong process, producing the wrong results; insulting us, demeaning us, dis-empowering us, and robbing us of a future, and worse, a pleasant present.

The 2-party system does not allow potential for good decisions, especially when both parties are supported by the same corporations, and these corporations make decisions headlessly and heartlessly with no consideration except quick profits.

This is a process with a strong bias in favor of really bad decisions. Worse, it's insulting to us and works toward our dis-enlightenment.

One, we have to manipulate our vote rather than tell the truth of how we feel. It's disrespectful to Truth and a psychological wound to each of us to be forced to abandon truth to try to manipulate politics. And it's doubly insulting because the fix is easy and obvious: rating candidates for an instant run-off election.

And, why should there be an electoral college? Here in California, my vote counts 1/4 of someone in Wyoming. It's undignified to participate in a system where I am so devalued. My vote would be an insipid ritual, signifying my acceptance of a system that has no interest in my opinion, or anyone's.

In Colorado, they're voting to assign their electoral votes proportionately, rather than in a block. If this had been true 4 years ago, the 2000 election would have ended differently, and it would have been harder for Bush to steal the thrown.

How would the world be different now?

It would not be different enough to change the final outcome. The choice then, and now, is either destroying the earth fast, or destroying the earth much faster, and the system is designed to limit us to those two choices.

By voting, I contribute to this fatal system, and to the federal government that I don't recognize as mine. I am required to pay federal taxes, but I am not required to vote and I won\'t do it voluntarily.

I'm reducing the number of voters. That's my vote. And I'm asking:what if that number approaches zero?

Marilyn Davis
Author of eVote(R)/Clerk


  • At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I do not disagree with everything you wrote. But I think one of the "radical" ideas driving the success of participatory government (including a democracy which we fortunately or unfortunately do not have, as well as representational republic, which we have in imperfect form due to the influence of corporate CEOs) is that it works by "nudges."

    You can hope and press for radical changes, but in all liklihood there will be no reduction of voters to zero, and there will be no armed rebellion. But that's a good thing. The chaos they would produce is not good for stability and progress. 21st century civilization means that political chaos leads to increased stresses on the environment, and we can't have any more of that than we already have. Political chaos is not a desirable direction.

    I encourage everyone to vote. It doesn't affect radical change, but it surely affects direction.

    The reality is that most candidates who are elected are reasonable people. They will hold to their core principles, but they understand they must represent even those who did not vote for them. (And truthfully, I think most people have the same core principles, but widely varying ideas of how to get there.)

    We are all bound to each other by a common environment if nothing else. So citizens are _obligated_ to be informed and vote to send a message to nudge towards the direction they think best. If you think the incumbent will do a bad job, and the challenging party has picked an incompetent candidate, find someone to write in. And next time find like-minded individuals
    to which you can unite your voices and pull stronger. Probably your candidate won't be elected, but believe me, elected representatives take note and adopt good ideas from strong (not the same as loud) voices.

    Marilyn, you are gifted in a way that you personally not voting could be your catalyst to expand and develop your personal gifts in enhancing participation in goverment. I see you are taking a rest from that,
    having been worn out by a time of great efforts rewarded with limited success. That resting time is OK.

    But I do not see general value in advocating that fewer people cause nudges without convincing them to work toward a viable alternative. Subtracting
    energy and effort from the process is selfish.

    Marilyn, you did a good job designing eVote for verifiable security.

    Please put your mind on VVAT for regular polling, including something that prevents rewarding vote selling. It's a user-interface problem. It's a resource/expense problem for printing, validation, recounts.

    I don't know, maybe someone out there already has a good cryptographic solution. Find them, enhance the idea, and then use the contacts you have made trying to get eVote accepted to advance it. Anyone of technical competance could evaluate systems proposed for better electronic poll stations. But you have the perspective of having designed and implemented something like it, and you have the experience of what people liked and disliked or were confused by when you were talking to them to get it accepted. And you have made the contacts. Maybe your role is just to be an advisor to some system out there already.

    I'm not saying that having all those do not obligate you to continue to slave against immovable walls. I'm just pointing out that in my observation that
    you have potential here that others do not. (You could push against bigger walls more successfully than most.)

    I don't know how mankind survives the next several centuries. I like to believe I am wise enough to have a chance at recognizing the kinds of people who will be contributors to that success, even though I don't know what ideas and inventions they will come up with. I've counted you in that group Marilyn. I still believe in your capabilities to contribute.


  • At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for reacting to my essay, Forrest. Your points are well-taken.

    I do think that voting in this system is bad for people, in the same way that, in general, TV is bad for people. It makes unthinking, ritualistic automatons of us. Both are choice-restricting,

    If the democracy process is designed primarily to empower and honor us, then the right decisions will emerge as a by-product.

    I am not advocating chaos. But if such a thing happens, we electronic-democracy types better be ready with solutions. Until our current system is recognized as deeply and fatally flawed, we will
    continue to die.

    I'm not exactly resting Forrest. I'm working as hard as ever, but on a commercial site that my son and I hope will earn us a living. It is an email service. You can get a gist by checking the front page at

    If this gets going, then it will have eVote over mailman and we'll be happening again.

    Thanks again for your comments.


    I'm not advocating political chaos. You know I'm advocating direct democracy. I'm advocating a re-think about our process.


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