Friday, September 08, 2006

Bullet voting in D-20???

I’ve been hearing rumors from several people that Tom Hucker is telling voters to bullet vote in the District 20 race for Delegate. Does anyone have any direct knowledge of this?

If it’s true, and even if it’s not, I’ve got an issue with candidates who push people to bullet vote. It’s voter suppression. If an independent voter wants to vote for only one or two delegate candidates, instead of three, that’s fine. But a strategy that mobilizes voters to leave two of their voices silent for no compelling reason beyond the fact that one can’t build the level of support that is necessary to win without rat-fucking defines voter suppression.

No, it’s not as bad as literacy tests or reformed-felon exclusion laws, but intentionally leading people to think they have just one vote when they actually have three is akin to purging voter lists.

The concept of voting for three delegates is slightly odd, but it’s the system we have. If a candidate has an issue with the system, try to change it. Why not redraw lines so each delegate comes from a unique district? (Well, this could be infeasible in parts of MoCo, PG or Baltimore where a handful of apartment complexes in one square mile could comprise an entire district…)

Regardless, any candidates, especially a liberal Democratic candidate, who employs a strategy that aims to lower vote count is running against the principle philosophy of democracy.

Originally posted at Outside the Beltway


Blogger OnBackground said...

I disagree. Many of us have a good feel for some candidates, but really don't know the others. Or, there are one or two we want to vote for. I don't know what the various candidates are saying, but I think you should vote for candidates you support and know something about. If you don't have three informed votes then why would you vote for another candidate who might beat one of the ones you support?

So I'm probably only going to vote for two people for Delegate in D20 and only for 2 (out of four I'm allowed) for County Council at-large. And if a candidate suggested this to me as a way of best supporting the candidates I support, I'd be thankful. I'd hardly call that voter suppression.

9/08/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger CommonGood said...

I agree with onbackground. I'm bullet voting in the Council at-large race. There are only 2 candidates that I support that I believe have a chance of winning. So why would I waste my vote on 2 other candidates that unfortunately haven't a prayer. It would only serve to dilute my vote. Bullet voting makes a lot of sense if you have one or two candidates that you really want to see win.

9/08/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Godfrey said...

I share onbackground's view. A fairer system would allow voters to cast all three for one candidate and/or allow an explicit vote of none of the above. That's how corporate proxy votes work in stockholder meetings - you own a share you vote it as you damn well see fit, you can pile them on or split them.

I think it's entirely legitimate to vote for no one, though you should (in my opinion) still go to the polls and be counted as "present." Undervotes do get counted by politicians and their advisers; they lead winning politicians to be more humble and responsive, knowing that they won but that some voters chose not to vote at all in their race, encouraging a challenger in the future.

9/08/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas Nephew said...

You're all missing Raia's point, I think. No one's saying you *must* vote for 3 candidates, but if the rumors are true Hucker seems to be saying you *ought* to vote for just one -- him. That's, well, "unMarylandian" as this state is currently constituted.

It would make cold mathematical sense for Hucker, of course, or anyone else, but it's also a fairly cold abuse of his voters' support if he comes up short: they'll have thrown away 2/3 of their franchise for nothing.

What's good about the MD system is that people who are lots of people's 2d choice can do as well or better than 1st choice winners. That translates to not absolutely *having* to bank on name recognition or a mass organization to have a real shot at the assembly; instead, making a good impression with ideas still has a decent chance. Personally, I'm thinking of Lucinda Lessley here, and I hope you'll give her your 1st, 2d, or 3rd votes.

9/08/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger michaelraia said...

Thomas is right. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with choosing only one or two candidates. It is only wrong for a candidate to urge voters to use only one vote.

Thomas also informed me that Tom Hucker denied pushing bullet voting but I have heard from a few voters in D-20 that his campaign is urging it - could be an overzealous volunteer but Hucker is still responsible for his campaign.

9/11/2006 01:12:00 PM  

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