Tilting at the Ballot Box

Steve Schear s.schear at comcast.net
Fri Aug 27 13:14:47 PDT 2004

At 04:12 AM 8/27/2004, you wrote:

>Hash: SHA1
>On 2004-08-25T11:25:09-0700, Steve Schear wrote:
> > At 09:18 AM 8/25/2004, R. A. Hettinga wrote:
> > ><http://www.business2.com/b2/web/articles/print/0,17925,683182,00.html>
> > >Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - Printable Version -
> > >
> > >Tilting at the Ballot Box
> > >Entrepreneur David Chaum's e-money venture flopped. Now he wants to fix
> > >electronic voting. For once, is the brilliant inventor right on time?
> > >By John Heilemann, September 2004 Issue
> >
> > Like a shoemaker who only has hammers in his toolkit, Chaum is trying to
> > fix the wrong problem.  The problems with voting in the U.S. aren't 
> current
> > or even potential fraud at the ballot box its a complete lack of
> > proportional representation.
>Is this solvable?  Chaum is solving a problem that evidently can be
>solved.  Perhaps once those problems are solved it will be easier to
>direct public attention at other more fundamental problems with our
>representative democracy.

Why would u guess this?  These problems have been around since almost the 
founding of the republic.

>You have a strange notion of what the Colonists meant by that phrase.
>You do have representation.  The fact that your representatives are not
>the ones you wanted is irrelevant.

The Colonists had representatives too, its just that they were chosen by 
King George :)  The fact that 'my' representatives are not the ones I 
wanted nor any of the independent independent party voters wanted is 
paramount.  Representation is about interests and ideology.  If a 
significant segment of voters don't get anyone to represent these interests 
and ideologies bad things can happen (e.g., they can become 
radicalized).  Representation can be an important outlet for these 
disenfranchised voters.

>IMO, your complaint about gerrymandering is valid.  There are a variety
>of formulaic ways to ensure voting district compactness.  See e.g.

>Clearly, no matter what you do, there are problems.  If the district
>size is 1 million, there's a city of 499k and a city of 1501k, what
>then?  The city of 499k is screwed unless there's a nearby population
>center with similar culture.  Even then, the numbers won't be equitable,
>and someone, somewhere will whine about "lack of representation."

The problem is that use of voting districts seems to have always resulted 
in gerrymandering in our political system.  A proportional system can 
eliminate these geopolitical distortions.


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