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A Plea to Protest Voters

The authors of these pieces rarely line up their preferred Presidential voting strategies — third-party, write-in, refusal — with the electoral system as it actually exists. In 2016, that system will offer 130 million or so voters just three options:
A. I prefer Donald Trump be President, rather than Hillary Clinton.
B. I prefer Hillary Clinton be President, rather than Donald Trump.
C. Whatever everybody else decides is OK with me.
That’s it. Those are the choices. All strategies other than a preference for Trump over Clinton or vice-versa reduce to Option C.

via There’s No Such Thing As A Protest Vote – Medium

Back in August, Clay Shirky posted a piece on why protest votes at the Presidential level mostly get ignored. The Electoral College isn’t set up to receive different messages than what Clay shows above.

So unless you really cling to the belief that Clinton and Trump are moral equivalents, you should reconsider your vote if you haven’t voted early.

If you think it’s ok to vote third party or stay home because you live in a safe state for one or the other candidate, check out polling and predictions before you vote. Even ALASKA, which hasn’t gone blue since 1964 is looking close:





Early Voting in Alaska: Oct 24 – Nov 7

Monday, October 24, 2016 marks the start of early voting for the 2016 Presidential Election here in Alaska. I strongly encourage fellow Alaskans registered to vote to take advantage of early in-person voting. Vote as soon as you can and then encourage your friends to vote.

Voting Information


Haven’t made up your mind for other candidates, ballot measures or judges?

By this point, I think nearly everyone has made their choice in the Presidential race, so I’m not flogging that horse. But I want you to vote the entire ballot – state candidates, ballot measures and judicial retention candidates. If you need more information about these races, check out:


A word for protest voters – Alaska not the safe state you think it is

Some folks in Alaska vote third party for President not only because they dislike the available Democratic/Republican choices, but because traditionally Alaska is a Republican blowout state where the Republican nominee can count on winning the state by 15-30 points. Democrats can vote Green because any non-Republican Presidential vote is “throw away” under the Electoral College and very disgruntled Republicans can vote Libertarian because a win is a win whether it’s by 30 points or by 10 points.

That’s NOT the case this year. As of this writing (10/23/2016), aggregate polls for Alaska suggest that Donald Trump is barely FIVE points ahead of Clinton, according to FiveThirtyEight’s forecast for Alaska. Depending on which party’s voters are more motivated, Alaska could go either way. Though it is still somewhat leaning towards Trump.

If you are a protest voter – on either the left or the right, your decision to stay home or vote third party could actually swing Alaska one way or the other. Especially if turn out in Alaska is suppressed on Election Day due to either candidate doing well in eastern states.

Alaska – not a safe state this year. Think about it. Then vote. Early and the full ballot.

* – Neither Donald Trump nor Gary Johnson contributed candidate statements for Alaska’s General Election Pamphlet. Their parties were invited to contribute, but they missed the print deadline, but are being offered a second chance to show up in the online version. They have till October 25th to respond.

Early Voting: Week of 10/24: AK, AR, ID, IL,TX, HI, LA, UT, WV, MD, FL, VA

Monday October 24

Tuesday October 25

Thursday October 27

Saturday October 29


When you vote, vote the whole ballot. Your down ballot candidates need you. If your state has initiatives or other ballot measures, your input is needed.

If you don’t live in the states above, you can type [“your state name” voting] into Google and get a voting schedule and requirements – BUT CHECK WITH YOUR STATE’S ELECTION OFFICE to make sure that’s the right information. It probably is, but don’t get disappointed.

Early Voting Week of 10/17: GA, TN, KS, NC,WA, NV

Want to get the 2016 election over with? If you live in one the states below, you likely can thanks to early voting. If you’ve made up your mind, vote this week and get it done:

Monday October 17

Wednesday October 19

  • Tennessee
  • Kansas – In some counties, early voting might be November 1-7

Thursday October 20

Friday October 21

Saturday October 22


When you vote, please vote the whole ballot, including initiatives if you have them. With Congress people think about whether you want to aid or hinder the next President in their agenda and vote accordingly.

If you don’t live in the states above, you can type [“your state name” voting] into Google and get a voting schedule and requirements – BUT CHECK WITH YOUR STATE’S ELECTION OFFICE to make sure that’s the right information. It probably is, but don’t get disappointed.

Sign if you agree: The next presidential debate needs to discuss SCOTUS

The first presidential debate did not include a single question about the Supreme Court. Now’s our chance to make sure it is brought up in the next one. It’s vital that perhaps the biggest issue on the ballot this November –the Supreme Court – gets adequate airtime during the first debate.

via Sign if you agree: The next presidential debate needs to discuss SCOTUS

Regardless of which side you fall on, I hope you will ask the moderators of the next debate to ask about the Supreme Court – both in terms of what sort of judge they’d look for and what groups, if any they’d expect to have input into the process.

How communities are using direct democracy to shape city budgets (Waging Nonviolence)

A recent poll conducted by Gallup found that the percentage of Americans who trust the public in handling issues is at an all-time low. Reasons for this vary, with eroded faith in institutions playing a role. Yet, in more than 40 neighborhoods across the United States, a new tool called participatory budgeting is boosting confidence among citizens in working with neighbors to solve problems together.

Participatory budgeting first began in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. There, the Workers’ Party created a process allowing residents to submit ideas that would be eventually voted on. The most popular projects would receive funding from an allocated budget. This became popular among residents and is still in existence today.

via How communities are using direct democracy to shape city budgets

The idea of setting aside a certain amount of funds (like 0.5%) of city funding to be allocated through a direct democracy process sounds intriguing and might pull in more people to be involved with their towns.

Looking forward to hearing more examples.

Alaska: What’s at Stake on Election Day 2016

Regardless of party or presidential preference, I think you should go out and vote. Democracy wins when we’re all more engaged. Aside from deciding what legislators stay in or leave, we in Alaska have these two ballot propositions:

Ballot Measure No. 1
An Act Allowing Qualified Individuals to Register to Vote When Applying for a Permanent Fund Dividend.

Ballot Measure No. 2
Allow Debt for Postsecondary Student Loans

Due to self-imposed restrictions based on MPOW, I will not offer any recommendations on legislators. But I do want to explain why I plan to vote against both ballot measures.

On Ballot Measure No. 1 I think our biggest problem is turnout. I believe we need to figure out how to motivate people already registered to vote to get to the polls before expanding registration efforts. Especially since this will make more work for a staff already burdened with long call queues.

I’m against Ballot Measure No. 2 simply because our Legislature will not look at new funding sources. This rejection of additional funding combined with refusal to meaningfully cut is something that has already downgraded our bonds several times this year. Until such time as the Alaska Legislature chooses to stop spending our savings and enact new revenue sources, I plan to vote against any and all bond issues.

If you’re unsure of your voting status or the voting process here in Alaska, watch this video – then take action:

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