Ah, election day. Vote early and often.
A longtime reader pointed out to me today that a certain Daynoter whose site I never read anymore advocates having 1% or even 0.5% of the populace vote. He actively goes out of his way to discourage people from voting.
This is precisely one of the reasons I never read that particular site anymore.
I remember an unscientific poll/experiment conducted at the same site several years ago. He named an obscure country and invited readers to write in with guesses as to its size, or population, or some other statistic. He asserted that, given a large enough sample size, the average guess would be very close to being correct. He waited a few days, then presented his results, which were indeed pretty close to the actual statistic.
How you account for whether people went and looked up the answer before “guessing,” I’m not sure. I don’t know if he did, and short of just making sure you ask a much larger number of people than are likely to bother looking it up, I don’t know the proper way to go about doing that. (I’m a journalist, so my education in the art of statistics ended at the 100 level.)
But, if you assume that a large enough number of uninformed people can make the right decision just by guessing, then it follows that the way to ensure the right person is elected is to poll every man, woman and child in the country. Therefore, voting should be made mandatory and the voting age should be reduced to age 2.
That’s nonsense too.
Is it a problem that so few people vote? It’s certainly a sign of larger problems, namely apathy and laziness. I don’t really care if it’s a problem in and of itself, because if we manage to solve the root problems of apathy and laziness, all sorts of great things happen.
So what about the other problem? That’s easy. Do I want my leaders chosen by an elite few? Absolutely not. That’s what we got in Missouri in the Senate race in 2000, and that elitism got us Jean Carnahan.
Go vote. If only to cancel out the vote of an elitist snob.