Are they legitimate?
“We are a country that loves our conspiracy theories,” says University of Utah political science professor Thad Hall. “That’s why we can’t do major reforms in the way we cast our ballots because people are convinced there’s some hidden evil in the proposals.”
What Hall is really worried about is what Hurricane Sandy exposed about the way Americans cast their ballots in the wake of a natural disaster.
“One of the big things is how voting will occur in New York and New Jersey and other places that were flooded. Officials there lost time preparing for elections and voters were displaced.”
Hall says we are woefully unprepared to deal with these kinds of situations.
“We don’t have a plan for it. What would we do in Utah if there was an earthquake along the Wasatch front? You don’t think of elections as a top concern when there’s a disaster, but it’s worth considering how to deal with that situation.”
How about online voting? Hall researches how some European countries have been able to implement voting over the internet, such as Estonia. Online voting there has been successful because they’ve been able to establish digital identities for residents - something that has been difficult to do in America.
Another hurdle to online voting in America is the inherent distrust about the process. Hall says there’s a generational disconnect in this country about technology.
“There’s a generational difference in how people see this issue. Older Americans are usually more distrustful of technology while younger users are usually early adopters of new technology.”
Hall says the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy highlights a need for flexibility in the way we vote.
“We could set up an internet kiosk for people who are displaced. They could vote electronically and print out their ballot.”
But, Hall realizes that America’s winner-take-all system is another big hurdle.
“Many European countries have more than two parties, so even if your candidate loses, they might be part of the government because of proportional representation. When it’s winner-take-all, there are more claims of fraud and more suspicion.”
Which brings us back to the ever-present conspiracy theories.
Will the circle be unbroken?...
I’ve been playing around with the Electoral College map, and here’s what I think is going to happen Tuesday.
I predict Barack Obama will win Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. That will be enough to give him 294 Electoral Votes and a second term in the White House.
I think Mitt Romney will end up winning Florida and Colorado. That won’t be enough for him as he will end with 244 Electoral Votes.
We haven’t even put the wraps on 2012, but I’m hearing rumblings Sen. Mike Lee may get a challenge from within his own party in 2016.
No names have surfaced as of yet, but some Republicans tell me there’s a growing sense of dissatisfaction with Utah’s junior Senator.
Inside Little League Football:
The Jordan Maroon Mity Mites dismantle Riverton Silver 47-0 in the semi-finals. They now take on Alta White in the finals this Saturday.
Alta White is responsible for Jordan’s only loss this season. It should be a fantastic game.
“All intellectual tendencies are corrupted when they consort with power.” ~ Clive James