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Cambridge voting

Voted in the municipal election today. I like proportional representation, but I'm really leaning toward open party list. Cambridge uses STV. We had 25 candidates this year, up from 18 in 2011, for 9 council seats, so you get to rank up to 25 people. Just doing that is a pain, but then there's actually voting. Both years I've screwed up my first ballot. A friend did too. I thought it'd be neat if a mechanical machine prevented you from mis-voting, though I'm not sure how. Can't trust digital... but wait! We could hve digital machines that checked your vote, then printed a ballot for you, which you then check and put in the box. No room for dodginess, just more reliable physical ballots. That'd be a lot more expensive than scantrons, though.

We also had a school board election; in 2011 I tried to figure that out, this year I punted. I wanted to spoil my ballot so that my slot would be taken up as it were, but I found the machines reject spoiled ballots. Normally that would be a feature, catching mistakes, but this time I walked away and it meant someone could vote for me. I guess it'd be better to make a random lame vote ("Joe Blow for #9"... though that could allow filling in #1. Damn.) I wonder if you can ask to not get one of the ballots...

In 2011 I read up at the last minute and made a gestalt judgement based on bike friendliness and funding sources and not-craziness and such. This year it was simpler, I turned into a single-issue voter: who sounds like they'll vote for higher density and higher buildings and looser zoning? Anybody who seemed good on that went to the top; people bemoaning the loss of rent control went to the bottom, right above the crazy people, below people who just wanted to increase the amount of "affordable housing" in developments. I'd like to know more where that affordability comes from: small size (okay), subsidies (doesn't seem scalable), developer having to suck it up (not great either)? Talking about parking and car reduction was a plus too.

Apparently both mayoral candidates in Boston favor taller buildings. Nice! As I said on IRC, "You want to be a world-class city like NYC, Boston? Guess what that takes. World class density!" Non-balkanized political planning would probably help too, as it is the region seems ripe for local selfishness.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/379933.html#comments


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2013 07:46 am (UTC)
We could hve digital machines that checked your vote, then printed a ballot for you, which you then check and put in the box.

We had this in place in TX, at least my county did, for the 2008 elections as an accommodation in addition to regular scantron. I was trained on it but was not called on to use it and that was my last year as a poll judge.
Nov. 6th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
Let me add, I posted this not to one-up you, but because I wanted to confirm your idea about digitally-prepared paper ballots. I hope we have a chance to work on a community design project at some point. Other than a generation ship, that is. :)
Nov. 7th, 2013 05:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I thought. :)
Nov. 6th, 2013 07:55 am (UTC)
As someone currently traveling in the Balkans, I take exception! The international cooperation here, even when NATO and the UN have to intervene, is still far superior to the level of cooperation between municipal counselors.
Nov. 6th, 2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
yes, as always: small-time politics are more vicious because the stakes are too small to compel compromise.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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