Ben Kraft teaches a unit on gerrymandering -- rigging electoral districts to ensure that one party always wins -- to high school kids in his open MIT Educational Studies Program course. As he describes the problem and his teaching methodology, I learned that district-boundaries have a lot more subtlety and complexity than I'd imagined at first, and that there are some really chewy math and computer science problems lurking in there.
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The Chamber has spent $32 million in dark money from undisclosed donors, 96% of which has gone to oppose Democratic congressional candidates, according to a new Public Citizen report. Average spending topped $900,000 per race. Read the rest
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tried experimenting with electronic voting this year, to disastrous results
(e.g., getting logged out if your password isn't strong enough, then waiting for the mail
to deliver a new one -- after a phone call to customer service). Considering how the Oscars can barely get its act together to find out who they want to nominate (let alone win), just imagine how effective e-voting would be for a political election, a national
one, that determined who runs the country. Hint: Not at all effective. In any way. At all. Let's never speak of this again. (via Moviefone
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Did you know that there was a major American election on Tuesday? Great. Let us all never speak of it again. At least for the next 3.5 years.
But before we send the parts of our brains that care about politics off to recuperate at a nice imaginary spa, take a quick look at a page of election maps put together by University of Michigan physics professor Mark Newman. He studies complex systems, including the networks of human relationships and decision-making that go into election results. His page of maps shows several different ways to visualize the same 2012 presidential election data — methods which provide different pieces of context that you don't normally see in the simple state-by-state map.
The basic map — the one you see on TV and in the newspaper — doesn't really tell you the whole story. It gives you no idea of population density (a factor that obviously matters a lot in tallying the popular vote), and it only shows the winning party in each state. In reality, the vote is seldom all-Democrat or all-Republican. There's a gradient, no matter where you live.
The map above takes both those factors into account — distorting the country to make the more populous parts larger, and showing split turnouts in shades of purple.
See all Mark Newman's maps at his website
And here's his FAQ
Thanks, Rick Musser! Read the rest
That story about a wife's tie-breaking vote? The plot of a Popeye cartoon from 1956.
Is it legal to photograph and share a copy of your voting ballot online? The answer depends on a bunch of things, including what state you're in, whether you've completed the ballot, and whether you actually bring your mobile device into the voting booth. The law varies widely.
In Washington, DC, you can indeed legally "instagram the vote." Like this fellow did.
But elsewhere, doing what he did is against the law and may make it so that your vote cannot be counted.
The Citizen Media Law Project reports that in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, there are laws banning photography or videography in polling places.
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Tiffiniy from the SOPA-killing activist group Fight for the Future sez,
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Remember when we worked together and beat back internet censorship and SOPA, and changed the world earlier this year? 2012 is a historic year for our basic rights on the web - the year the internet came alive and fought for free speech and freedom. Sites like Boing Boing depend on an open and free web, and so doesn't much of what you love and do on the web.
Unfortunately, Congress still only cares about the opinions of likely voters. If everyone who cares about internet freedom stays at home this election, Congress will bring back SOPA. That's why we've been working on a campaign to turn out a massive number of internet users at the polls, and we're asking people to join us tomorrow for Internet Voter Registration Day, right before a bunch of state deadlines, by pledging that you'll vote, and register if you need to: internetvotes.org.
Washington insiders thought SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA were all 'certain to pass.' How did the internet win against those bills? Because people stood up to protect free speech and the transformative power of the internet in their lives.
Let's dramatically increase the number of people egging each other on to vote, which has shown to get people to the polls. The first thing we're asking people to do is to get our friends to pledge and register to vote starting Tuesday, National Voter Registration Day (right before a bunch of state deadlines with time to send in your forms).
Florida governor Rick Scott has ordered a high-velocity purge of the state's voter-rolls, using secret criteria to target 180,000 Floridians and requiring them to prove their citizenship in 30 days or lose the right to vote. Democrats and activist groups claim that this violates federal laws. For 91-year-old WWII vet Bill Internicola, it's an insult. Greg Allen reports on NPR's Morning Edition:
"To me, it's like an insult," he says. "They sent me a form to fill out. And I filled out the form and I sent it back to them with a copy of my discharge paper and a copy of my tour of duty in the ETO, which is the European Theater of Operations."
Internicola's was one of more than 180,000 names Florida's secretary of state identified from motor vehicle records as possible noncitizens. Several weeks ago, the secretary's office sent county elections supervisors a first batch of some 2,600 names. County officials, who are also preparing for the state's August primary, started sending out letters to suspected noncitizens, saying they had 30 days to prove their citizenship or be removed from the voting rolls.
World War II Vet Caught Up In Florida's Voter Purge Controversy
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