Saturday, September 17, 2016

Strike the Vote


As we enter the final lap of another quadrennial presidential horserace, let’s consider again the question of how to vote. This is not just a question of whom to vote for; it is also a question of whether to vote at all. Before deciding whom to vote for, we must, and do (explicitly or implicitly) make a decision about the electoral system that solicits our participation. We should make that decision explicitly, based on a clear-eyed understanding of how the electoral system actually now works.

It's my reluctant but considered conclusion that, in the United States of America today, the only effective way to use one's own vote is by withholding it. An organized, public boycott of the presidential election is, I think, the only tactic, within the electoral process, that might provoke important reforms—including of the electoral process itself—that would make other advances possible.

To be clear, I think voting is a fundamental political right. I have seen how people who don’t have that right fight for it, embrace it, and go to extraordinary lengths to use it.  Although electoral politics is only one aspect of a thoroughgoing democratic polity and of individual political engagement, it is hard to conceive of a democratic schema in which a transparent, trusted voting process was not important. It may be one among many, but a vote is an important political tool, and a terrible thing to waste.

There’s also the noteworthy fact that without honest, transparent elections, there is no possibility of significant change by non-violent means.

That’s why I have always made sure to register and vote. For me, in American presidential elections, the most un-wasteful use of my vote has been for some third-party candidate or party whose politics I could actually support. No matter how few votes that candidate got, I thought it was important that support for an alternative politics – substantively left and at least quasi-socialist – be registered and recognized. In the present case, the Stein-Baraka ticket and the Green Party would be such an alternative. 

At this point, however, given what the American electoral system has become, I have concluded that, even in these limited terms, voting for a third party is no longer a politically relevant gesture.

Why? Because I find the electoral system in the United States to be thoroughly corrupted, untrustworthy, antithetical to democracy, and generally hopeless for any progressive purposes.

Everyone on the left, I think, accepts some version—at this point, a pretty radical version—of that analysis. For a long time, liberals and leftists have certainly recognized, and complained about, the corrupting effects of money on our elections. In this regard, all progressives rightly rail about the Citizens United decision. Although fewer, if any, ever mention the decision Barack Obama made—breaking the promise that he and John McCain made, and McCain kept—to accept public financing in 2008.  No political decision has done more to guarantee that the presidential race would be an unlimited private fundraising contest ad infinitum.

As a result of these decisions, of other laws regarding Super PACs, 501Cs, and of the inequalities in wealth in our society in general, the presidential campaign is now an obscene multi-billion-dollar auction. In this cycle, pragmatic Democratic liberals seem to have forgotten all about the corrupting influence of money on our elections—difficult as it is to argue that Koch’s money is more problematic than Soros’s, or Adelson’s than Saban’s, or one Foundation’s from another’s. But there is no straight-faced argument that the billions spent on the candidates does not buy preferential consideration on policies, regulations, and legislation. There is no straight-faced denial that the explicit and implicit commitments made in the private-party, wealthy-donor, fund-raising campaign differ from, and supersede, any of the promises made in the public campaign.

One might opine that's certainly true within the two major parties, but a third party like the Greens represents something different, and if we can persuade enough disaffected progressives to vote third-party, then we can begin to mount a real progressive challenge to the two majors.

But let’s consider what a third-party would have to do to have any significant effect.

It would have to get visibility in a dismissive media, which would probably require breaking a 10% threshold in the polls; it would have to get into the major-party-controlled debates, which now requires 15% in the polls; it would then have to disrupt an election, winning the margin of victory in crucial swing states.

Let's be clear: A truly independent third party of the left that takes itself seriously must be in the business of supplanting, not pressuring, the Democratic Party on the national political scene. The whole point of a third party, the only thing that will mean it’s serious and will get it taken seriously, the only thing that will give it political power, will be if it hurts the Democratic Party.

No left third party will win a state before it makes the Democrats lose one. A party that follows a “Safe States” strategy, whereby it discourages its supporters from voting for it in key swing states, announces its political self-sabotage, and will be nothing more than an elaborate Bernie-ish pressure group on the Democratic Party. The swing states, where the votes mean the most, are where a third-party should campaign the hardest. Only by decisively hurting the Democrats would a left third party effect any change—including any movement left by the Democrats (which should not be its purpose), let alone pushing the Democrats off the political stage (which should).

This means that a serious third party must be unapologetically willing to accept responsibility for its campaign being a factor in a Republican victory. If not, it should admit to itself and everybody else that it’s content with running a series of parallel, adjunct Democratic Party campaigns, and that, like Bernie, is not in it to win, but to make sure the Republicans lose. Vote for us. We’re safe! is the slogan of a party that will change nothing.

Sorry, but it’s the present winner-takes-all-electoral-votes system that dictates what’s effective or not, and sets the rules by which you must play to be effective. If you play in that game, you have to accept the damage it does, and requires you to do. Which is one reason why your first objective, before you play, should be to change the game. Or, as the enduring wisdom of 80s movies has it: Sometimes the only winning move is not to play.

Let’s say that, in the present climate, with the most despised presidential duo in living memory, we have a determined third party and determined third-party voters, willing to pursue the political logic necessary to disrupt the two-party system, and somehow able to overcome the walls of media and debate exclusion. So is it not a particularly propitious time to vote for Stein and Baraka, and push the third party total as high as possible? Maybe we can get over 5% in California! (Leftists should be chastened by the fact that the Libertarian Party consistently polls twice as high as the Greens, and would be the most likely to achieve 10%.) OK, 5% won’t win anything, but maybe it’s enough to change the outcome in a key state, and make the party impossible to ignore.

That would indeed be something, and a reason to vote third-party—if only one other condition were met: having a reasonable certainty that the vote you cast for Jill Stein won’t go to Donald Trump.

Yup, there’s a fundamental fact of our election system that undermines all the standard ways we consider electoral strategies. With the proliferation of electronic voting machines and computerized tabulation systems, the electoral process is not only corrupted by all the influences leftists consistently criticize—the financial control of the plutocracy, media bias, unfair ballot laws, voter caging and suppression tactics, the two-party dupoloy, etc.—it is also untrustworthy in the most fundamental sense: it gives the voter  no reasonable assurance, and no way of ever knowing, that s/he actually voted for whom s/he thought s/he did. 

This is a new paradigm of electoral fraud that’s metastasized since the 2000 election, and few have been willing to confront its radical implications. Liberals have been quite comfortable focusing on nasty election tactics that they can attribute to Republicans; leftists always enjoy parsing the theoretical definition or state capitalism and/or “cis-”; neither has evinced much interest in the pedestrian details of computerized vote counting systems. And nobody wants to be tarred with the dreaded label: Conspiracy Theorist. Only when Hillary’s electoral hijinks against Bernie in this year’s primary became difficult to ignore did a wider swath or the left begin to pay sustained attention to the matter.

Still, there’s a strong pull to keep the discussion focused on who’s the lesser evil. As, for example, the fine left analyst David Lindorff, who acknowledges that: “American voters cannot really expect their votes to be honestly counted in the end,” and then says to vote for Jill Stein. But that only works if you think the worst that can happen is that your vote will not be counted for Jill Stein. It makes less sense if you understand that your vote may be counted for Hillary Clinton.

At this point, anyone, left or right, who professes concern for democracy, must give sustained attention to the integrity of the electoral system, and to the fact that we now have a voting system that is designed to enable wholesale fraud. Anybody who doubts this, should familiarize themselves with the work of people like the indefatigable Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, Steve Freeman, Jonathan Simon, and Virginia Martin (the election co-commissioner of Columbia County, NY, who has insisted on hand-counting votes), who have been working on this for years. Nine years ago, the film Hacking Democracy made the case clearly and irrefutably. I wrote about it in an essay on the 2012 election.

This year, the problem has finally gotten more attention on the left, and Victoria Collier’s recent article on Truthout is a fine starting point for understanding how serious it is. To quickly and dramatically “get” what this means, if you haven’t seen it already, please, please, watch this 8-minute excerpt from Hacking Democracy. In it, an optical-scan machine that Diebold executives testified, and election officials firmly believed, could not be hacked, is easily breached in front of those flabbergasted election workers—reducing one woman to tears, as she says, fully understanding what it means about American democracy: “It’s as though our country is one country pretending to be another country.”




It’s as though that we have one election pretending to be another. And third parties are now part of the pretense.

It’s also important to understand what it means when the voting official in the clip says, “Vendors are driving this process of voting technology in the US.”  It is for-profit vendors who provide their proprietary software and technology, their testing procedures, and their assurances, upon which the public and election officials must rely, but to which they have no access. This is another example of the neo-liberal privatization agenda that abandons adequately funding and staffing public agencies to perform vital public services, and instead hands public money to private contractors who do the job their profit-maximizing way. Voting, a core task of democracy, has now been put in the hands of private firms with proprietary technology. This is a direct result of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), passed after the 2000 election – whose ostensible goal was to rationalize the voting process, but whose actual result was to subsidize the growth of a for-profit election industry over the last fifteen years, creating a voting process that is more opaque and less reliable. Even an American President will tell you: “There is no reason to trust insiders in the election industry any more than in other industries.”

It is foolish to ignore how this electronic voting system affects what third-party voting might actually accomplish. There’s no more need to stuff ballots when you can invisibly transfer electronic votes. Third-party votes are no longer just brave, if futile, markers of political difference; they now become a kind of electronic electoral slush fund, available to be moved around unnoticed—precisely because they are votes for candidates who would have lost anyway. Your brave gesture is the machine’s prime fodder. In a close race in a swing state, a few thousand or so votes from the Libertarian and Green candidates combined can be easily shifted to a RepubliCrat candidate. The combined third-party share of the vote will go from 12% to 9%, or (more likely) 5% to 3%, of the vote, and Hillary or Donald (depending on which party controls the hack in a given state) will eke out a victory. Who’s going to notice?

By the way, in considering whether Hillary or Donald would be the recipient of any such hackery, we should keep in mind that, while in 2000 and 2004 the voting machine companies were clearly associated with Bush, today, as a Stanford study (and here) of the primary vote notes: two of the three main voting machine companies are donors to the Clinton Foundation (also here). That may be one reason why the liberal Democratic media—MSNBC, The Nation, etc.—have not been hot on the trail of this fault in our democracy.

Consider how Hillary won the Democratic primary. She built up an insurmountable delegate advantage by winning with huge margins, early on, in the Southern states, outstripping her poll numbers in anomalous ways. In Louisiana, for example (according to the Stanford study), while the polls had her at 60%, she ended up with 71% of the vote, benefitting from anomalous results in 85% of the counties. Louisiana uses electronic voting machines that a Princeton study found to be easily hackable. It’s not that Hillary “stole” those Southern states from Bernie: she would have won Louisiana anyway. But in a race where delegates were assigned proportionally, by increasing margins of victory by 11% in Louisiana and 12% (over Georgia exit polls) and 10% (Mississippi)—all with electronic voting—Hillary built up a delegate lead that Sanders could never overcome. As the Stanford study charts below illustrate, Hillary’s advantage throughout the primary was in states without a paper trail, and she significantly beat her pre-elections polling numbers only in states without paper trails:


           
Here’s the question: How many, if any, Bernie votes were transferred to Hillary? And here’s the answer, the only true, bad, answer: We do not know, will never know, and have no way of ever knowing. As the great epistemologist put it, this is one of those things that we know that we don’t know.

False results may not even be a result of fraud. Beneath all the techno-talk, it’s really quite simple: Electronic voting machines are inherently opaque to the user and the election official, and have been proven time and again to be error-prone as well as hackable. In a 2010 election in the South Bronx, ”overheating” may have caused an electronic voting machine to invalidate upwards of 30% of the votes,  Oops. What the hell, it’s only the South Bronx. 

It’s virtually impossible to rectify any fraud or error after the fact. That works as well as Take the guilty plea and I’ll get you off on appeal. Under any circumstance, a third-party candidate who would have lost anyway would hardly bother questioning the result. Is some state going to hold a do-over election to make sure Jill Stein got all the votes she deserved? The major-party loser will accept the “will of the voters.” S/he wouldn’t want to be a sore loser. And definitely doesn’t want to be a “conspiracy theorist.”  Above all, s/he does not want to challenge the bipartisan agreement never to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the electoral process. (Although Trump is threatening—another idle threat, I think—to breach that agreement.) When electronic voting and centralized electronic tabulation systems leave no way to challenge the results, what’s the point?

Even where there is a theoretical possibility of an audit, it often turns out to be illusory. Remembering Uncle Joe’s apocryphal dictum that: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything,” and since “those” today are machines., it might be worth mentioning the difference between Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machines and Optical Scan (OS) machines. Then again, it might not. With DREs, votes are cast and counted electronically, leaving no possibility of recount outside of the machines, while OS machines count paper ballots that are possible to retrieve and recount by hand, so OS machines may seem better. But look at what happened in Chicago after this year’s Democratic primary. Illinois requires an audit of five percent of the optically-scanned vote, but in Chicago the auditors just changed the hand-count tallies to match the numbers from the voting machines. And when the voters challenged the Chicago Election board, as you can see here, the response was pure Boss Tweed: "As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?"

This mirrors the pollsters, who now correct their exit poll methodologies to match the reported results, on the unquestioned assumption that the voting machines are inerrant, so the numbers they spit out must be more reliable.

As voting-machine vendors spread across the land, promising to make life easier for low-paid, harried, election workers in underfunded offices—You don’t even have to count the votes. We’ll do it for you, instantly and automatically!—the assumption of the inerrancy of electronic voting results has become baked into the culture of election officials. Questioning that would demand engaging in a lot of extra work—though it is not impossible, even with present resources, as Virginia Martin has shown.

It’s also important to understand why even losing politicians and parties stubbornly refuse to address these issues—as the Democrats did in 2000 and 2004, and Sanders did this year. The untrustworthiness of the voting process is one of those issues that neither major party wants to bring up—even a party which suspects that problem has, and will, cost it an election, and that is because, as Matt Stoller explained quite cogently in 2012, “winning the race isn’t as important as ensuring that the political class is protected from democracy.” For both Republicans and Democrats, “The secondary goal is to win the election; the primary goal is to keep the public out of the deal-making.” Neither party wants the public to start thinking about, and demanding control over, an open and transparent election process. The two major parties prefer their carefully-contrived, plutocrat-controlled game of donors, bundlers, consultants, pollsters, scripted debates, and media gurus—and they need everyone to trust it completely. Either party will gladly lose any election rather than do anything that might weaken the public’s faith in the electoral process that keeps them both in control. 

In the general election, it will be necessary to shift much lower than double-digit percentages of the vote to win all the electoral votes of a key swing state. 96% of votes in America are now counted electronically, and the potential for invisible vote transfer is enormous. As Bev Harris has discovered, the GEMS software that counts about 25% of our votes has been set to “fractionalize” votes, which means that: “one vote can be counted 25 times, another only one one-thousandth of a time, effectively converting some votes to zero.” There seems to be no reason for this, other than to allow the software to invisibly, yet radically, alter election outcomes by pre-setting desired vote percentages to redistribute votes,” in a way that’s “unlikely to be detected by auditing or canvass procedures, and can be applied across large jurisdictions in less than 60 seconds.” As Victoria Collier says: “thousands, even millions of electronic votes can be siphoned from one candidate to another through malicious internal coding in the voting software.”

So how many votes for Jill Stein will be redistributed to Trillary in November? Nobody knows, and nobody will ever know. To put it another way, nobody can reasonably assure you such a redistribution won’t happen, or that there is a reliable system in place to detect or prevent it. Unless you find that “Trust us. It can’t happen here.” provides a reasonable assurance. This is an electoral system that’s designed to enable fraud, and has been riddled with prima faciae evidence of fraud over the past 16 years, so “Trust us” doesn’t work so well for me. Collier puts the emphasis right where it should be:It's not the responsibility of voters or candidates to prove a non-transparent vote count was fixed. It's the job of legislators and election officials to provide transparency and uphold basic standards of democracy, and it's their failure to do so that's truly shocking.”

Which brings me back to my reluctant conclusion: Since the American voting system lacks the most fundamental condition of electoral democracy—that every citizen has a reasonable certainty his or her vote will be counted as it was cast—it is an insult to democracy, and to one’s self, to participate in it.  The most effective electoral tactic for leftists is not to vote.

I don’t, of course, mean sitting home and sulking. (I’m not quite going George Carlin, although he is spot on about who gets to complain.) I mean a public, organized boycott that demands the electoral system be reformed in such a way to earn the public’s confidence, a way that gives a consistently reasonable assurance that your vote will count for whom it is cast.

Let’s stipulate for the moment that we’re talking about the presidential election, and that the more local the election, the better is the possibility of detecting and avoiding fraud and the more chance there is for your vote to make a real difference. No elections in the United States are more important than School Board elections. The presidential election is an obscene carnival anyway, and its only real use for leftists is the opportunity it gives to organize around issues that have the media attention usually reserved for Kim and Kanye.

Leftists do, of course, use that opportunity to highlight important social and political issues, but also spend way too much time arguing about which “lesser evil” to vote for. Every erg of that energy would be better spent putting forth—alongside all the other important issues—a critique of, and a set of proposals for fixing, the fundamentally undemocratic electoral system—backed up by a refusal to participate in it until and unless it meets minimal democratic standard of transparency and trustworthiness. Every demonstration during an election should include and forefront those demands, which would be attractive to every citizen who has a sincere commitment to democracy.

In terms of the voting and counting process these demands should include: All voting by paper ballot; all votes hand-counted in the polling place in front of representatives of the candidates, parties, and however many voters can be accommodated on site—live-streamed to the public; results posted immediately, in hardcopy, in the precinct, available for anyone to photograph or copy, before any transmittal to a central clearinghouse or to media; results of every precinct posted, with public oversight, on freely available web sites; national media required to wait until all this is done before reporting winners and losers (There’s no rush. It’s not a process for the benefit off Wolf and Rachel!); strictly-enforced chain of custody of ballots and results; NO proprietary hardware or software anywhere in the process; entire process overseen by public, non-profit agencies and personnel. Every voter must be able to trace the path of his/her vote from the precinct to the final result.

There’s plenty of new technology here—smartphone cameras, live-streaming, web posting—that can enhance democratic transparency. These are the uses to which that technology should be put, rather than in the service of opaque, proprietary profit-generating apparatuses that hide what’s going on from the public.

As part of a movement for election integrity, these kinds of demands can be linked with all the more general demands the left has been making: for an end to voter caging and suppression, for full enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, for an elimination of the electoral college, for public funding, for an end to discriminatory ballot laws, for an end to gerrymandering, for independent management of debates, for instant and automatic voter registration, for some kind of Instant Runoff Voting, for extended voting days, etc.

Such a consistent push for election integrity from the ground up might make the left attractive to many more voters, who might then give a listen to some of its other positions.

Nor should the left dismiss the issue of voter identification. It has certainly been used perniciously to disenfranchise minority voters, and it’s true that the incidence of the wrong person showing up to vote is miniscule, and should become even more irrelevant, given the opportunities for wholesale vote fraud offered by electronic systems. But there have been significant cases of fraud with absentee ballots. One of the more egregious was the Republican tactic of hiring “ballot brokers” in Florida who bought signed, blank ballots from voters. Though nobody talks about it, this had an effect on the notorious 2000 election. New tactics in this vein may become easier to employ as mail-in voting spreads, and the prospect of internet voting rears its alluring head. There’s no reason for the left to ignore such problems.

In-person voting, like the hand-counted paper ballot, is one of the gold standards of a trustworthy electoral process. I know three states (OR, WA, CO) already have all-mail elections, and I know people in the comfortable 20% who usually vote may find it unfathomable that a lot of people in, let’s say, the bottom 50% would sell their signature (written or digital), and betray their civic duty to choose the lesser evil for themselves. But the latter folks have a different conception of what they owe the polity in which they labor.

The real bar against such fraud is that it is, as of now, more visible, more labor-intensive, and less easily scalable than the computerized vote-shifting strategies we’ve been talking about. But internet voting technologies, which will inevitably be proposed by some Google-oid company, may change that calculation. Leftists should push for in-person voting. Issues of accessibility and convenience for working people and seniors can be addressed by insisting on extended voting days and numerous well-situated voting sites. Issues of identity verification can be addressed by insisting on procedures for instant, automatic registration by the DMV, Social Security, banks, and other agencies, for grandfathering seniors who have a voting history and are known personally to election workers, etc. Call the right’s bluff on identity verification: Are you trying to ensure honest elections, or restricted elections? But don’t dismiss a problem that may be small now, but may well come back to bite everyone.

As I said, every left demonstration during the election should include demands for an overhaul of the election process, and an appeal for a boycott of the presidential vote. Where there are hundreds demonstrating, there should be scores with signs proclaiming their intention not to vote for president. Signatures should be collected on a boycott pledge, over a list of demands for reforming elections. There should be “Don’t vote! I didn’t.” demonstrators at every polling place explaining the rationale.

Voting in the present system is like sitting down at a poker table where you have no reasonable assurance that there are 52 cards in the deck, and where you do know that the dealer is going to count the chips and allocate them to the players behind a screen. Sitting at that table is not a sign of how much you treasure your money/vote, but of how willing you are to waste it. The only thing you achieve at that table is to give credibility to a game that has none. And the only reason you would sit at that table, knowing all this, is because you want to believe in its credibility, too. As in all confidence games, it’s the mark’s own credulity that gets him taken.

And if the dealer is spending as much money and energy as the plutocracy does to get you to sit at that table, it must be because the plutocracy really does need that sanction of credibility from you. That is what they are paying for. That, therefore, is the one power you have in the electoral system. And the most effective way to use it in the current system is to withhold it.  Under present conditions, withholding one’s vote is the one thing one can do – with one’s vote, within electoral politics – that would not waste the vote, and that could make a significant difference.  

Sure, in the small frame, each party would prefer that only its supporters vote. But regarding the system that both parties protect, those who say: “Your presence at the polls is what they fear most,” have it backwards. It is our absence, en masse, from the polls that the ruling plutocracy fears most. They fear their inability to plausibly claim that they rule with the consent of the governed. They fear that the system they build and sustain will be recognized as undemocratic by its own citizenry. What’s going to shake the system more: If Jill Stein gets 8% of the vote in a few states, or if the percentage of voters drops to 35% or 25% nationally, rather than the 50-60% it is now? With images on television of voters around the country signing a boycott pledge? I think Joel Hirschhorn got it exactly right when he said that The whole world would interpret that as the rejection by Americans of their political system.  It would be an incredible historic shock having the potential to remove the legitimacy and credibility of the current two-party duopoly.  Our corrupt, delusional democracy would have received a bullet.”

I know something else is possible, because I’ve seen it. In 2006, I sat in a classroom polling station in Ramallah, and watched the vote count for the Palestinian elections. The poll worker, a teacher at the school, opened the ballot boxes in front of representatives of every party, showing every person each hand-marked ballot. If there was an incorrectly or ambiguously marked ballot, everyone saw it, and all the party representatives gave their opinion about how to count it. If there had been disagreement about how to count a ballot, it would have been set aside. There was agreement about every one. It took as much time as it took. They weren’t doing it for Rachel. At the end of this process, the result was posted on the door of the classroom for everybody to see. There was no doubt about the outcome. In the midst of this process, the woman sitting next to me, representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said to me something like: “You must think we are so backward here, counting votes one by one like this. I’m sure you have a more advanced system in America.” From the hole I was crawling into in my mind, I replied: “I’ve sat through two presidential elections in the United States in the past six years, and I still don’t know who actually won them. I know, without a doubt, who won here. Please understand, it is I who is learning from you.”

The two lessons learned (besides the one about how our government has no lessons about democracy to export to anybody, and, oh yeah, the one about “the only democracy in the Middle East”) were: 1) You can have a trustworthy democratic election if you want to, and 2) The simpler the better. The hand-marked paper ballot, hand-counted in the polling station, is the gold standard for a democratic election. If you want transparency and trust, leave the video screen for the Pokemon hunt. If the votes are not counted on the spot, in front of observers from the candidates and the public, with the result immediately displayed, it’s a good bet there’s a scam in progress.

To put it another way, for the left: The citizen’s vote is the political equivalent of the worker’s labor-power, and, in the capitalist context, it should be given only in exchange for a deal that’s acceptable. It won’t be completely just, but it can be fair enough. You can work with dignity and integrity under capitalism, before you demand to take over the means of production, as long as you get a decent wage. But not for a penny a day, and not if you know you might get cheated out of even that. Such insulting conditions call for an exercise of the one economic power you have as a worker: a strike. Similarly, a citizen can vote with integrity in any election, even when no candidate is the one s/he really prefers, as long as s/he has a reasonable certainty that his/her vote will be counted for whom it was cast. But without that minimal assurance—well, to wax poetic: There is some shit one should not eat.

Call it a Vote Strike. Boycott the vote.

_________________________

This essay reprises elements of my 2012 post,  Election Choices: What to Do Instead

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