Alternatives for the Presidential Election

Statistics show an increase in Voter Apathy.
Perhaps it is time to consider alternatives to the Presidential Election?

(001) - Put "None of the Above" on the voter ballot.

(002) - Change the requirements for President.

(a) Require prospective candidates to take an extremely hard civil service exam.

(b) The top 100 scores of the exam move on to participate in the "Prezolympics".

(c) The top 10 winners from the olympics become canidates and are entitled to campaign.

(d) The winner of the election becomes President.

(e) Gets a device implanted in their brain that explodes if they tell a lie.

(003) - Eliminate the office of President and hire a Ribbon Cutter.

(a) Money saved on elections is used to pay off the national debt.

(004) - Declare election day a holiday.

(a) I got this from We The People. There are more there.

(005) - Tie election participation to jury duty. - (from Doug Chatham -

(a) Let ONLY those who can vote but don't, be placed on the jury rolls.

(006) - Scientific Selection of Political Canidates - (from John A. Newell -

(a) Topical essays on "Psycheocracy", "Childmind", "Criteria for Credibility" and "Rules of Colloquy".

(007) - Campaign for Digital Democracy = currently not responding!

(008) - Somebody Responds - (from Stephanie Yanik -

Dear NOBODY, the SOMEBODIES you're looking for are in the Libertarian Party. EVERYBODY can call +1 (800) 682-1776 for more information and see for themselves. EVERYBODY is at fault for not giving these SOMEBODIES a look. You want lower taxes? We call for the abolition of the IRS. You want less crime? We call for the abolition of the Second Prohibition. You want SOMEBODY to do something? Then ANYBODY can look us up on the web at: and check us out.

(009) - Dan Wilcox - - Sent in the following poem:

Nobody for President
Nobody for Mayor
Vote for Nobody
Because Nobody
Really Cares!

(010) - David Hobbes - - Has a Calvin & Hobbes for President 2000 site.
It is located here, where you can vote for Nobody.

(011) - 'None of the above' wins Puerto Rico referendum - Nobody Wins in Puerto Rico - FANTASTIC NEWS!

In case this link would 'go away' here is what it says (quoted from the above 'point'): 'None of the above' wins Puerto Rico referendum by David Halton WebPosted Sun Dec 13 21:39:49 1998

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - Millions of Puerto Rican voters cast their votes in a non-binding referendum on Sunday to decide what future they want their island to follow: outright independence, a limited form of independence, full US statehood, or the status quo, also known as 'none of the above'.

And the voting trend puts the 'none of the above' option out in front. With 95 per cent of the vote counted 'none of the above' had garnered 50.2 per cent and 46.5 per cent for statehood. The remaining few votes went to the other options. It means that voters want to keep their association with the United States unchanged.

This is the third time in less than 30 years voters on the Caribbean island have been asked to decide what their future relationship with the United States should be. At present Puerto Rico is officially a commonwealth of the US. Residents enjoy US nationality, but are not allowed to vote in US elections, nor do they pay US taxes.

Supporters of the statehood option saw it as an opportunity for Puerto Rico to gain political equality. They were buoyed by Sunday's vote totals. Charlie Rodrigues, the president of the Puerto Rico senate said the island "is on an irreversible path toward statehood."

More than 2 million people were registered to vote.

Puerto Rico became a US possession 100 years ago, at the end of the Spanish-American War. Before that time it had been a colony of Spain for 400 years. - David Halton reports for CBC TV

(012) - Beamer submitted REQUIREMENTS FOR PREZ, 2004

    1) All candidates must be willing to have nude photo taken
       on bear-skin rug. (makes future press conferences a lot
       easier to handle).

    2) Must be able to say "My mother really doesn't know how
       to cook turnips" in Tagalog, Urdu, AND Hindi.

    3) Bowling average of 125 (and can PROVE it).

    4) Had a MINIMUM of three moving violations in his/her life.

    5) Must mow the White House lawn with a push-mower AT LEAST
       twice during presidency.

             Hell, make it an event: National Mow Day.

(013) - Online Voting.

(014) - Apathy wins! 72% fail to vote By Beth Barrett, Staff Writer


Nearly three-fourths of Los Angeles' 1.47 million registered voters sat out Tuesday's mayoral election, allowing Antonio Villaraigosa to make the runoff with the backing of 8 percent of those eligible to vote and James Hahn with just 6 percent.

The dismal turnout - 100,000 fewer voters than in 2001 - allowed Hahn to come in second with less than 90,000 votes and left pundits and politicians grappling Wednesday with this question: Did the Hahn campaign successfully suppress the vote with its negative attack ads and other tactics, or are the city's voters so apathetic that they just don't care?

"In a sense, we get the democracy we deserve," said Tom Hollihan, a professor and associate dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.

"It's a real tragedy citizens don't get engaged. We proclaim we're building democracy in the Middle East and show so little regard for it here."

Others suggested that the public showed it was disengaged from the city's political life because of the deliberate strategies that were employed that played on cynicism and indifference and spread confusion.

Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, whose surge in the polls left him less than 6,000 votes short of knocking off Hahn for the second spot in the runoff, blamed the barrage of negative ads thrown at him in the campaign's closing days for suppressing the turnout he needed to win.

Hertzberg, who ran a campaign on what he called "big ideas" to address the city's major problems, said voters have lost their faith that government can do anything for them "because it's not." As Hertzberg's campaign took off with unconventional ads aimed at those civic issues, he said the negative ads launched by Hahn cooled turnout.

"It suppresses turnout; that's a bad thing, a bad thing. You want to do everything you can to get people to turn out."

Voters were largely uninspired to go to the polls despite a smorgasbord of five legitimate candidates who spent months and millions of dollars sparring over civic issues while Hahn was on the defensive over local and federal investigations of possible corruption in his administration.

Studies have shown that negative campaigning - such as the ads on television, in mailers and through telephone calls during the final days of the mayoral campaign - further depress voter turnout in general. In some instances, they can be be used to target an opponent's stronghold, while a campaign concentrates on its own get-out-the-vote operations, consultants and political experts said.

But Bill Carrick, Hahn's media consultant and strategist, called it a "ridiculous concept" that negative ads blunt turnout, attributing Tuesday's low voter participation instead to "residue burnout" from the November presidential election, and the confusion caused by a multiplicity of candidates and debates.

He predicted that the May 17 runoff between Hahn and Villaraigosa, like four years ago, will bump turnout up significantly.

"It's one of those overplayed theories," Carrick said. "The truth is you can't run enough negative advertising to impact the turnout in the way that would have had the dramatic drop-off we had in this election."

Counting provisional and mail-in ballots, less than 28 percent of registered voters went to the polls Tuesday - just over 408,000 out of 1,474,186. No council district in the city had a voter turnout of more than 30 percent.

Only two mayoral primaries since 1977 had lower turnouts - former Mayor Tom Bradley's 1989 re-election primary against Councilman Nate Holden with a 24 percent turnout, and former Mayor Richard Riordan's 1997 re-election primary against Tom Hayden with a 26 percent turnout.

Other recent mayoral primaries - from a 66.2 percent turnout in 1969 when Bradley first challenged then Mayor Sam Yorty - mostly fluctuated between turnouts in the mid-30s to low 40s.

Academics, voter organizations and political observers said voters across the nation are becoming passive and making excuses for not voting - a form of civic victimization winning out over civic responsibility.

The California Voter Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Davis, just concluded a survey of statewide voter behavior that confirmed Los Angeles County leading the way in voters giving self-interested reasons for not going to the polls.

The No. 1 reason: "Too busy."

Kim Alexander, the foundation's president, said those who don't vote at all or infrequently say they've grown cynical that special interests control local politics even as they often might express shame for not casting a ballot.

"Two-thirds (of those surveyed) said one reason they don't vote in every election is because they believe politics is controlled by special interests. That is a widely held perception across the state," she said. "More and more voters are responding to that perception not with outrage, but with apathy.

"I think people feel powerless in the political process. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - if you tell people over and over again they're powerless, they believe it and use it as an excuse for apathy."

The vast size of Los Angeles city and county as well as the mobility of the population - much of it immigrant - largely preclude the electorate from having a direct relationship with those elected, she said.

Others said there has been a steady retreat among eligible voters into private concerns where they can have more control but at a potentially high cost to the broader quality of civic life.

"People don't believe politics matters, that it doesn't matter who they elect, that no one in politics is looking out for their interests," said USC's Hollihan.

As more voters stay away from the polls, they might also start to disengage from other civic responsibilities, from willing participation on juries to respect for civic institutions.

"It's a warning sign of danger for society at large. If people don't participate in organized politics, how does that translate into other behaviors in civil society?"

The threshold for participation has increased so much that voters might only go to the polls if they perceive "their own ox will be gored" should their candidate, or position lose.

Party affiliations have grown weaker and more voters say they're political independents.

"It often doesn't mean independent in seeking information, but tends to mean passive independence that's often rooted in self-interest, or disinterest. Increasingly people who are independent are not engaged enough to have an opinion," Hollihan said.

Michael Dear, the chairman of the University of Southern California's Department of Geography who also studies urbanization and the future of Southern California, said disengagement from the public process puts the region at risk of losing its civic vision as the public conversation between the populace and its leaders erodes.

"We depend on our leaders, formally and informally, to articulate what the society we want is becoming ... It is also the responsibility of the people in articulating ... how we develop as a city and as a people."

Beth Barrett, (818) 713-3731

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