Can 'The Internet Vote' Be The Next Important Voting Bloc?

from the make-it-so dept

I recently talked about how the cynicism of the "internet generation" is only helping to keep broken systems in place. I recognize that many people feel that their vote is useless, and think that voting for "the lesser of two evils" is not worth it. I also have sympathy for those who argue that not voting may, in fact, be better than voting-while-uninformed. But none of that really means that votes don't matter. They absolutely do matter, in a big and important way -- especially when you can bring together a large group of people who really do understand the issues, and don't want to just get pushed around by lobbyists and crony capitalism.

The folks at Fight for the Future and Personal Democracy Media have teamed up to create a website called, The Internet Votes, hoping to get more people -- especially internet savvy people -- registered to vote. They've even set up this nice widget:
This kind of thing matters. As we noted in our "cynicism" post, when a large group of voters speak out, it really does make a difference. It's only when they don't speak out and don't make their views known that the special interests can take over. This latest effort is an outgrowth of the fight against SOPA and PIPA, and if we want to make sure that the RIAAs/MPAAs of the world can't try to push such things through again in the future, then the internet savvy crowd has to make it clear that their vote can and does matter. This isn't about who to vote for -- but being willing to speak up with an informed voice. If you don't like either of the major party choices, there are alternatives as well, and those can make an important statement.

Along those lines, there's an article over at HuffPo by Michael Beckerman, arguing that now is the time to make the "internet bloc" the next important voting bloc:
Campaign strategists and pundits are always trying to predict the newest or most important political demographic groups. For a long time, it was seniors. That was followed by the dawn of the "soccer mom" and lately there has been a lot of talk about "NASCAR dads." But the strongest untapped political factor these days is rarely mentioned, despite representing a force central to the lives of nearly every American -- the Internet.
Indeed. Beckerman, by the way, discusses the importance of such a voting bloc in his article describing the official launch of the Internet Association, a group that we discussed -- somewhat skeptically when it was announced a few months ago. Beckerman and the folks who make up the Internet Association seem to be taking the concerns raised to heart, and have made it quite clear that a key element of its platform is to be a voice for internet users.
The three planks of the association's advocacy platform are: protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and economic growth; and empowering users. The unique nature of the Internet, free from government control, has unleashed unprecedented entrepreneurialism, creativity and innovation, far beyond imagination. But what about tomorrow? No one can predict what innovations will happen next. But we do know that the Internet's decentralized and open model has been the catalyst that has powered this information revolution.
We've pointed out a few times that we worry when the future has no lobbyists, so as the internet itself rises up and makes itself heard, hopefully a group like the Internet Association can really help.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 1:13pm

    Speak up

    If you don't like either of the major party choices, there are alternatives as well, and those can make an important statement.

    This. Vote for a 3rd party or write in someone who you really think should be elected.

    When you get those (granted, annoying) political survey calls, answer them. Tell them why you're not voting for either of the major candidates. Tell them what issues matter to you.

    If you want to be heard, speak up!

    (Also, write in Ron Wyden for president 2012!)

     

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      JoeCool (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:19pm

      Re: Speak up

      I've been voting 3rd parties for 29 years... and do you know how many times my vote has made a difference? Not once in almost three decades. Sorry, I'm getting a little disillusioned. I leave it to someone else to carry on the struggle... the young folk who can still believe that their vote matters, even when it clearly doesn't. :(

       

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      nasch (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 6:13am

      Re: Speak up

      I just got a survey call last night (a robot of course) and I hung up when the only options were Obama, Romney, or not sure. I'm sure I don't want to vote for either of them, and there will be others on the ballot (or Wyden).

       

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        art guerrilla (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re: Speak up

        for *whatever* reason, i get a bunch of 'polling' type calls (which -in some ways- i don't mind); but more often than not, they are 'push' polls which are simply trying to 'push' you to some position which is impossible to avoid...

        for example, last night at the end of the poll (which -as you point out- did NOT include any 3rd party choices), i was asked for my religious affiliation, they went through 9 choices which included 'none' (they don't dare say 'agnostic' or 'atheist' *gasp*), which i selected...

        *then*, the next question is how much i go to church...
        huh? i just told you 'none' on religion, and now you are asking how many times i go to worship at my 'none' church? ? ?
        ahh, but then it gets even trickier: the first option is, 'more than once a week'; second option, 'once a week'; third option, 'once a month', and LAST option, 'less than once a month'... there was NO option for 'never', EVERYONE who responded (including this agnostic/practicing atheist) is marked down as going to church at least *some*...
        fuckers...

        i have heard this type of crap over and over during the 'polling' calls i get...
        DON'T BELIEVE THE POLLS, they are gamed...

        art guerrilla
        aka ann archy
        eof

         

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          nasch (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 10:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Speak up

          ahh, but then it gets even trickier: the first option is, 'more than once a week'; second option, 'once a week'; third option, 'once a month', and LAST option, 'less than once a month'... there was NO option for 'never'

          Well, never is less than once a month... kind of fishy though, they should have skipped that question for anyone who answered none to the religion one.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re: Speak up

        Wyden as President? Christ, he makes Romney look absolutely charismatic.

         

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          nasch (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Speak up

          Wyden as President? Christ, he makes Romney look absolutely charismatic.

          Do you think charisma is what's most important in a president?

           

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    Andrew Norton (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Yes, It's called the Pirate Party

     

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      gorehound (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      I would love to see enough people Vote for the Pirate Party to make a real upset in Washington.I hate the GOP and Vote Democrat for what I feel is the lesser of two evils.
      I am really fed up with doing this.Within one or two Elections I kind of doubt I will as I should be just Voting for 3RD Party.
      Sick and tired of the same old corruption and greasy palmed Politicians.

       

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      [citation needed or GTFO], Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

      Re:

      And here I was about to ask if the Internet Association was just a different name for the Pirate Party.

      It definitely sounds like a less controversial name that won't have voters say "They have pirate in their name, therefore they're evil."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Why just sharing with Facebook? Do they want to be dependent on Facebook? Plus, it's probably best to share it to Twitter with the #election2012 tag or something.

     

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      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

      Re:

      I, for one, don't and wont Facebook (yes as a verb)! Any company that requires Facebook for me to contact them, looses me. Any political party or group that requires Facebook looses me. I do not think I am alone.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Someone needs to post candidates and their various positions on issues like IP law. They need to post election dates and locations for congressmen, senators, and even state legislatures maybe.

    I'm tired of copy protection lengths lasting way way too long and something needs to be done but the problem is that there is no source of organized information on this stuff. and we need to vote for candidates who have well defined positions on these subjects ahead of time and who definitely and expressly hold the position that copy protection lengths need to be substantially reduced, the scope of what can be patented needs to be reduced, patent length needs to be reduced, etc... Any other candidate who is either ambiguous or doesn't express their position on the subject or simply doesn't actively discuss and confront the subject should not be voted for.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

      Re:

      (should not be voted for and should be assumed to be a corporate bought and paid for IP extremist and govt. established monopolist and crony capitalist).

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re:

        Candidates can not be permitted to not actively discuss this matter and initiate open and public discussions about it. I'm tired of it. Anti-competitive laws for crony corporations need to go away.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:22pm

      Re:

      You raise an interesting point. Do you think that there are a significant number of voters whose single issue is the internet? We have seen it with abortion, gun control, etc. But unlike abortion and gun control which seem to all fit into a common package of political beliefs, those for whom the internet is the most important concern are all over the place on other defining issues. You'll see pro-internet candidates on both sides of abortion, both sides of gun control, both sides of school prayer.

      For example if you are a typical liberal who is pro-choice, OK with gun control and against school prayer; will you vote for the guy who is against all of those but favors fewer limitations on the internet?

       

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    weneedhelp (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:24pm

    My vote would be for

    None of the above.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Paul Ryan Thinks

     

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    Voting for...

    I will vote to remove all money from politics. I will vote to remove corporations as persons, and along that line removing any group from having First Amendment rights. That would effectively eliminate the fact of political parties (and allot of other groups that speak in a political sense). That would effectively eliminate lobbyist groups. There is no longer a need for political parties.

    By the same token, candidates should be held accountable for the platform they get elected by. There should be some mechanism for removal from office if an elected official changes their mind after elections. They should represent their electorate, and nobody else. They should stand by their word, and not bend to someone with a big check.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

      Re: Voting for...

      I will vote to remove all money from politics. I will vote to remove corporations as persons, and along that line removing any group from having First Amendment rights.

      Vote all you like, but there's a Supreme Court decision standing in your way. And are you really advocating that EFF and similar advocacy groups be denied free speech rights?

       

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        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

        Re: Re: Voting for...

        Actually, I think you have that backwards, or at least the Supreme Court does. Corporations are not persons and therefore should not be afforded the ability to sway the government against the governed (meaning the rest of us).

        I did not suggest that groups could not speak. I am suggesting that they should not have the right to political speech, as once again the influence of money comes into play. Think of the union member who disagrees with the unions bosses stand on any subject. Should that union boss be able to out shout the member because they have all those dues to sling around?

        Political parties are all about winning, ethics or the desires of the populace be damned. They put people in office and then force those people to their will, or loose support for re-election. To them, bi-partisan is when one of the other party votes their way, and the electorate are a niggling nuisance. It is PAC money making these decisions, and issuing marching orders for their agenda.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: Voting for...

          "I did not suggest that groups could not speak. I am suggesting that they should not have the right to political speech, as once again the influence of money comes into play. "

          Freedom of speech doesn't generally limit speech based on who says it, or what banner they are standing in front of when they say it.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    A quick unscientific poll: Who would Techdirt readers vote for in the current presidential election? Please respond, even if you aren't a US citizen.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:26pm

      Re:

      I'm going to very carefully study each and every possible candidate, and vote for the one I think would do the best job.
      I'm a bit of a procrastinator, so I probably won't start researching until just before it's time to vote, but I can tell you right now that Obama and Romney are out of the running. That is, unless Obama frees Bradley Manning from imprisonment and begs him for forgiveness while kissing his feet on national television, and/or unless Romney somehow stops being an idiot.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:48pm

        Research

        And how does one do reseach on the candidates in my in my city and this year's election? I'd like to become a serious voter and consider all the options and know who worth voting for in detail, especially for third parties.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 3:39am

          Re: Research

          Same way I research anything: search engine. Wikipedia is also very helpful; it usually has a page about each candidate, and also lists candidates for every election (e.g. the 2012 presidential election)

          Remember to take anything politicians say about themselves (or their opponents) with a grain of salt. Try to find their voting history, and be sure to check who's been giving them campaign contributions. It takes work, but I believe it's worth doing.

           

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 1:37am

      Re:

      At this point, I would rather vote for Lady GaGa than those cuckoos up on the Hill.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:14pm

    "We've pointed out a few times that we worry when the future has no lobbyists, so as the internet itself rises up and makes itself heard, hopefully a group like the Internet Association can really help."

    I have to laugh. This comes from a guy who spent time lobbying against SOPA, working for group(s) to get this done. Come on Mike, lobbying will always exist, it's a normal state of affairs for groups who have no way to directly vote.

    Now, as for the internet vote, it too is a laughable concept. They may register as voters, but they may not actually take the time to go and vote. Remember the MTV Rock the Vote thing? It doesn't really work because the youth tend to have a lack of follow through on their beliefs. It's extra hard in a two party system, because unless the youth vote has an issue or person they specifically grab onto, they don't go.

    Obama did okay in that regard, because he did touch some buttons. But even then, the under 25 voter generally didn't go to the polls.

    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/historical/a1-presidential.jpg

    This is a good graphic, because it shows how Obama seemed to drive black youth to the polls, giving them something to grasp onto that wasn't normally there for them.

    However, it shows that youth is still 10 points (20%) less likely to vote than average. Not a great sign.

    I would say that beyond perhaps the highlight reel Presidental election, a lot of voters tune out the rest of the message, and for younger voters, all the sundry votes that come on voting day are perhaps overwhelming and uninteresting.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      I think you missed the boat there just a bit. Mike isn't talking about some kind of hypothetical rosy future where there are no lobbyists; he is talking about how there are no lobbyists which represent the interests of the future. "The future has no lobbyists" means it has no people lobbying on its behalf.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 7:57pm

    Lets see I can choose team one or two.. decisions decisions.

    Team one wants to kidnap,torture, and murder me in a black SUV.

    Team two wants to kidnap,torture, and murder me in a red SUV.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 1:01am

    I encourage everyone to vote, but someone like me doesn't neatly fit into an Internet vote

    I take my vote seriously. I always vote. And I totally support efforts to get more people to vote.

    The issue that matters most to me is sustainability, which encompasses both the environment and economics. I'm going to be most receptive to politicians who address those issues. If a politician said his/her priority was the Internet, that honestly wouldn't matter to me. It's not a positive or a negative to me. He/she would have to either support sustainability or at least not support companies that are trying to undermine sustainability efforts in order to get my vote.

    I'm just tossing that out because if someone said to me how important the Internet is, I'd probably agree but would respond that I'm much more concerned about climate change, unsustainable economic growth, rigged Wall Street, etc. For other people the key issue might be health care, or gay rights, or something else.

    I suppose if your job depends on Internet freedom, then that is your primary concern, but for others, maybe not so much. It's the sort of thing where a lot of people would probably support it, but not necessarily choose a candidate primarily for that reason. It's not a passionate cause for the average person.

     

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    Miff (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 1:06am

    My senator was the one who placed that "super-secret" hold on that patent reform bill months ago. After he did that I was determined to vote him out, and I will vote against him when he's up for re-election... in four more years...

    Indirect democracy isn't.

     

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