by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
internet, politics, voting

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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2012 @ 5:22pm


    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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