[-empyre-] in solidarity--an open call to our subscriber list

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Mon Dec 8 15:25:46 EST 2014

Dear Tony,  Great to hear from you on these issues.
This one portion of your email in relation to the voter turnout
thought would be interesting to consider in light of our topic Social
Media/Social Justice.
You wrote:
"We recently passed through a mid-term election where the Obama
administration seemed to be (mis)recognized as a prime symptom / cause
of the U.S. polity and economy's problems rather than attempting their
solution in some limited fashion (and against fierce and consistent
obstruction from the GOP, by the way). Portions of Democratic support
in the electorate stayed home, hence the loss of the Senate.."
Why does the electorate stay home?  I  wonder what would have happened
to the election if the Ferguson case had occurred before the election.
Statistics now cite that only 36.4 per cent age of eligible voters
actually went to the polls this past November.  Only 21 percent of
young voters between the ages of 18 to 24 went out to vote.  I
recently heard a report that questioned the outdated voting methods of
our election process.  Shouldn't it be possible to digitize the voting
process?  To vote via email, or social media, or phone, or text or

The New York Legislature and the Board of Elections was the very last
state to update  voting machines to electronic ones  in 2010 despite
the fact that since 1985 officials had been suggesting that the old
lever machines were outdated.  Our own state assemblywoman, Barbara
Lifton, spent  hours working with researchers and investigating the
the fairest and most just machines to replace the antiquated machines.

Tim and I spend quite a bit of time organizing and volunteering to get
out the vote in the Town of Caroline in upstate New York.  We have an
extraordinarily high voter turn out but we call each family to remind
them to vote, we offer rides to the polls, we send out get out the
vote information the week before the election, and we poll watch the
night of the election calling every voter that has not voted before
6pm.  Yes that takes close to twenty to thirty volunteers in a
national election and a few less in off elections.

I just read that some municipalities in Canada actually have
instituted online voting.  The country of Estonia also has national
pins that they have instituted to confirm online identities in the
voting process. How easy it would be if everything was networked
digitally online.  Some sources say that close to 95 per cent of
Americans have access online. How much could be saved in improving the
efficiency of the system.

Just a thought after reflecting about the frustration of low voter
turnout but high energy in the streets over the past few weeks.  How
and will this energy translate to the next election will be something
to watch and hope for.

Back in Ithaca,  Renate


Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art,
(contracted since 2004)
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office:  306
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rferro at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space

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