Nov 10, 2004

No More Corn-y Votes

I was listening to talk radio on the way into work this morning and this guy calls in with an idea for getting a more accurate vote count. He suggested implementing turnstiles in the precincts, and then voters would simply walk through the turnstile for the appropriate party member. Assuming someone was there to guarantee no one could spin the stile without a body going through to stack the vote, it might not be a bad idea. But I've taken it a step farther.

I've always believed that the typical voter is not very informed and tends to vote for the person they saw most often on the television or on the merits of one specific issue without regard to other issues that might otherwise sway their choice. An easy way to do this would be to include a maize maze in the voting process.

Perhaps you've never seen a maize maze. Essentially, it is a maze cut out of a corn field; you wander between the stalks and attempt to find your way back out. Our family spent one Sunday afternoon in October trying to find our way out of a maze shaped like a cannon and it only took 3 sweaty, frustrating, stressful. But I digress.

Anyway, voters would enter this voting maze. (Perhaps an aerial view would show a maze resembling a donkey, or an elephant, or maybe even a paper ballot with a hanging chad!) Whenever voters came to an intersection, they would read about an issue on a placard, decide whether they agreed or not, and take the appropriate path based on their answer. After making a choice at each stop along the way, each voter would eventually come out at a different point of the maze and proceed through a turnstile effectively voting for the person who was most inline with their views. Heck, you could even have a path that leads to a non-vote for people too stupid to vote intelligently!

The benefits to this method are numerous. We could finally eliminate the uneducated vote. Television and radio ads that put the other party members down would disappear since people would be voting on the issues rather than the party affiliation. Long lines would be a moot point since people could just wander into the maze on their own without holding others up while making their choices. Why, the hardest part would be getting corn to grow in climates that typically wouldn't support such a crop.

OK, I suppose there might be a *few* other flaws in this method. I'm sure that every elected official would suddenly be an advocate of agriculture, and technology stocks would plummet as IT professionals raced home to don overalls and sow their fields. Aliens would likely drop from the sky and obliterate sections with their confounded crop circles, and malicious juveniles would alter the placards to lead people down the wrong paths.

In the meantime, how about we vote on the first Tuesday of November just as we always have and then not bother to reveal the winners until the following week -- once all votes have had a chance to be counted and the errors could be addressed. It would save millions of people from droopy eyelids on the first Wednesday of November, and go a long way towards keeping voting from being such a newsmaker.

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