May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010 How to Inspire Voters?

Election Day -- make a day of it!  Start with a community breakfast, then an all day flea market and bake sale, and end with a community supper starting at 6 and going through the time the polls close. Miller Center would be a good place for the supper, in the community room. TV coverage of election returns on the big screen. Have to work this out with election officials so the community room is available.

How to Inspire Voters? Transparency is key, residents need to know what's going on and where candidates stand on the issues. We want FACTS, not spin and spin. We want public forums where residents ask clear questions. NPA submitted questions before the last forums, then Ch17 decided what questions to ask and didn't press for specific answers. We want to ask our own questions, and follow-up.

Candidate forums and community meetings: People don't like to feel manipulated. We know that control groups manipulate participants. For example, they may use a format where you listen to them talk, then you submit any questions you have, they choose what questions to ask, and may even rephrase them. If you disagree with them, you are discredited, or they won't call on you. If you head in a direction different than they want to go, they are the boss. Hands of people who agree with them go up around you, and those people are called on. They break people up into small groups and have their controllers and minions leading each group, deciding who to call on, and what to write down. To filter ideas from outsiders, or ideas they didn't expect and don't want, they use dots to prioritize which guarantees that the unusual idea drops off the list. So people who think different and may have good ideas are discouraged from participating. You end up with a group of like-mindeds.

Forget trying to get the schools to teach civics! Let's offer a basic community civics course at the Miller Center, with open enrollment. We can use a home-schooling civics book that is totally non-partisan, and have a multi-party teaching team. Hopefully new Americans would join us, and it would be a way to welcome newcomers to the neighborhood as well as to America. We talked about the experience of our ancestors coming to America, and imagine that they have a lot in common with all people migrating to this country seeking freedom and safety. We'd ask the NPA to sponsor the civics group weekly, and once a month meet before an assembly and prepare a dinner together.

How it must be if people are going to trust/respect elections:
1. Secure elections, everything done honestly without any appearance of wrong-doing.
2. Clear stands on issues from candidates.
3. A clear understanding of our government, historic truth, and the voting process.
4. Understanding what happens if government is corrupt so we know why we have to be scrupulous.
5. Today many people are asking: Where is the trust? Where did the money come from? Where did the money go? Is anybody accountable?

Work to do:

  • *Current checklists do not agree. Will look into this further.
  • *Compare VT Election Law to differences in Burlington election law.