American Democracy


I thought that blockchain is not bad tech in and of itself but that the crypto currency scams are just a shitty use of it and it’s actually good for things like this? I feel like I read that in a legitimate source but can’t recall where or I might not remember correctly.


There are very few problems that Blockchain solves that a database doesn’t solve as well, if not better, for much less cost.


I’m no expert, really really far from it, but I’ve implemented exactly one blockchain one time. I should put it on github and link it. The one line super oversimplifying it version is:

Blockchain is like a database, but instead of making cells relate to one another the way we do in a relational database, we hash the cell and link the hashes together.

Is this a good think or a bad thing? I dunno, it’s different than what we currently do. Maybe it’s good for some stuff and not good for other stuff. It sorta reminds me of nosql in that when it came out it was the new hotness and everyone wanted it and now 15 years later, we’re pretty sure we know it’s pros and cons and when it’s better to just use relational databases.

Unfortunately much like nosql, there’s gonna be a period (right now) where everyone wants it, everyone gets it and most people do it wrong. They’re gonna fall into pitfalls because they don’t know what they’re doing.

Check out what happened when decided they wanted nosql in 2013 A lot of money and time were wasted writing code that was later thrown out due to a lack of understanding the system they chose.


There are legitimate uses for blockchain.

Almost no use of blockchain today is one of these.

A transactional mass-use currency is one of the worst possible uses for blockchain.


So, to explain it longer,

A blockchain is a database with a few characteristics:

  1. It’s completely immutable. Once something is in the blockchain and accepted, it’s impossible to change.
  2. It’s able to be written to by multiple, disparate users.
  3. It certifies time as well as contents.
  4. It is 100% public and zero trust. That means you can insert anything into the blockchain (rumors state that there’s a non-trivial amount of child pornography in the Bitcoin blockchain, for example).

Unless all of those are benefits to your application, you’re best off with a database.


Not a rumor.


For my entire voting life, I’ve lived in the mail-in ballot state of Washington. Just reading/hearing all the news of issues with voting in other states that don’t do that, it just boggles my mind.

I look at the map of what each state allows for voting, and it just doesn’t seem effective at all vs mail-in. I feel fortunate that my ballot gets mailed to me early along with the vote pamphlets as well as my ballot has paid-postage by the state.

I vote from the comfort of my home. I haven’t really researched the efficacies of mail-in vs the national majority of actually having to take the time out to go vote at a place. Overall, it just does’t make sense. Perhaps it’s a bias, but just another reason why I love living in Washington (other than the fucking high rent.)

Voting by state

I think of reasons why it might be better to cast your ballot by going out:

  • News media outlets get real-time polls of voters of who/what they voted for.

And that’s pretty what I can think of on the top of my head. I honestly thought about “verifying the person is a legit person and who they are” , but there has been so much voter-suppression bullshit on minorities, so that argument doesn’t feel appropriate. I have a very NON-white last name and I don’t think I’ve ever had an issue with voting.

I’m not saying the entire US should adopt it, but mail-in seems so much easier than the bullshit others are going thru.


That might due to living in Washington, though. If you lived in, say, Alabama, things may have been different.

That said, if nothing else, a mail-in ballot would function at the very least as a provisional ballot that can be checked against if an issue were to come up with its legitimacy later. Oh, and if you happen to be a POC without a tell-tale name (someone like “Will Smith,” only not famous, for example), no one would give you crap over it as it’s not like your face is on said ballot.

I don’t think it’s a bad idea either, to be honest. The fact that it’s also a paper ballot is also a plus for accountability and verification. Like you, however, I haven’t looked at the logistics and feasibility of doing it nationwide.


I’d rather see machine-driven paper-trail in-person voting, but with a national standard for the machines…

And voting lasts a full 7-day week. You can vote at any time between 9am and 9pm during that entire week.

And voter registration is automatic.

And there are requirements for voting stations to be within x miles of any population center.

And there are mobile voting stations to be able to handle sparse populations or other local concerns.


Wonder if that would cause the suspense of election night to spread over a full week :-p Would probably need the week off.

(I know about early voting I just wonder if it would be uniform across the country would they report results each night?)


No. You just collect ballots all week. You don’t even start counting until it’s done. Otherwise, that could jeopardize the integrity of the election.


I mean I watch the returns on Nevada’s early voting which reports Party of the voter, which already gives you some information.


How so? People already can look at exit polls during the day on election night and decide to vote or not based on that. Also national elections have time zones that make the window longer, with results coming in from the East while the West is still voting.

Why is it a problem?


If there were mandatory voting, it wouldn’t be an issue. It’s not like people are going to suddenly switch parties and vote for the other guy because they see that they are currently winning/losing.

But without mandatory voting, you want to increase turnout to get an election with as much integrity as possible. The more turnout the more sure you are that the winner represents their constituents accurately. If there are accurate actual counts of votes during the week, and those counts are made public, it may convince people they don’t need to go vote since their candidate is winning by a lot already. Smart people would wait to vote at the last second. You don’t want your candidate to look like they are winning. People will also falsely report the current vote counts to try to convince people to stay home.

Not to mention candidates would continue campaigning even after the polls were open. Even mafia gets that right. When it’s time to vote on who to kill everyone has to stop talking for a reason. No funny business once the polls are open.

Not that it’s possible, but Ideally everyone would vote siiiiiimultaneously.


Except Polling already causes this issue. The reason a lot of states have low turn out is because they have one sided elections so the other side just doesn’t show up. I’m not sure if turning it into a race over a week with actual numbers wouldn’t motivate people more so. (unless they were REALLY going to lose, then it wouldn’t have mattered anyhow)


So this is odd. Perhaps not the best time to ever point it out, but I think there’s a discrepancy with my ballot.

Long story short there’s a few districts in my state that I’m simultaneously in. There’s my congressional district, my senatorial district and my assembly district. These districts have different lines lines so theoretically someone could share a senate district with me but be in a totally different congressional district or something like that.

Well my state senator is an ass and he’s being challenged in my district by a lady who I actually agree with. So I went to my states nifty preview of all the ballots here organized by voting place.

So when I go to click on mine, I see something odd. On the ballot for my district, the senate district isn’t mine, it’s an adjacent one. The lady I wanna vote for isn’t even on there. I check the ballot for the polling place in the next town over and there she is.

So question for anyone who’s worked/volunteered in a voting place. Do you have several different ballots sitting there and you hand them out depending on the address of the person you’re speaking to? Because that’s the only way this’d work. If you do something else, then I guess I need to talk to someone in my state department.


Contact the board of elections.


The site is managed by the secretary of state, and the board of elections CT just points me to the state dept website so I’m guessing we don’t have one.


I don’t know what to do in CT.

Maybe call the campaign office of the person you want to vote for. They will definitely be very eager to help you.


Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. It makes the most sense.