Mr. Besigye’s Jinja Rally

When I posted last week, I wished I had photos at the culmination of Mr. Besgiye’s rally. A local friend, Noah, attended the rally and took several photos of the action (thank you Noah).

These photos, combined with what I felt when this same rally took over both lanes of Main Street, make it hard to believe Besigye won’t get elected as president. Of course, that is the intention. Unlike the polite and restricted political photo ops and news conferences in Canada, even my brief and at-a-distance encounter with this very public rally screamed and pulsed with the unfettered joy of lovers who had not touched in months.

I can only imagine what it was like to be at the rally’s climax.


Sunday Roundup – March 9, 2014

Survey data is often relied on as correct, but is difficult to predict the element of choice. Making an informed choice about whom or what should be allowed into power relies on information, and the things we need to know is not always available.

Consumers could give up social media, stronger ties to phone, email.

First of all, I know smoking cigarettes and using social media are two very different addictions. One changes how much of a specific chemical is needed to elicit a response from nerves in the brain. The other is stimulus based on online social interaction (likes, comments, retweets, etc).

I think this survey indicates a prime reason to double-check any data. Many smokers say they want to quit. Many heroin addicts say the same thing. Checking a box in a survey saying that you believe social media would not be difficult to give up is easy – following through is different.

UN report identifies 30 drone strikes that warrant “public explanation” from US, UK, & Israel. The link leads to that report. It’s worth looking over if you have the time. I shared this because I think it is important for governments to converse openly with their people. The theory behind Western democracy is that governments have power because we give it to them through voting, so we have a right to know what actions the government takes. If we don’t agree with that action, then we can exercise our right to remove that government from power. Keeping too many secrets does not allow for voters to make an informed choice.

Over to You…

What do you think about surveys and government action? Did I miss something important? Let me know by commenting!

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Electile Dysfunction

Yeah, I’m writing about the election, but I’m not talking about politics.  “Election but no politics?” you say, “Russell, you must think we’re fools!”  First of all, I would never think of you as a fool (unless you put effort into it), and second, I’m talking about the mechanics of the election, not the politics of the event.  So fear not!  There will be no political analysis (or whining).


Need-to-Know Basis

There is an acronym used by marketers: SEO.  It means Search Engine Optimization, which is a fancy way of making sure a web page can be found on Google and other search engines.  The simplest trick is knowing keywords used when users are searching for a site.

I originally wrote this post on election day (Tuesday May 14, for those who missed it) when I realized that I had misplaced my voter information card, so I did not know where to cast my vote.  I opened my web browser and Googled “where do I vote”.  Nothing.  “where do I vote victoria bc”.  Nada.  “Where to vote”?  No results.  I tried a dozen combinations of search terms.  None of the search results told me what I needed to know.  The only Elections B.C. page that came up was their voter registration page, which did not contain what I needed to know.

My next step was Elections B.C.’s website.  Oddly enough, there is a page called “where to vote”.

When I searched that exact phrase on Google, that page did not show up.  Google does not know that page exists.  Anyone using Google will not know that it exists.  So how does this relate to SEO?  Elections B.C. does have page to help find voting stations, but Google could not find it.

Elections B.C. has a tough job.  They need to ensure that voters do their part and vote, especially younger voters as they have not been showing up for last two elections.  However, lazy and/or nonexistent SEO is not going to help.

I expect laziness from the government, but an organization dedicated to how B.C. residents exercise their democratic rights cannot afford to be lazy.  Voter turnout has been low for years, and Elections B.C. is not making it easier for voters to get where they need to go.  Speaking of low voter turnout…

The Non-Vote

Approximately 52% of eligible British Columbians went to the polls last Tuesday.  That’s 1% more than the previous year, and the number may increase: there are still ballots to be counted from those of us who went to the incorrect voting station.  Regardless, 1,629,422 out of 3,116,626 is not a great turnout (data courtesy of Elections B.C.).

Such low numbers make me wonder if low voter turnout is indicative of a larger issue.  The most common reasons to not vote I hear are that:

  1. “There is no candidate in my riding that meets my values”
  2. “I don’t believe in the political system as it currently exists”
  3. “I don’t know how the hell the political system works”

The last one is by far the most common, but I’m not soap-boxing about why people don’t vote.

An election is an opinion-voicing mechanism: say who you want to govern, but it does not capture the opinions of those who do not vote.  There is no empty circle where I can mark “abstain”, nor explain why I did not vote.  Mind you, I doubt anyone wants to go to a voting station just to say “no”.  So how could Elections B.C. measure the non-vote?

My father and I discussed the issue, and we reasoned that the voter information card mailed to every eligible voter in B.C. is the best space.  Postage is already paid, so why not use it to gather feedback?  Hell, just look at all this blank space:

Blank space.  So much blank space.  Oh, and whited-out important details: sorry, cyber-stalkers!
Blank space. So much blank space. Oh, and whited-out important details: sorry, cyber-stalkers!

Is it as easy as that?  Probably not, but that’s the best my father and I can come up with.

What do you think?  Comment below about how you think the non-vote could be measured!