Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Kodos


If any of you are of the H-1B persuasion or otherwise feeling left on the sidelines during the presidential election, you might be interested in a cool little project called Aliens Vote. It's designed to give a voice to non-citizen residents living in the United States. I think this is a great idea - residents pay US taxes, are subject to our laws, and will be hugely impacted by the result of the election, so even though they can't have a direct say in the outcome, they should absolutely be a part of the process.

Aliens Vote isn't binding, of course, and because results won't be announced until after election day, it won't even have a big impact on the progress of the race. When you cast your vote, it will go into the ballot box, and after the election is over we will all learn how people would have voted if they'd be able to. It's an interesting exercise.

So how does it work? I think they've struck a nice compromise between the unworkably strict (requiring you to show up in person and show your visa) and the laughably exploitable (clicking on a survey). You need to provide a valid mobile phone number in order to protect against people trying to game the system. Once you "register to vote", you'll be able to receive a ballot that you can cast online. It's a secret ballot, and nobody will keep track of your number or how you voted.

Anyhoo, I thought that was cool. If you're eligible to participate, I'd encourage you to do so!

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