The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Can Anyone Help Make This Happen?
February 29, 2008, 10:25 am
Filed under: Comment

Election Day 2006

Just got this great idea from Charles who got it from a mate of his …

“I had an idea which in a nutshell is to set up a site that allows people around the world to vote in the US elections so we can then breakdown the figures and see how, say the UK or Iraq voted”

I’m going to see what I can do – and I’ve already put in calls to people at the BBC, Google and Glue – but if anyone out there knows someone, can you tell them about it and see if they’re interested.

Please put this request or link on your own blogs so we can widen the net of possible developers.  Thanks alot.

36 Comments so far
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This is brilliant!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Age

OMG I’M NOT SPAM ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Comment by Age

maybe the information aesthetics kids would also be interested in that kind of data

Comment by lauren

cant stevie do it, all he ever does is play games and watch porn. fuck he could hack the us elections while hes at it and cause utter bloody mayhem. i should of run for pres myself, i fancy being the “official” king of the world.

back tuesday so i hope i find some andy friendly posts by then.

Comment by andy@cynic

Fabbo. Thanks Rob.

Comment by Charles Frith

Great idea.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Have I got this right? You want to create a Pol-Idol voting system to determine which candidate would be most popular amongst the populace of countries that don’t have a vote in the actual election. Why? Please explain Charles, Rob whoever.

What ever country you live in, would you want non-residents influencing your democratic vote (beyond the extent it already happens geo-politically)? Smacks of imperialsim to me – the point about democracy is that people are free to voe and get the rulers they want – not those that other countries want, e.g. Hamas. And what about the manipulation possibilities that are rife in online votes, if I ran someone’s campaign I’d love to get the other ccandidate cast as the one those lovely people from (insert despotic nation of your choice) want to rule our country.

Me grumpy? Must be all these damn proposals I’m getting today!

Comment by John

you cranky fuck dodds. theyre not suggesting the votes count, they are just saying it would be interesting to see how each country would vote so they can guage the mood of the world given they are the poor fuckers who get to enjoy most of the fallout from the yanks foreign policy.

i like the name “pol idol” by the way. sounds like pol pot which seems strangely appropriate. get your head out your arse and cheer up dodds, theres only room for one miserable fuck and thats shared between marcus and me.

Comment by andy@cynic

can we have a vote on that?

Comment by John

No you fucking can’t Dodds.

Comment by Marcus

Hello all,

Joey here.

I am the friend of Charles’ who had the idea. Just to make clear Rob, there are some guys who are already working on developing it. They recently ran and have developed a platform for doing similar things. They should have something to show within a few weeks.

In reference to the last comment. you ask why?

The US, and indeed the majority of countries, influence the lives of people in countries other than their own without the citizens of those countries getting to vote. That is imperialism. So if this is a form of imperialism then it is an internet imperialism. The most democratic sort i’ve come across so far. The largest constituency to date get a say. If it is unfair then it is only so because of the limitations of connectivity/access and questions over the long term sustainability of the internet itself.

The realisation of this idea does nothing to take from the right to vote of those within the US. They still have the power to vote how they wish. If it does work out that this global voting influences how they vote then fantastic! (US) citizens considering global opinion and potential consequences, and therefore the wider significance of their vote: bring it on. The alternative is “We vote without giving a damn what the rest of the world wants.” It is merely providing valuable information. Decisions are made by making the best use of all the information available to you.

I put the US in brackets above because it could be any country. If it were Zimbabwe it would be great to see the world condemn Mugabe. If it were the UK, where I live, I would happily take on board who the rest of the world would think a better leader for our country. If it were Iceland, hardly anyone would consider it of great importance to vote. I think it is fair to say that more people would vote in this example, the US elections, than any other. That bears evidence to the fact that we all know it is important for us even if we don’t live there. Yet we all wait upon the results impotent and disenfranchised. Not any more!

In a world where we better understand the global consequences of local action I am excited that the internet has the potential to seriously challenge the hegemony of the nation state and instead look toward a more universal suffrage that better represents the interests of the human race as a whole: good idea/bad idea? I think I know which side of that fence I am on.

I hope that helps answer why I think why.

As for the potential to manipulate, there are many concerns there. I look to my techie friends to find the best solution. It’s not possible to rig real elections after all!


Comment by Joey

It’s not possible to rig real elections? Maybe not in the sense that happens in some 3rd World countries but rigging/influencing definitely goes on in other ways such as blacklisting and recoding districts.
There’s a great documentary that shows how US political lobbyists are available for hire by other governments to help them get back into power thanks to grey area practices. I can’t remember the name but Rob showed it to me so you should ask him because it’s frighteningly brilliant.
I like the idea Joey and I hope it all comes off because I’d like to see how the outside World views the actions of the USA and then how the US react to that news though I would say “ignore” will be the most likely outcome.

Comment by Bazza

And for the record Joey, in reference to real “rigging” you should talk to our IT guy because he is the most devious bastard alive and I mean that in a good way 🙂

Comment by Bazza

sorry. sarcasm doesn’t come across well in type. My tongue was firmly in my cheek in the last sentence! The last US election being a case in point.

am laughing at your suggestion that the likely US response would be to ignore! You might just be right.

Comment by Joey

Sarcasm comes across in type just fine Joey, it’s probably the fact I’m American and “us lot” don’t get it (according to my Limey pay masters)

Comment by Bazza

No you lot don’t get irony!

Comment by John

Feeling abit of an outsider John? 🙂

Comment by Rob

What I do in my spare time is my business.

Comment by John

Yours and the British Constabulary 🙂

Comment by Rob

Love the ideas, guys, but …

Feels like it would be really difficult to make this truly representative. The type of people who are likely to vote (and be able to vote- ie the group of people who’d find out about the initiative is likely to be slightly self-selecting) will probably give you a very predictable answer.

Especially by the time there are only 2 candidates left.

Comment by Paulw

Hi Paul, of course it won’t be representative especially, as you already indicate, the sort of person who would bother to do it is the sort of individual who would naturally lean towards a particular party – however [1] presumption is always dangerous and we could be in for a funny surprise and [2] regardless of all that, it would give the World [or certain people within the World] the chance to feel their voice has to be acknowledged in the US – even if it serves no purpose whatsoever.

If we only do what we believe will make a fundamental difference, then we would never get anything off the ground – which is why I view this excercise as ‘seeding change’ rather than delivering it … and in the World that we live in today, I think that’s worth the effort.

Comment by Rob

too many ideas are killed by people who say “why” instead of “why not” so even if it makes fuck all difference and is voted for by a bunch of tree hugging, sandal wearing hippies, its important because some good might eventually happen from it where as i know fuck all will if we just sit here and let them do whatever the fuck they want.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hi guys,

I wasn’t saying “don’t do it”, more “if you’re going to do it, then try to make it as good as possible”.

Will be fun and interesting whatever, but would be great if it was fun, interesting and – a point Rob likes to dwell on- insightful.

Perhaps some considerations Joey is addressing?


Comment by Paulw

I’m wholeheartedly behind you on that Paul – though even in its most ambigious state, the information garnered from this sort of ‘vote’ would probably be more insightful and useful than anything McCaan’s could offer up given the rubbish they’re putting out as ‘insights’ these days [see todays post] 🙂

Comment by Rob


I didn’t read the post but I did take the photo!
Check out the rest of my stuff


Comment by paulhitz

and those are my stickers on my mirror 🙂

Comment by paulhitz

i know it must feel good to have someone use your photo paul, but this is a shit blog so its nothing worth feeling too smug about.

Comment by andy@cynic

thanks Andy

no smugness here, just commenting on photos of mine that get blogged that DON’T give me photo credit, I could care less about the subject or the blog itself at the moment

Comment by paulhitz

good fucking point paul, let me kick the stealing shit when i see him. at least he linked it to you, when he steals my stuff he likes to pretend its his but i am working at the ultimate level 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree completely with Rob. It is very much about “seeding change.” If the results turn out heavily in favour of one party then that is interesting information in itself. If the numbers are large enough to get coverage and to be of interest to the parties (excessively hopeful maybe, but fuck it, let’s set the bar high) then next time there may be more effort made to canvass wider global/internet community support by the party that does not fair so well. Or equally, it may be that one party comes to understand a global constituency dramatically in its favour. Either consequence helps legitimize the political power of the global online community.

Paul and all: I’d be very interested to hear any ideas you have on ways to make it more “insightful.” What are the insights like you’d like to glean? If you post them here then I will direct the guys developing the site to them.

In implementation terms, do you mean letting people post comments, having a forum, declaring why they voted a particular way, leaving links to posts they have written, their blogs, essays, books, having some sort of optional form to complete?

My concern would be deviating from the most simple solution. I imagine the uptake will be greatest the more simple/quick it is: “vote and go” – as it is with the elections themselves. Is it better to get a higher number of voters and increase the signifcance of the results for a more particularly important insight than to risk decreasing the “turn out” to gain a greater breadth/depth of insight? Is it best to place high participation as the guiding design principle?

Comment by Joey

Rob and I have been asked to speak at some global market researchers conference so I sense this could become a central focus of our talk. That and everything that’s wrong with the discipline 🙂

Comment by Bazza

planners get all the exciting gigs

Comment by andy@cynic

And creatives get all the awards.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

lifes not fair is it mortimer. well for planners.

Comment by andy@cynic

We have to work for our money and praise.

Comment by Bazza

not from next week you wont you little fucker. enough of this trivial bollocks, i have an expensive breakfast to get lee hill to pay for.

Comment by andy@cynic

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