It's Election Day - Go To Your Polling Place And Vote

To all the non US readers, I apologize in advance. This post is not directed at you.

To all the US based readers, do me a favor. Go vote today. I don't care if you are liberal, conservative, or a member of the far center party. What matters is you exercise your right to vote today.

I am going to vote on my way to work. I am going to checkin on foursquare and contribute to this cool foursquare app called I Voted.You do that by including the tag #ivoted in your checkin.

I am going to tweet out my vote. And if I see any problems in our polling place I am going to alert the city via Twitter as Mike Bloomberg suggests:

Bloomberg tweet
It's cool that Mayor Mike uses TweetDeck.

I plan to vote for Harry Wilson for Comptroller (Rep). All the other contests I get to vote on today are not even races, sadly. But even if every single race was not a contest, I would still go out and vote today. It's our obligation as citizens to elect our representatives.

I saw a line the other day that said "if you don't like what is going on in washington, change the people you are sending to washington". Same thing can be said about Albany and City Hall. Today is the day to stop complaining about our government and do something about it. I'm going to and I hope you all do too.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Matt A. Myers

    You’d be surprised Fred at how many people outside the US in fact do care who gets elected.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, i knowbut this was written as an exhortation to US citizens to go vote

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Kudos to you 🙂

    2. JLM

      Not as many as those Americans who do not care what those outside the US think about anything. In general, we Americans are not a global people because America is too damn big.

  2. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    No need to apologize. What you’re doing is right and important.

  3. kirklove

    What people often fail to realize is that their local elected officials effect their daily lives far more than anyone in Washington and your vote absolutely matters in those races.The right to exercise your vote freely – now that deserves a FTW!

  4. kagilandam

    I think this quote is more relevant for the election this time …Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against. ~W.C. Fields

  5. William Mougayar

    As a non US & it’s not my business, but why is American politics plagued by Washington gridlock.Whoever gets elected, let them govern for a while before putting spokes in their wheels the minute after election.

    1. Internet Tough Guy

      gridlock was built into the constitution by design to limit unchecked power and keep government’s power limited overall.

      1. William Mougayar

        I hope you’re joking. Limiting powers is one thing. Not getting anything done is another.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          If you think that the federal government hasn’t gotten anything done in the last two years, you haven’t been paying attention. A short list: – Arguably the largest health care legislation since the 1960s. – A huge financial regulation bill. – The biggest fiscal stimulus bill ever. – An big escalation of the war in Afghanistan. – The biggest fiscal deficits in the first two years of any administration.The reason Democrats are going to suffer large losses today isn’t because they didn’t do anything in D.C. over the last couple of years. It’s because a majority of Americans doesn’t approve of what they’ve done. That, and the sorry state of the U.S. economy.

          1. William Mougayar

            Good points but I’m not taking sides, as I shouldn’t. The gridlock comment wasn’t aimed at one party or another, but towards the general aspect of it.

          2. JLM

            And the fact that the Perfect Storm has moved on.

          3. Nathan Lustig

            Exactly. They did a ton these last two years, but most of it has not been popular. They’re also going to suffer because President Obama over promised, or at least allowed people to believe that he was going to be able to fix everything right away. It worked to get him elected, but it’s going to hurt the Dems today.It’s like those studies that show that if you have $1m and lose 900k, you feel worse off than if you only earn $100k in the first place. You’re in the exact same financial situation at the end, but you feel you should have done better. People feel like they were promised the $1m and only ended up with the $100k.

          4. JLM

            The opposite of love is not hate — it is indifference.We all collectively fell in love with the Perfect Storm Obama and his beautifully crafted and elegantly delivered story.The story contained the most alluring promises and we truly wanted that to become reality.Alas, we now find ourselves in bed with a frigid Prom Queen who is not able to truly fashion policy and legislation which solves the real world problems we face as a Nation.Oh, he’s still the slickest politician of his times and he is a masterful speech artiste — but unfortunately he is simply not competent — just like the frigid Prom Queen.So, now the country will move along to some more competent hookers who hopefully know how to show us a good time and have done it all once or twice before.We do not hate President Obama, we are just driven to complete indifference because of the wholesale incompetence of his administration.

          5. LIAD

            nothing worse than being in bed with the prom queen and only then finding out she’s Frigid.Surely an arrest-able offence

          6. JLM

            Well, if you have done YOUR job competently, the frigid old Prom Queen is already handcuffed, no?So, one can pretty much call the coppers in the morning.

          7. LIAD

            she can go jump. would have had contingency plans in place ahead of time. backup options…

          8. Aaron Klein

            Dave, Dave, Dave…didn’t you get the memo? It’s the marketing. They haven’t had time to trumpet all these wonderful things they were doing. If only the American People knew how ignorant and stupid they are.All sarcasm aside, you’re dead right. I really hope the President hears the message and changes course today. We need him to be successful for the sake of our country.

          9. Donna Brewington White

            “We need him to be successful for the sake of our country.”Regardless of political persuasion, I like this attitude, Aaron. It would be easy for those who aren’t supporters to want him to fail but you are right — if he fails, we all fail. Case in point…the past two years. Painful.Edit: Anticipating the argument that the pain didn’t just begin two years ago and sadly would have to agree.

          10. Aaron Klein

            Yep, the desire for a President of the opposite party to fail is something that both the right and left are guilty of, and has a highly corrosive effect on our politics.

          11. JLM

            I am writing this late enough in the evening that the election returns have begun to solidify and it is clear that a huge rebuke has been administered by the voters which brings me to the following sentiment:Once an election is over, the President is OUR President whether we have voted for him or not. To suggest that we can succeed as a Nation while our President fails is neither an admirable nor a workable thesis.On the other hand, when the President is elected he is OUR President and must govern for all — his supporters, his opponents, the great unknown. No President can have “enemies” amongst the electorate and govern the Nation fairly.We unfortunately find ourselves in a reality in which campaigning never, ever stops. Ever. The President’s conduct in the last month is that of a desperate convict facing death row — neither dignified nor Presidential.I decry both sides.

          12. CJ

            Heh – the funny thing is I view most of those as positive so it’s really about viewpoint.- Arguably the largest health care legislation since the 1960s. Which IMHO didn’t go far enough. The healthcare industry sucks. It needs to be overhauled and vanilla capitalism isn’t doing the job. It’s government’s job to step in to protect the people and this is a good call.- A huge financial regulation bill. Should have gone further. Was a good start though, the financial industry played fast and loose with risk and left the nation to shoulder the fallout. There should be regulation in place to ensure that never happens again as we obviously can’t trust the industry to police themselves.- The biggest fiscal stimulus bill ever. Either that or the second Depression ever, I’ll take the stimulus, thanks.- An big escalation of the war in Afghanistan. A huge drawdown in Iraq. I’d prefer neither war but you have to play the hand you’re dealt. Obama didn’t start this war, he inherited it and leaving the country a mess isn’t a good option. You’re in there, gotta win it or at least try otherwise all that money spent fighting was wasted.- The biggest fiscal deficits in the first two years of any administration. Faced with the prospect of a second depression extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.The reason Democrats are going to suffer large losses today isn’t because they didn’t do anything in D.C. over the last couple of years. It’s because a majority of Americans doesn’t approve of what they’ve done. That, and the sorry state of the U.S. economy. The reason that the Democrats are gonna suffer heavy losses today is because they don’t stand behind their record. They are spineless and they lack even the smallest grasp of PR. They should be proud of their record and should be pushing that forcefully, instead they’ve run from everything they’ve accomplished in the last two years as if it was a plague. I’d hate to see the country now if Obama hadn’t acted how he did two years ago. The Tea Party rhetoric has drowned out all reason, unfortunately the rhetoric is unreasonable and often fictitious and that was BEFORE the GOP co-opted them to rebrand the Republican party.

          13. Dave Pinsen

            Malcolm,My point wasn’t to debate the merits of those things (which is why I described them in fairly neutral terms), but to show that Democrats did do big things, and the election would largely be a reaction to them. But, since you want to debate the issues, briefly:”Which IMHO didn’t go far enough. The healthcare industry sucks. It needs to be overhauled and vanilla capitalism isn’t doing the job. It’s government’s job to step in to protect the people and this is a good call”Could you summarize what you think “this” is, and why you think it’s a “good call”? Part of the unpopularity of the legislation is that few can do that (and no Dems seemed willing to run on it). Also, the idea that “vanilla capitalism” described our health care sector before this is nonsense. There was enormous government participation in our health care system before this, and about 50% of health care spending came via government (via Medicare, Medicaid, etc.).Two meta-points about this the health care bill though: 1) It detracted from Obama’s focus on the economy. 2) Given the country’s fiscal challenges, the priority should have been to put our current health care entitlements on sounder footing before expanding them. Bush made a similar (albeit, smaller scale) mistake with his creation of Medicare Part D.”Either that or the second Depression ever, I’ll take the stimulus, thanks.”You seem to be confusing Obama’s fiscal stimulus bill with TARP or some of the Fed’s liquidity programs. Not even the Obama administration argued that another depression (not “the second Depression ever”; the Great Depression wasn’t our first depression) would result if the stimulus wasn’t passed. Instead, they argued that without the stimulus bill unemployment would spike to around 9%, and with the stimulus bill it wouldn’t go above 8%. It’s now 9.6%. Even many Dems concede now that the stimulus bill was bloated, slow-acting, and poorly-targeted.”A huge drawdown in Iraq. I’d prefer neither war but you have to play the hand you’re dealt. Obama didn’t start this war, he inherited it and leaving the country a mess isn’t a good option. You’re in there, gotta win it or at least try otherwise all that money spent fighting was wasted.”The drawdown in Iraq was a continuation of one set in motion by agreement between the Bush Administration and the government of Iraq. With respect to Afghanistan, Obama dealt his own hand. Bush, in his compassion and deluded egalitarianism, decided to turn what should have been a brief, punitive campaign against the Taliban into a long-term nation building program, one that the UN and NATO foolishly bought into. But, perhaps realizing the folly of this soon after, Bush decided to keep a relatively light footprint in Afghanistan.Obama, on the contrary, went all-in, even though Afghanistan is far less amenable to nation-building than Iraq. One result of this is that more American troops have been killed in Afghanistan in the first two years of the Obama administration than in all eight years of the Bush administration, and we are no closer to anything that could charitably be called a positive outcome there.

          14. matjen

            Wonderful summary Dave. I could not have written a better version.

      2. S. Pandya

        Agree. You need negative feedback to keep a system stable.

    2. JLM

      Our system was built when the participants had to ride a horse from Boston to Washington to meet.The Founding Fathers did not anticipate a partisan and active Federal legislature but rather vigorous State legislatures wherein most of the power was to have resided.The Federal government was to have only those powers enumerated in the Constitution and those that were freely given by the “united” States and which the States could not provide on their own.There is a reason why the US is called the “united” States rather than the Federal Republic of America.Alas, we have lost our way but perhaps today we can make a small step in the right direction. The redistribution of wealth in America is NOT a core value of our people. We are workers, doers, risk takers and we do not seek to eat from another’s chili bowl.

      1. fredwilson

        I think Texans would love NYers a lot more and NYers would love Texans a lotmore if we just stayed out of each other’s ways and meansI hear that Texans often wish to secede. I do that fairly often tooThe founding fathers were wise men

        1. Jon Sarley

          So true. We need to push these polarizing issues down to the state level and get on with our lives.

        2. JLM

          Hell, nobody in Texas really wants to secede. We’re having too much fun goofing with the rest of the country who makes the mistake of taking us seriously.I love NY, NYC and Texas — I am a polygamist and promiscuous to a fault.I continue to be amazed at how relevant each and every design element of our Federal gov’t our FFs damn near perfected.Of course, they had fought for the right to do just that in the most improbably military confrontation in the history of the world.

      2. William Mougayar

        That makes American politics fascinating and engaging.

      3. COMRADITY

        JLM the fact that founding fathers did not anticipate political parties is, I think, an issue to address. I can’t imagine them going away. So how would you adjust the system to reflect their existence? Is there a change that would compel representatives to debate the issues on their merits instead of playing these party politics games?K–

        1. JLM

          Why do you think that the FFs did not anticipate political parties?The organizing themes of Jefferson v Madison v everyone else is the precursor of competitive visions of governance and the well spring of political organization.The very fact that George Washington did not assume a crown is the acknowledgement that the FFs knew they were going to have to struggle to find a common vision from the competing visions.What is indisputable is that the country was formed as the “united” States and not the Federal Republic of America.

      4. baba12

        Yes we dont seek to eat from another’s chilli bowl as long as all of us have the same access to be doers, workers etc. Trouble is throughout our history we have created roadblocks to not let everyone have access to those things that make us be able to be good workers or doers.So sure we hope that States always are able to do the right thing but when they fail the Federal government has to step in.If it was not for the Federal Government we would not have the Civil Rights Act cuz many states did not believe everyone should have equal access to the chilli bowl.Even today there are several states that have no Minimum Wage law and that is their prerogative as we still have states unwilling to give equal rights to someone being gay either.So there is always going to be friction around states rights versus the federal rights.I would hope we are a more progressive society not stuck in time as we seem to be.

        1. JLM

          Revelation — life is not fair.Civil Rights and the Civil Rights Act — championed by a Texan, LBJ — has nothing to do w/ access to chili bowls. Segregation and slavery were an abomination against mankind and basic right and wrong.Everybody should have the best possible access to success.One of the greatest mysteries of the world is to go to Johnson City, Texas — a hard scrabble little Hill Country town near Austin — and try to figure out how such a towering idea came from such a chicken shit little town. It is truly amazing.The ultimate freedom we enjoy as a free people is to simply go where we think the opportunity is the best.The FFs intended the Federal gov’t to be weak and the individual “united” States to be strong. In fact, the Federal gov’t was intended to have no powers other than those specifically enumerated in the Constitution and those specifically granted by the States. Today, it is the other way around.

      5. S. Pandya

        JLM, I normally agree with you on most points, but I have to disagree here. When the republic was founded, the country had a vast frontier. Trans-state issues such as air pollution, water pollution, and commerce were negligible. And opportunity was in abundance. If you didn’t like where you lived, you had the opportunity to move on west and become a pioneer.The Constitution and the republic were founded in an age where progress and strength were measured in terms of land. Britain owned the seas simply because it owned entire continents. Same for Spain.Today’s world looks different. Borders are set. Nations no longer seek to dominate through size, but rather through trade. We are already starting to see the future where nations start dominating through sheer ideas, and not even physical trade. It would not surprise me if World War 3 ended up being fought digitally.The Constitution is a venerable document that establishes guardrails for what government can and can’t do. That doesn’t mean that it is a document that is in a final state – on the contrary, it needs to be amended every so often to reflect the needs of the people. Supreme Court rulings over the last 150 years have slowly expanded the powers of the federal government (as have Amendments 14 and 18) in order to allow the republic to adapt to changing times.The FFs need to be congratulated on their vision. Their vision however was not a limited government perpetually bound by the same rules, but rather a thriving, flexible republic that hopefully would escape Rome’s fate.

        1. Andrew Greene

          S. Pandya is absolutely right.This idea that the Constitution and the Founding Fathers’ intentions are absolute truth is completely wrong. The Founding Fathers were against any veneration of their ideas and personas. Check out the work of Jill Lepore, a Harvard expert on the American Revolution:

          1. JLM

            I am a humble student of history and have lived enough years to have seen just a bit of the front page of the NYT wiggle its way into “history” books which have failed to accurately capture the facts just right.I can only say that those who would suppose they can interpret the intentions of the FFs to have been something other than the plain writings of Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, Madison — the list goes on forever — have to rely upon a insight which violates all probability and rises to the level of clairvoyance.So much of the writings of the FFs have survived extant, that it is beyond credulity to interpret them to be something other than what they plainly wrote.The Constitution is probably the most labored over public document in the history of the world written literally by men who were making it up as it was laid down and thus had their entire focus on its content and every possible subtlety.These chaps meant what they said.

          2. S. Pandya

            See post above. Constitution was meant to be a fluid document that is adaptable and open to interpretation not a literal set of rules (with the possible exception of the Bill of Rights, and even those are open to interpretation — the famous lack of comma in the second amendment being the prominent example).

          3. JLM

            Don’t you in some ways prove the other side — in over 200 years of to-ing and fro-ing, the only booger we can detect is a missing damn comma.That, my friend, is a pretty damn good batting average.

          4. S. Pandya

            I completely agree that our Constitution is exquisite and unique in the community of nations. It is both adaptable, as shown by twenty some amendments (stopped paying attention when the last one was over a pay raise), and open to interpretation, as shown by the debate on the second amendment.We do have a damn good batting average, and the credit has to go to the founders. By making the document adaptable and open to interpretation, they laid the foundations for a strong republic centered around decisions made on discourse and debate.

        2. JLM

          Agreeing completely — absolutely completely — with your preamble and your conclusion, I take great exception that it is the role of the Judicial Branch — the Supremes — to expand the powers of the Federal government.That is the appropriate role of the Legislative Branch.The Constitution itself anticipates everything you and others espouse as it pertains to the ability and perhaps necessity to change with the changing times.The Constitution anticipated this necessity to change and rightly contains within it the authority and methodology to modify it and it has been modified in large and small ways.This too is evidence of the absolute genius of the FFs. The checks and balances of the FFs and their draftmanship has delivered onto us the greatest country in the history of the world and yet we are as flawed as all mankind.

          1. S. Pandya

            I think we agree on the adaptability of the Constitution, but we are not in agreement over limited government. The original argument was over whether the founders intended a “limited” government. My argument was that the government was limited by the nature of the country and times back then, and not explicitly by the Constitution. Because of this, the expansion of the federal government has been organic and necessary given the changing times and is completely within the original scope of the Constitution (with the help of a few amendments that have been added since)To that effect, I should have used the word enumerate in my original argument instead of expand.The enumerated powers that we are seeing the federal government use today is the result of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the interstate commerce clause, the civil rights amendment, and a few other critical lines in the Constitution (won’t put links to court cases such as Marbury v. Madison, but others are welcome to).The legislative branch hasn’t needed to grant explicit powers (with the exception of a few amendments) since the interpretation of the original text has automatically been adapted to the times.So, in effect, the limited government that we had in the 18th century has organically transformed into an enhanced, some would say “overarching” federal government of the 21st century.Take various frontline agencies such as the Federal Reserve, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Energy, and issues such as the stabilization of the banking system and the criminalization/legalization of drugs. Nowhere in the Constitution does it explicitly mandate the Federal Government to create (legislative branch) or enforce (executive branch) any of the laws or set up any of the agencies mentioned above.However, in every single case, the argument has been interstate commerce. Air moves freely between states, and industrial activity in Michigan impacts acid rain and farming in Connecticut. Hence, the EPA. Drug cultivation and smuggling in one state impacts crime and commerce in the rest of the union. Hence, the DEA. The nation’s banking system impacts everyone and impacts the ability of the Treasury to issue coin – hence the Federal Reserve. Electricity (and radiation) is exchanged between states (power grid and nuclear explosions), and hence the original need for the DoE.In the eighteenth century, we didn’t have factories (before the industrial revolution), mass electricity (Franklin had just invented it), radiation (DoE was created in the 20th century), and hence the government didn’t need to expand or have “enumerated” powers to deal with those things. We have those things now, and we are fortunate to have a government that has the power to deal with them. The only concern now is that the government is not as efficient as it could be, but shouldn’t be that the government is bigger — it has to be the times are more complicated.The Constitution is fluid, adaptable, and open to interpretation – just as the founders intended. To interpret it literally goes against their vision. If that had been the vision, there would be no need for the Supreme Court to adjudicate on constitutionality, and it would have simply been an appellate court of the last resort.

          2. JLM

            The expansion of the Federal government has been “…organic and necessary…” in much the same way that bamboo is an invasive species and once well rooted is virtually impossible to kill.While I certainly am personally flexible enough to concede the necessity for attacking many of the problems you describe, I am not willing to knee jerk default to the fact that it is always a Federal gov’t solution or that the Feds have gone about it correctly.It is nonsens in my view to suggest that simply because a problem exists the Supreme Court is somehow empowered to impose a solution. Though it may be a sticky wicket, the legislative process is called upon to perform in difficult and easy situations and to defer to the creativity of the Judicial branch is simply intellectual cowardice.There is absolutely no question that the interstate commerce clause is rightfully trotted out to justify Federal involvement but what is not true is that it is the only way to deal with some — not all, just some — of the issues and when it is appropriately dropped into the in box of the Feds, it is not also true that the Supremes can as appropriately deal w/ it as the Congress.The Congress needs to get off its ass and make it work. Perfect example is what is happening today. The Congress rammed through a huge program of previously rejected legislation and now is going to have to deal with a wholesale revolt.I would close by saying that eveything in life is subject to interpretation but the suggestion that interpretation is always the right answer is nonsense. Sometimes the writings of the FFs is simply correct and the avant garde does not like it.The SCOTUS is the apellate court of last resort. Nothing wrong w/ that.

          3. S. Pandya

            I like your response, and agree with most of it. As for your close:”I would close by saying that eveything in life is subject to interpretation but the suggestion that interpretation is always the right answer is nonsense. Sometimes the writings of the FFs is simply correct and the avant garde does not like it.”You and me don’t determine what’s correct, nor can we assess whether the writings of the FFs are correct or whether they should apply. That’s the job of SCOTUS.As for judicial encroachment on legislative matters (legislating from the bench), it’s often over exaggerated. In each of the cases mentioned in my post above, the SCOTUS has given tacit approval by not ruling on its constitutionality. The actual proposal, whether for DoE in the early 20th century or the DHS after 9/11, has always come from Congress on the recommendation of the President.I would close by saying that SCOTUS, over the long run, has been doing it’s job fairly well interpreting the Constitution and picking its fights wisely (like the original income tax law). In those cases, Congress and/or the people had to legislate to get those changes to pass.


      When people vote “against” rather than “for” someone there’s really little commitment there.When people vote for politicians who run on false promises to eliminate fears which simply can not be eliminated, people have “buyers remorse”.Here’s my post about the broader implications on innovation of fear tactics:…Need better choices. Need more debate on how to solve problems instead of finger pointing about who caused them. But good people are intimidated from running. Very discouraging.I’m voting for Jim Himes (current rep. to Congress from CT) for whom I have great respect after working with him on the Housing Authority. I’m just uninspired by every other choice on the ballot.

  6. Harry DeMott

    Always amazed that the turnout today will be something between 30% and 40% of eligible voters.Pitiful.I’ve always thought we should have a system where you gain a benefit from voting – like a $100 tax deduction – or something like that – a real incentive to get people to come out.Or even better – why not figure out a way to vote via internet – it would be like Survey Monkey – who do you want for Governor: and then the choices.Simple – free from time constraints – you could open the electronic polls up 2 weeks before election day and keep them open 24 hours a day etc…As Seth Godin put it yesterday, I believe, voting has a marketing problem.

    1. JLM

      In the first year of Polish elections after the Communists had been toppled, the voting percentage was approximately 99.9%.What America needs is a bit of deprivation or as I like to call it — a Trailer Park Summer Camp.

      1. LIAD

        North Korean elections normally get 100% turnout with 100% of the vote going to the Workers Party.I remember reading about an African Dictator who publicised getting something like 130% of the vote. – his ego obviously supplanted his math ability

        1. JLM

          Maybe there should be a carve out for dictatorships which conduct faux elections?Kind of like Chicago?

          1. ShanaC

            *groan* It’s getting better in chicago

      2. Fernando Gutierrez

        One quick way to increase participation: elections on Sunday. Many people won’t go anyway, but at least you’ll get those who had difficulties due to their work. Although maybe you are right and it’s not about making it easy…Some more data about other countries: in Spain we had a dictatorship for 40 years. When we had our first elections in 1977 participation was around 79%. A couple of years ago it was still at 74%.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Brazil’s runoff election was on a Sunday too. Makes sense.

          1. kirklove

            Voting in Brazil is also compulsory, so they don’t have a choice (which I like) as the law says they have to vote.

        2. JLM

          We have almost unlimited “early voting” in the US right now. I can vote for the 3 weeks preceding the election at the library, the grocery and the local school all within a mile of my house. And all I need is my Driver’s License.Hell, I’ve already voted 6 times.

          1. Aaron Klein

            God bless Texas! I thought that only happened in Chicago. 🙂

          2. JLM

            Well, I may have voted 6 times but I am still breathing.The thing you have to admire about Chicago is the number of dead folks who will have voted today — multiple times — and each time will have presented a current driver’s license. LOLNo, we in Texas tip our hat to Chicago. We can’t hold their jocks.

        3. troygroberg

          Personally I would like to see election day become a national holiday where business are incentivized to close for the day. Imagine if the only thing that was open on election day were the polling places. I was in the Dominican Republic on election day in 1994 and that’s kinda how it was. It worked out fantastic for the locals there.

          1. JLM

            Love that idea. Brilliant! I will give my employees off in 2012 on Election Day in your honor. I swear it on my honor.We will call it Troy Groberg Election Day!

      3. baba12

        In India the voting percentage is between 60 and 85% generally. Last general elections 720 million people voted, all done through a electronic voting machine ( some issues have been raised about it) but overall it was one of the most error free elections. Given that generally in India about 10-50 million votes maybe captured in what is is called election booth capturing but overall on that scale it has no real effect on the outcome of the elections.For the vast majority of Indians their vote is the only source of power over the political parties. It is estimated that over 70% of the elected officials in all levels of public office never get re-elected. For poor marginalized people exercising their right to vote is their one right that has any value to them. In the U.S. we have a society that is comfortably numb for the most part as even for the poorest of poor there is still a lot to loose and until that changes we wont see a fundamental shift in increased voting percentages.We need several administrations of both Republicans and Democrats who are basically transgendered ball-less Republicans to completely destroy all social contracts we have created over the last 75 years for the proletariat to rise and start to take charge. For now the proletariat is dumb and stupid for the most part and has been drinking the cool-aid of CHOICE=FREEDOM not understand how they are being marginalized.When they wake up then we shall see. For now lets hope Mr.Wilson’s marching orders are shared with those who need to vote. Mr.Wilson’s life will be unaffected whether he votes or not but for someone living in trailer park camp it could mean a lot but who will awaken them….

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      The day you implement internet voting you’ll be able to eliminate a lot of politicians. If the mechanism is in place many mayor decissions could be voted directly. And overcoming politicians who what to keep power will be the mayor hurdle.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      It needs to be incentivized but creates risk of people voting in an un-educted way — not voting or voting for something you don’t know – which is worse?Voting online needs to happen.

      1. CJ

        No, it doesn’t. The incentive is participating in the process, if that isn’t enough then they don’t need to vote. It’s like wanting to add an incentive to get people to breathe. If you can’t find reason enough to do it then by all means please stop.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          That’s good and fine IF the action only affects themself — but when their decision or participation or lack of participation affects a group or society as a whole, I’d say then there’s a higher responsibility where you need to help at least start to getting them into the habit of voting – and hopefully not need to reenforce it once the habit is created.

          1. CJ

            Does it affect society as a whole? IMHO it’s the opposite, they give up their right to participate so any decisions made they have to live with rather than having the ability to influence change. Seems like a fair trade-off to me. If being able to influence your government, life and society aren’t enough of an incentive to vote then IMHO, you shouldn’t be doing it.

    4. Evan

      The highest turnout for a mid-term election in the last 40 years is 40%, although Gallup is predicting 45% turnout this year.

    5. CJ

      I don’t want people to vote who don’t have the incentive to actually do it for its own sake. They shouldn’t get a choice in governing the nation if they aren’t willing to put aside 15 minutes one day every two years to do it.

  7. Mark

    You only deserve a political opinion if you exercise your right to vote.

    1. JLM

      Of course, the FFs only granted voting rights to property owners under the premise that only property owners had the right to tax themselves.

      1. Mark

        I hear you. I pay taxes to Detroit because I work in the city, but I don’t live there and can’t vote in Detroit elections. WTF :/ Detroit would change overnight if everyone that paid taxes into it could vote.

      2. PhilipSugar

        I can’t give you enough likes for this one…..people think I’m crazy when I say only people that pay for government can vote for government.If we were keeping score I’d give you all my likes.

        1. JLM

          Hey, face it, we are both crazy. But sometimes that’s where you have the very best company — amongst the crazy people.

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. I should have done that. Twitter needs embed codes

      1. vruz

        the other day twitter inc posted this…people shouldn’t screencap tweets from the twitter website…I understand companies have to do this to defend their trademarks and other intellectual property, but it was still funny to see “Mayor Mike’s” tweet and the twitter guidelines in starkly contrasted sequence on my screen.:-)

        1. fredwilson

          i violate rules all the time, including ones issued by companies i invest in

  8. ErikSchwartz


  9. Tom Labus

    Voted here in NJ.I have no idea why the Republicans should be given a majority. Their last spin with the economy was a total disaster.

    1. JLM

      A pox on both of their houses but curious — which year of the Obama admin would you take over any year of the Bush admin?These are not good times, brother Tom.I hope that the Republicans have learned something.

      1. Mark

        “which year of the Obama admin would you take over any year of the Bush admin?”Of course the party always looks better compared to the hang-over. But someone has to clean up the mess. 🙂 And Republicans learning something? Sounds like you have hope for change you can believe in. :pAh, I love US politics. Cheers, JLM.

        1. JLM

          The “none of the above” selection is often the right one when it comes to politics.GWB was a fabulous Governor of Texas and nobody in Texas can figure out how he championed the greatest expansion of benefits (Medicare drug plan) and the creation of the largest gov’t department — Homeland Security.It was so unlike his tight fisted governance of Texas.I can criticize him with the same degree of venom as I can for the Obama policies.One of the problems we have is that opposition to one party’s governance does not automatically mean approval of the other party.Again, a pox on both of their houses.

          1. Evan

            W really wasn’t as small-government a governor as you’re making him out to be, JLM.

          2. TruthBtold

            I agree. Lies, lies, lies…

          3. Aaron Klein

            Agree with you completely. Bush 1995-02 was completely different from Bush 2003-09.

      2. Tom Labus

        Either of the Obama years for me. We are out of depression which takes a long time. The average US GDP was +8% between 34-37, yet unemployment was still over 17%

        1. JLM

          Guys like you are what makes the stock market work. Keep driving your chin into the other guy’s fist, he’s weakening! LOL

          1. TruthBtold

            OK, we get it.You’d rather have Bush than Obama as president. You’ll get another chance in 2012, dear sir.

      3. CJ

        That’s a false argument, the economic crash started in Bush’s admin, Obama inherited it. He has had only had two years to try and right a ship that was inches from going under when he took over. I think we’re all smart enough here to know that you don’t right the ship he was left with in a mere two years, he did well enough to prevent the whole thing from going down.

        1. Evan

          do you really want to start a partisan argument here on the day when partisan passions are inflamed most?

          1. CJ

            No, but I don’t like false arguments.

          2. Evan

            What you see as the truth and what other people see as the truth are pretty divergent. And I’m pretty sure you know it.

          3. CJ

            My aunt has a saying: “A lie can be told any number of ways, the truth only one.” By definition you can only have one version of the truth.

          4. Evan

            OK. Prove that your version is really the truth.

          5. Matt A. Myers

            There is a hill. This hill is so long that a ball will take 20 years to fully roll down. Now, 10 years ago I started to roll this ball, and I started to roll other balls down the hill over this time. In the present, the earliest ball I started to roll still have 10 years of rolling left to do.I know young people in the US who voted for Bush, twice, and then voted for Obama. They follow what sounds good on the media – what’s the most exciting, and what the majority feels is popular or sounds good. They’re not basing their vote on their own knowledge or education or understanding of things – possibly because they weren’t educated or weren’t taught to be critical thinkers to understand and think through consequences. Regardless, I don’t know what will keep the US balanced when all it takes are some lies (that the international community and governments don’t believe and wanted proof for) for the majority of society to follow along. On the flip side, whether you believe the dier situation Obama was going for or not – the majority voted for him and his story, but he seemingly hasn’t delivered – and the only thing I can attach to that are the media makes people see the top-level off-hand justifications and reasoning, and by showing that put value primarily on that making it an expert resource of importance – and makes people quick-reacting, and impatient to see the end impact of things when they are directly affecting them at home.I’m in a bad mood tonight, so maybe my logic and writing is a bit off, but feel free to disseminate.

        2. JLM

          This is part of the problem — not every critic of Pres Obama is a supporter of Pres Bush. A pox on both of their houses.Neither are wildly competent.

          1. CJ

            Didn’t say that you were but you can’t compare a two year presidency mired in a recession, almost depression, with eight years that varied widely from boom to bust. That’s my point, it has nothing to do with which side you support.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Haha… was a little afraid to put my address in there, Dave. Although would have been just for fun anyway.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Put someone else’s address in, just for fun. Use USV’s address if you want.________________________________

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Ha. Ha. Sort of circular I see…

  10. RJ Johnston

    Done. Let sanity be restored.And hopefully Fred’s comment box will return to the top. 😉

  11. Evan

    This is going to be a historically large Republican victory.

    1. JLM

      This is going to be a rusty barbed wire enema. It is going to be scarring and demoralizing. It is eminently well deserved. Of course, I am truly not smart enough to understand it all anyway.

    2. CJ

      I look at it more as a Democrat loss but that’s semantics. Never seen a more spineless bunch in my life.

      1. Evan

        i predicted +70 House, +9 Senate a week ago when no one had more than 50-55predicted.i’ve pretty much nailed every election prediction for the last 10 years, butthis one could always be different.

    3. fredwilson

      truebut not in NY or California which are the only two states i visit regularly

      1. Evan

        yes and no, Fred. New York has quite a few competitive districts, some of which are likely to flip.

  12. Aaron Klein

    Fred, thanks for this post – a political one that we can all agree on. I’m proud to live in a country where change happens with ballots, not bullets.

  13. Sam

    I wonder if more people voted for something on Facebook today, than voted in this election. I bet.I did NOT vote today.Why: Too inconvenient. I’m a 29 yr/old male. I don’t care enough, or know enough about anything being voted on in this election to phyically exert myself enough to find my polling station and go vote.This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote. If it was easier… say… ONLINE, I would definitely vote. It’s 2010. We should have this.

    1. JLM

      Sam, Sam, Sam — I don’t even know where to begin with you, my Friend.This is one of the reasons that the draft should never have been abolished.

      1. Sam

        Haaa.. . Really just trying to spark an idea here.Someone should create an online voting system, and just see how much traction it can get via Facebook.Let’s see… it’s about a 30% turnout? What would be be if you could vote on the web?

      2. Sam

        Perhaps I will just create it in time for the next election.

        1. Evan

          The point isn’t creating it, even if you could actually get the security down. It’s getting every individual state to change their laws.

          1. Fernando Gutierrez

            Yeah, in fact there are already technical solutions for this. Most areabout electronic vote in the polling station, but there are systemsdeveloped to vote through the internet with proper voteridentification, uniqueness of the vote and vote-voter dissociation. Afriend of mine worked on a company that had a practice about this: hard part is the human side. Most people don’t trust what theydon’t understand if they think there is an incentive for someone tocheat.

      3. JLM

        When the draft was on, every single draftee knew the identity of their Congressman because they were constantly writing to them complaining.I once had a Congressional inquiry asking whether anyone in my unit regularly wore pajamas to bed. His constituent had written complaining that he did not have pajamas. I stared at that letter for about 30 minutes before I realized it was real.I had another soldier who wrote complaining that he had to carry blasting caps on his person. I changed him from carrying the blasting caps to carrying the C4. Interestingly enough, he was quite happy about the new arrangement because he could break off a corner of a bit of C4 and warm up his C-rations.Those were the days.I hope they reinstitute the draft.

        1. David Semeria


        2. Andrew Greene

          If the draft is the only impetus for young men to vote, then we are in deep shit.

          1. JLM

            Uhhh, Andrew, Old Sport, in case you have not noticed, WE ARE IN DEEP SHIT.We have two wars and a busted economy. The banks are frozen. This is the worst business environment I have experienced in a third of a century of business.I apologize for going Old School and patriotic on you but I cannot bite my tongue.More importantly I want you to know that your freedoms were purchased and the mortgage has been paid — regularly — by chumps like me, my Dad, Fred’s Dad. Our countrymen.Guys who ansered their Country’s call when they were needed and did it willingly.I recently spent some time in Italy tracing the path of my Father’s WWII combat experiences and felt the very soul of a 20-something Infantry LT’s life force spent and exhausted struggling to wrest the country side one mountain pass and one river crossing at a time from the bonds of evil.I visited the American cemetery just north of Fiorenza and saw white cross upon white cross and read the names of guys who died within spitting distance of my Father. Twenty somethings who never got the chance to be 30-somethings. It was a moving experience.Though I had been a soldier myself and I had served with elite units and had experienced such things first hand, I could not quite get my mind around the idea of forcing an opposed river crossing in a little rubber boat hidden only by a smoke screen.I wept in frustration not able to comprehend how men — my Father — could do such things for other men.They purchased your ability to sit on your ass and not vote on Election Day.And, I think that is pretty damn sorry. Your country is not asking YOU today to make such sacrifices but it is dishonorable not to honor the rights they paid for with their blood.So next time you are tempted to sit an election out, just remember that almost 300 years of Americans — guys you pass on the street every day — bought you that right. See if you can really be that narcissistic to sit it out.So, yes, I think we are deep shit.

    2. Andrew Greene

      How inconvenient is it for you to vote? Finding your polling station is a Google search. Going to the polling station is a Google Maps search and car/bike ride. Voting is a pencil scratch or button press. What is inconvenient?

      1. Sam

        Just saying, it would be much easier to do ONLINE. You can’t argue with that. There would be a higher turnout. And that’s what we’re all after here, right?

  14. hermdog

    I voted for Nobody ’causeNobody tells the truthNobody will listen to my concernsNobody will help me start a companyNobody cares about me and my needsIn short, Nobody will keep his election promisesAnd if Nobody is elected things will get better for everyone.MassMan approves this ad

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t think that is truei will listenand i might help you start a company, if its a good idea with a goodteam around it

      1. TruthBtold

        I see this as the biggest problem in our democracy.Lot of smart people just give up voting. Which leads to lot of “not so smart” people voting, which leads to questionable people in important offices, like the POTUS.

  15. Donna Brewington White

    One of my favorite holidays — Election Day!I actually get a little emotional approaching the polling booth, thinking about the significance of what I’m doing and the price paid for me to do it.This is a particularly exciting election for my state (California). We’ll see what happens…Thanks for this post, Fred.

  16. ShanaC

    I’m posting this post election: I’m not sure why I voted- I feel inundated with lack of choices and lack of ideas, plus a lot of mean campaigning leading up. Sometimes I wish politics were unlocked from it’sa scheduling so that the people involved could pivot more often/better. I definitely wish that a lot of these conflicts would start resolving so I can hear of a new idea about the way this country works.

  17. ea cpe

    Yay for this post! I get a bit annoyed at people who claim that they also have a “right NOT to vote.” To me, that’s just plain laziness. Yes, I think voters should take the time and be educated about their votes, rather than just mindlessly filling in a ballot as soon as they turn 18. But people should also understand that voting is a responsibility as much as a right. VOTE!

  18. Druce

    as usual, somewhat disappointed with the voting technology. First fill in bubbles…where I was in Brooklyn I could barely see them in the dim light, and I’m not 50 yet. Then carry it over to get scanned…was expecting it to confirm what it scanned in, but it just said, your vote has been counted, no receipt, no confirmation.oh well… at least if there are shenanigans or glitches they can go back and compare the paper ballots to the tally. I guess that’s an improvement over the old mechanical levers.Can’t help feeling that 10 years after the 2000 debacle we should be able to do better… pick candidates ATM style, check the results, print them out, and deposit the printout as an audit trail.

  19. Dave Pinsen

    “Optimism of dissent” has a nice ring to it.