Sunday, September 24, 2006

Polls are like casinos (Part 2)

One Voter's Adventures From Primitive Pleb To Savvy Sovereign

... continued from Part 1 (Saturday, September 23) ...

The first several times I voted, I looked just like the people I usually see at the polls ~ serious, bored, and somewhat tense.  Although I had researched and carefully considered, there were still lots of question marks.  I felt the weight of the future decisions "my" candidates would make if they won their races.  Serious business, this delegation of decision-making.

After putting that much effort into voting, I felt obliged to follow up by reading the results the next day.  I happened to notice a peculiar pattern in my ratio of input to output.  As one election cycle followed another, I learned more about issues and candidates and adjusted my selections accordingly.  But as I gained more and more awareness, the candidates I selected got fewer and fewer votes, until I had a better chance of winning a lottery jackpot than my candidates had of winning their races.

Being a mathematician of sorts, my attention was piqued by this puzzle. Might these events be correlated?  I commenced to muse...

My first theory is inspired by an old joke known among number-nerds like me, that is, that the state lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.  Going a step further with that reckoning, one concludes that voting is community service for people who are bad at logic.

Heretical, maybe even blasphemous, to say this in a nation of loudly touted democratic ideals, but bold is my mode, so I'll say it again: One is as true as the other.

... to be continued ...

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