Propono (Latin): to put or set forth, to set or lay out, to offer, to place before, expose to view, display, point out, declare, represent, report, say, relate, set forth, publish, etc.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Why don't Americans like to vote?

Three interesting pieces in today's WSJ:

Why Don't Americans Like to Vote?

If you're an American who is not planning to vote Nov. 7, join the crowd. In the past few decades, less than 40% of eligible voters in the U.S. have bothered to cast ballots in midterm elections.

Your forebears would be ashamed. In late-19th-century midterm elections, turnout ranged from 65% to 78%. For presidential elections, almost 80% of the nation's eligible -- rich and poor, educated and illiterate -- voted. In 1888, 10 states had turnouts of more than 90%. Eight years later, Indiana voters set a record with 97% casting ballots.

Then, in the early 20th century, turnout began falling precipitously. By 1920, less than half of the voting-age population made it to the polls on Election Day. "The drop in voting was nationwide, substantial and cumulative," wrote Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, author of "Why America Stopped Voting." It was also unprecedented, both in America and other Western democracies. Americans, it seemed, no longer prized their right to vote.


Politicians try out MySpace

As I wrote about a week or two ago about the fact that it's not just kids on MySpace, it turns out in-the-know politicos (or at least those with web-savvy staffers) are using these online tools as well. Are online-networking sites becoming the political fora and political media of the future? (or the present?)

Luther Lowe already planned to vote for Rep. Marion Berry, an Arkansas Democrat running for re-election in November. But after finding the 64-year-old congressman's profile online at MySpace and Facebook, he was impressed enough to send the candidate a $100 donation.

"He has some funny quotes and talks about himself" in the Web postings, says Mr. Lowe, a 24-year-old from Little Rock. "I felt like I could understand him on a personal basis. It played into the decision of me not only voting, but giving money, too."

Politicians across the country are discovering that a presence on social-networking sites such as MySpace isn't just a way of communicating with voters under 30, it is also a means of attracting volunteers and their donations. Howard Dean's 2004 presidential primary run underscored the Internet's untapped potential as a fund-raising tool, and political strategists say these networking sites go further by helping candidates to home in on specific audiences, beyond those who click on campaign Web sites.


And, more technology-focused: a great piece on Apple's #2, Tim Cook, an important performer who operates quietly behind Steve Jobs' often-larger-than-life persona.


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