back to article Engineer uses binary on voting bumpf to flag up Cali election flaws

In the race for one of California's two Senate seats, one candidate has hit on a novel way to draw attention to himself and his platform: binary. The official voter information guide, delivered to all homes across the state, includes details of all of the 34 candidates standing, most including a paragraph of introductory text …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's wrong, of course. The system would fall apart within minutes..

    "I though it was a good idea to consider all opinions of people who have Web access, it would be really democratic", said Senator "Senator McSenateFace", who, foolishly, allowed voters to vote to change his own name.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's wrong, of course. The system would fall apart within minutes..

      >"I though it was a good idea to consider all opinions of people who have Web access

      Wow somebody who has never been to 4chan /b/ I see.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      e-Voting: The advantage for the Incumbents ...

      ... They get to record who you voted for *and* they can then neglect to count it.

    3. h4rm0ny
      Paris Hilton

      Re: He's wrong, of course. The system would fall apart within minutes..

      Oh it might fall apart. Probably would... But I think it would be really fun to try democracy for a bit and see how it went.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: He's wrong, of course. The system would fall apart within minutes..

        It wouldn't be democracy. It would be organised pressure groups exerting undue influence over decision making.

        Imagine this in the UK: The greens table a motion to ban fossil fuels and spend a trillion pounds on windmills. Every single Greenpeace ( and 38 degrees, etc ) supporter would vote yes. Most of everybody else wouldn't bother turning up to the polling station. It would probably pass.

        We'd have tyranny from a minority. The opposite of democracy.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: He's wrong, of course. The system would fall apart within minutes..

          The minority tyranny you described is de facto democracy behaviour in many places.

          e.g.#1 UK, try looking up UK election results and examine winning party % of votes cast (and for more fun % of eligible voters i.e. including non voters)

          e.g. #2 UK Care to compare the influence the "average (wo)man on the street" has on politicians compared to big businesses, esp when cushy, well remunerated directorships etc. are there to be snaffled up.

          e.g. #3 UK. Eton ... nuff said

  2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Boaty McBoatface

    1) Boaty McBoatface

    2) Marblecake always the game

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Boaty McBoatface

        Donald Trump

        Bernie Saunders

        Jeremy Corbyn

        1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          Re: Boaty McBoatface

          Donald Trump is Shouty McShoutface.

  3. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    Less nautical

    Shurely it should be:

    Votey McVoteface ?

  4. RobS

    Shades of Friday by Heinlein

    Not long before his vision of California comes true (at least the voting on everything part)

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Shades of Friday by Heinlein

      Honestly though when it comes to voting and Heinlein I take it with a pinch of salt. That man had militarism build into his character (funny that being in the military) like few other sci fi writers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shades of Friday by Heinlein

        "That man had militarism build into his character..."

        Even though he became an icon to the "flower power generation" whether he liked it or not, who saw him as a liberal free thinker, which is interesting as free-thinking is not something the military like very much at all.

        1. The Boojum

          Re: Shades of Friday by Heinlein

          And one of his favourites when discussing legislators and the electorate was "vote to make pi equal to 3."

        2. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Shades of Friday by Heinlein

          > who saw him as a liberal free thinker

          He was a free thinker and didn't really glorify war but definitely thought it was necessary.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Shades of Friday by Heinlein

            Also the more I think about it Phillip Dick more about military/police type sci fi stories. No doubt the Cold War affected that dude to the bone.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Shades of Friday by Heinlein

            ...And if you read Heinleins books in publication order, you can see his politics change over the years as well his various thought experiments on how different societies might work.

  5. Mage Silver badge
    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: Amazingly, on sunday ...

      Dilbert's still going?!

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Amazingly, on sunday ...

        I thought a Daily Dilbert email was a prerequisite for posting on The Register?

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Amazingly, on sunday ...

          Not so! One may also post XKCD links as well, not just Dilbert.

          1. Roq D. Kasba

            Re: Amazingly, on sunday ...

            OK, down votes, hardly a new thing for me.

            I just remember reading Dilbert in the 1990's back when Scott Adams would publish his AOL address and solicited random emails, enjoying it a lot, but thinking the cartoons were running out of steam. Still some great ones, but increasing rehashes. Apparently not!

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "What's an e-voting candidate? Well, according to Hanania's vision, it is one that directly follows the wishes of his or her constituents through online votes, regardless of his or her personal views."

    Translated to UK terms: government by Daily Mail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New publication from the Dept of Health

      "Diana (Queen of Hearts) top 5 Miracle Foods for Fighting Cellulite while you sleep!"

    2. asdf Silver badge

      >Translated to UK terms: government by Daily Mail.

      Made even this yank laugh.

  7. Crazy Operations Guy

    "past the $5,000 threshold set by the FEC for candidates that do not accept campaign donations"

    So its either be beholden to a private interest or not run. Wow, California, you suck...

    The concept of 'preventing it from becoming a space for corporate interests' is fallacious since I would assume running for office would require proof that you are an actual human being that lives in the area and meets the requirements to run (age, length of citizenship, not on the run from Johnny Law, etc). And if the concern is that corporations would control said candidate, they already do. Major campaign contributors already strong-arm candidates into doing what they want, especially after they get into office.

    Requiring candidates to pay for things like this forces them into whoring themselves to whomever is willing to trade money for political influence.

    1. Where not exists

      @Crazy Operations Guy

      "Requiring candidates to pay for things like this forces them into whoring themselves to whomever is willing to trade money for political influence."

      You figured it out!

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: "past the $5,000 threshold set by the FEC for candidates that do not accept campaign donations"

      The concept of 'preventing it from becoming a space for corporate interests' is fallacious since I would assume running for office would require proof that you are an actual human being that lives in the area and meets the requirements to run

      They aren't exclusive. There was a case a few years back in the UK where a butcher registered as a candidate in an election. As a candidate he was entitled to have election literature distributed free of charge by the post office to every household, and it turned out that it was cheaper to register and have his advertising & pricelist delivered as "election literature" than it was to pay the post office to distribute the same flyers commercially.

      Vote "your local butcher", fillet steaks on special offer this week. :)

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: "past the $5,000 threshold set by the FEC for candidates that do not accept campaign donations"

      Technically the $3,480 filing fee (2% of the first year salary) can be waived if you can collect 10,000 voter signatures so $4,975 would buy you 199 words and still stay under the $5,000 cap. Of course that doesn't leave much left for advertising. There's also the write-in campaign which only requires 65 to 100 signatures but the time period to register is after the 1 April deadline to get the candidate statement on record.

      Essentially it's a well designed system to keep the power where it is instead of allowing it be open to all. Come to think of it, it looks very like a cartel.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "past the $5,000 threshold set by the FEC for candidates that do not accept campaign donations"

      "Major campaign contributors already strong-arm candidates into doing what they want, especially after they get into office."

      That's assuming the candidate has no integrity or self-respect and want's the same contributors to fund the next round of elections too, Otherwise, once elected, s/he could simply tell the contributors to fuck off, they paid up based on the stated campaign policies, no refunds, no changes to the T&Cs.

  8. Graham Marsden
    Devil

    "In the UK...

    "...for example, there are strict spending limits on each candidate during an election campaign"

    And nobody would *ever* think of fiddling these by failing to declare spending would they...

  9. ma1010 Silver badge
    FAIL

    It's not California

    That imposes the very low limit on what you can spend without filing a ton of paperwork. It's the FED. Therefore, if you're a candidate anywhere in the US, you either have little money, file a ton of paperwork or belong to whoever bankrolls you. One guess which one is most common among the "winners" holding office?

    Then stir in the worst Supreme Court decision in history, Citizens United, and the US is totally doomed with hardly a pretense of "government by the people."

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: It's not California

      >Then stir in the worst Supreme Court decision in history, Citizens United

      It seems bad now but long term Plessy v. Ferguson will probably always hold that title (one can hope for the future). Its fairly safe to say Citizen United won't remain the law of the land for the next 60 years. Good chance we are a few years away from seeing it altered pretty dramatically. Hell one might even argue its not the worst SCOTUS decision during the Obama administration. That one striking provisions of the Voting Rights Act probably did more to fsck up the politics even in the near term. Money has always been in elections one way or another (before Citizens United it went to the National Partys instead of SuperPACs which is hardly much better) but allowing Maricopa county (Phoenix, AZ) to come up with its own primary election plan so far went swimmingly. The DOJ would never have allowed them to do it so obviously on the cheap (far too few polling places) with the end result being up to 8 hour lines to vote.

  10. Hurn

    Who uses decimal codes for ASCII anymore?

    Hex, baby, hex.

    01100101 => 65 => e

    or, 0x65 would work, too.

    1. James Loughner
      Coat

      Re: Who uses decimal codes for ASCII anymore?

      There are 10 types of people. Those the understand binary and those who don't

      1. waldo kitty

        Re: Who uses decimal codes for ASCII anymore?

        There are 10 types of people. Those the understand binary and those who don't

        really old joke but still deserving of an up vote...

      2. Paul Kinsler

        Re: There are 10 types of people. Those the understand binary and those who don't

        I agree there are 10 types of people, but I would like to suggest a small correction. The list is: those who understand binary, those who dont, ... and those who understand Gray code.

  11. martinusher Silver badge

    Cute, but nobody uses binary

    Hexadecimal makes more sense -- not converting binary to decimal and then to ASCII.

    Unfortunately I'm not likely to vote for him. We have quite a lot of candidates for the Senate primary and while Ms Harris is definitely a leader there are alternatives that I'd prefer, alternatives who've already made a name for themselves in state politics. I think he'd be best trying his luck at the local or state level (and when you think that CA has a land area, population and economy that's not that much smaller than the UK's working in Sacramento is by no means a backwater).

    1. Rafael 1
      Coat

      Re: Hexadecimal makes more sense

      He could just explain why people should vote for them by using "FEEDAD00DE" as the introductory text.

      1. horse of a different color
        Coat

        Re: Hexadecimal makes more sense

        He'll be superseded by the Unicode candidate, surely?

  12. Schultz
    FAIL

    What's wrong with www._I_am_your_candidate_.com

    I think a few more people might get tempted to look up what he is about. If I google 01100101, all I get is some 'free binary translator' and I doubt too many of his constituents will look him up on ElReg.

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: What's wrong with www._I_am_your_candidate_.com

      Or, for that matter, a non printing character. Maybe the one that makes the computer beep.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What's wrong with www._I_am_your_candidate_.com

      "I think a few more people might get tempted to look up what he is about. If I google 01100101, all I get is some 'free binary translator' and I doubt too many of his constituents will look him up on ElReg."

      Maybe, but I suspect he's more interested in getting the media to question the number and then talk about it on radio and telly. The news people love quirky and different and then he gets interviewed and puts over his points. Free advertising by using the system against itself.

  13. Ru'

    Why didn't he just use the letter "E"?

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Actually 'e'?

  14. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    For extra credibility, whatever e-voting system he intends to use when elected should be up and running already at www.I-am-your-candidate.com. Everyone would recognise this as a web address. He could put as much text as he likes on the landing page.

    Sigh! Maybe next time...

  15. framitzula
    WTF?

    Shenagins in California (off topic)

    I received a packet today from my county. It says I have no party preference... Not true, but wait there's more...

    I am a Republican. The paperwork says that if I want to remain unaffiliated or vote Democrat, American Independent, or Libertarian I need to do nothing but vote for my candidate.

    HOWEVER If I want to vote Republican, Green, or Peace and Freedom, then I need to register again!

    Of course I registered again and will be voting in the Primary and General Elections (if allowed by our corrupt government).

    Read everything you receive if you intend to vote! Make sure you are allowed to vote for YOUR candidate!

    1. Adelio

      Re: Shenagins in California (off topic)

      Between the American tax sytem, which to a UK citizen boggles the mind in it's complexity (I mean sales tax!) and you Voting system (a party preference, what is that?) it's a wonder anything ever gets done.

      Oh, I forgot, almost nothing does get done!

    2. BoldMan

      Re: Shenagins in California (off topic)

      Why do you need to tell the voting authorities which party you favour? Surely that it none of their damn business! Voting is supposed to be a private activity, the state should fuck off about asking for preference up front!

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