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 …

  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!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        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!"

        You're missing one of the subtleties of US politics. These are not elections that are generating all the hype. This is just the parties choosing their candidates. The elections and all their hype come later. Over here on the right side of the pond I think we can be forgiven for thinking this is an actual election to office considering that it's all over our main news broadcasts too.

        It's the same in UK politics, we just don't do the hype or the big public campaign and vote. Party members choose their candidates but here it's all very low key until the actual election happens. Apart from when Corbyn got elected leader for Labour. That one went public along with all the shenanigans of people paying the £5 "affiliation" fee so they could vote for the "worst" candidate. I think he won it too!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shenagins in California (off topic)

      Dude, that's not the government's call, that's the Republican party's decision.

      Under California law, you can register to vote with or without a party preference. You chose to register as NPP (no party preference). The political parties get to decide if they want to allow NPP voters to participate in their primary. The American Independent Party, Democratic Party*, and Libertarian Party have decided to allow this. The Republican party has decided to ONLY allow registered Republicans to vote in their primary.

      There are several reasons for taking this approach. The general idea is that you don't want Democrats to cross over and vote for a weaker candidate in a hotly contested Republican primary.

      Elections have rules, some of which limit involvement. Republicans of late have tended to be proponents of rules limiting polling access. The "corrupt government" went out of their way to inform you of this particular requirement in order to ensure that you get to vote for your choice of candidate.

      *There is no "Democrat Party", despite what el Rushbo wants you to think. It doesn't make you sound cute or clever, nor does it piss off the Liberals, so ahead and continue to use the term all you like, I'm just trying to make sure you're as informed as possible.

  16. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Ahem, everyone voting on (almost) everything does exist....

    ... its called Switzerland. Where referendums are a very common occurrence (about once a month on average I think). Admittedly Switzerland is a much smaller nation than the US and Swiss people are conditioned to take part in decision making due to a very long history of this within the cantons, but it doesn't mean its an automatic fail idea everywhere in the world...

    Although saying that, opening up online polling for decisions is a total recipe for disaster...

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Ahem, everyone voting on (almost) everything does exist....

      It worked well for the 5C BC Athenians.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahem, everyone voting on (almost) everything does exist....

        Again, much smaller, much tighter-knit community, and much-better-conditioned to at least let the other guy have his say. America is almost completely polarized and isolationist, with nearly 400 million people spread across thousands of miles of continent, not to mention mostly concentrated along the two coasts. It's basically a recipe for echo chamber thinking that make civilized discussion extremely difficult. Plus the article itself notes that democracy really needs a smart electorate. Not going to find one here, and there's no way to winnow out the smart or informed ones without the potential to corrupt the selection process. It's natural human condition to try to "stack the deck," either by filling it by pliable stupid people you can easily persuade or by making it so "the other guys" can get their people in. Given this is pretty instinctive human competitive behavior, I frankly can't see any potential solution that can't be corrupted along the way, yet we NEED something like this to prevent a usurpation of civilization as we know it.

      2. ian 22

        @BebopWeBop

        This didn't work so well for the Athenians! They tended to Ostracise (yes, that term originated that long ago) their best people. Granted, the process was used well before 5 BCE, but same principle.

        1. Roq D. Kasba

          Anyone who thinks segregation makes for a happier populous hasn't really experienced it. Seriously, spend a week in London and you'll find a very busy, mixed city. It's far from perfect, but you'll have neighbours and regular contact with people of all nations and ethnicities who seem to by and large be capable of getting on with life.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Ahem, everyone voting on (almost) everything does exist....

      Admittedly Switzerland is a much smaller saner* nation than the US ...

      *Case in point: everybody armed to the teeth, yet hardly any mass shootings.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Ahem, everyone voting on (almost) everything does exist....

        Because Switzerland is much less culturally heterogeneous than in the US. Swiss cultures tend to keep to within well-defined enclaves so interaction is limited enough to keep things well-managed (that was one reason for the design of Hadrian's Wall in England; it controlled cultural interaction). Whereas in the US various ethnic groups are mashed up and scattered all over the map; the end result being culture clashes.

        I'd need to look, but it seems a consistent trend that the most peaceful countries also tend to be the most homogeneous.

        1. AdamG57

          Re: Ahem, everyone voting on (almost) everything does exist....

          Oh Charles, do look!

          You posit that (internally?) peaceful countries are more culturally homogenous, and presumably that multiple cultures lead to conflict within a country. Leaving aside all the messy questions of definition, I would note first that conflict exists in every society, and may well exploit cultural differences; second, that some cultures may accept violence more readily than others; and third that the process of forming countries is rather different when many cultures are included as against a 'national self-determination'.

          European history - in the era of the nation state - is a history of colonisers and empire builders for the most part. The very idea of projecting a mono-culture into other parts of the world is almost uniquely European and was not carried out peacefully. The corollary is that it is not uncommon for European states to divide up based on majority cultures, whether in eastern Europe, the Balkans, or nowadays various regional movements in the West,

          In other parts of the world, different patterns have emerged. The largely Spanish oriented nations of South America have experienced wars between nations and murderous conflicts within nations which to the outside eye seem fairly homogenous; contemporary Pakistan might be seen as more homogenous and also more violent than perhaps India; Singapore is perhaps peaceful yet ethnically divided; Canada's cultural divide may be more pronounced in Quebec than elsewhere, but I don't think it the more violent for that.

          America may well have 'culture wars' and also have violence, but these only come together in certain configurations as a rule. Yes, there were 'cowboys and indians' but also 'cowboys v. cowboys'. The US Civil War was fought between fairly similar cultures (if rather different societies!), as were indeed the English War of the Roses, Civil War, and many other conflicts on this Island....

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Ahem, everyone voting on (almost) everything does exist....

            I recognized there are exceptions to the rule; just noting the broad trend.

            "In other parts of the world, different patterns have emerged. The largely Spanish oriented nations of South America have experienced wars between nations and murderous conflicts within nations which to the outside eye seem fairly homogenous;"

            Like I said, exceptions to the rule. Up north around Colombia and in Central America, a lot of the violence is gang-related and stemming around the drug trade: hot-leaded competition for a lucrative resource. Towards the center most of the beef is based on political power struggles: again with the top spot at stake things can get heated at times, but they usually don't flare up that often or for that long.

            "Pakistan might be seen as more homogenous and also more violent than perhaps India"

            As I recall, Pakistan is also organized more tribally than in India. It's less hierarchical, less centralized, and it's one reason it's so difficult to cement a central authority in there or Iraq or plenty of other places as tribal organization tends to be more autonomous than what we're used to in the West. In other words, they're not used to running things Western style. Furthermore, I don't recall many of these tribes to be as homogeneous amongst themselves as we are led to believe, which is why disagreements between them are the norm rather than the exception.

            As for the American Civil war, it was both cultural AND societal differences that caused it. The industrial North and agricultural South had diverged significantly since the War for Independence, to the effect each had a uniquely-identifiable culture (which we can still see today, y'all). Throw in a stark political contrast over the distribution of authority and just a smidgen of disagreement over people's rights and it kinda blew up in South Carolina in 1861.

  17. scrubber

    The Rise And Rise of Michael Rimmer

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066302/

    Under-rated film.

  18. PNGuinn Silver badge
    Mushroom

    In the UK, for example, there are strict spending limits

    "In the UK, for example, there are strict spending limits on each candidate during an election campaign: roughly £10,000 ($15,000) in a "short campaign" and £35,000 ($50,000) in a "long campaign" i.e. a general election."

    Unless your name is Somewhat Tarnished Dave, (Davie Mc2face?) and you've managed to spaff more that the allowed campaign limit OF PUBLIC MONEY on a "campaign" Slurp would have been proud of BEFORE THE CAMPAIGN ACTUALLY STARTED, (so it's "legal", ok?)

    AND you've got the whole grubbyment machine going Goebbels on steroids for you.

    Example - I had to do my daughter's Student Loan parent's financial return the other day. Big banner linkey on the top of the page. <clickety> page of propaganda. Guess who pays for that?

    It's called CORRUPTION - BIG TIME.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    e candidate?

    It's 7:59, and the robot polls are open, and the robot polls are closed. Nixon wins in a landslide!

  20. evoteAmerica

    "The system would fall apart within minutes."

    Hi Kieren -

    Did the system "fall apart" when we diffused power from 1 king to 535 Congressmen?

    Jason Hanania

    2016 U.S. Senate - Evoting Candidate

    California - June 7, 2016 Open Primary Election

    www.jasonhanania.com

    www.evoteAmerica.org

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