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The DIY Ballot

by Miles Mathis

My family has always had initiative and a pretty good sense of humor to go with it. I remember when I was a kid, I went to Baskin-Robbins with my uncle. They had a big sign over the counter that said “banana split: 99 cents.” Thing is, my uncle had been in several times that week, and they were always out of bananas. But we strolled up to the counter and he ordered a banana split anyway. As expected, the young woman said, “Sorry, sir, we’re out of bananas today.” So my uncle pulled a banana out of his pocket, laid it on the counter, and said, “There you go, sweetie, let ’er rip! And don’t forget to give me a discount for bringing my own banana.”

This story is a good one to lead with, I think, because that banana is sort of like democracy, and that Baskin-Robbins is a lot like our government. They are always advertising something, but they always seem to be out of it. They tell us about all these voting rights we are supposed to have, for instance, but when you get to the polls, they are always fresh out. I went to the polls last in 2006, and I wanted to write in a name that wasn’t on the ballot. WE THE PEOPLE have always been able to do that. I have done it in many past elections when there wasn’t anyone worth voting for on the given list. This time I was told I wasn’t allowed to do that. I called a precinct person over and she told me that only “official” write-ins were allowed. To be an official write-in candidate, that candidate had to register with the State and pay a fee. I said that pretty much destroyed the whole idea of a write-in. A write-in that the voter can’t “write in” in not really a write-in, is it? It should be up to me to choose who to write in, not the State or some registrar. I told the precinct person that I would just write in my candidate myself. But she said I couldn’t do that. The machine couldn’t read it. If I wrote anything on the ballot, they would have to discard it. I told them that it was illegal for them to discard a ballot, and that my writing on it was not an illegal or disqualifying act. How could a voter marking a ballot be considered a disqualifying act? That would make “a voter voting” a disqualifying act. It’s not like I was defacing the ballot, or drawing smiley faces or lewd cartoons on it. I was writing a name on it, which by the definition of “voting” is voting. I said that I was a legal voter, and I had a legal right to present a ballot and have it counted. I told her I didn’t care a fig for her machines. If the machines can’t read write-ins, then write-ins need to be read by human beings who can read them.

She didn’t appreciate the crushing logic of this and decided it was easier to ignore me from there on out. I left the polling place without being able to exercise my right to vote, but this did not appear to concern her or anyone else in the room. Despite being decades younger than all the precinct workers, I was seen by them to be hopelessly outdated, a person of the past. I was not up with the times, and could be ignored as a non-person, with non-rights.

Despite this, I remain certain that I was correct. What is more, I now believe that I have tripped across the easy answer to all our voting problems—not just this one but every last one of them. Just as my uncle cut straight through the Baskin-Robbins blockade with his banana, with one simple and logical action, we can cut through every possible blockade at the polling place with one simple and logical action—an action that cannot be countered.

I don’t know how or why it is, but even the most imaginative and outspoken persons haven’t yet seen this obvious solution to all the voting problems. None of our heroes like Bev Harris, Alex Jones, or even Ron Paul himself have seen the answer, though it is right before their eyes.

This is a democracy with direct voting. People can legally vote for whomever they wish. Neither the newspapers, the TV, the Congress, the sitting President, the Supreme Court, nor the political parties can tell them who to vote for. All these sources of power can only provide suggestions. They can offer and endorse candidates, but they cannot vote for you. You still have that right, even as late as now.

By the same token, no one can tell you what method to use when you vote. They can provide you with a method, but it is up to you to accept it or not accept it. There is no law that says you must accept the ballot they present you, whether it is a machine ballot or a paper ballot. Currently, voting occurs in the way it does only because WE THE PEOPLE have accepted it. To put it another way, voting occurs the way it does because only a handful of people contest it. If large numbers of people showed up at the polls with their own marked ballots and demanded that those votes be counted, the precincts would be forced to count them.

It is not the precinct’s job to tell you how to vote. It is your job to tell the precinct to count your vote. It is not the right of the precinct or the county or the State or the political parties or the federal government or any of the courts to tell you how to vote, or to limit your choice. No precinct worker has the authority to refuse your vote. Many of these workers appear to believe they have the authority to discard your vote, if it is not in the form they require, but they are quite mistaken. These precinct workers do not have any authority that WE THE PEOPLE have not given them, and we have not given them that authority. If they wield that authority over you, it is only because you allow them to. The voters have never expressly given the precincts, the State, the Congress, or anyone else the authority to discard their votes, in any form. Not for reasons of convenience or for any other reasons. The precincts have no authority to require you to vote for someone on the ballot, or to require you to use the given ballot.

In the primary elections this year, 2008, makeshift ballots were accepted in precincts across the country when those precincts ran out of printed ballots. If the precincts can accept those ballots for one reason, they can accept them for any reason. A ballot is a ballot, and there is nothing to say it must be printed out by the State. By legal definition, any piece of paper with a legible name on it is a ballot, if it is presented as a ballot. If it had to be printed out by the State, then these makeshift ballots could not have been accepted, could they?

It is your right to vote for whomever you want to vote for, on any piece of paper that appeals to you, with whatever color ink you like. As long as the name on the ballot is legible, and the paper is not of extraordinary dimensions, the ballot is legal.

If you think this is not true, if you think that laws may exist that limit this freedom, think again. Those laws may exist temporarily, but you have the power to override those laws immediately, in one day, in one hour, without the help of attorneys, Congress, judges, or anyone else. It is quite simple. If 50 million people, or even 5 million people, show up at the polls on voting day, 2008, with their own ballots, clearly marked in ink on normal pieces of paper, and demand that those votes be counted, this minor revolution is achieved.

It would require nothing else. It would require no lawsuits, no petitioning of courts, no speeches before Congress. It would be a direct expression of the people’s will, and could not possibly be ignored or overruled. If any court or sitting body did overrule it, you could overrule that court or sitting body immediately, by returning to those same polls and flooding them with even more handmade ballots. The ballots would say one thing: WE THE PEOPLE overrule.

What so many people have forgotten is that, according to the Constitution and all modern formulations for a republic or a democracy, all power comes from the people. If governmental institutions or assemblies or individuals have power, it is because the people have delegated that power to them. Neither the President nor the Supreme Court nor the Congress, nor all three, is the ultimate source or seat of power. Even the Constitution is not that. WE THE PEOPLE are the seat and source of all power. WE THE PEOPLE have delegated power via the Constitution to various assemblies and persons, but we can re-delegate it or un-delegate it at will. Which is just to say that if WE THE PEOPLE want something bad enough, we are sure to get it. Nothing can stop us. We even have the power to call another Constitutional Convention, if we decide we need to. If Congress or the Supreme Court or the President gets in our way, we can dismiss them, too. These people are our representatives, not our rulers, and most of them seem to have forgotten that.

We seem to have forgotten it ourselves. The Constitution states, in plain language, in the first sentence, in the first three words, that its power derives from the people. That is us! We can keep the Constitution as a great thing, or we can allow our representatives to amend it, or we can amend it ourselves. You will say the Constitution gives Congress the power to amend, but who determines what and when they amend? We do! If a large majority of us want them to amend, and they refuse, then we vote them out and vote in representatives who represent us. Therefore, we have the power to amend, any time we want to use it. WE THE PEOPLE can amend anything, even the preamble or the first four articles. If we decide we want 7 Supreme Court justices, or 11 or 21, we can do it. Article 3, section 1, states that the justices serve “during good behavior.” Who do you think ultimately decides that? That’s right, we do. Justices that stonewalled a large majority of voters would not be in good behavior, and could be dismissed and replaced (and jailed).

You will say I am talking tyranny of the majority or mob rule or something like that. But I am not. Mob rule is rule by force. I am talking about ruling by voting. That is not mob rule, that is democracy. As for tyranny of the majority, we are so far from that it isn’t even worth responding to. The voters are exercising so little of their Constitutional power now that any talk of tyranny of the majority is just silly. WE THE PEOPLE have been marginalized almost to oblivion, so that even a huge power grab by “the majority” would only be a small correction of the pendulum in the reverse direction.

But let me just show you what we could do, if we decided as a group that we wanted to. Say we did what I have suggested, and Congress resisted us. Say Congress voted us down, or reversed us, or ignored us. Obviously, we have their number, since we just vote them all out. We don’t even have to wait for the next election. We call an emergency recall election and vote them out immediately. It has been done before. Ex-Governor Gray Davis of California will back me up here, since he got recalled mid-term in 2003 (that is why Arnold is now the Governor).

It is probably worth pointing out that we never required the Congress to impeach the President, either. We could have done that ourselves as well. You will say that it is a bit late to talk of recalling Bush, and that may be true. But for future reference, please remember that WE THE PEOPLE can create a Presidential recall election anytime we like. If California can recall its governor, we can recall the President. We do not need the courts or congresses to give us that ability. We do not have to petition for it. We already have it. As WE THE PEOPLE, there is no one to ask permission of. WE THE PEOPLE do not have to ask permission to vote, we just vote, whenever and wherever we choose. Remember that.

No, don't demand the vote.
Do it yourself.

My new DIY ballot also makes California’s method of “getting things on the ballot” obsolete. We do not need to collect signatures to place things on a DIY ballot. We just place them there directly, person by person. If enough people vote for the same thing at the same time, that is a law. You don’t have to get permission from the State to propose or to vote. The State is a needless middleman in that equation.

For instance, say Californians want to outlaw steroids in beef. Currently they have to collect signatures to get that issue on the ballot, then they have to advertise to get people to vote for it. But that is overcomplicating the procedure. Why not just advertise it and vote on it? Collecting signatures is just busy work dreamed up by people who want to limit direct democracy. These people argue that a glut of propositions would make for a messy ballot. But a messy ballot is not a real problem for a democracy. In fact, a messy ballot should be one of the most desired things. It is a thing of great political beauty, because it means the people are active. That is what a healthy democracy is. A neat and tidy ballot should be looked upon as a disease.

So, if Congress starts confronting a majority of voters on the ability to vote, it deserves to be voted out, as a whole. Same with the President. But what about the Supreme Court? Couldn’t the Supreme Court block WE THE PEOPLE? Not a chance. The Supreme Court is shielded by the Constitution from the other branches of government, but it is not shielded from us. The Constitution created the Supreme Court, and we created the Constitution. What we can create, we can control, or un-create. We can recall the Supreme Court immediately, just like the Congress, and replace it with one that we trust. How could they stop us? They don’t control the police or the army, and the police and the army can’t control WE THE PEOPLE, acting in concert, even if they wanted to. The Supreme Court, in such an emergency to itself, could start issuing bulls like the Pope or the Grand Inquisitor or the Star Chamber, but all we have to do is ignore them. Then what do they do? If a large majority of voters issue a no-confidence vote, the sitting Supreme Court is no longer sitting. It is that simple.

Lastly, you will say, what about the police or the military? Well, to start with, the police and the military also derive their power and their paychecks from WE THE PEOPLE. This is pretty obvious. In any emergency pitting the President or the Supreme Court against WE THE PEOPLE, the police are going to have to come down on our side, by necessity. Especially if it is over something like voting rights. Police are mainly local, as are we. They don’t take orders from the President or the Supreme Court.

The army is also answerable, at last, to us. The President may be commander-in-chief, but he is also first representative of WE THE PEOPLE. If he should order the military to attack WE THE PEOPLE as a majority, he would be giving a treasonous and un-Constitutional order. Likewise, the military would be treasonous to obey that order.

You will say that the military has attacked civilian populations in many countries in many times, and that is true. But the military has not and does not attack majorities. It attacks defenseless minorities. The military not only would not, but could not attack a majority of voters, even if it wanted to.

But none of this even needs to be addressed, except to calm the hysterical. Why do you think the government takes polls? The government takes polls because the government has to be concerned, ultimately, with what WE THE PEOPLE want. No part of the government has the power or the will to resist us, not the three branches, not the military, not the CIA or the FBI. Some parts of some of these branches have the will to keep us from recognizing our power, and they are doing a bang-up job in that regard. But if we awaken and assert our natural and Constitutional and republican rights, nothing can stop us. These same anti-democratic forces couldn’t even stop the thousands in Caracas, Venezuela, from waking up and asserting their dormant power. How could they stop 100 million US citizens from exercising their rights?

Many are now complaining that our democracy is dying, or is under grave threat. Yes, it is. But it is far from over. As long as we have the right to vote, we have the power to do almost anything. All we have to do is exercise it. Voting has become a limited action only because WE THE PEOPLE are not using it to full effect. The greatest problem with our democracy is not the fascists threatening it, it is the WE THE PEOPLE who are doing nothing. Fascists have always threatened, and always will. The greater problem, the current problem, is that we accept the diminished rights we are given, as if we have to. We let precinct workers tell us what to do, for goodness sake! We are cowed by every sort of small bureaucrat there is. But that is not the fault of the bureaucrat, it is OUR FAULT. That bureaucrat has only the power you give her. If you and I get together and take that power away from her, she has no recourse. It is not for her to tell us what we must do; it is for us to tell her what she must do. What goes for her goes for the mayor, the governor, the FBI, and the President. We are the boss, and we best begin to act like it.

Enough pieces of paper that say WE THE PEOPLE overrule cannot be ignored or contested by any court or jury or assembly or platoon. It doesn’t matter if the polls are closed or if the building is locked or if no one is there to count the ballots or even if the police are there, blocking access. If enough people do it, it is done, and the police cannot undo it, or the courts, or anyone else. You simply tape your ballots to the outside of the building, en masse, with the video cameras rolling. You then have a work of art, a great ballot canopy to beat any orange umbrellas by Christo or anyone else. You then have a spectacle more powerful than any Reichstag fire or midnight bombing or napalm attack. You then have a democratic act to trump any Boston tea party or any march on Washington, with or without tractors.

Just imagine it with me. It is not outlandish at all. It is not a pipedream or a pie in the sky. It would be quite easy to accomplish, with almost no effort. You do not need to arm yourself or do any chin-ups. You do not need to camouflage up or wear a ski-mask. You do not have to duct-tape the windows before you leave the house or buy canned food. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper. You write a name on that piece of paper. It can be any name you want. Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney, Barack Obama, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, Adolph Hitler, Mickey Mouse. You don’t even have to spell it correctly, as long as you get close. Next, you go to your polling place, as usual. And then, with everyone else, you put your piece of paper in a box. Sometime later, in an open room, with lots of witnesses, these votes are counted. None of them are thrown out, even the silliest. The totals are reported to the State, and the highest total wins. Nothing difficult about it.

You will say, what if they won’t accept my ballot? Well, if you are by yourself, you look like an idiot, right? Standing there with your pathetic little handmade ballot. They ignore you and you go home. But if you are with a thousand other people, and you demand that your ballots be accepted and counted, and if a thousand people are at each precinct in town demanding the same thing, and if the same thing is happening in every precinct in every town in the nation, then you don’t look so stupid, do you? You look like a patriot. You look like a very smart and brave person. Your little ballot starts to look like the incredibly beautiful thing that it is. The TV stations show up, and before you know it, the world is a different place. By the very next morning, this voting revolution is achieved. The precincts either start counting your votes or they look very un-American. They don’t have anywhere to hide.

Do you really think the New York Times could dismiss this as not newsworthy? “One million write-ins refused across the country.” Is there any way that could fail to be significant? Is there any way that could be ignored? Is there any way that could fail to snowball? I don’t see how. And if it is 5 million or 50 million, well, game over.

Let us continue imagining. What if the powers-that-be still don’t get the message? What if the worst happens? What if the local TV stations report on it, the whole country is raised, but the institutions decide to stonewall? Let us imagine that the talking heads on Fox and CNN, cued by the political parties and the Congress and all the other places of power, decide to lead with the argument that only 5 million showed up with their own ballots. In a nation of 125 million registered voters, that is 1/25th of the population. Not a majority, they will say. Just a bunch of cranks, right?

The problem for them is that by now the monster will have awoken. The news of this revolution will have already reached everyone, into the furthest corners and farthest reaches of America. Everyone with a TV or radio will know of it. Even the laziest, most self-centered boob in the country will know that his neighbors have started something important, and he will not want to be left out. This is such a no-brainer that it will not be ignored. How hard is it to write a name on a piece of paper and walk down to the polling place? It isn’t like storming the Bastille or wading raging rivers with George Washington or spending weeks in jail or something.

So if the precincts refuse the votes of millions of people, millions more people are going to be very mad. They are going to draw the line and say, “This is enough! This is the simple call to action. This is something even I can do!” And they are going to join the first people in an easy little local march. This second time it is even easier than voting, since you don’t have to stand in line. All you have to do is show up with your piece of paper, wave it in the air, and be counted (by helicopters and blimps, probably). All you have to do is join the party. Everyone will be there, your boss, your kids, and possibly your dogs. If 5 million demanded their vote be counted the first time, this time you will have 50 million, or maybe 200 million. No amount of police or talking heads or stonewalling is going to make any difference at that point. The military can’t attack 200 million of its own people. The government will have no choice but to make law what you have demanded. That is, all legible votes on paper of a reasonable size will be accepted and counted. If more human counters have to be hired, they will be hired. If we can spend trillions of dollars on defense, we can hire a few more people to count the votes. If WE THE PEOPLE could count the votes by hand in 1870 or 1970, WE THE PEOPLE can do it now.

This is not difficult. It is also not hard to imagine. You can see it happening, without a vivid imagination or any effort at all. It does not require much idealism, or even a terribly high opinion of your neighbor. This is something that can happen, with people as they are. It doesn’t require weeks of riots, violence, massive protests, lots of screaming, or books of opinion and invective. It takes one day, maybe two. If you were going to vote anyway, it does not require you to do anything you weren’t already going to do. Except to carry one extra piece of paper with you, as your very own ballot.

So be a hero. Dig out your favorite pen. For some of you it will be a quill pen, and you will dip into some fancy ink and scrawl your vote like John Hancock. For others it will be a Technicolor pen, topped by a troll doll, and you will print your vote in big block letters, sticking out your tongue the while. But however you do it, DO IT! What we want is the largest write-in vote in history. Not a write-in for some particular candidate. A write-in for any candidate is what we want. Even if you plan to vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate, do it as a write-in. Join the party! Not the political party, but the party of WE THE PEOPLE. The long-term goal here is not electing any particular person, it is cleaning up the voting process, in one quick pass. Everyone can get involved with that, Republican, Democrat, and Other.

For those who don’t want to vote for one of the two main candidates, this should be smashingly easy. But those who plan to vote the party line will say, “I can’t do that! I have to be sure my vote is counted. I can’t risk having my vote discarded. That would be handing the election to the other party.” But what these people should realize--what they should have learned from the past two general elections and the primaries this year--is that their votes already don’t count. No ones votes are being counted. The POWERS-THAT-BE have already decided who is going to win and by how much, in every part of every state. If your candidate wins, it will not be because you voted for him or her. It will be because you have the fortune this time to desire what you are supposed to desire. It will be because you just happened to vote for the anointed one. Given the current scheme, if you voted the other way, or forgot to vote, or voted a thousand times, it would not matter. The machines know who is going to win before the voting even starts.

If you really want your vote for Clinton or McCain to be counted, you should join our write-in party. Then, at the end, you will really know the truth. If McCain wins among write-ins, for instance, you and everyone else will know that he won because he got the most votes. Isn’t that how it should be?

Here is another benefit. This first time, counting all these write-ins will not be fast. People to count and people to witness will have to be found or hired (or, preferably, drawn by lot). There may be a bit of confusion. But this will teach us patience. We don’t require a fast vote count, we require a correct and transparent vote count, and this will finally drive that point home. WE THE PEOPLE don’t require and have never required that we know the outcome by midnight, or by the next morning, or even by the following day. We do not need exit polls to tell us the outcome before California has even voted. We do not need Dan Rather to call the election by 8pm. We do not need Fox News to pour over computer models in order to call the election before CBS. What we require is a vote total we can trust. We can trust our own ballots, written with our own favorite pens, since in any recount we can recognize our own stationary and say to ourselves, “There, self, is my own private contribution to the future!”

This one act, if done in unison, will change America forever. In 2012, we won’t see the early whittling down of candidates we saw this year. We won’t see the manipulation of the press and of the polls and of the machines, since all that will be over. Your choice as a voter will never be limited, down to the last moment, and everyone will know that. Candidates won’t have to bow out. They won’t have to collect signatures, they won’t have to go to conventions. They can tell super-delegates to take a hike. You won’t care if your candidate is polling at 50% or 5%, all you will care about is that he or she is your candidate. You will never lose him or her to some limited ballot. There will be no lesser of two evils: you can choose your own evil. Plus, we will finally know, with no margin of error, exactly how popular Mickey Mouse is compared to, say, John McCain.

Yes, this is truly a simple solution to a problem that has begun to look gigantic. We have “Take you daughter to work Day.” Why not, “Take your ballot to vote Day”? It solves the problem of write-ins. It solves the problem of the machines, since the machines will be useless in counting these ballots. We don’t have to go in and smash the machines, like the Luddites did in their time. We don’t have to risk arrest. All we have to do is take our own ballots in.

The most uptight at the precincts will say, “We can’t do this, because the ballots won’t stack up right. Different sized pieces of paper will be harder to shuffle and manage. Besides, each race won’t be in the same place on each ballot. This is not just a vote for President. If people don’t list the races in the same order, it will take much longer to count the votes.”

And I say, “You should have thought of that before you forced us to this remedy. In the future, once we have solved all these greater problems, WE THE PEOPLE may once again decide to accept a standardized ballot, if it is one we can trust, one we can write on, one with a place for write-ins, one that is counted by hand and not a machine. For now, you will just have to deal with these inconveniences. Besides, as I said already, WE THE PEOPLE don’t care how long it takes to count the votes. We just want to be sure they are counted, even if it takes a month. If you need help counting these homemade ballots, just ask for help and WE THE PEOPLE will help you count them. We will choose those we can trust from among us and send them to you to help you count. It is not such a big problem. Counting votes by hand is a small problem. Massive fraud and disenfranchisement is a big problem. If you dopey precinct people can’t tell the difference between a big problem and a little problem, well, WE THE PEOPLE can.

In fact, none of these current precinct people should be trusted. None of them were chosen by WE THE PEOPLE. They have had no problem letting the machines in, and the secrecy, and the fraud. We may assume that they are either dishonest or incompetent. Every last one of them should be dismissed. Their names should be put on a list and they should never have anything to do with counting votes again. Each precinct should vote for its own vote counters, and these people should be chosen based only on their honesty. All vote counters should be monitored and doubled. Every count should be as rigorous as the recount in Florida in 2000, or moreso. The vote counting room of every precinct should be the most watched and monitored room in town, like a bank vault or a high security prison. How can we spend so much time and money assuring and insuring these other things, and spend almost no time and money assuring the vote? Nothing in our society is more illogical than that. And you can be sure it is no accident. But it would be very easy for WE THE PEOPLE to correct it. My universal write-in ballot is the first and easiest step to correcting it.

I know this is getting a little long, but I want to say one last thing about organizing this. I really believe we are going to do it, so let us talk brass tacks. It is not hard to carry a pen and a piece of paper to the poll, or to write names on it. The only hard part is facing these precinct workers by yourself. Some few of us enjoy confronting false authority, but most people don’t, and that’s a fact. Even if 5 or 50 million people do this on voting day, each individual voter won’t know that until after the fact, since the country is so spread-out. No, we will each of us go to the polling place before or after work, or at lunch, and we may not know who came before us, and what they said or did.

But solving this is easy, too, with a bit of foresight. We just need a handful of people at each precinct to stay there the whole day, to act as a sort of pep-squad. They will also collect all the ballots that the precinct will not take, or to pre-count all the homemade ballots that the precinct does take (to be sure they aren’t thrown out or undercounted). This pep-squad will act as back-up and witness in any squabbles with precinct workers, and it will act as press liaison, telling the local news what is happening and keeping them up-to-date on totals. In small precincts, this pep-squad could be comprised of a single brave individual. This pep-squad should have a video camera, and know how to use it.

That said, what is going to make this event an event is the large numbers of people who join it. The local news needs to see groups of people working together, and presenting their demands together. Therefore, a voting-day turnout that is spread evenly across the whole day is not going to be as photogenic as one that is co-ordinated to arrive together. For this reason, some planning needs to take place, to encourage people to flock. If they all came at lunchtime, for instance, that would be great. The local news (TV and newspapers) could be warned of it beforehand, and the event could be maximized. But it will probably be more convenient to have three such flocks, one before work (when the polls open), one at lunch (12 noon) and one after work (right before the polls close). This will give voters more reasonable choices, and will allow for a building of momentum throughout the day. For instance, the local news may not believe that such an event will really unfold, even if they are warned of it. But if the first shift starts the ball rolling, and the noon shift builds on it, the local news is sure to show up for the third shift. By then it will have hit the web and the word will be all over the country. The first and second shifts can even come back after work and add some body heat to their votes in the box, to hatch them properly. That would be great.

The other thing that will give people confidence going in is the knowledge that the idea is already popular. The idea of the DIY ballot will have to be a nationwide hit well before election day. It will have to have huge buzz going in, or no one will trust that it will actually happen. Fortunately, we have 8 months to work with. The internet already blasts trivialities into the stratosphere almost overnight. A good idea can travel around the world in a matter of days. So I have no doubt this can get done.

I really think that is all it will take. No more planning than that. If people bring signs or snacks or balloons, so much the better. It can snowball in any way people like. But I really believe that this is the sort of thing that will sell itself. If it is going to happen, it is going to happen without a terrible lot of effort. This is a word-of-mouth kind of thing if ever there was one. It is like when the wheel was invented: all the cavemen arrived and looked at the wheel and conked themselves on the head and said, “Wow, look at that wheel! Why didn’t we think of that before? . . . Let’s all go for a ride!”

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