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Voting as a Signal

November 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

This past week the news in Sri Lanka has prominently featured two main stories: Hurricane Sandy and the American Presidential Election. Most of the world was following Hurricane Sandy as Cyclone Nilam – which displaced 70,000 Sri Lankans – raged through the Bay of Bengal. Now, even as Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice is being impeached, eyes are on the outcome of this election.

When I was making my way to Sri Lanka, in early October, I spent a week in Germany. When people found out I was an American the topic of the election was sure to come up. It really amazes me how much the world is following our choice.

The race is incredibly close at this point, and either candidate could win.

With the election only a few hours away many in Tri-Sate area are still without power. Getting out to vote is low on the list for people as they deal with the destruction and try to catch up on lost work. But I urge you to take the time to go to the polls and cast you vote. If you’re in a State where you don’t believe that your vote won’t matter in the national election, then I implore you to vote for your local elections.

In commerce, purchasing products sends a signal to factories. There is a constant flow of information to firms, and they can leverage that data to stay current in their productions. In politics, casting a vote sends a signal to political parties. The flow of information is staggered, and it takes a while to incorporate this into a platform.

If you’re like me, frustrated by the polarization of our political system, then consider voting for a third party. In this race, a few percentage points will be the difference between the winner and loser. Third parties usually snatch a few percentage points; this year it seems like Gary Johnson might even capture 5% of the vote. Jill Stein is also polling well. If these two candidates are able to capture a significant chunk of the vote then it will hopefully influence the primaries to lean towards more moderate candidates in the future.

This post was inspired, in part, by a Seth Godin article