Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Ethics of Voting

Voting Early and Often: You recall, of course (it was only last week; see B'nai Israel's Everyday Hero) that Abq Jew encouraged you to vote for "Mr Jay" Bainbridge, who has been nominated for a national AFT award.

As the May 29 voting deadline approaches, Abq Jew feels it important to tell you this story.
A man entered a village and went to the yeshiva at the center of town, where he was welcomed by an ancient rabbi, the wise man of the village. 
The visitor said, “I am deciding whether I should move here or not. I’m wondering what kind of neighborhood this is. Can you tell me about the people here?” 
The ancient rabbi said, “Tell me what kind of people lived where you came from.” The visitor said, “Oh, they were highway robbers, cheats and liars.” 
The rabbi said, “You know, those are exactly the same kinds of people who live here.” The visitor left the village and never came back. 
Half an hour later, another man entered the village. He sought out the wise old man and said, “I’m thinking of moving here. Can you tell me what kind of people live here?” 
Again the rabbi said, “Tell me what kind of people lived where you came from.” The visitor said, “Oh, they were the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate, most loving people. I shall miss them terribly. 
The ancient rabbi said, “Those are exactly the kinds of people who live here, too.”

And as Abq Jew has pointed out, "Mr Jay" is one of only five nominees in the Early Childhood division for the AFT Everyday Hero award.

Who among the nominees will win the award? The Award website tells us:
The finalist who gets the most votes in each division will be named his or her division’s 2016 Everyday Hero and will be honored at this year’s AFT convention.
The voting instructions further tell us:
Cast your vote for your favorite AFT Everyday Heroes. You can vote in any or all of the categories, but please submit only one ballot. 
Voting closes at midnight on May 29, 2016.

Abq Jew must point out (he must! he must!) that the AFT webform does not enforce the principle of "one person, one vote" rigorously. As in, probably not at all.

Which is to say, one can, apparently, submit more than one ballot. But should one? More importantly, should you?

That is a complex ethical conundrum whose solution depends upon how you (and Abq Jew) answer the question

What kind of people vote here?

If (and only if) you believe that the AFT voters are all entirely honest and forthright, then it follows that each will comply with the AFT's request to submit only one ballot. Therefore, to ensure an outcome that matches the AFT's ideals, you (and Abq Jew) should also submit only one ballot.

But if (and only if) you believe that even one of the AFT voters is not entirely honest and forthright and will not comply with the AFT's request to submit only one ballot, then you  (and Abq Jew) should submit more than one ballot - to protect the integrity of the AFT voting result, and to defend your candidate from that one AFT voter who threatens to undermine that integrity.

What? You thought this was going to be easy?

Abq Jew has (obviously) experimented with the AFT's voting process. But he has not sat in front of his computer all day clicking and voting.

Are a few extra votes acceptable, where a few hundred would not be?

This is much too complex for Abq Jew to address here. So please (please!) let him conclude by simply exhorting you, his loyal readers, to

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