Ever since people started recognizing me as a famous musician, I've been peppered with questions about what I, the performer, am spinning at home. I guess it's natural that people connected with my music are curious about what I'm connecting with. Today, people are often surprised to hear that I don't consume a steady diet of grunge. As I'm sure yours have, my musical tastes have evolved to include electronica and new folks like Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, in addition to the music of BOMB and Alice in Chains that I was listening to in the early '90s.
Krist Novoselic's column runs every Tuesday on the Daily Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @KristNovoselic.
Over the last few years, I've built such a political persona that I'm also the go-to guy for politics, and my circle of friends and family look to me for my perspective. Come election time, like now, people want recommendations for the choices on their ballots. At home, this takes place around the kitchen table; voter guides and ballots in hand, we discuss the candidates and propositions. My family looks to me for information regarding the ballot, and I've had to explain basic things like what is the state House and Senate. But I never lean on my family regarding their votes--they make their own choices. It's also an opportunity to hear where they're coming from. I want to know the hopes and concerns of teenagers and others not in my age group.In the end, this civic experience is a positive time for the family to come together. I'm sure if they didn't have mail-in ballots and had to go to polling places, they wouldn't bother to go. Perhaps they'd be motivated to vote for President, but otherwise wouldn't bother--unless I leaned on them to go.
Voting is changing in Washington. We've moved from polling places to the kitchen table. But as the hands of time turn, technology is going to be an increasing part of our elections. Mail ballots are only a stop on the way, and they've changed the culture of voting in our state. In the near future, we're going to be voting around the computer, over the Internet. It is an inevitable step in democracy's evolution. And it is not something to be afraid of.
There's widespread mistrust regarding voting these days. It seems like there's a constant conspiracy to steal votes, with the perpetrators lurking behind every shadow and dark corner. These conspiracies only thicken when the Internet is brought into the equation. And any sniff of voter fraud stokes detractors' fires.
Last week a Camano Island woman was sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service, and is now a felon, thus ineligible to vote, because she filled out her son's mail-in ballot. She'd never committed a crime in her life until she signed the ballot envelope. Washingtonians should heed the warning about the consequences of forging someone's name with voting. She dismissed this, or didn't bother to read it, and now has to pay the price.
Internet voting will have a positive impact on our democracy, making our system of voting even more inclusive. The state of Washington is starting to talk about this regarding military voters. I want to be clear that we need secure, transparent elections, and we should have them with Internet voting--or not bother with it. And military voters are a good start because they're a small constituency, thus a great way to develop the technology.
What kind of lowlifes would steal votes from men and women serving in uniform? And can you imagine the reaction to real evidence of stealing votes from military personnel? The perpetrators' heads would practically be cut off and put on stakes, and you can bet that every grandstanding politician would stoke the flames of outrage. It's simple, as in Camano Island: If there's abuse of the system, bust the perpetrators!
We need transparent, secure voting if we're to move forward with our democracy. If there's real evidence of fraud, make sure the proper authorities are notified. I want to help make sure things are straight. Let me know of any fraud--unless you might think I'm part of the conspiracy too!