My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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Prop 83 blocked in court

For those of you who didn’t obsessively watch the election results last nite, Prop 83 (the flawed sex offender one) passed 70/30. This is not at all surprising although what really gets my goat is the number of people who voted for it who didn’t realize what it did. Every time i’d bring up 83 with people, they’d tell me they were all for it. So i’d tell them what all it would do and show them the fine print. They were horrified. I’ve managed to convince everyone i’ve talked with to vote against it (except the people at the CyberSafety event who believe that anything to stop sex offenders even if you kill the baby in the process is AOK). This drives me crazy because it’s a classic example of ill-informed voters hurting everyone.

So, while i was really hoping that my message might have gotten out about 83, i knew that it was going to pass and i was prepared for that disappointment. I wasn’t prepared for the immediate blockage of 83 by the courts: “U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, ruling on a lawsuit filed here early Wednesday, said the measure ‘is punitive by design and effect’ and likely unconstitutional.” I really hope that this means that it might not go into effect because the law is so problematic and costly. It might also mean that, if it works its way up the courts, it might be blocked in other states. ::bounce::

Still, the problem stands: voters don’t read the fine print when it comes to propositions. This means that many other propositions can pass if worded in a way to capitalize on people’s fears. That REALLY upsets me and i’d like to know what to do about it.

So, all and all, it was a decent night. We have the House. Rumsfield resigned. We may get the Senate (but even if we don’t, Cheney has to be the tie-breaker which is *fascinating*). Of course, we still have the Terminator terminating education in California. And far far far too many states banned gay marriage. And the reality is that no one voted _for_ the Democrats but _against_ the Republicans which means that we really shouldn’t be celebrating per say. On the plus side, more people seemed to have come out to vote than have in a long long time. And it looks like a lot of young people came out too. But i still can’t call that a victory because more does not mean close to all.

I’m also disturbed about something else. I watched election returns until it was clear no more info on Virginia or Montana was coming in last night. I couldn’t help but think about how close the last few elections have been and how much money is being made off of election coverage. I remember being horrified when i realized that there’s fine print at the end of Reality TV shows saying that the producers have input over who gets kicked out. In short, they make sure that the results are rigged so that people want to watch the show. The last few elections have felt like that – uber close elections meant to make people like me obsessively watch TV coverage all night, nearly memorizing all of the ads (i will definitely see Bobby on Thanksgiving). Please please please tell me these close calls aren’t scripted. I really couldn’t handle that.

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13 comments to Prop 83 blocked in court

  • jkd

    “…no one voted _for_ the Democrats but _against_ the Republicans…”

    Oh don’t be so glum, danah. Maybe it’s the case that there were a marginal number of people – a few thousand per district – who were voting only on a “throw the bums out” ticket. But despite Republicans being the party in entire control at the federal level for almost all of these last six years, much of this country is solidly Democratic, and has proudly continued electing Democrats at the state and local levels through those dark years. New England now has only one GOP congressperson, and that’s more the confirmation of a trend that’s been ongoing for some time than a revolution. Massachusetts and New York now have kick-ass Democratic governors, as they should. The Senate now has a genuine progressive – Sherrod Brown – and a genuine social democrat – Bernie Sanders – and they both won easily. The list goes on.

    Of course this is just a first step. But it’s a damn good one, and there’s a lot to be proud about. Now, back to work making it happen.

  • Well, the close calls are scripted in one sense, because the majority of seats are gerrymandered to be safe democrat or safe republican, and only a few are actual contests, with the other settled in close-fought primaries, within one party.

  • pinano

    This is why democracy doesn’t work! California should have learned by now that Proposition X is going to pass or fail based on its name and maybe a media tidbit, not on what the law actually does.

  • “Please please please tell me these close calls aren’t scripted.”

    I don’t know if the photo-finishes are always part of the script, but I believe the roles, actors and lines are all carefully calculated:

    http://rigint.blogspot.com/2006/11/who-ya-gonna-call.html

  • Might as well make a reality show about a reality show of prpositioni-making lobbyists fighting it out in an inner city and forced to speak Spanish or gangsta lingo.

    The winners would have to get a gang-tag tattoo and the losers would have to get one on their asses.

  • well, some of us who obsess over election results stick to hitting “refresh” on CNN.com and listening to NPR… drawing out the results might deliver more advertising dollars to the news media, but then again, it also costs them more to have around-the-clock coverage (which i’ve seen firsthand, having been on the media-producing side of elections like this as well).

    i’ve been chalking up these nailbiters to the increasing polarization of US politics.

  • Amelia

    We have the House & the Senate! Woohoo!

  • …they make sure that the results are rigged so that people want to watch the show. The last few elections have felt like that – uber close elections meant to make people like me obsessively watch TV coverage all night…

    Well, on the bright side, this would be better than having all the races be uncompetitive due to the aforementioned gerrymandering.

  • And, Rumsfeld is gone! You have to admit it’s getting better.

  • Some are required to register for much lesser crimes of flashing, prostitution, incest, and a host of other offences.
    Contrary to the media’s torch, grouping all registered sex offenders as dangerous.
    The DOJ in a report states American politicians and Law enforcement has lied to the public.
    Ask yourself why would anyone who wants to bring peace and happiness to earth, would wish their personal pain on the rest of the world?
    This selfishness is the reason victim’s advocates continue their terrorist style of activity. To share encourage suffering rather than peace is evil.
    See how 3 year old children have been placed on the registry and how citizens are held indefinitely after their sentence has been served.
    See it now on You Tube at
    http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=evil9999999999999999Webmaster@theevilnextdoor.com
    Fax:818.237.5599

  • Most sex offenders have families, friends, relatives, and children. Some are required to register for much lesser crimes of flashing, prostitution, incest, and a host of other offences.

    Contrary to the media’s torch, grouping all registered sex offenders as dangerous. Even the DOJ in a report states American politicians have lied.
    This you can find on the Department Of Justice website,
    November 2003, NCJ 198281. http://www.ojp.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/rsorp94.txt
    Only 3.5% of new sex offences are committed by offender on the sex offender’s registry. The remaining 96.5% are committed by unregistered citizens.
    See how 3 year old children have been placed on the registry and how citizens are held indefinitely after teir sentence has been served.
    See it now on You Tube at
    http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=evil9999999999999999

  • Discrimination allows superiority where truth is hidden and corruption tends to creep in.

    This is the human equation.

    People change day to day. Things change, steal rusts while conceited blows away, but the energy that makes us who we are moves through us as we experience our lives.

    Governments, Advocates, Churches, and Media put pressure on sex offenders who are struggling daily to make a way for their families.

    These groups are one in the same who have created the realm of secrecy and oppress for gain.

    To be ashamed of being a flawed human who makes mistakes, is the responsibility of the person/group/s allowing laws of decimation which is abuse.

    Inflicting pain on any person who has been betrayed by that societies recklessness to hide the truth because of its own shame is the ultimate in irresponsibility.

    By continuing to advocate lifetime sentences, separation, eradication, concerning sexual offenses is recognition of the breakdown of group/s and any system/s which supports this human rights abuse .

    There can be no justice where the responsible party is the society which refuses acceptance of its error.

    Thinking that labeling anyone concerning life and death decisions with regard to sexual offenses has no validity.

    The stigma/demonization/and continuance of the myth is perpetrated by the group/s and any system/s that makes people suffer for a belief that has only for centuries hidden its own truth.

    Please take time to write those who can change our laws.

    What ever we do we do to ourselves as money and power leads us by the ring in our nose rendering us unable to hear or see beyond the sound of our own greed.

    Mr. & Mrs. Keith Richard Radford Jr.
    http://www.SOSunite.com
    http://www.youtube.com/sosunite

    digital.media.solutions@gmail.com

  • Regarding Courts and Habeas Corpus
    Well today I was told by my attorney that my case was demurer which means the state says so what. So what if you are diabetic and need to enroll in Adult Swim at your YMCA because of injuries for exercise. So what if you are disabled and we made you move. So what if you live a good honest life. So what if when we made you move you were going to school to learn a trade and we disrupted your life during your finals and you could not finish your training. So what if you and your wife who by the way has never done anything to anyone is waking in the middle of the night crying because you stand to be homeless for fear that no one will rent to you. We lived in an apartment in Burbank CA when someone decided to place flyer’s at our home about my 23 year old sex offense and get us kicked out of our home. Reminds me of the Quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller: First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. We have one week to come up with a bunch of money to fight for rights Americans are losing because they are better than us. Sorry America we have no money. We are poor week to week surviving on what we have which is less each day. When these laws get done with us, they will not be satisfied.