josh (joshc) wrote,

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voting as chicken dance

By now you've probably seen hundreds of reminders to vote. Just vote! say the kids with picket signs on the local news. P. Diddy and friends wear their "vote or die" shirts to encourage the hip-hop generation (40 million strong!) to participate in the political process to become a group worthy of pandering. It's a message that can be used by the spotlight classes who want to appear non-partisan but pro-involvement.

But does it make any sense? My only post-Dean involvement has been in registering voters and even I sometimes wonder about the utility of voting.

Jordan Ellenberg writes against the voter's paradox, taking the reader through a brief statistics lesson that includes cogent explanations of poll interpretation, binomial probability, and Bayesean inference to make his point. Namely, the chances of your vote counting are better than winning the lottery. [slate]

You can tell he's for real because the article is accompanied by several TeX prepared computation pages.

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