For a long time I have started each year by listing a bunch of geekish laws being proposed by New Hampshire’s massive state legislature, a listing done partly for information and partly for fun.
I’m not doing it this year, however, because we have more serious things to think about.
The Granite State has become part of the effort by most of the Republican Party (including many so-called libertarians) to dismantle functioning democracy and turn America into a one-party state under big man rule. I know this sounds ridiculously over the top, but as a non-political guy I have come to the reluctant conclusion that it’s true. Heck, an increasing number of Republicans aren’t even trying to hide this goal any more. Parallels to Italy in the 1920s are sobering.
If you’re a geek, you know this is bad. Innovation works best under the free-for-all of a political system where checks and balances don’t let anybody have too much control. Eroding that system would throttle the intellectual freedom that geeks hold dear.
So don’t worry much about the latest legislative hope for ranked-choice voting or open-source software or digital asset management. Instead, start looking into why many of our state legislators are taking instruction from the national GOP to file dozens of bills to limit certain people’s ability to vote or to throw baseless doubt on an election system that has worked fine for a century, even as they gerrymander themselves into long-term control.
You can see all proposed bills, called LSRs, at this site. Search the list for “voting” or “election” or “ballot” and see what you think. Maybe you, too, will reluctantly decide that you now have to pay attention to state politics.
You can find contact information for your state representative here, and your state senator here. And don’t forget your school board, city council, or that obscure post of Supervisor of the Checklist, who determines which local residents can actually vote on election day. They all matter.