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The Voting Scene

On Tuesday, I watched a webinar called “Beyond the Pandemic: Has Voting Changed Forever?” presented by the Chamber of Digital Commerce. The webinar included two panels. Both were excellent. The star of the 90 minute webinar was Amelia Powers Gardner, County Clerk of Utah County. Amelia is an advocate for mobile blockchain voting and county used it for their overseas military voters. They voted from 31 different countries. Voter participation was 45% compared to 35% in County. Her most profound comment was, “A vote not cast changes the outcome of an election just as much as a vote that’s been changed.” Acknowledging no system is perfect, she said voting precincts should compare mobile blockchain voting to the ancient paper-based error-prone we have today. We should not compare it to some perfect system we will never have. I sent Amelia a note congratulating her on a great performance. Sounded like she had read Election Attitude – How Internet Voting Leads to a Stronger Democracy.

Beyond the Pandemic: Has Voting Changed Forever?

The Chamber of Digital Commerce webinar this week was a dynamic conversation about the future of voting, featuring a high profile panel with election officials and cybersecurity experts—all in the thick of the election season. Following are some of the quotes from the panels.

“The key to West Virginia’s perspective [on elections] is providing voters options. Options to those people at the far fringes of the world, our military on the hillsides of Afghanistan and in submarines, under the polar ice cap—perhaps even to astronauts out there in outer space.”

— Sec. Mac Warner, West Virginia Secretary of State

“I can’t imagine a more important group to have a vote than our military. They’re defending our right to vote and we make it so hard for them to vote.”

— Jonathan Johnson, President of Medici Ventures, CEO of Overstock

“We no longer live in an era where only white male property owners get to vote. We live in a country where every eligible voter, regardless of their socioeconomic status, gender or the color of their skin gets to vote. And if we are using an antiquated system that leaves out single moms or people in inner cities, or people with disabilities or people under the age of 30, then we are changing the elections by doing that.”

— Amelia Powers Gardner, Utah County Clerk/Auditor

“I think the drivers are the combination of the necessity to ensure voter turnout, and the necessity to make available the ability to vote when you are posted on a hillside in Afghanistan and you don’t have access to first-class mail, and when you are a disabled person in this country — these are increasingly more visible problems.”

— Emily Frye, Director of Cyber Integration at MITRE Public Sector

“We went with mobile voting when I started looking at our overseas and military and our disabled population. The methods they were given were unreliable…When you start dealing with an overseas population, vote-by-mail becomes a lot more sporadic and really unreliable. The other option they were given was email. Email was absolutely not secure, and it waived their right to a secret ballot.”

— Amelia Powers Gardner, Utah County Clerk/Auditor

Paper Ballot Fiasco

The paper ballot stories will get more and more exciting, to put it mildly. Bob Reby and I will be doing a third webinar about voting and will be discussing the paper ballot issues. The webinar will be in late September. The Zoom event will be hosted by Danbury Library. Stay tuned for details. 

Wall Street and the MAGFA Stocks

It was a mixed bag this week but my MAGFA index maintained a 25.4% share of S&P 500. The market value of Apple skyrocketed to just shy of $2 trillion. Bitcoin had a 2% rise. Stock splits could be on the way. Barron’s said,  “Apple announced a 4-for-1 stock split and Tesla (TSLA) declared a 5-for-1 split. Stock splits have been out of fashion of late, apparently driven by the idea that high-price stocks are a mark of distinction. But the recent splits have triggered substantial gains for both Apple and Tesla shares, which will no doubt spur other companies to consider doing the same.”

John’s MAGFA Market Cap (08/14/20 4:00pm ET)
 ClosingMarket CapLastChange in%
Total $6.882$6.878$4.500.1%
S&P 500 7/31/2020 $27.1$27.1  
MAGFA/S&P 500 25.4%25.4% 0.1%
Royal Caribbean$60.50$13.0$11.2$1.816.2%
Note: These five stocks and Bitcoin are in billions not trillions
Bitcoin market cap from coinmarketcap.com

Note: My father gave me the following investment advice many years ago, “Don’t give any, and don’t take any.” Wise man. I am not recommending buying or selling any of the stocks, startups, crypto, or indexes I write about.