Here are our favorite posts this week about participatory culture, organizational democracy, voter turnout, online voting, leftie and rightie voters, soul-sucking boards and football democracy.
First, a follow-up to our story about the Northwestern football team voting to form a union. The National Labor Relations Board ruled early this month that “Northwestern football players who receive scholarships should be considered employees, because of the long hours they spend playing, practicing and in the film room studying their opponents” and that gives them the right to unionize. Leaders of the team also made their case to Congress, according to The Hill. The team will vote on unionization on April 25. The union bug is catching. ESPN reports that “players from other universities have expressed interest in forming unions.”
The Barcelona Football Club recently asked its members to vote on a key decision – whether to renovate their stadium. But unlike the Seattle Sounders, Barcelona doesn’t involve its members in decisions that often. CNN Sports reports, “More than 27,000 members approved plans for a $725 million revamp that will extend the ground’s capacity to 105,000 people and develop the surrounding areas.” The club says, “Only members decide the future of the club and play a direct role in Barça’s triumphs.”
Despite having a NSFW name, a new Twitter account is sharing interesting charts, including this one about the increase in voter turnout whenever a new media is introduced.
New media, like social media platforms, bring messages, like “get out to vote,” to new audiences. And if you ever wanted to really compare apples and oranges, they have a chart for that too.
Online voting is a “no-brainer,” says Australia’s opposition leader, Bill Shorter. He told News Corps Australia, “If we do our banking online, why can’t we vote online? We need to be doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible to take part in the democratic process so everyone has their say.”
In the United Kingdom, the Electoral Commission is also calling for urgent reforms, including online voting in elections. Jenny Watson, head of the commission said to The Guardian, “Unless our electoral system keeps pace with the way many voters live the rest of their lives – where the way they bank and the way they shop has been transformed – it risks being seen as increasingly alien and outdated, particularly to young voters as they use it for the first time.”
What moves people to participate in civic action, like social protest or, perhaps, voting? It starts with identification with a group, says Jacqueline van Stekelenburg, a sociology professor at VU University Amsterdam. She told Mobilisation Lab, “What we found in studies recently is that people participate because they identify with the other people involved, not necessarily the organization.”
We’ve learned from behavioral science that people are more likely to vote if you affirm their social self-identity as someone who makes a difference or if someone they like and respect encourages them to vote.
Researchers have learned that the positions of candidate names on a ballot can influence the outcome of elections. According to the National Journal, a recent experiment found that left-handed people were 15% more likely than right-handed people to vote for the candidate listed on the left side of the ballot. “Righties implicitly think right is good, lefties implicitly think left is good,” explained Daniel Casasanto, a coauthor of the study published in the journal Political Psychology.
Do you have a soul-sucking board? “A lot of the suckage is by tradition and by design,” says Dr. Debra Beck. Energy-draining elements are embedded deeply in the ways we expect our boards to function. She lists dozens of symptoms exhibited by boards that are “soul-sucking enterprises.”
This Week on Voting 2.0
When you make a promise, you create “a bond between you and the future” – you and your better self, the one who does the right thing. In this post, a long-time surfer and a political scientist explain how that works and how to apply the “commit to vote” behavioral principle to your elections.
Enjoy your weekend!