Today, a few of you will vote. Sadly, there is no Geek Party candidate reppin' in Congress. So we've picked out 5 geek-friendly politicians to consider leaving a hanging chad for.
We're not examining whatever else they stand for, or asking you to change your politics—we're just looking at a few candidates based on their Giz-friendly credentials. (And if you're wondering how to vote, check out our guide to your local voting machine.)
Rick Boucher could think iPods were powered by pixie dust and we might still think he'd be a Giz-worthy candidate. Why? His enduring campaign to fight the worst provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that wonderful piece of legislation that makes it illegal to circumvent copy protection mechanisms like digital rights management. A huge proponent of fair use, he introduced the FAIR USE act a few years back, which would've make the DMCA less ridiculous by providing reasonable exemptions for getting around copyright protection and enshrining fair use as a law. He's also voted yes on net neutrality and promoting commercial flight, though he loses some points for voting yes to giving telecoms retroactive immunity for warrantless wiretapping.
Russ Feingold has his hands in a lot of pots—and is fighting a hotly contested election, but his leadership in Congress on two issues makes him the Giz choice: His efforts to fight amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act a couple years ago, the legislation that granted telecoms retroactive immunity for warrantless wiretapping and greatly relaxed rules for electronic surveillance. Last year, Feingold introduced the JUSTICE act, which aimed to strengthen privacy safeguards by reforming the worst aspects of the Patriot act. The other is that he's one of the biggest proponents of net neutrality in Congress, a principle that seems increasingly threatened by things like the backdoor deal between Google and Verizon.
Barbara Boxer gives geeks a lot to like, spread over a bunch of smaller tech issues. She introduced the Jumpstart Broadband Act of 2003, which allocated more wireless spectrum for broadband, she opposed the FISA amendments like Russ Feingold, she's co-signed legislation for net neutrality and is a huge booster of investing in green energy technologies.
Ed Markey has held a Congressional hearing in Second Life, the first time a Congressional hearing was ever virtually simulcast. He's one of the top telecom wonks in Congress, having proceeded over the Communications, Technology and the Internet panel for nearly two decades before his current gig as chair of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee. He was one of the major consumer advocates during the digital TV transition, having pushed to delay the transition until it was certain fewer people would lose their signals. As one of the other Congressmen vying for the biggest boner for net neutrality, he wrote the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009, the House's major net neutrality bill, and thought the Verizon and Google deal to neuter wireless net neutrality stinks as much we did.
Rush Holt has about as much legit geek cred as anybody in Congress: An actual scientist, he was assistant director of Princeton's Plasma Physics Lab and has a solar energy patent of his very own after years of researching alternative energy. If there's anything we need more of in Congress, it's nerds. Oh, and he's won Jeopardy! five times. In terms of actual technology issues, he's voted yes on net neutrality, promoting commercial space flight and nanotechnology research funding. Did we mention the dude's been on Jeopardy!?
Those are just five Congresspeople we know that trumpet a lot of the geek ideals that line up with Gizmodo's—we'd love to hear which geeky candidates you're voting for, and why.
Photo by flickr user neotint