By Bixyl Shuftan
Last week in the official blog, Linden Lab encouraged its US residents to register to vote. " Just as we are free to create and shape the virtual world of Second Life, we can’t forget the power that we also have to shape the physical world. We are all a part of something, and your voice matters. Register to vote today!" Near the end of their reminder, they mentioned something election-related inworld, the "2020 Election Simulator."
Do you need to prepare yourself - mentally, spiritually, physically - for the tension of Election Night 2020? These randomized election simulations between Trump and Biden are based on the best available forecasts and set in a mock TV news studio.
Dropping in on the coastal mainland sim of Eyeharts, I walked into the nearest large building and was greeted by an animesh receptionist.
Walking in, there was a huge map of the fifty states and DC. in front of me was a table with several animesh figures sitting. Between the table and the map were a few cameras, and an animesh figure that was probably the reporter. To the side was two boards with the fifty states in two groups, red states and blue states, with most a deep color, but some were a shade of purple.
Guy Simpleton: The time is 8:00pm on the East Coast. Polls have now closed in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington D.C. and in parts of Florida, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Texas.
2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics" of the US Elections Project.
There were a few tip jars around. Duncan explained, "I just put out tip jars but I don't need tips. So many people were asking about them that I put them in." When I asked him about my assumption about the blocks over the states being electoral votes, "That is correct. There's one block for each electoral vote to give a quick idea of the relative scale. My idea was to help with the visualization of what all the numbers people are swimming in mean." Because of this Nebraska and Maine can easily show both red and blue.
New Mexico: New Mexico is worth 5 electoral votes. The latest projection gives Trump a 4% chance of winning New Mexico in the 2020 election.
New Mexico: If you live in New Mexico, you can verify your current voter vegistration status on the New Mexico Secretary of State website: https://voterportal.servis.sos.state.nm.us/WhereToVote.aspx
New Mexico: Information on voter registration information has been obtained from Vote.org: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/
"It tells you the latest forecast chance for the state and how to check your voter registration," Duncan informed, then drew my attention to the nearby smaller buildings to the east, "Also, the voting booth in front of the post office - when it's not broken (I'm not sure what breaks it yet). It will ask you how you want to vote and then give you information about the rules for your state."
"y'know, elections bring down dictators. There are losses that are too crushing to steal. Last poll I saw, Biden was up at 57% territory. If he can convert that to votes..." He then directed my attention to a board near the table, "The white board next to the cable pundits has a democracy pledge." Looking over, it had the following:
We pledge for Democracy:
1) We will vote.
2) We will refuse to accept results until all the votes are counted.
3) We will nonviolently take to the streets if a coup is attempted.
4) If we must, we will shut down this country to protect integrity of the democratic process.
Of the last Presidential election in 2016, Duncan commented, "Talk about the flukiest of flukes. It was decided by less than 1/10 of 1% of the vote in three democratic-leaning states with Republican governments. ... 2016 was so close that it's impossible to be sure it was free and fair. It's impossible to be sure it wasn't. ... We never conducted an audit of the election. So where you come down on it really is more about where you set the needle of your preconceptions."
"We have a long hard road ahead of us as a country," Duncan went on, "no matter how this election turns out. In many ways this whole project here was cathartic for me." He directed my attention to the nearby buildings, "I went to the protests, so I put a protest in front of the courthouse. I've got an urgent care (center) for covid ... all the way down at the other end of the parcel. ... There are anti-maskers yelling at the immigrant running the donut shop."
The Newser has no plans to endorse a candidate, but does ask that all US citizens who can vote, even if it's for a third party or write-in candidate, and of course for local races and propositions. Due to the tense political climate, discretion is advised when discussing political matters to others.
Although rumors persist about some close elections such as 1960, the only US Presidential election most historians can agree had it's outcome altered by fraud was in 1876, during the Gilded Age, in which the electoral votes of three states were disputed. The losing side only accepted the results after a behind the scenes deal of which the consequences lasted for many decades.
*Update* On October 20, Linden Lab would post about the Election Simulator in it's Destinations Guide, including the above video.