Unity08 wants to make Internet voting a reality

With online voting former Carter and Ford officials hope to create a real force for centrism.

A third party has never succeeded in the country - or at least only briefly; but is the Internet age the time when it will finally take off? That seems to be the idea behind Unity08, which, the Washington Post reports, is "a campaign to ... start a movement culminating in a bipartisan presidential ticket in 2008."

Founders include Democrats Hamilton Jordan and Gerald Rafshoon from the Carter Administration, Doug Bailey, a media adviser to Gerald Ford, and former Maine governor Angus King, an independent.

Actually their goal isn't a third party at all but an Internet-based movement to reform Democrats and Republicans to become "more issue-focused, responsive and candid." In other words, centrist.

The strategy depends on secure, online voting. In fact, online voting is the second of Unity08's three major goals. The first is to elect a Unity ticket for president and vice president,consisting of a Democrat and Republican, or independents. The second is a secure, online voting system on which all Americans will have the opportunity to vote.The third, minimal goal is claim 20% of voters for Unity and force the major parties to adopt some of Unity's centrist positions.

The blogosphere is often dominated by voices from the ideological extremes. Jordan, Rafshoon, Bailey and King are betting that the Internet has room for an activist middle, as long as the process is controlled by the people -- especially the young. Their theory is that most Americans are fed up with both parties, a belief backed by recent polling data, and are eager to shake up the political process if they can find an outlet.

Noting that about 85 percent of Americans use the Internet, Rafshoon said that "they can't all be extremists. There has got to be room out there for us."

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