Choose wisely

Please vote, of course.

On elec­tion day (Tues Nov 6), I’ll be working as a poll observer in Las Vegas for the Nevada State Demo­c­ratic Party. Any attorney is eligible to volun­teer. (I would’ve assumed the Nevada Repub­lican Party also recruits poll observers. But in complete honesty, I couldn’t find a page for it. I leave it to those suffi­ciently moti­vated.)

The job of poll observers is not to sway voters. On the contrary—this kind of elec­tion­eering is forbidden by federal law. Rather, they act as eyes & ears to report nonpar­tisan prob­lems—for instance, long lines or broken voting machines. Because many poll observers come from out of state, our training video empha­sizes a crit­ical point: the correct pronun­ci­a­tion of “Nevada” (vad rhymes with bad).

Perhaps it’s possible to hack elec­tions through tech­no­log­ical means. Though having been an observer at a chaotic poll loca­tion in Cincin­nati in 2008, I’m persuaded that Hanlon’s Razor applies: never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by care­less­ness.

Before then, I’ll mail in my Cali­fornia vote, using Butt­erick’s Razor to decide on propo­si­tions I can’t other­wise figure out: I vote against whichever side uses THE MOST TYPO­GRAPHIC OVEREM­PHASIS!! in their state­ment. (Below, the “duh!” puts it over the top.) This rule of thumb always puts me on the prin­ci­pled side of history.

I recently got two excel­lent new books about typog­raphy:

The Visual History of Type by Paul McNeil. This is a catalog of font history, not a compendium of prac­tical tips. But what a history—a wonderful selec­tion of exam­ples from the 1400s to the present, beau­ti­fully presented and explained.

Dutch Type by Jan Midden­dorp. Not actu­ally a new book, but a reprint of a 2004 release that sold out quickly and rarely appears for resale. Jan is also the author of Shaping Text, which has long been my top recom­men­da­tion for those who exit Prac­tical Typog­raphy wanting more.