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Author Topic: Mandatory voting in the US?
Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Chael:

There is a certain stability that comes from this system.. or at least a certain lack of surprises..

Yes, and this stability exists largely for the wealthy and power-brokers. There certainly isn't very much stability in this system for the middle class (what's left of it) and the poor. So what a surprise that both parties, who are run by wealthy powerful people, want to keep the 'stability' the way it is! How convenient for them!

I think a little chaos would do America some good, and I don't mean the kind of chaos the intelligence agencies deliberately create.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Allow ranked voting. 'I like this candidate best, but this candidate is my second choice.' Allow people to bubble in for as many candidates as they desire, so if they want to go through the whole list--fine, and if they don't, fine.
RAnked voting is just as bad, sometime worse than scored voting, because it can easily be gamed to have a low support candidate pushed just above a generally most preferred candidate, only to lose to the person that would have otherwise come in second.

Score (as with the Olympics) or approval voting does much better, because it allows you to express your preference (or lack there of) for each candidate independently.

Don't want everyone, mark the all 10. Like the green candidate, but would prefer the Democrat to the Republican? vote 10 for green, 8 for dem, 0 for GOP. IF you're not confident in the way the system works, you would even vote 10,10,0 (effectively approval voting, but after a few cycles where strong "second choice" consensus candidates displace entrenched candidates (even if, at first, only to show everyone who actually would be the main contenders if we weren't locked into a system of false either-or choices)

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Voting is supposed to be the ultimate expression of freedom in government.
Representation and participation. It has to do with demonstrating control of government, it's completely tangential to freedom- if anything not-voting actively signals a lack of desire to assert your own opinions and simply to let other dictate government to you.
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NobleHunter
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I'd say the ultimate expression of freedom is leaving the country. You can vote and not be free or not vote and be free (though that's likely not a stable combo over the long term), but if you can leave the country, then you must be free.
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
I'd say the ultimate expression of freedom is leaving the country. You can vote and not be free or not vote and be free (though that's likely not a stable combo over the long term), but if you can leave the country, then you must be free.

Any reason why you chopped up what I said? I was very specific.

quote:
Voting is supposed to be the ultimate expression of freedom in government.

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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
RAnked voting is just as bad, sometime worse than scored voting, because it can easily be gamed to have a low support candidate pushed just above a generally most preferred candidate, only to lose to the person that would have otherwise come in second.

Can you expand on what you mean by a low support candidate?

Scored voting sounds interesting. I see an interpretive issue, however, and wonder if you are okay with it.

If Person A (we'll call him Bob) likes Candidate A the best out of the choices available, but tends to weight choices such that he never votes a full 10 for anything (best meal of his life? Oh, 4 out of 5 stars--there could be better), his vote is going to have less weight than Person B, who thinks Candidate A is the best of the contenders and therefore gives her a full 10.

I think a ranking system is less open to differences in personal scale, and that it would therefore give the most accurate representation of people's thoughts on the candidates. I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
There certainly isn't very much stability in this system for the middle class (what's left of it) and the poor.

I wasn't referring to that kind of stability, but rather the kind which lets you be pretty confident that you know what your choices will be on the ballot, which ideas will be backed by one of the two parties and which will be backed by the other, and above all the certainty that whoever gets into office, about half of his campaign promises are worthless, so best not to pay them /too/ much heed. I was referring, in other words, to the stability of the game. [Wink]

(As you can probably guess from my earlier posts, I wouldn't mind shaking things up a little--just not for the sake of shake-up itself.)

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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
This would be my suggestion to edit it: keep voting voluntary. I understand the benefits of a ranking system, you will maximize those benefits with voluntary voting.

I understand, Seneca. You don't find any of my proposals particularly terrible, you are just ideologically opposed to mandatory voting (and take issue with how they might express in that circumstance). No worries. I used to feel the way I think you do, but now I'm more ambivalent. I had to deal with those feelings when called to jury duty a few times, so they aren't as strong for me anymore.

Re. the discussion earlier.. voting is clearly (to me) a civil right, not a civil duty, right now, but I'm not sure that making it a civil duty would be ideologically all that bad. Having the expectation that you will be called upon to say--anonymously--how you think the country should be run and who should be doing it doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world to me, not if you have outs on the actual ballot. I mean, we still have the /option/ of the draft, legally speaking--is this really worse?

But I'd be okay if we didn't institute mandatory voting, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. I teach in a college, so I see a lot of young voters--and many of them seem frankly apathetic about voting. I don't like that, but I don't know how to solve it. Those glitzy get-out-the-vote campaigns aren't my favored method, but what do I know. [Wink]

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Chael:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
This would be my suggestion to edit it: keep voting voluntary. I understand the benefits of a ranking system, you will maximize those benefits with voluntary voting.

I understand, Seneca. You don't find any of my proposals particularly terrible, you are just ideologically opposed to mandatory voting (and take issue with how they might express in that circumstance). No worries. I used to feel the way I think you do, but now I'm more ambivalent. I had to deal with those feelings when called to jury duty a few times, so they aren't as strong for me anymore.

Re. the discussion earlier.. voting is clearly (to me) a civil right, not a civil duty, right now, but I'm not sure that making it a civil duty would be ideologically all that bad. Having the expectation that you will be called upon to say--anonymously--how you think the country should be run and who should be doing it doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world to me, not if you have outs on the actual ballot. I mean, we still have the /option/ of the draft, legally speaking--is this really worse?

But I'd be okay if we didn't institute mandatory voting, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. I teach in a college, so I see a lot of young voters--and many of them seem frankly apathetic about voting. I don't like that, but I don't know how to solve it. Those glitzy get-out-the-vote campaigns aren't my favored method, but what do I know. [Wink]

It's not merely ideological. It's also based on experience and history. There have been other regimes that had mandatory voting and "voluntary" voting that was essentially mandatory because of the nature of the regime. None of them were very pretty. While there might be some modern examples of benign regimes, there are also examples of ruthless regimes, like North Korea.

Refusing to participate in any way with the political process is a valuable type of speech to protest the government. Mandating voting diminishes this even if you allow for "blank ballots."

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TomDavidson
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Here's the thing: if, as you note, mandatory voting does not actually correlate to malign authoritarianism, it doesn't make any sense to avoid it just because some malign, authoritarian governments have included it. That would be like avoiding having a standing army because some ruthless regimes we don't like had a standing army.

quote:
Refusing to participate in any way with the political process is a valuable type of speech to protest the government.
In what way is it valuable? What does it achieve? It may be personally satisfying, but it lacks even in potential the ability to actually enact change.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
While there might be some modern examples of benign regimes, there are also examples of ruthless regimes, like North Korea.
Which means that its exceptionally misleading to try to use them as evidence that the practice itself has any relationship to malicious regimes. Hitler drank water too. Doesn't mean that water drinking is evidence of dictatorial tyranny. You're effectively just saying that abusive regimes are abusive which has no reflection at all on the completely neutral tools used in the process. Your logic here is just as sound as someone who says "All guns should be banned because some people use them to commit crime"
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Refusing to participate in any way with the political process is a valuable type of speech to protest the government.
It's actually the most useless way, unless you require true majorities and not simply pluralities to complete elections. The only thing is communicates is abdication of civil responsibility in favor of going along with whatever the majority that are engaged decide.
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Seneca
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Actually refusing to vote shows discontent and apathy, which are actually it mutually exclusive by the way.

Forcing people to vote can also be seen as a way to create a small amount of false legitimacy for the government. It may not work well outside the government, such as the way the rest of the world laughs at North Korea, but inside the county it can be part of a cultural approach to help shore up a government's power. And no, that isn't merely a "Mao drank water so let's ban water" comment, because there is no reason to mandate voting as no one has demonstrated why it is absolutely necessary to destroy the freedom to abstain from the political process.

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Seriati
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Everyone should vote, but everyone should also be an informed voter. Uninformed votes are of absolutely no real benefit and in fact are a great detriment. Mandatory voting maximizes uninformed voting. I can see why that appeals to people who want voters to vote as a class with a minimum of knowledge of the candidates and a bare understanding of the impact of the issues on their own lives.

I'd be more in favor of mandatory efforts at providing citizens with standardized information on the candidates, and then let the results of their extra knowledge have the logical consequence that it will increase voting on its own. Tough to do though, as any process you implement will be intentionally corrupted by one self interested group or another.

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NobleHunter
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It is frustrating that there's no practical way to rigorously improve voter information. Government action of this sort cannot fail to be corrupt and the "free market" seems to tend towards a duopoly.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Actually refusing to vote shows discontent and apathy...
To whom? Who knows you didn't vote?

---------

quote:
I'd be more in favor of mandatory efforts at providing citizens with standardized information on the candidate...
See, that terrifies me. I can't even imagine what that would look like in a state like Wisconsin.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
To whom? Who knows you didn't vote?
Isn't the turnout a matter of public record in America?
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TomDavidson
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So we can see numbers.
Tell me: what conclusions can you authoritatively draw from those numbers? How do you distinguish the discontented from the apathetic?

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Seneca
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I am seeing a pattern here. Progressives have a hard time getting people to cooperate with their agenda so they try and make it mandatory, whether it be voting or buying health insurance.

That should tell us a lot about the desirability of policies being pushed. If they are so great, why make it mandatory?

If the Democrats were so great and so amazing why couldn't they get their voters out in the same force they had in 2012?

[ March 24, 2015, 03:12 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Wayward Son
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And yet, when it is made mandatory to make a choice, the Republicans are always afraid that the people will turn to the Democrats.

You gotta wonder why that is, too. [Smile]

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Seneca
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I'm not sure they are. I'm actually afraid some Republicans might support this, though it is Obama and liberals initiating this discussion and pushing it right now. I can see many greedy politicians trying to push this, each believing that THEY will be able to benefit from it.

In the end this will make politics more about celebrity, hiding the truth and massive advertising campaigns as those who will push this system will count on hordes of uninformed voters drowning out the few educated voters. The nice thing about being an educated voter is you can also sometimes be more motivated to actually vote. Not always but better than forcing people who are clueless to cast a random ballot.

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NobleHunter
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Is that the experience of countries with compulsory voting, like Australia?

[ March 24, 2015, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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Seneca
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Given how Australians have steadily lost civil rights over time actually I'd say it is in that case.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Progressives have a hard time getting people to cooperate with their agenda so they try and make it mandatory, whether it be voting or buying health insurance.
To clarify: you believe it is part of the progressive agenda for people to vote? [Wink]
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:

The pathetic thing about this is that Obama only comes out in favor of it after his party took a beating in the last election. If the Democrats are so great, why do they need to punish their base if they can't get motivated enough to vote? I'm seeing a pattern here with being fined for not participating in Obamacare as well...


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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Are you seriously suggesting that over the course of an entire year (or 4 years) that someone will not have found the time or ability to get a free ID from the state?
Absolutely. For someone living paycheck to paycheck, a day of lost wages is an impossible imposition, and that's not even accounting for the additional transportation costs and risk that you'll be fired for taking the time to get the ID.

There was a legislator in Texas who was unable to vote due to their new voter id laws. If someone with the resources and ability to become a legislator was unable to meet the requirements, how much more difficult for someone without those resources and abilities to do so?
Not even a single but harder. Pulling ridiculous political stunts and/or pure laziness requires little effort.
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Rafi
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It's interesting to see how this issue breaks down ideologically. That should tell you more about what is really the goal of mandatory voting. Those is favor of a more intrusive and powerful centralized federal government like it, those that prefer the opposite oppose it (generally).

quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
I'm actually afraid some Republicans might support this, though it is Obama and liberals initiating this discussion and pushing it right now. I can see many greedy politicians trying to push this, each believing that THEY will be able to benefit from it.

In the end this will make politics more about celebrity, hiding the truth and massive advertising campaigns as those who will push this system will count on hordes of uninformed voters drowning out the few educated voters.

Yep. It makes it easier for mass media to do a push in the last few days and sway votes to the desired candidate through 30 second sound bites - which is all the uneducated and unmotivated voters this law targets will devote to the election. Then it will give it a nice veneer of legitimacy since "100%" voted. Not to mention how easy it will be to insert or "lose" a few critical votes here and there in key districts that can throw a election. A few thousand votes either way would be lost in the background noise but could change just the right elections.

If people are too lazy or uninformed to vote, I'd prefer they just keep their hands off the wheel anyway.

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Fenring
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It seems on the one hand that there is a win-win situation against having a mandatory vote. The two wins are that a) people not educated enough to vote won't be made to, and that b) people who actively do not want to vote won't be made to. Both of these wins prevent a false legitimacy given to an elected government.

On the other hand we can suggest a potential win-win for having a mandatory vote, which is that a) someone who didn't bother to learn anything about the parties might be motivated to do so knowing that he has to vote, and b) those who conscientiously do not current want to vote can be given a "none of the above" or a similar option that will give their distaste a more active mechanic.

On the balance it seems to me like for the mandatory vote to have a net positive effect we would want their to be certain checks in place, such as the "none of the above" option as well as some countermeasures in place to help people learn and to fight against propaganda. But if these things were not to happen and the status quo was maintained with a mandatory vote I think that this would further erode liberty and gain nothing.

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Pete at Home
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Options i would like to see:

1. None of the above. I believe that all of the listed candidate should be excludedfrom this office.

2. Dunno Bc i didnt look into it.

3. I've tried to look into it but I find my available news resources to be unreliable and suspicious.

4. I have no interest in voting in this election, and I only came to the poll to pretend to vote because some person or group forced me to.

5. #5 is not even an official option. if I select number 5, that is he there because I am a clip complete moron, or because I have received unclear voting instructionsand or instructions in the wrong language.

6. Candidate A

7. Candidate B

8. Candidate C.

Etc

[ March 25, 2015, 11:00 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Fenring
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I find it hard to believe someone would select #3 and still not know enough to know if he likes any candidate.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
It's interesting to see how this issue breaks down ideologically. That should tell you more about what is really the goal of mandatory voting.
I don't think it says much about goals, but it says a lot about priorities. Leftists generally support citizen participation in government, whereas conservatives believe that government is for moneyed elites. The concern that only the "right" people should be allowed to vote is quintessentially the position of the modern conservative.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
It's interesting to see how this issue breaks down ideologically. That should tell you more about what is really the goal of mandatory voting.
I don't think it says much about goals, but it says a lot about priorities. Leftists generally support citizen participation in government, whereas conservatives believe that government is for moneyed elites. The concern that only the "right" people should be allowed to vote is quintessentially the position of the modern conservative.
if you actually believe that, then you should not objecting my options 4 & 5. [Smile]
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TomDavidson
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I didn't even respond to that post, much less object to any specific options.
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JoshCrow
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Speaking of mandatory political activities...

Mandatory attendance of Ted Cruz's appearance at Liberty U.

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Seneca
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I will agree that leftists like Kim Jong Il enjoyed mandatory voting because he got 100% of the vote.

Conservatives value freedom, the freedom to vote if you want to or not.

Progressives have poisoned our government so badly and turned off so many voters that it is no wonder they want people to be forced to vote to attempt to provide false legitimacy to their tyranny.

[ March 26, 2015, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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NobleHunter
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True Scotsmen like porridge.
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ScottF
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Ah sweeping generalizations: making people feel better since 2000 BC.
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Seneca
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Leftist Kim Jong Il was very specific. [Smile]
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NobleHunter
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The problem I have with many pragmatic arguments against mandatory voting is they essentially boil down to "it will look exactly like the status quo!!!" Winners of elections already claim legitimacy and mandates regardless of the level of turnout. Campaigns already favor outrage and despair instead of reasoned arguments. Rile up your base and depress the opponent's, convince the indecisive if you can but not at the expense of the blind loyalists.

Mandatory voting might make those trends worse, but it would also introduce a large number of voters who are less committed to existing political structures. It might make politics more dynamic, less calcified with entrenched elites that can count on fooling enough of the people enough of the time.

Ideologically, well, the freedom to tell the politicians to get stuffed is important. But ideology is a terrible tool to design a government with. Effects matter and if organic civil culture isn't sufficient to bring people to meet their duties and responsibilities as citizens (I mean people should vote, right?), maybe it's time to impose some artificial externalities.

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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Leftist Kim Jong Il was very specific. [Smile]

I wasn't referring exclusively to you. There's plenty of generalizations in this thread to go around. [Smile]
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