Campaigns/Elections

Your Technology Voting Guide

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Over at News.com, Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache have compiled a voter guide based on officeholders' votes on tech-related issues:

To rate who's best and who's worst on technology topics before the Nov. 7 election, CNET News.com has compiled a voter's guide, grading how representatives in the U.S. Congress have voted over the last decade.

While many of the scored votes centered on Internet policy, others covered computer export restrictions, H-1B visas, free trade, research and development, electronic passports and class action lawsuits. We excluded the hot-button issue of Net neutrality, which has gone only to a recorded floor vote in the House of Representatives so far, because that legislation has generated sufficient division among high-tech companies and users to render it too difficult to pick a clear winner or loser.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) had the highest scores for a Dem and a Rep in the Senate;  Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), and Sen. Richard Shelby were the bottom feeders. In the House, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), and Ron Paul (R-Texas), had the highest scores in each party. The low-ballers? Reps. John Barrow (D-Georgia), John Salazar (D-Colo.), Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.).

Whole thing here.

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  1. Also unsurprising was George Allen, a first-term Virginia Republican who won the top score in the Senate, at 78 percent, after becoming chairman of the Senate High Tech Task Force five years ago.

    Funny that this is just one post away from Allen being called “worse than the average Republican.”

  2. H1-B visas are more of a labor issue than a tech issue. A second-tier class of employees accept substantially below-market wages because they have no leverage at all with employers, since being fired can mean being deported.

    I’m mostly for a return to wide-open legal immigration, the more the merrier. H1-B visas are anti-immigrant and anti-freedom and have bupkes to do with tech apart from being a tactic tech employers use to drive down salaries and cow employees into working for less and less — and I say this as someone who’s hired and worked with some terrific people who were H1-B holders. They didn’t make the polcy.

    CNet was happy to treat H1-Bs as a “tech” issue and didn’t want to touch Net Neutrality–among the most directly tech-related issues out there–because it pits telcos against content providers and software companies. Their roundup would be better termed a voter guide based on officeholders’ votes for and against tech industry interests, which isn’t the same thing as tech-related issues.

  3. What?? Ted Stevens isn’t on this list? But the man designed the Inter-Tubes!

  4. H1-B visas are more of a labor issue than a tech issue.

    Considering that CNet seems aimed heavily at tech industry folks, this shouldn’t be surprising, considering that this industry is the biggest driver of H1-B immigration.

    I don’t think it’s that simple to separate tech issues from tech industry issues, given that the regulatory arena is a complicated tangle of intellectual property, communications law, consumer rights, privacy and fair competition issues. The various players are all over the map on these issues.

    Which is probably why it’s silly to talk about tech-friendly legislators.

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