Frequently Asked Questions About BetaVote

These questions are derived from the extensive feedback we received during BetaVote 2004. If you sent us e-mail in 2004, thank you!

If you have questions not answered here, please use the contact form. We regret that we are not able to answer every e-mail individually, but we take all suggestions and feedback very seriously and would love to hear from you. Please visit the blog for more frequent updates.

What is BetaVote?

BetaVote is an online thought experiment about politics in an interconnected world. It is an unscientific (but hopefully interesting) poll in which Internet users voluntarily identify their home countries and "vote" for a candidate in the 2008 US Presidential Election.

Who are you guys?

We are film director Daniel Young and artist/technologist Kevin Frost. We first did this in 2004, and people thought it was a good idea so we're doing it again.

Are you American citizens?

Yes. And we've lived abroad a lot, which is what got us thinking about this in the first place.

Do you really think the whole world should elect the US President?


But we do think it's worth thinking about, since everyone in the world is affected by the leadership choices made in the US. And of course the same could be said about several other countries.

Where did the old BetaVote go?

The original BetaVote 2004 site is available at

What about third-party candidates?

We're happy to report that third-party candidates are available in BetaVote 2008. Due to the complexities of the US electoral system, this is mostly a write-in system; see our page on other candidates for more information.

Is this part of a political campaign?

No. This is not a partisan website and it is not affiliated with any political party or campaign.

Where did you get those pictures?

The pictures of John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are the official biography photos from their respective US Senate web sites. The picture of Sarah Palin is the official biography photo from the Alaska Governor's Office web site.

I work for the campaign. Can you use a different picture?

We'll consider it. Use the contact form to point to a photo on your official campaign web site. Be sure to include a contact e-mail address.

My country isn't listed!

Our country list is derived from the ISO 3166 list as of 23 August 2008. The issue of "what makes a country" is unfortunately rather complex these days. Please contact us and we'll add your country unless there's a compelling reason not to. If you have a provisional ISO 3166 country code, that would help.

My country is listed under the wrong name!

Sorry, we really thought "Welsh Minor Outlying Islands" was your country's official name. It's what was on your government's website. Please contact us, including a reasonably official reference in English, and we'll fix it.

I'm from the United States - can I vote?

Of course! And please remember to vote for real in November if you are eligible.

How do you know people are from where they say they are?

We don't. We just trust you. Please don't lie.

Can I vote more than once?

Please don't.

Why can't I vote?

You may have already voted, or someone else may have voted using the same computer as you.

Please note that in response to some manipulation attempts in 2004, we now require a modern Javascript- and cookie-enabled browser, and the completion of a reCAPTCHA "fuzzy word thingy." Knowing that, if you think something is broken please contact us.

Is my vote anonymous?

Your vote is significantly more anonymous than just about anything else you ever do online, but nothing is perfect. We do not tie your vote to any personally identifying information, but a sufficiently motivated person or government with access to the server logs could probably figure out how you cast your vote. For more information, see "Anonymizing Proxy" on Google or check out this BoingBoing article.

Do you have an RSS feed?

Why yes! It's here, and it's updated every 10 minutes unless it breaks.

Why do you have ads?

BetaVote is a volunteer effort, but we do have some auto-selected ads to help offset a small part of the project's cost.

If you want us to run a specific, non-algorithmic ad, we might consider it, but we probably won't run it if it's for anything advocating one candidate over another.

Why is my preferred candidate on the left/right?

For fairness, the position of the candidates is changed every 10 minutes.

Can I translate BetaVote into French and Swahili?


We don't have time to implement full internationalization of the site itself, but we welcome - and will link to - translations of the site content (especially this FAQ).

Our only rules are that the translation should have an identifiable author we can contact, and that each translated page link back to the original.

Please use the contact form to let us know if you translated a page, or if you have any specific translation questions.

What is

Tabal is a Swiss web site that helps people help trustworthy relief projects in the poorest parts of the world. The Tabal folks are friends of the BetaVote guys.

The candidate I don't like is the devil and so are you!

Please, be civil. Even if he is the devil, there is a chance he will be one of the most powerful people on the planet next year. And anyway, there's more than enough negativity in politics already without you picking on a poor little web site.

Some of these questions aren't questions!

This is true. It's more like Questions And Statements, but FAQAS sounds dirty.

Giving isn't political. Visit