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SiliconValley.com: Cleantech and elections: Will ‘green’ win? Will ballots end up in court? Whatever happened to online voting? November 6, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

I subscribe to an e-newsletter called, Good Morning Silicon Valley powered by the Mercury News. There is also another article about on-line voting in today’s edition from SilconValley.com. Both articles provide food for thought. Enjoy!

Also please remember to vote today. In Indiana you are allowed to vote as long as you are in line before the polls close at 6:00 pm.

Visit this blog again for a post-mortem on today’s election.

What are your predictions for the outcome of today’s election?

Laura Ann Arnold

By Levi Sumagaysay

The outcome of today’s U.S. presidential election could mean plenty for green technology and jobs.

President Obama, who has pushed for green jobs, has fallen short of the number of positions he had pledged to create. (The goal was 5 million in 10 years, according to Bloomberg; a Brookings report found last year that less than 200,000 U.S. workers were employed in cleantech jobs in 2010.) Factors include foreign competition, cuts in government subsidies, different green-energy policies in states, and fallout from the high-profile bankruptcy of Solyndra.

The Fremont solar-panel maker, which received a $535 million government loan guarantee, flamed out last year. (See As sun sets on Solyndra, what’s the forecast for green industry?) The Solyndra name has become a bad word when used by those who oppose government subsidies for the green-energy industry, saying the costs are too high and the return on investment too takes too long. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, and other critics have attacked Obama over Solyndra’s bankruptcy.

An Obama win would keep the green efforts going. Among other things, Obama supports extending a wind-industry tax credit that could expire next year; Romney has said he does not. Other green-energy supporters question why: “Every form of energy has incentives. We’re up against 90 years of incentives for other forms of energy,” said Peter Kelley, spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association, according to the Associated Press. “Plenty of people consider tax credits a good, Republican way of fostering business.”

The AP story also says federal spending on renewable energy, which has become politically unpopular, will have dropped 75 percent by next year from a high of $44.3 billion reached in 2009. But the Washington Post points out that some of the government money that has gone to clean energy has been in the form of loans, which can be paid back, while the United States cannot get back the $2.8 billion in tax breaks it gives to oil and gas companies every year.

There have been signs of optimism for cleantech in the private sector. (See Quoted: on unicorns and clean-tech investing and Quoted: Fiery side up — on the state of the solar industry.) But continued government investment of any conseqeuence will be determined by who wins the White House.

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QUOTED

“It’s not difficult to imagine that these ballots will end up in court.”

Andrew Appel, computer science professor at Princeton University, on New Jersey letting citizens displaced by Hurricane Sandy vote by email (or fax). He and other experts see problems with a system that was hastily put together, which includes calling for a hard-copy follow-up to an emailed ballot. Among other things, experts are saying email is insecure, and — by design — the system that calls for comparing a hard copy to an email ballot throws anonymity out the window. “In 2012 it’s in the news that some corporations are pressuring their employees to vote in certain ways. The secret ballot is still critical to the functioning of democracy,” Appel writes. Meanwhile, in the age of online banking, payments and e-commerce, whatever happened to online voting? Still too risky, some say. “Voting over the Internet is rarely going to be the best choice. It’s very complicated, and you are asking for trouble. Would you connect your toaster to a high-tension power line?” said Ron Rivest, MIT professor and cryptography guru, according to MIT Technology Review.

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