Linked by Howard Fosdick on Thu 8th Nov 2012 20:12 UTC
Editorial In the United States, state and local authorities are in charge of voting and the country uses more than a half dozen different voting technologies. As a result, the country can't guarantee that it accurately counts national votes in a timely fashion. This article discusses the problem and potential solutions to the U.S. voting dilemma.
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A sad state for the US to be in
by shotsman on Thu 8th Nov 2012 21:13 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

Many of my US Friends are sick to the death with the US Electorial system. From Hanging Chads to Denying a large percentage(mainly black) of the population the vote on very dubious grounds and the endless phone calls at all times of the day and night over the past two years it is a very sad state.
Like the USPTO (boo hiss) it needs urgent reforming but there is very little chance of that happening this side of Armageddon.

Some of us count ourselves lucky to live in places that have a very different electorial system. Whilst most systems have their own issues, I hope that people who advocate reform of our system take note of this disaster and say to themselves, 'There but for the grace of god go we!'

Reply Score: 3

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Australia gets laughed at for its mandatory voting at the Federal and State levels, but I think it's worked well. Yes, mandatory voting in a democracy is a logical contradiction blah blah blah.

Reply Score: 3

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Voting isn't actually mandatory in Australia. You are merely required to attend a polling booth and get your name marked off. What you do with the ballot paper after that is your own business.

Failing to attend a polling station attracts a very small fine. Nothing happens if you don't pay the fine.

Reply Score: 3

Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

Voting isn't actually mandatory in Australia. You are merely required to attend a polling booth and get your name marked off. What you do with the ballot paper after that is your own business.

Failing to attend a polling station attracts a very small fine. Nothing happens if you don't pay the fine.


I know (from personal experience) that if you don't pay the fine (and don't have a valid reason/excuse), eventually you do (silently - you're not informed of it at the time) get an arrest warrant. The police have better things to do than actually arrest you, but it does show up on things like police checks, etc.

I'd assume (but don't know) that if you ever get arrested for any reason they'd append any outstanding "failure to vote" charges to your other charges.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I'd assume (but don't know) that if you ever get arrested for any reason they'd append any outstanding "failure to vote" charges to your other charges.


Then they send you to Australia as a convict.

Oh wait...

:D

Reply Score: 3

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13


I'd assume (but don't know) that if you ever get arrested for any reason they'd append any outstanding "failure to vote" charges to your other charges.

- Brendan


No one has ever been arrested or prosecuted for not voting in Australia. The warrants are presumably left in a filing cabinet in a basement to gather dust.

A few protesters have even unsuccessfully tried to be arrested for not voting and not paying the fine. The authorities simply ignore them to avoid making an issue.

Reply Score: 3

RE: A sad state for the US to be in
by sgtarky on Sat 10th Nov 2012 14:50 UTC in reply to "A sad state for the US to be in"
sgtarky Member since:
2006-01-02

haha, yeah blacks were denied the right to vote and Obama lost, right? where else in the world can non citizens vote, since there is not voter ID requirement. I am thinking about visiting other countries and voting in their elections, see how far I get.

Reply Score: 2

RE: A sad state for the US to be in
by zima on Tue 13th Nov 2012 22:41 UTC in reply to "A sad state for the US to be in"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Some of us count ourselves lucky to live in places that have a very different electorial system. Whilst most systems have their own issues, I hope that people who advocate reform of our system take note of this disaster and say to themselves, 'There but for the grace of god go we!'

The US system does put some perspective on some efforts of major parties (in my recent-EU-memberstate place), which trying to introduce a variant of "first through the ballot" in parliamentary elections...

Reply Score: 2

Fricking silly!
by jefro on Thu 8th Nov 2012 21:38 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

" limit voting through restrictive voter ID laws." Requiring a person to display some evidence that they are the correct voter is not restrictive. I agree that anyone can phoney up an ID. What other country allows people to vote with only their say so?? No wonder some many idiots get elected. Crooks and illegals and double voters should be in charge of a vote.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Fricking silly!
by unclefester on Fri 9th Nov 2012 05:05 UTC in reply to "Fricking silly!"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

What other country allows people to vote with only their say so??


Australia.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Fricking silly!
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri 9th Nov 2012 15:38 UTC in reply to "Fricking silly!"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

If you think the ID laws are simple and straight forward then you are ignoring facts.

You want voter IDs? Then when someone registers to vote, get their finger print...everyone has them. There are cases where you lose them such as Chemotherapy or special illnesses but that is a very small number of people.

Did I just divide by zero for the voter ID people?

Edited 2012-11-09 15:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Fricking silly!
by zima on Wed 14th Nov 2012 02:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Fricking silly!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Everyone (well, everyone who can vote) has some resemblance of a face which can be put on the ID... (which is checked for validity against the database when required)

Edited 2012-11-14 02:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Fricking silly!
by andrewclunn on Fri 9th Nov 2012 16:57 UTC in reply to "Fricking silly!"
andrewclunn Member since:
2012-11-05

I have no idea how to upvote your comment, so I'll jsut reply to say that I agree. Requiring an ID is only 'restrictive' to a few die hard Democrats who believe whatever MSNBC and Jon Stewart tell them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Fricking silly!
by Soulbender on Sat 10th Nov 2012 06:51 UTC in reply to "Fricking silly!"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

What other country allows people to vote with only their say so??


In fact many do not require an ID (for example Denmark and Australia) and for those that do the requirements are usually not as strict as the U.S requirements.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Fricking silly!
by sgtarky on Sat 10th Nov 2012 14:54 UTC in reply to "Fricking silly!"
sgtarky Member since:
2006-01-02

jefro...I suggest that we go to other countries and try to vote in their elections. I say the reason voter id seems to be shuned in the US , is that conservatives for the most part vote where they are suppose to, and one time. Maybe conservatives need to commit blatant voter fraud where they guy wins......then there will be shoots of needing voter id. as long as voter fraud/foreign invaders favor the progressives/liberals nothing will be done about it.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Fricking silly!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 10th Nov 2012 20:48 UTC in reply to "Fricking silly!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, the idea seems that not having an id requirement woulod be an invitation to rampant voter fraud, the reality is that its remarkably rare. The vast, vast, majority of people who are willing to vote are actually honest enough to not vote multiple times. What is the economic profile of those without Identification: lower income minorities. So what then could possibly be behind the push by Republicans to enact legislation to require ID a short period of time before the election, if not voter suppression?

The United states has a long sordid history of various laws designed to prevent, harass and intimidate minorities from exercising their vote. The voting rights act of 1965 actually forbade many states from making changes to voting laws without federal approval to prevent similar shenanigans as these voter id laws.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act

Now, this isn't to say that everyone who is in favor of voter id laws is racist or intent on suppressing votes of the opposition, but they are being used by those that do.

Reply Score: 3

MYOB
Member since:
2005-06-29

Not sure why you felt you needed to mention that - a number of countries have very fair voting systems and yet have no national ID, Australia and Ireland amongst them with PR-STV.

Reply Score: 2

Howard Fosdick nailed it
by djohnston on Thu 8th Nov 2012 22:27 UTC
djohnston
Member since:
2006-04-11

Except for the hand counts, (paper ballots, too few and far between), the votes are "counted" by machines. Machines which use closed, proprietary software, unavailable for audit. The potential for cracking the results of those machines has been demonstrated over and over again, locally and nationwide, and is well documented at the http://www.blackboxvoting.org/ site.

What Mr. Fosdic refers to as a "miscalibration of some machines", I call vote tampering. To quote from the article, Mr. Fosdick writes:

"Most computer scientists argue that only 'evidence-based systems' can prevent stolen elections in the United States. As Bruce Schneier explains, 'Computer security experts are unanimous on what to do... DRE [Direct Record Electronic] machines must have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail and... Software used on DRE machines must be open to public scrutiny.'"

Bingo. Without a clear and verifiable audit trail, there is no accountability.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Howard Fosdick nailed it
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 8th Nov 2012 22:50 UTC in reply to "Howard Fosdick nailed it"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

We (The Netherlands) have gone back to paper voting because of the machines having security issues.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Howard Fosdick nailed it
by kwan_e on Fri 9th Nov 2012 04:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Howard Fosdick nailed it"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

We (The Netherlands) have gone back to paper voting because of the machines having security issues.


We (Australia) still use paper voting because we have no electricity.

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

We (Australia) still use paper voting because we have no electricity.


Yep! We also use pencils because we don't have pens.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Howard Fosdick nailed it
by Tuishimi on Fri 9th Nov 2012 19:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Howard Fosdick nailed it"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

LOL! Thanks for the levity in a ridiculous thread (no electricity, no pens). Thom... paper ballots are good... we use paper with optical scanning in AZ which works well enough. They use the "connect the line" method... so as long as you can connect the dots you are good.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Howard Fosdick nailed it
by phoenix on Fri 9th Nov 2012 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Howard Fosdick nailed it"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Federal elections in Canada on done on paper ballots, counted by hand. And no results are shown anywhere until the last polling station has closed. All the ballots, ballot boxes, signage, etc are identical across the country (except the names on the ballots, obviously). And it's all run by a federal department (Elections Canada).

Provincial elections (at least in BC) are also done on paper ballots, counted by hand. And no results are shown anywhere until the last polling station is closed. All the ballots, ballot boxes, signage, etc are identical across the province (except the names on the ballots, obviously). And, it's all run by a provincial department.

Municipal elections (at least in Kamloops, BC) are also done on paper ballots. However, these are bubble sheets, and they are run through an electronic counting device to tabulate the results. This work well, as there is a paper trail (the bubble sheets) that can be verified by hand if need be. All the ballots, ballot boxes, signage, etc is identical across the city (including the names on the ballot). And it's all run by a municipal department.

I'll never understand how a FEDERAL election can be managed by STATE officials, without ANY cross-country standards. Nor how STATE elections can be managed by COUNTY officials, without any cross-state standards. Etc. It absolutely boggles the mind!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Howard Fosdick nailed it
by Carewolf on Sat 10th Nov 2012 09:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Howard Fosdick nailed it"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

I think in Denmark we only have electronic voting for the handicapped (essentially for blind people who wants to vote more privately).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Howard Fosdick nailed it
by frytvm on Fri 9th Nov 2012 01:44 UTC in reply to "Howard Fosdick nailed it"
frytvm Member since:
2009-11-11

I'd say this is a situation where real progress has/is being made, though [and not something the US is say, especially bad at]. All of the green/turquoise states in the map have "optical" voting systems: i.e. people fill out paper ballots and then a machine counts them. By randomly checking the machine's results manually, large-scale vote-counting fraud is prevented.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Howard Fosdick nailed it
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri 9th Nov 2012 15:41 UTC in reply to "Howard Fosdick nailed it"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

the unauditable machines were decommissioned in every state back in 2006/2007. Help America Vote act set forward requirements for voting machines that include a paper audit trail.

Reply Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Rather than citing why I am wrong I am modded down?

Dealing with 12 year olds.

Reply Score: 2

ID not Restrictive
by Lorin on Thu 8th Nov 2012 22:28 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

Every State has a law requiring all adults to have a valid ID so the argument that having an ID to vote is restrictive is utter nonsense.

Reply Score: 4

RE: ID not Restrictive
by Morgan on Thu 8th Nov 2012 23:01 UTC in reply to "ID not Restrictive"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Are you sure about that? Georgia doesn't require someone to have an ID for anything except entering a federal building (and that's a federal law, not state). I seriously doubt even most states have this.

Do you have any sources to back up your claim? I'm very interested in seeing them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: ID not Restrictive
by Tuishimi on Fri 9th Nov 2012 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE: ID not Restrictive"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

In AZ you have to identify yourself... not sure if it requires a license but that's what I was asked for in the primaries. I used early ballot in the actual election. Maybe they allow for less official forms of identification, I don't know...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ID not Restrictive
by sgtarky on Sat 10th Nov 2012 14:58 UTC in reply to "RE: ID not Restrictive"
sgtarky Member since:
2006-01-02

really? you dont need iD when you are doing banking? opening a utility account? having your computer repaired at apple store(ha, had to show my ID in Augusta) getting ripped off at those pay day cash advance places. I can name many number of places that require photo id just to survive in this society

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ID not Restrictive
by Morgan on Sat 10th Nov 2012 23:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ID not Restrictive"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I think you missed the point. The original poster made the erroneous statement that every state in the US requires citizens to have a state issued ID. That is simply not true, and that was what I was saying.

Private entities requiring you to show proof of ID has zero to do with state law and was not in question.

Reply Score: 2

RE: ID not Restrictive
by TM99 on Fri 9th Nov 2012 00:06 UTC in reply to "ID not Restrictive"
TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26

No, they don't. The states only require an ID to drive.

We have a national Social Security system. We have individual ID #'s assigned to us at birth.

That is all that has ever been needed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ID not Restrictive
by Morgan on Fri 9th Nov 2012 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE: ID not Restrictive"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

And even the Social Security system has only been in place for less than a century. The original poster still hasn't come forth with proof of his claim that all US citizens are required to carry a state ID. I think we've been trolled...

Reply Score: 2

RE: ID not Restrictive
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri 9th Nov 2012 15:42 UTC in reply to "ID not Restrictive"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

No... all states do not have such laws.

Reply Score: 2

RE: ID not Restrictive
by ze_jerkface on Sat 10th Nov 2012 14:28 UTC in reply to "ID not Restrictive"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Why were you voted up? There are news articles all the time on how Democrats are trying to prevent ID requirements in numerous states. I'm not a fan of either party but I side with Republicans on this one and in fact find it bizarre that this is partisan issue.

Not only did I vote without an ID but I was allowed to drop off someone else's ballot without question. It's perfectly acceptable in my state to show up with a stack of ballots to drop off.

Reply Score: 2

EC can be fixed easily
by WildSubnet on Thu 8th Nov 2012 22:36 UTC
WildSubnet
Member since:
2012-01-24

If each state allocated their electors by congressional district (like Maine does), it would pretty much fix the major problem with the EC and would not require a constitutional fix. Winner take all is pretty silly.

Also, most of the recounts (including a big one by multiple news organizations) found Bush did indeed win Florida.

The EC has one big benefit. It typically makes individual voting issues irrelevant. 2000 being the big exception.

Reply Score: 1

RE: EC can be fixed easily
by TM99 on Fri 9th Nov 2012 00:03 UTC in reply to "EC can be fixed easily"
TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26


Also, most of the recounts (including a big one by multiple news organizations) found Bush did indeed win Florida.


Yes, and No.

http://www.factcheck.org/2008/01/the-florida-recount-of-2000/

Reply Score: 2

RE: EC can be fixed easily
by joekiser on Fri 9th Nov 2012 12:37 UTC in reply to "EC can be fixed easily"
joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

If each state allocated their electors by congressional district (like Maine does), it would pretty much fix the major problem with the EC and would not require a constitutional fix. Winner take all is pretty silly.


In that case, you are one step removed from just having the incoming House of Representatives decide the President.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: EC can be fixed easily
by WildSubnet on Mon 12th Nov 2012 23:58 UTC in reply to "RE: EC can be fixed easily"
WildSubnet Member since:
2012-01-24

Not really. Under the congressional district system, the statewide winner gets the senatorial votes (so in a close election the winner should end up with more EC votes). The House votes by state (each state gets 1 vote). The vote is decided by that state's congressional delegation in the House.

Reply Score: 1

RE: EC can be fixed easily
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri 9th Nov 2012 15:46 UTC in reply to "EC can be fixed easily"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

so... the gerrymandered all to hell districts will set who is president?

A popular vote would be better....every vote counts and candidates would work hard in all 50 states because you can't write off Nebraska as a Democrat since there are democrats who will vote for you, and California has value to Republicans, etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: EC can be fixed easily
by MollyC on Sun 11th Nov 2012 06:36 UTC in reply to "RE: EC can be fixed easily"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

I agree that using the gerrymandered congressional districts would be wrong. May as well go to a parlaimentary system instead (which I don't want). And it was shown in an article yesterday that Romney would've won under that system, despite losing the popular vote by three million votes (as I write this), since the current congressional districts were gerrymandered by the Republican party since they controlled the state legislatures at the time the most recent gerrymandering occurred (which is why the Republicans won the most House seats, despite losing the House popular vote).

As for a national popular vote for president, first here has to be a national ballot/voting mechanism. The moment you go to a national popular vote, you cannot have states using different voting systems (different numbers of hours of early voting, differences in allowing vote-by-mail, differences in voting stations per capita, etc), because the different voting systems of each state cause voting to be "easier" (i.e. more convenient) in some states than in others, so some states have a naturally higher voter participation, which would skew a national popular vote count.

I've actually come to like the electoral college, myself. But if we get rid of it, I'd rather go to popular vote than congressional district based voting, for the reasons stated above.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: EC can be fixed easily
by WildSubnet on Tue 13th Nov 2012 00:03 UTC in reply to "RE: EC can be fixed easily"
WildSubnet Member since:
2012-01-24

I am going to paint the nightmare scenario for you. Every district has a few votes that never really get counted because...well, something was wrong with them and it doesn't matter because the election isn't close enough.

What if it was close enough? What if it was within a million votes? Can you imagine the lawsuits in every precinct in the country fishing for votes? The EC actually does serve a bit of a purpose.

I personally think the hand wringing over it is a tad much. It's mostly irrelevant, but it does help settle things when the election is close (Florida being the one exception and really is anyone shocked that happened in Florida?).

Reply Score: 1

Umm...
by Morgan on Thu 8th Nov 2012 22:58 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

The U.S. doesn't even have a national ID.


And we damn sure don't need one. That's a giant step towards an oppressive government, and it's already oppressive enough as it is.

And besides, each one of us already has a nationally assigned ID card: Our social security card. The huge amount of fraud and misuse surrounding that particular identifier alone should be enough to tell the people that we don't need yet another layer of redundant ID.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Umm...
by saso on Thu 8th Nov 2012 23:57 UTC in reply to "Umm..."
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

"The U.S. doesn't even have a national ID.

And we damn sure don't need one. That's a giant step towards an oppressive government,
"
Plenty of European and non-European countries have national ID systems and they don't seem repressive at all. If I were you, I'd worry more about e.g. the armed drones already flying over your heads while peeking inside your homes with IR cameras.

and it's already oppressive enough as it is.

The US government isn't oppressive. It's just wildly corrupt.

And besides, each one of us already has a nationally assigned ID card: Our social security card. The huge amount of fraud and misuse surrounding that particular identifier alone should be enough to tell the people that we don't need yet another layer of redundant ID.

You fail to appreciate the positive sides of having a way to identify citizens in some official manner - it makes interaction with authorities and certain businesses (e.g. banks) a lot simpler. To abolish all mechanisms for official identification would significantly complicate these routine interactions.

Please note that I am not trying to present a position here that is completely contrary to yours - what you said certainly has some merit. I just think a more nuanced approach is necessary. IMHO statements like "We don't need no stinkin' ID!" fail to capture the complexity of real life.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Umm...
by Morgan on Fri 9th Nov 2012 00:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Umm..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, my point was more that we don't need it because it's already there. Our government is complicated enough without yet another unnecessary burden on the citizens. That's what I meant by oppressive, which is why I chose that particular word rather than repressive. They actually have different meanings though the former is often misused to convey the latter.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Umm...
by saso on Fri 9th Nov 2012 00:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Umm..."
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

Well, my point was more that we don't need it because it's already there.

I took it from your critique of the SSN that you'd prefer it didn't exist, but now I understand better, thanks for clarifying.

That's what I meant by oppressive, which is why I chose that particular word rather than repressive. They actually have different meanings though the former is often misused to convey the latter.

That word can have several meanings and its use to describe an unjust or tyrannical government is common: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/oppressive?s=t
In any case, I get your point.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Umm...
by Morgan on Fri 9th Nov 2012 00:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Umm..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

It's not that I preferred it didn't exist, I just wish it was limited in use to its original intention as proof of eligibility for Social Security benefits. The fact that we use it for credit tracking alone opens the door to abuse and fraud. We are conditioned to give it out on command when we should be taught to do the opposite.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Umm...
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri 9th Nov 2012 15:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Umm..."
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

just make everyone get a passport.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Umm...
by Morgan on Fri 9th Nov 2012 16:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Umm..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

So, just force everyone to get something that many may never use? How does that uncomplicate things?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Umm...
by kenji on Fri 9th Nov 2012 16:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Umm..."
kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

So, just force everyone to get something that many may never use? How does that uncomplicate things?

+1

Not to mention the cost of a passport. There are eligible voters out there that simply could not afford it just for the 'privilege' to vote. Voting is supposed to be 'free-as-in-beer' in the USA.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Umm...
by Soulbender on Sat 10th Nov 2012 06:55 UTC in reply to "Umm..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

The huge amount of fraud and misuse surrounding that particular identifier alone should be enough to tell the people that we don't need yet another layer of redundant ID.


Oh but you forget the most important aspect: someone will make a lot of money providing the national ID.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Umm...
by zima on Thu 15th Nov 2012 23:11 UTC in reply to "Umm..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

>The U.S. doesn't even have a national ID.
And we damn sure don't need one. That's a giant step towards an oppressive government [...]
And besides, each one of us already has a nationally assigned ID card: Our social security card. The huge amount of fraud and misuse surrounding that particular identifier alone should be enough to tell the people that we don't need yet another layer of redundant ID.

In a properly set up national ID card, there's really barely any fraud, that's the whole point of it; the info can be quickly verified when that matters.

And I'm not sure if there's any correlation between existence of national ID in a given place, and how oppressive given government is; many past and present oppressors don't really need national ID.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by M.Onty
by M.Onty on Thu 8th Nov 2012 23:26 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

The technology is irrelevant. It probably make the problem worse. The UK has exclusively paper-based, x-marks-the-candidate, hand-counted ballots and results are very seldom contested. Every candidate or their party can choose to watch the votes being counted, undermining any subsequent attempt to question the credibility.

Having a national election's voting procedure under the control of local state judges is madness. I fully understand the US attachment to decentralised power, but a federal election should come under federal control, just as a state election should come under state control.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by M.Onty
by kenji on Fri 9th Nov 2012 16:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by M.Onty"
kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

Having a national election's voting procedure under the control of local state judges is madness. I fully understand the US attachment to decentralised power, but a federal election should come under federal control, just as a state election should come under state control.

That may be 'ideal' from your point of view but it would be too cumbersome and expensive to work. By that logic, County elections would also be separate as would be City elections. Would each of these elections be run independently, in different locations, at different times??? What your suggesting is breaking up elections into smaller elections possibly occurring simultaneously or maybe not. I refuse to go vote 4 times just to get through one election cycle. That is utterly asinine.

Elections are in the hands of the States and it will continue that way. You understand the attachment to decentralized power but it doesn't sound like you understand it's implementation. It's called cooperation.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by M.Onty
by spstarr on Sun 11th Nov 2012 01:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by M.Onty"
spstarr Member since:
2006-02-21

"Having a national election's voting procedure under the control of local state judges is madness. I fully understand the US attachment to decentralised power, but a federal election should come under federal control, just as a state election should come under state control.

That may be 'ideal' from your point of view but it would be too cumbersome and expensive to work. By that logic, County elections would also be separate as would be City elections. Would each of these elections be run independently, in different locations, at different times??? What your suggesting is breaking up elections into smaller elections possibly occurring simultaneously or maybe not. I refuse to go vote 4 times just to get through one election cycle. That is utterly asinine.

Elections are in the hands of the States and it will continue that way. You understand the attachment to decentralized power but it doesn't sound like you understand it's implementation. It's called cooperation.
"

That is silly, we in Canada have no problem with FEDERAL elections run by a federal agency across the country. Provincial/Municipal elections are handled by the province. Believe me, our provinces are just as strong on decentralization/jurisdiction as US states. We have stronger provinces than your states in terms of autonomy and powers.

Edited 2012-11-11 01:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by M.Onty
by tanzam75 on Fri 9th Nov 2012 16:28 UTC in reply to "Comment by M.Onty"
tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19

Hand-counted paper ballots are infeasible in the American system of electoral government.

A typical west coast ballot contains as many as 30 separate elections on a single piece of paper -- for county supervisor, for judge, for the port authority, for a bunch of referendums, for a bunch of initiatives, etc. Out of those 30 elections, no more than 3 are for federal offices.

East coast ballots tend to be simpler because there is less direct democracy -- judges are appointed, referendums are rare, and the initiative is not available. However, this still leaves as many as 10 elections on a single ballot.

This is why almost all areas with paper ballots nevertheless use computerized counting technology. (Optical/digital scan.) It would simply be too costly to count 30 elections by hand.

What needs fixing is not American elections -- but the American governmental structure. However, it appears highly unlikely that we'll see substantial change in the next 10 or 20 years.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by M.Onty
by Carewolf on Sat 10th Nov 2012 09:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by M.Onty"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

So why don't they give out separate ballots for separate votes?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by M.Onty
by zima on Tue 13th Nov 2012 22:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by M.Onty"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It would simply be too costly to count 30 elections by hand.

Why costly? Volunteers can do the grunt work (coming from different parties, so they check each other; but of course, virtually any citizen can participate, even just observe throughout the day).

Paper ballots and manual counting are transparent, easily graspable by all, less prone to doubt - the way electoral processes should be.

(but curious thing about west coast; and I'm still at the stage when I might move far away...)

Reply Score: 2

DHofmann
Member since:
2005-08-19

Switching to a direct popular vote is a terrible idea. Not only does it not solve the problem that a candidate can be elected with less than 50% of the votes, but it also weakens the power of the states and makes the federal government stronger in comparison.

Reply Score: 0

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

How does it weaken the states?

Reply Score: 2

DHofmann Member since:
2005-08-19

The electoral college guarantees that each state gets both an equal vote and a vote proportional to its population. A national popular vote cannot guarantee either, without compelling all citizens to vote.

Edit: added "without compelling all citizens to vote".

Edited 2012-11-09 16:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

But is gives a voice to all the citizens. I say that is more important. We have moved beyond the original conception of what the states were suppose to be. We have become a nation-state rather than a nation made of states.

Reply Score: 2

DHofmann Member since:
2005-08-19

All the citizens already have a voice. They get to vote in the election. The only thing a popular vote would do is bypass the electoral college in the election, allowing the federal government and regional factions to gain in power at the expense of state power.

Surely you must agree that power must be as local as possible. Otherwise you support a big central government, and that's authoritarianism.

And it still wouldn't prevent the problem that the candidate can be elected with less than 50% of the votes.

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Not only does it not solve the problem that a candidate can be elected with less than 50% of the votes

You simply make a second round one week later, just between the top two candidates, if during the first one nobody got 50+%...

Reply Score: 2

Electoral College FTW! [/sarcasm]
by saso on Fri 9th Nov 2012 00:18 UTC
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

The electoral college actually does much worse than simply sometimes getting it wrong from a democratic perspective (although 4 out of 57, or about 7%, is a pretty horrific failure rate for elections to such an important office). The problem is in the winner-takes all principle that takes place in nearly all states. This mechanism results in candidates largely ignoring states that have a clear-cut preference of one party, and instead favors the undecided ones significantly. In effect it means that the most loyal supporters (at a state level) of a candidate are the ones most frequently ignored, while the ones that are just about on the knife's edge get all of their wishes granted. So ultimately, the campaigns, the rallies and the pushes for policy don't really take place across all of the country, but rather in only about 7 or 8 "swing states" that decide the national outcome. Switch to a direct-election system (or at least the proportional electoral college mechanism as in Maine and Nebraska) and all of these problems are gone - candidates will have to pay attention to what ALL Americans want, not just a select few who happen to live in a particular state of interest.
Oh and also lower the minimum number of electoral votes per state to 1. That way the vote of a citizen of Wyoming won't count for three votes of people from e.g. New York - call it "Vote Equality" if you will.

Reply Score: 5

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Maine is proportional (better) and Nebraska is Congressional District based (horrid).

In the former, each EC is awarded based on percentage of the vote int eh state and that represents people much better than Winner take all.....in the later, gerrymandering will affect the outcome of the presidential elections and will map 1-1 with who controls the house.

Reply Score: 3

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Thanks for the info on Maine. I was under the impression that Maine was like Nebraska, in that their electoral college was based on congressional district, which is indeed horrible for the reasons you state. Glad I was mistaken on Maine. ;)

Reply Score: 2

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Switch to a direct-election system (or at least the proportional electoral college mechanism as in Maine and Nebraska) and all of these problems are gone - candidates will have to pay attention to what ALL Americans want


No they wouldn't and that is why the electoral college exists.

If the system was a popular vote or perfectly proportionate to population then the candidates would focus their time in Metropolitan areas.

It's not a perfect system and no one has ever claimed it to be. But a direct vote would lead to a Metropolitan coast focus with the exception of Texas.

I would rather not have LA and NYC have heavy influence in choosing a candidate for the rest of the country. I would much prefer it coming down to swing states where there is more diversity of opinion and a better reflection of the entire county.

Reply Score: 2

in australia
by unclefester on Fri 9th Nov 2012 05:00 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

In Australia we put a number next to the candidates name using a pencil. The paper is then dropped in a sealed box. Elections are always held on a Saturday. It takes no more than five minutes to vote. Ballot papers are counted by government officals and candidates (or their representatives) can view the actual counting process.

How simple is that?

Reply Score: 2

RE: in australia
by gld59 on Fri 9th Nov 2012 07:51 UTC in reply to "in australia"
gld59 Member since:
2012-11-09

It can take more than five minutes if you number every square below the line on the paper for the upper house. (Ok - who just said I'm a cranky old git?)

I know this is not strictly relevant to a comparison with one type of US election, but some informal (invalid) votes in Australian elections would be due to slight differences between federal, state and local elections (mainly differences in how many candidates must be numbered on the voting paper).

However the basic "structure" is almost identical even between the different types of election, voter numbers (and the required infrastructure) are predictable and consistent, results are known quickly, and once any recounts are complete, the results are accepted (in an electoral if not political sense).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: in australia
by tanzam75 on Fri 9th Nov 2012 16:49 UTC in reply to "RE: in australia"
tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19

It is very simple -- but that's because Australian elections are simple.

American elections are complex, and therefore American election technology is also complex.

Just as an example, the ballot for district 1 in King County, Washington has 32 separate questions on the ballot, with a total of 65 candidates/options, plus the option to write-in a candidate as a protest.

Here, have a look at the ballot (PDF): http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections/2012nov-general/docs/leg1sampl...

Edited 2012-11-09 17:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: in australia
by panzi on Sat 10th Nov 2012 02:01 UTC in reply to "in australia"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

In Australia we put a number next to the candidates name using a pencil. The paper is then dropped in a sealed box. Elections are always held on a Saturday. It takes no more than five minutes to vote. Ballot papers are counted by government officals and candidates (or their representatives) can view the actual counting process.

How simple is that?


It's not just simple, it is also secure (if there are representatives of all parties viewing the counting process and better use a ball-pen or something else that is not erasable). And everyone (not just computer experts) can understand how it works and why it is secure. It can be recounted. There is no simple large scale undetectable manipulation through statistical fraud algorithms possible. No expensive computer hardware that needs expensive care. If it takes a bit longer to get the count, that is a cheap prize for democracy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: in australia
by kwan_e on Sat 10th Nov 2012 12:06 UTC in reply to "RE: in australia"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"In Australia we put a number next to the candidates name using a pencil. The paper is then dropped in a sealed box. Elections are always held on a Saturday. It takes no more than five minutes to vote. Ballot papers are counted by government officals and candidates (or their representatives) can view the actual counting process.

How simple is that?


It's not just simple, it is also secure (if there are representatives of all parties viewing the counting process and better use a ball-pen or something else that is not erasable). And everyone (not just computer experts) can understand how it works and why it is secure. It can be recounted. There is no simple large scale undetectable manipulation through statistical fraud algorithms possible. No expensive computer hardware that needs expensive care. If it takes a bit longer to get the count, that is a cheap prize for democracy.
"

Not only that, but the ballot paper gets recycled and turned into toilet paper, so we Australians get an extra chance to show the pollies what we really think of them.

Reply Score: 2

France
by Kochise on Fri 9th Nov 2012 07:05 UTC
Kochise
Member since:
2006-03-03

Not a single problem here : just register yourself before 31 December, then come with your ID card, sign in the registration book, get all the flyers of every candidate and a empty mailing envelope, get in the electoral booth to put the one candidate's flyer in the envelope anonymously, get out and put the envelope in the transparent box. Done.

It last a mere 2 minutes to go if everything is OK, pretty straightforward, nothing difficult.

Need to vote for another thing ? Just put another line with a different set of flyer (like YES and NO) and a different colored envelope, repeat the process, and... done.

Don't tell me US never thought about such a simple process that cannot be faked and is not prone to doubt ? Come on...

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

RE: France
by ricegf on Sat 10th Nov 2012 01:21 UTC in reply to "France"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

on't tell me US never thought about such a simple process that cannot be faked and is not prone to doubt ?


It seems trivial to fake to me. I prepare 10 envelopes for my candidate in advance, and bring them in my pocket. Add the "real" envelope to the stack in the voting booth, square up, and drop the lot in the box on my way out. What am I missing?

Manually opening all those envelopes will really slow down counts.

And I had 37 offices on which to vote in my Texas county - are you seriously suggesting 37 lines?!? Ouch!

No, the optical scanner worked great.

One nice thing (in a warped sort of way) about living in Texas is that I can vote for the candidate I REALLY support for president, even a Green or Libertarian, since there was never any doubt which winner would take all the electoral votes.

I'd love to see us change to proportional electors, but the R's would have to sponsor the bill in the state legislature, and it would then cost them electors in 2016, so they have no motivation. *sigh*

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: France
by panzi on Sat 10th Nov 2012 02:17 UTC in reply to "RE: France"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

So one person can manipulate 10 votes. Using computers one person writing a few lines of code can manipulate millions of votes that are statistically distributed in a way that the fraud is not detectable (if the fraud software is not found - because it rewrites itself after the election and removes the fraud algorithms).

Also you're being watched putting the envelope into the box, so the election officials will notice this. Multiple votes in one envelope are of course discarded. And there should be independent people/representatives of each candidate watching the whole process. If the box is empty at the beginning and the votes are counted correctly afterwards, there is no way to manipulate the election (unless you teleport envelopes into the box - but there is no such technology).

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: France
by ricegf on Sat 10th Nov 2012 03:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: France"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

You seem to be switching out the brilliant poll watchers (in the one envelope per vote per line case) with really careless poll watchers (in the case where a voter hacks into the voting machine to add a few million votes).

But even in the latter case, the fraud would be easy to detect, since each vote is represented by a physical scanned ballot that is (of course) kept by the machine, so one manual recount - or just comparing the number of ballots to number of votes in the machine - and the game is up.

Also, rewriting voting machine flash memory requires a physical jumper, which trojan software obviously can't install to hide its tracks.

And of course results of the one envelope per vote per line are almost certainly reported to the Secretary of State via electronic means, which is the logical place to insert a man-in-the-middle type attack to manipulate an election, regardless of the technology used by the voting booth.

Or just skip the voting booth altogether, as Lessadolla Sowers rather famously did.

The bottom line is that asking voters to wait in 37 lines, sorting through cards in each to find their candidate's to put in the envelope while being watched like a hawk by zealous poll watchers, is simply impractical in any urban area in the USA. And if they did, it's leaves just as many means (or more, actually) than an optical ballot scanner.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: France
by Kochise on Sat 10th Nov 2012 12:14 UTC in reply to "RE: France"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

You cannot fake : the bow is transparent, one representative of every party is witnessing each vote, a registry is signed by all people who vote, you HAVE to find as many signatures than envelopes. A little city have one vote office open, bigger cities have more.

Then, yes, each enveloppe is counted, opened, and the count is made by hand under the scrutinize of the same representatives of each party. And since France is a pretty nice democratic country, fairness prevails.

Not trying to trick out parts of the population to favor one candidate against the other. France even try to allows right of vote to foreign people that works in France for a long time without being a French citizen.

Can the USA dare to do the same ?

Kochise

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: France
by zima on Thu 15th Nov 2012 21:57 UTC in reply to "RE: France"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It seems trivial to fake to me. I prepare 10 envelopes for my candidate in advance, and bring them in my pocket. Add the "real" envelope to the stack in the voting booth, square up, and drop the lot in the box on my way out. What am I missing?

Polling places know very well how many voting cards they gave out... and if the number doesn't match in the "there's more of them than we gave out" direction, a fraud is very likely - at which point you can either take a closer look and discard fakes, or rerun it in that one area. This seems trivial to me.

Edited 2012-11-15 21:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Is this how a modern democracy should vote?
by kwan_e on Fri 9th Nov 2012 09:57 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Taking a cue, not from operating systems but from computer programming, I wonder if it's actually a mistake to couple choice of policy with choice of candidate.

Especially with the coverage of American politics, it's just muddled. There's always the implication that a policy is bad if it's proposed by an incompetent politician, or that a "competent" politician is automatically right on policy issues.

I think it's getting to the point where we have to pay mind to cohesion and coupling. Vote for policies, and then vote for the people to execute them. Just because, say, universal healthcare had been badly implemented before does not mean there is a jinx on the policy.

Decouple policy from implementation, and vote people in for competence and not policy.

The only solution is organizational and never technological.

Reply Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

+1

Reply Score: 2

kateline
Member since:
2011-05-19

Here's how complicated voting can be in the U.S. ...

Former president Geroge W. Bush got "confused by the instructions on his electronic voting machine and mistakenly cast a ballot he intended to discard." He voted for Obama by accident!

See "http://dailycurrant.com/2012/11/06/george-bush-accidently-votes-oba....

As for those Americans here who don't understand the "restrict the vote movement," you probably do not know any elderly people who don't have drivers licenses. I have a friend is an 85-year-old African-American female who no longer drives. It is a hardship for her to get a special photo ID from the state just for voting purposes. She is exactly the person those Republican politicians are trying to disenfranchise. There are many folks like her.

Make voting easy, make it accurate!

Reply Score: 2

Boldie Member since:
2007-03-26

From the the Daily Currant itself:

The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper

Q. Are your newstories [sic] real?

A. No. Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world


http://dailycurrant.com/about/

Reply Score: 4

kateline Member since:
2011-05-19

My bad! Thank you for the correction. It's like The Onion, I guess.

Reply Score: 1

Fix is simple
by transami on Fri 9th Nov 2012 16:49 UTC
transami
Member since:
2006-02-28

Each person should have three forms with their vote on it. One is immediately tallied via state managed database and kept as a receipt. The other two are sent to *independent* counters. By having three independent tallies we can ensure the vote hasn't been tampered and recounts would never be required.

Also, instead of voter id, just use a fingerprint. With it a database can make sure you are on file as a registered voter. And a purple finger means you voted (recall Iraq elections anyone!?)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Fix is simple
by panzi on Sat 10th Nov 2012 02:07 UTC in reply to "Fix is simple"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

Fingerprint? Ok, THAT is the sign of a oppressive (maybe repressive) regime. Also what about people without fingerprints? This happens. (lost fingers or no fingerprints through working some sort of manual labor that erodes fingerprints, e.g. making chain mails for the Lord of the Rings movies)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Fix is simple
by ze_jerkface on Sat 10th Nov 2012 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Fix is simple"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Also what about people without fingerprints?


No problem, just toss out dupes that have clearly defined fingerprints. People without fingerprints make up less than 1% of the population so their impact would be negligible.

That would be much better than the current system where people vote for the dead/disabled/elderly/apathetic.

http://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2012/05/16/53000-dead-voters-fou...

Reply Score: 2

Why don't we...
by Tuishimi on Fri 9th Nov 2012 19:56 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...have these major thread/discussions about policies and procedures in other countries? It's always the US and it is always portrayed in a negative manner.

Is the rest of the world perfect? Must be.

(I will give credit to Thom, he does rant about EU issues from time to time).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why don't we...
by Soulbender on Sat 10th Nov 2012 07:00 UTC in reply to "Why don't we..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Is the rest of the world perfect? Must be.


But of course we are.
Seriously though, the focus on U.S may have something do with how you always tell everyone else that you're the biggest and the best.
(~~~better than the rest~~~...cue Clawfinger)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Why don't we...
by zima on Wed 14th Nov 2012 01:55 UTC in reply to "Why don't we..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The editor who posted this article, who sort of started this discussion, is a US resident... (and some others chimed in)

(NVM how most of the rest of the world has hardly any impact on others)

Edited 2012-11-14 01:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

benali72
Member since:
2008-05-03

BTW, Florida's vote was just completed today, 5 days after the election. So if it had come down to Florida again this year, it would have been a mess again.

The article is pretty negative on the U.S. voting system, with justification. But here is a good side to mention. The U.S. never has had trouble with the public accepting electoral results, even in 2000 and 1960. No people killed, no riots with property damage... unlike some countries. So it's not a perfect system but it is a democracy that works.

Reply Score: 2