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weird voting procedures in US

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
being from Sweden, I am shocked to see all the weird things happening in the US when it comes to voting procedures and voting problems. I think this holds for all other West European countries: voting procedues are fair, they WORK and we very very seldom havae any problems at all. In Sweden when you vote, you choose a peice of paper with the name of the party you vote for: for example S for social democracts or M for the conservatives (moderaterna). Chance of making a misstake: 0 (if you can read). This is put into an envelope with a small hole where election officals can see that tehre is only one vote (piece of paper) inside and that it has the right colour (different colours for different elections - national, local and so on). They are then counted by machine and by hand.

voters are already registered beforehand, and all they need to do is to walk to their voting office, and that's it.

how come the world's only super-power who talks about democracy and so, cannot even fulfill this very simple prerequisite for fair elections?

It is really beyond me...

(check this: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,137229,00.html
for all the arguing in the US)
post #2 of 37
Because we are a Union of States, and the individual States decide how their citizens get to vote. It's not the job of the federal government to tell the States how to do their business.

I don't mind different systems across different States, although different systems within a State should not be allowed.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
different systems is ok... if they work. Obviously they don't always do, and it is chocking. Shouldn't happen in a developed country. Over here we argue about politicis, but we seldom argue about voting procedures, who should be able to vote and so on. weird.
post #4 of 37
dividend your system would not be allowed in the US. For example I'm not sure how your vote is anonymous. Can't people tell which paper you choose. Also what if you want to write in a vote for someone not on the ballot? You make it sound like you can only vote for one party or the other. The other thing is that in your country people register BEFORE the election. In the US many politicians want same day registration. It's a great way to perpetrate voter fraud. Anyone that brings up the obvious problems with that is branded a racist in an attempt to shutdown litigate discussion of best voting practices.

bunge has the real answer which is that each state and often each county runs their own elections. Hence the heterogeneity.

Has anyone heard about the UN (EU?) observers that are monitoring this years elections?
post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
Has anyone heard about the UN (EU?) observers that are monitoring this years elections?

I've heard about them and I think it's probably a good idea. The more eyes the better. Both parties are so ingrained in the system that they both use fraud to a significant degree. Hopefully they simply cancel each other out, but ultimately I don't like any fraud in the election.

The UN has a lot of experience in this and hopefully will be a fair third party. I don't know to what extent they're being used though.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Scott:

nope, we have many parties, 6 in our parliament, and a lot more smaller in the local elections, and there are a few more that don't get enough votes to get into the parliament. During elections we normally have local, regional and parliamentary elections, in addition to local issues. Not as many as in the US though.

the papers look something like this:

http://www.publicopinion.nu/imgutstallning/vallab2.jpg

(observe that the text on it is just a mockery.... couldn├Ąt find any better pic)

picture of voting ballots for different parties:

http://www.orebroll.se/tebladet/partilistor.jpg

picture of the envelope:

http://www.val.se/utils/img/brev5.gif

the small half-circle is the "hole"

1. who you vote for cannot be seen thru the envelope, but you can see the colour (which is the same for all parties for the same elecion ->yellow for parliament, and must be printed on paper supplied by the authorities) the small hole only reveals the colour, nothing of the text (it is a small hole at the side, which also reveals if there are more than one piece of paper inside). Nobody can see when you put in the piece of paper (ballot) into the envelope, nobody can see who you voted for until the envelope is open, which happens when voting closes

2. you can write if you want to, but most parties have pre-printed voting papers supplied right inside the voting rooms, even for many parties that have never been into the parliament. There are empy papers, with correcy colour and so on for you to write.

3. voter fraud? what's that - if you manage to vote even though you are not allowed to? well, does not really happen (see below*) here since we have lists of all who are allowed to vote - without ANYONE needing to go to an office to vote (safe for EU-parliament votes, other EU-nationsl in Sweden must register so as not to be able to vote in an other country, but that's a small exception). These lists of eligble voters are ready long time before the actual vote so people can check it out. A letter is also sent home to each person stating in what elections that person can vote in (if there are serveral) and how to file a charge if something is wrong.

4. racist? (or did i misunderstand you... probably, in that case I am sorry:

5. result = no fraud, no missed votes, no miss-calculations, high vote turn up, easy vote counting (and easy to do a re-count), transparet rules

6. No problem with different systems in different states, the same applies in our EU-votes. But still 5. applies...., that is what you want to achieve and do they do that in the US?

7. but, sometimes mistakes happen, then a re-count takes care of it all. according to the law, if something goes really strange, then a re-vote must occur.

* vote fraud. It has happned here that a person cannot vote because the officials by mistake marked wrongly that he/she had voted, when it was somebody else doing so (despite there being an other person looking over the marking). The frequency of that occurence, translated into US-voting numbers, would mean ca. 20 irregular votes in the ENTIRE USA (counting 105 million voters). This is provided that it happens every election in Sweden, which it doesn't.

bottom line: differences here and there, fine - but why so many problems? The previous presidential election in Florida really made people turn their heads around... what are people up to? don't they take elections/democracy seriously?

8. international election observeres should be a good thing; most european countries invite them just out respect, even though they normally don't need them
post #7 of 37
Voter fraud is easier here because our population is huge and our government doesn't keep track of individuals. If we wanted a large centralized database we could mostly eliminate fraud, but then we would have privacy concerns. I think here we value our independence and freedom to a fault. I'd rather stay anonymous and risk some fraud than have a pure list of individuals in this country. If you want to be anonymous you can be. And you can still vote.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
Because we are a Union of States, and the individual States decide how their citizens get to vote. It's not the job of the federal government to tell the States how to do their business.

I don't mind different systems across different States, although different systems within a State should not be allowed.

So is Germany, so is Switzerland, so is UK... but they have imposed a Federal system of voting, and it means that if you vote one way in NY, you will have to vote the same in CA. Allowing states to decide how to vote for an election that does not pertain to states, just doesn't make any sense.

I definitely want to see a federal standard.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 
yes, respect to individual freedom. No problems with that; and indeed, the Swedish government, as well as many other governments have better control of the citizens in that we know where they live, their age, their citizenship. Is that so dangeours that it is better to have voter fraud?

I agree that beyond that some governments do a little too much (like here in Sweden), but age (to know if you are permitted to vote), citizenship and where a person lives (to determine where he/she can vote, to determine how many reprsentatives/electors that state can send...) seems to be quite crucial information... is it better that elections are decided by questionable manners, is that more freedom?

can anonymous people vote in the us?

a pure list... better not to have a pure list and have mohammad atta (or what his name was) around? ok, perhaps going to far in the argument (sorry if so!)

i thought it was a basic task of the government to know how many they serve, to let all of them (and nobody else) in a transparent and honest manner elect their representatives. pehaps it is this idea of freedom that lies behind many of your voting problems.
post #10 of 37
dividend, technically you are right, but its hard to pass laws making the elections better and get the individual states abide them. I mean, every state here behaves as if it were independent; they all try to seize more power from the federal government. So, its actually hard for the federal government to pass laws and get states to respect them (if the states don't like them.)

But as I've said, I'd like to see the Federal Government look after the good of the entire country, not suit the needs and wants of X or Y state. After all, we're more American than Californian or whatever. Its the general good that matters, not individual opinions.

Oh well, correct me if I'm wrong.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
So is Germany, so is Switzerland, so is UK... but they have imposed a Federal system of voting, and it means that if you vote one way in NY, you will have to vote the same in CA. Allowing states to decide how to vote for an election that does not pertain to states, just doesn't make any sense.

I definitely want to see a federal standard.

There is specific wording in the constitution that reservers the election to the states. In fact the way it is written it doesn't even require that citizens be allowed to vote for president.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
There is specific wording in the constitution that reservers the election to the states. In fact the way it is written it doesn't even require that citizens be allowed to vote for president.


Have you ever heard of amendments?
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 
Gene, hi!

well, state governments are elected by the people as well, I mean, this should be in the interest of the people themselves. It is not like making rules that favour one candidate to the others; it is making it possible for as many as possible to vote in fair circumstances. True, this might be helpful for some candidates (Kerry?) but that is, in theory at least, irrelevant.... if Kerry gets better off by more voters voting, then this means that Bush (in this case) should consider changing his politics. That's how democracy sort of works.

this is only to make sure voting procedures are ok, not about saying who should get elected... i can't understand why not many enough think so to in the us.

and the thing is, it seems to be a general problem in the us, not only in certain districts in Florida. Instead of arguing about voters, politicians should argue about their votes. seems to be a waste of time/money/effort.
post #14 of 37
divident, I hear ya'.

However, there are people in the US that think that nothing should be changed to make it better and to make it evolve (they don't even believe in evolution, hehe!), they believe that letting things as they always were is the right thing to do.They're called conserve-atives. Its very hard to get them to understand the need for improvement and change, let alone get them to agree with you.

This is the main problem. I think.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 
but these conservaties, don't they want democracy in the US? I can understand that it is important to not to change things anyhow. sure. but when something so obviously does not work well, then it should be time for change... and most people in the us i guess are not conservatives in this case... what are they up to?

the thing is, is that this is quite a serious problem. if you don't take voting proceudes serioiusly, then you are not taking the system of government really seriously... is that conservative?

yea, amendments, guess that's what you need. to you hold national (federal) referendums as well?
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
Have you ever heard of amendments?

Good luck.
post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dividend
but these conservaties, don't they want democracy in the US? I can understand that it is important to not to change things anyhow. sure. but when something so obviously does not work well, then it should be time for change... and most people in the us i guess are not conservatives in this case... what are they up to?

the thing is, is that this is quite a serious problem. if you don't take voting proceudes serioiusly, then you are not taking the system of government really seriously... is that conservative?

yea, amendments, guess that's what you need. do you hold national (federal) referendums as well?

- getting back later, need to sleep. and hey all of you! Who ever you like, make sure you go out and VOTE!
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
Allowing states to decide how to vote for an election that does not pertain to states, just doesn't make any sense.

But elections will happen tomorrow that do pertain to those individual states. So, the Presidential election is piggy backing on those as well. The states can take care of themselves.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by dividend
yes, respect to individual freedom. No problems with that; and indeed, the Swedish government, as well as many other governments have better control of the citizens in that we know where they live, their age, their citizenship. Is that so dangeours that it is better to have voter fraud?

I trust most people won't cheat. The real fraud doesn't come from individual voters, but elected (and appointed) officials. A tidy list of all citizens wouldn't help thwart the real threats to an election.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
But elections will happen tomorrow that do pertain to those individual states. So, the Presidential election is piggy backing on those as well. The states can take care of themselves.

Elections for the Senate/House yes, but the Presidential election does not pertain to individual states. Its a general election, and it should be decided by the simple, absolute majority of the total vote. Not electoral college vote, not state vote, just the grand total of votes. Those two elections should be separate.

Only here in the US, can you have a guy elected as President; although he lost the election by more than 500,000 votes.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
Good luck.

27 have already passed in the course of history. Good luck to you in keeping everything constant.
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post #22 of 37
I haven't much to add, other than to say I agree 100% with everything bunge has said. That's indeed odd, and why I chose to state it.
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post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
Elections for the Senate/House yes, but the Presidential election does not pertain to individual states. Its a general election, and it should be decided by the simple, absolute majority of the total vote. Not electoral college vote, not state vote, just the grand total of votes. Those two elections should be separate.

Only here in the US, can you have a guy elected as President; although he lost the election by more than 500,000 votes.

No, the election should not be determined by simple majority, because then candidates need only focus on New York, New Jersey, Florida, California and a few others to win, ignoring the needs of the vast majority of the states that actually make up the union.
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post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 
I don't mind so much that the president is elected by the states; guess it is ok in a federation, even if the president gets elected by the minority as in Bush/Gore.

What I was concerned about was all the voting procedural problems... difficult to know who can vote and so on -> that's why you should have a clean list; takes a away a lot of problems

further on, all the "technical" problems that you have with dizzy machines, electronic or non. We haven't had really any such problems, people put their ballots of their choice in the envelopes, hands them in. afterwards all enevelopes are opened and ballots counted by machine and by hand and kept for some time should anyone start arguing.

why can the us not make it as simple and transparent as that? it is not like you have a problem with printing on paper or something like that... it is beyond me (and i guess a lot of europeans)

on the elector/public vote system.... wouldn't it be better if, in case the election of electors do not produce a clear outcome that it will be the popular vote that decides instead of electors or the congress choosing. I cannot understand how it can go back to the congress where the current vice-president chairs the senate... and where each house votes for one of the officies (presidency and vice-pre). You could then technnically end up with kerry as vice-pre and bush as president..... weird!
post #25 of 37
I am glad that states have different electoral systems.

Granted 50+ different ways of voting increases the chance that something will go wrong.

However, it is also a bit of insurance against nationwide catastrophy. It provides a mechanism by which various methods are tried and either discarded or widely adopted.

With that said, I'm envious of some traits found in other representative democracies. I wish that our congressional votes were tallied by party. If one party got 7.3% of the votes nationwide, it would have 7.3% of the seats in congress (rounded up starting with the last place finisher who still had enough votes for one seat).

Our current system tends to represent the majority and discard the minority.
post #26 of 37
Thread Starter 
dFiler: good point, but such mechanism have already been tried, and I can't see why it would go wrong... but sure, if one wants to test a new method it could be done in one state only...

i guess because of your system it gets very very difficult for a third candidate to succeed... in many countries, like in France, the president must get 50% of the votes to be elected, and if there are many candidates and nobody gets 50%, then there will be a second vote with only the two most popular candidates. Now a vote for nadar is a vote for bush... on the other hand, in the us you vote for so many things... sheriffs, judges, attorneys, perhaps it is a bit too much. can't think of a country where attorneys are voted for except in the us.

yea, i agree that proportional systems is often more representative, guess it will be impossible in your country.
post #27 of 37
If one method were used, it would take one error (or intentional interference) to ruin everything.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
If one method were used, it would take one error (or intentional interference) to ruin everything.

what do you mean?

--
another idea would also be to allow people give a second-order vote. second-order votes would be given to those who stand the biggest chance of winning. then people could vote for nadar, for example, without risking bush winning (provided that kerry, in this case) comes second. don't now know how to sort it out, but could be interesting.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by dividend
what do you mean?

If every state used the same electronic voting machines, one central database could be cracked to alter the votes.

If every state used the same type of ballot, one type of false ballot could be made to fix the vote.

If every state used the same type of ballot, people in Chicago could cart their extra ballots to neighboring swing states Wisconson, Minnesota and Iowa.

The list is endless.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #30 of 37
Thread Starter 
ok...

false eletronics.... yea, agree, easier to hack into and do stuff

false papers... can't see this happen... it would have to be done exactly as the government papers, and then it would be ok. look, on the ballot it would only say: Bush, or Kerry.... and these ballots are all avaiable where you vote. You take the ballots at the voting place which is controlled by the government/state

sending from one state to the other... so what? as long as you know whose vote it is then you can see where it belongs and if that person has already voted. not a problem.
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by dividend
sending from one state to the other... so what? as long as you know whose vote it is then you can see where it belongs and if that person has already voted. not a problem.

Chicago is a heavily Democratic city. We could print an extra 100,000 ballots and ship them into Indiana. Lo and behold, Indiana votes for Kerry!
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #32 of 37
Thread Starter 
what do you mean by "shipping"??? person A in Indiana votes for Bush, puts a ballot for Bush. Person B in California votes for Kerry, puts a ballot for Kerry. Person C New York does what? puts a ballot for Kerry and sends it to Washington, where officials will find out he cannot vote there...

sure, print as many ballot papers as you possibly can, make highways of them...; the only thing that counts are those that are given to the election officials into their boxes.
post #33 of 37
I mean if I know someone that works in Indiana, I can drive a whole truckload of extra ballots from Illinois to Indiana, stuff a ballot box with anonymous ballots and change the vote.
"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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"Hearing a corrupt CEO like Cheney denigrate Edwards for being a trial lawyer is like hearing a child molester complain how Larry Flint is a pervert." -johnq
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post #34 of 37
Thread Starter 
hm....

sorry, still don't get you. the idea is this:

1. person x is in the scrolls entitled to vote in Florida, location y
2. person x votes in Florida in location y
3. If X goes to Texas to try to vote, he cannot because he is not allowed to vote there
4. the voting card is taken away from him after his voting, so he cannot vote anymore after that
--
5. votes are put into envelopes, and then put into voting boxes. These are sealed and only opened when counting starts
6. if a person votes by mail, then his name is written onto an envelope that "envelopes" the envelope with the ballot. Before opening this envelope, it is first looked if he has already voted in person; in case yes, the mail-vote is thrown away. If not, then the envelopes are opened so that the first envelope with name is opened by one person/machine and the put into a box with alot of such envelopes - after which all are counted
7. ballot boxes are kept in the voting areas, how can you stuff one of those with a lot ballots? unless you bribe yourself thru or use force
8. the thing is also... no point in driving to an other state, since all the ballot-papers would have been there anyway. BUT, not in the ballot boxes were people put their actual votes....
post #35 of 37
if a large population is a problem
then how the hell did india manage to pull off
a national election using electronic means
(simple device not the complicated diebold rubbish)

whats more those electons were monitored by
a whole slew of people from other countries

lastly...india is also a democratic republic
aka an union of states
post #36 of 37
Thread Starter 
those of you here entitled to vote - hope you have done so!
post #37 of 37
Is the problem with the voting procedure/technology or with a litigious bunch of a-holes who are making problems?
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