Voterdammerung

Gonna be really awesome when the GOP does everything it can to stop the Democrats from fixing this complete nonsense.

Several recent polls and studies suggest that long waiting times in some places depressed turnout in 2012 and that lines were longest in cities, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. In a New York Times/CBS News poll taken shortly after Election Day, 18 percent of Democrats said they waited at least a half-hour to vote, compared with 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis determined that blacks and Hispanics waited nearly twice as long in line to vote on average than whites. Florida had the nation’s longest lines, at 45 minutes, followed by the District of Columbia, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia, according to Charles Stewart III, the political science professor who conducted the analysis.

A separate analysis, by an Ohio State University professor and The Orlando Sentinel, concluded that more than 200,000 voters in Florida “gave up in frustration” without voting.

“When I got there, the line was around the building,” said Jonathan Piccolo, 33, who said he had waited nearly eight hours to cast a ballot in Miami-Dade County the Monday before Election Day.

“It’s one of the most sacred rights you have,” Mr. Piccolo added. “They should make it as painless as possible.”

Rigging the system to remove undesirables from the voter pool has been an American tradition since we got started on this little adventure in social science.  It’s taken 2oo plus years just to get this far, and the country will have to be dragged screaming and kicking towards The Right Thing To Do just like we’ve had to do every single effing day of the country’s existence.

Or, as Chuck Pierce reminds us:

The simplest solution is to change the legislative emphasis to expand the franchise and, if your ideas do not prevail in that expanded electorate, then simply to re-examine whether your ideas are worth having. Yeah, right.

I mean we’re basically at the point where Republicans are openly tapping the Really Rottens playbook and the country is collectively responding with a resounding “meh” from NYA-HA-HAAAAA overload.  When do we finally get around to saying that Republicans are fundamentally incompatible with our continuing republic we’re trying to keep here?  Is there any aspect of governance that the GOP isn’t looking at with a bucket of napalm and a zippo lighter in hand?

Just a bunch of nihilists, really.

111 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade Jake says:

    Totally OT, and sorry for the hijack, but if you haven’t seen this epic interview with “Kai from Dogtown” yet, well, you can thank me later. NSFW due to all the F-bombs.

    He says he’s from WV. Pretty sure kids like this show up in Cole’s classroom all the time.

  2. 2
    Ted & Hellen says:

    It’s been 12 and a half years since GWB stole the election in 2000.

    But what’s great and what makes me proud to be a Democrat is the unending laser focus of our elected Dems ever since then on issues of voter access/rights/security, etc.

    Oh, wait…

  3. 3

    No Donny, these men are cowards.

  4. 4
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    No Donny, these men are cowards.

    Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  5. 5
    some guy says:

    in Florida Governor Voldemort has decided he is cool with early voting, now that he is about to face a pissed off electorate in a re-election bid.

  6. 6
    Chyron HR says:

    As a True Progressive, I blame any and all Republican wrongdoing solely on Democrats.

    Oh, wait, sorry, Tim already made that joke. You were kidding, right, Tim?

  7. 7
    danimal says:

    @Comrade Jake: Thanks, Jake. That f*#$%n interview was f^$%$#n awesome.

  8. 8
    PJ says:

    While this problem needs correcting wherever it occurs, it should be pointed out that MD and DC are heavily Democratic, and that long waiting times (which I experienced in New York) are due at least as much as to incompetence (in my experience, many poll workers have no idea how things are supposed to work, and, where they do, the procedure is often not explained to voters) as to deliberate malfeasance.

  9. 9
    Short Bus Bully says:

    THIS is the new battleground for the next generation. Voting rights and access is it.

    Gird your fucking loins, yo.

  10. 10
    Woodrowfan says:

    I worked in northern VA as an election officer this last election. We had some new officer, a couple Republican women. The electronic poll books didn’t work so we switched to the paper backups, divided into three books, A-H, I-M, N-Z (or close to it). The line got very long and some people waited an hour to vote in what is normally a 65-35 D or R precinct.

    I noticed that I was able to process people a LOT faster, so much so that I had no line. The 2 Republican women were very very picky on IDs. If you gave your name and left out your middle initial they’d have you repeat your name again. God help you if there was even a slight difference between your ID and the poll book , such as a married woman having her maiden name in the pollbook, but not on the driver’s license. They really were exceptionally anal about it. I just did enough to make sure the person was who they claimed to be and sent them to vote. I could handle three people a minute, while the women were taking a full minute per person.

    I complained to the Election Chief (a good Democrat) and he told me he’d asked that he NOT be given these women, but that they were short-handed. After awhile they put these woman on other duties, but I still think they were doing their best to deliberately slow the line to discourage voters in a heavily Democratic precinct.

  11. 11
    Ted & Hellen says:

    I hold MY party responsible for fighting back, as we all should do.

    So often on here all I hear are excuses for Dems and finger pointing at Repub.

    YES, Repukes are amoral freaks; I get that. We can’t change that. What we can maybe do is encourage the Dems to sack up and do something on an ongoing basis to counter the destructive forces from the right.

    And on voting access, rights, security, they have done jack shit since 2000.

  12. 12
    liberal says:

    @Chyron HR:
    Well, there is an element of “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars…”

  13. 13
    Disco says:

    The Dems don’t need Republicans to fuck it up. I’m sure there are plenty of Dems who will get in line to torpedo any solution to our election problems.

  14. 14
    Cassidy says:

    @Chyron HR: It’s an extended 6 or 8 year performance piece. He’s not sure which, but one of those.

  15. 15
    A moocher says:

    When do we finally get around to saying that Republicans are fundamentally incompatible with our continuing republic we’re trying to keep here?

    We’ll know when the unlimited powers of the federal government are used to identify, arrest, try, convict and imprison for life the key members of the criminal Republican conspiracy that clearly exists.

    Or else just start disappearing a few obscure nephews and younger sons of billionaires. That would get the message across pretty quick.

    In all sober earnest, I think solutions of the number 2 sort are going to be needed because solutions of the number 1 sort are now impossible, or else not possible on a time frame consistent with the crises of climate, resources and population that are heading are way like an enormous herd of rabid elephants. With fangs. And lasers.

    Of course, a functioning counter intelligence service would have dealt with those billionaire bastards a generation ago, so no hope for solution number 2 either. It looks like the oligarchs will win…but we’ll all go together when we go: I can hear the ominous stamp of elelphantine feet, rushing to stomp heads, and they are indiscriminant beasts. Indiscriminant and very, very thorough.

  16. 16

    @low-tech cyclist: Nihilism is hip again. I see the green shoots in the “you can’t stop all gun killings so we should do nothing!” “arguments”.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @PJ: Yes, but incompetence is not local to DC no matter how much Republicans want you to believe. Incompetence should be averaged out around the country, meaning it’s already baked into the numbers. The 2x wait time includes incompetence.

  18. 18
    Comrade Jake says:

    @danimal: Nobody fucks with Jesus!

  19. 19
    Linnaeus says:

    the Really Rottens playbook

    Nice Laff-A-Lympics reference.

  20. 20
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Woodrowfan: That is a very good point and once again points to one party doing it.

  21. 21
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @PJ: Some of it is incompetence, but a lot of it is a lack of resources. WE rely on undertrained volunteers to conduct our elections because we can’t afford (or, in many districts, choose not to afford) to actually have professionals who know how to do things. And with the way elections are structured and paid for, places with less tax base are going to be able to afford less for elections.

  22. 22
    Turgidson says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    GOP: “Too many poors and browns show up to vote! It’s not fair!”

    Sobchak: “FAIR?!?! Who’s the fucking nihilists around here you fucking crybabies!!”

  23. 23

    @Turgidson: I get the distinct feeling that these same men would “fight” like the nihilists. They would mostly air punch and kick and yell, “I fuck you!”

  24. 24
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @ranchandsyrup: I see the green shoots in the “you can’t stop all gun killings so we should do nothing!” “arguments”.

    Hell, a bunch of comments along those lines for the voting issue have shown up in this thread.

  25. 25
    jh says:

    Donny: Are these the Nazis Walter?
    Walter: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there’s nothing quite a bit to be afraid of.

  26. 26
    alhutch says:

    A simple solution is…vote by mail. No lines, no malfunctioning voting machines, all for the price of a stamp (or drop it off and save that cost as well).

  27. 27
    Disco says:

    @alhutch:

    I don’t trust it. I don’t trust any system in which I can’t watch my ballot go into the machine and be mixed with all the other ballots.

    Mail-in ballots have too many ways to be fucked with.

  28. 28
    DFH no.6 says:

    No, not nihilists.

    They’re fascists. That is by far the most appropriate term.

    From Rush Limbaugh to Ted Nugent to Karl Rove to Mitt Romney to She-wolf Palin to Florida Gov Voldemort and everyone in between, our political opposition is American-style Fascism.

    With the Bible in one hand, gun in the other, and the whole shebang.

    Fucking fascists.

  29. 29

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Yup. Nihilism is so hot right now. Like Hansel. It transcends political ideology.

  30. 30
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    I worked in northern VA as an election officer this last election. We had some new officer, a couple Republican women. The electronic poll books didn’t work so we switched to the paper backups….

    This raises one (among many) important reasons to oppose the use of electronic pollbooks (as well as electronic voting machines). They can fail — or be caused to fail. Once that occurs, long lines result, and votes are *irretrievably* lost. It doesn’t matter what the post-hoc “investigation” uncovers, if indeed an effective one occurs. The election is still bollixed — even if it’s the Presidential election — and we have to live with the results.

    ETA: This issue applies in spades to online voting, which enables remote attackers (e.g., Chinese government agents, Al Qaeda) to selectively DoS election sites to then skew the target election.

  31. 31
    alhutch says:

    @Disco: Oregon has been doing all elections by mail since ’98 and it works great. Built in safeguards and observers from both sides at all times stop any shenanigans.

    During the last election, a volunteer tried to alter some ballots (filling in unvoted races) and was promptly caught and is currently being prosecuted.

  32. 32
    Paul in KY says:

    @DFH no.6: Wrapped up in the flag…

  33. 33
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Disco:

    I don’t trust it. I don’t trust any system in which I can’t watch my ballot go into the machine and be mixed with all the other ballots.

    Mail-in ballots have too many ways to be fucked with.

    I agree. We the People have to be able to directly supervise our own elections. We have to be able to see that the ballot box is empty before voting begins, that it’s undisturbed while voting continues, and that it’s opened, the ballots counted, and the totals posted at the precinct after voting is complete.

    If we can’t do that, we’re trusting someone not to take our elections away from us. That’s a trust we can’t ever confer.

  34. 34
    Disco says:

    @alhutch:

    Built-in safeguards at the post office? In the mail truck? Who receives the ballots? Who makes sure they’re stored securely?

    How do you know it works great? How do you really know your ballot was counted?

    I don’t trust it.

  35. 35
    Tonal Crow says:

    @alhutch:

    @Disco: Oregon has been doing all elections by mail since ’98 and it works great. Built in safeguards and observers from both sides at all times stop any shenanigans.

    How do you know that it’s worked “great”? How do you know that ballots are not, for example, being thrown away?

  36. 36
    PJ says:

    @J. Michael Neal: You are correct. Which is why all state governments should spend more time and money trying to make the process more efficient and less subject to tampering. But if higher voter turnout benefits Democrats, why aren’t states controlled by Democrats doing this?

  37. 37
    Alex S. says:

    The Democrats should, in addition to challenging each and every republican step in the short run, play a long game of fundamentally challenging the voting system. Delete voter registration! Identify voters by social security number, or by mandatory passport. Yes I know, it’s politically difficult, it has to be a very long game. You have to explain how damaging the current system and the republican efforts are.

  38. 38
    Joshua says:

    You should clarify that “45 minutes” in Florida was the average time. A large number of counties had waits in excess of several hours, which is why people got frustrated and walked away.

    Personally, I voted early and waited over 7 hours to do so. Some of the poor bastards in downtown Miami had to wait even longer on election day.

  39. 39
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Shame on the witless Democrats for not anticipating that Republicans, given the chance, would resort to dirty tricks.

  40. 40
    redshirt says:

    Are there ANY oversights on electronic voting machines? Any audit? Anything at all?

    That’s the issue I’m most afraid of, because it would be the far easiest to pull off and get away with.

  41. 41
    alhutch says:

    @Tonal Crow: You can go to the Oregon Secretary of State website and confirm when your ballot is received, which I do every year.

  42. 42
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Disco: So does any system where you don’t see your vote showing up on the big board that collects all of the tick marks and declares the winner to be the one with the most tick marks. Just because your ballot went into the bin doesn’t mean it got counted properly.

  43. 43
    LanceThruster says:

    The GOP needs to change their offical name to the “Ratfucklican Party.”

  44. 44
    alhutch says:

    @Disco: I drop my ballot in the county drop box in front of the city hall. It is picked up by county election workers who check in and securely store the ballot until counting on election night.

    I trust it because I can confirm receipt of my ballot with the county (call or on-line) and observers from both sides make sure the rules are followed.

    Feel free not to trust it, your choice. Enjoy your lines and hassle.

  45. 45
    Sharl says:

    My majority AfAm voting precinct in Dem-owned Maryland also had a very long wait (about an hour in my case), but (obviously) for very different different reasons than GOP voter suppression tactics. For one thing, a couple of the scheduled days for early voting were cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy (it turned out to have missed most of MD, but no one could have predicted that for certain at the time, hence the precautions). Also, having Obama on the ballot brought out black folk – worth noting that as a challenge for 2014 – many of whom to this day remain a bit stunned (happily so) that a melanin-enriched fella could actually win that office (Thanks, Dubya!). Now when they tell their kids that, if they study hard, they could even become President someday, they have an example to point to. That’s no small thing.

    Just bringing all this up, because the nothing-to-see-here-folks-move-along crowd will certainly bring them instances like this as counterexamples. Best to be prepared upfront for the nonsense they’ll bring.

    ETA: edited slightly for clarity

  46. 46
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Shame on the witless Democrats for not anticipating that Republicans, given the chance, would resort to dirty tricks.

    Well, let’s see, they’ve had at least 12 years of crystal clear evidence during which to “anticipate.”

    So yes, exactly, shame on them; they are idiots or willful dupes.

    Do you really think you do liberalism any favors by expecting the very LEAST from your representatives?

  47. 47
    Ben Cisco says:

    @DFH no.6: Yup, pretty much this.

    NeoConfederate, neo-feudal fascists.

  48. 48
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Heh heh I’m just trolling you with WaPo op-eds.

  49. 49
    Tone in DC says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    Woodrowfan Says:

    I worked in northern VA as an election officer this last election. We had some new officer, a couple Republican women. The electronic poll books didn’t work so we switched to the paper backups, divided into three books, A-H, I-M, N-Z (or close to it). The line got very long and some people waited an hour to vote in what is normally a 65-35 D or R precinct.

    I noticed that I was able to process people a LOT faster, so much so that I had no line. The 2 Republican women were very very picky on IDs. If you gave your name and left out your middle initial they’d have you repeat your name again. God help you if there was even a slight difference between your ID and the poll book , such as a married woman having her maiden name in the pollbook, but not on the driver’s license. They really were exceptionally anal about it. I just did enough to make sure the person was who they claimed to be and sent them to vote. I could handle three people a minute, while the women were taking a full minute per person.

    I complained to the Election Chief (a good Democrat) and he told me he’d asked that he NOT be given these women, but that they were short-handed. After awhile they put these woman on other duties, but I still think they were doing their best to deliberately slow the line to discourage voters in a heavily Democratic precinct.

    I am really glad you said this. Along with these ID checkers, I noticed a dearth of actual voting machines in Arlington. Three in our precinct’s poll, and a coworker told me three in his in Alexandria. Other places in the metro area had five, or even as many as 12.

  50. 50
    Tonal Crow says:

    @alhutch:

    @Tonal Crow: You can go to the Oregon Secretary of State website and confirm when your ballot is received, which I do every year.

    That works, an an integrity measure, only if many people do it. And even so, you don’t know whether it was correctly counted.

  51. 51
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Dems should introduce legislation to make voting day a national holiday with the same fervency and frequency that teabagger dumbfucks introduced “repeal Obamacare!” legislation. Make Republicans stand up and announce that they don’t want people to vote.

  52. 52
    Joel says:

    @Tonal Crow: in WA you can track your ballots online. QED.

    Voter participation is way higher in WA and OR than anywhere else in the country, too.

    Besides, how do you know your ballot isn’t thrown away when using paper or the electronic machines? You kinda have to trust the system at some point.

  53. 53
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Tonal Crow: Do you really know your vote was counted properly? Did you wait with your ballot until they counted it?

  54. 54
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Disco:
    With all the things that are fucked-up politically here in sunny AZ (mostly due to the preponderance of fascists, along with poor participation by the large Hispanic minority) one thing that works well is our voting methods and procedures, which very much includes mail-in voting (which allows voters weeks before election day to go over their ballots and vote early, with just a signature on the envelope instead of the voter ID required for in-person voting).

    The percentage of mail-in voting has been steadily climbing, and something like nearly half the votes cast last November were by mail.

    The other aspect that helps make voting in AZ work well is the type of ballot used – optical scan ballots (where you fill in the arrows next to your choices).

    Optical scan ballots are easy to use and tabulate, and leave the all-important “paper trail” needed for any recounts.

    Best overall kind of ballot form, and uniformly used throughout the state.

    And sorry, but I can’t get on-board any anti mail-in ballot “conspiracy theory” based on “distrust” rather than some evidence that tampering has occurred. To me that’s right on par with the fascists’ “voter fraud” bullshit – they don’t trust us, so they’re sure we’re somehow “fraudulently” voting, no evidence of any such fraud notwithstanding.

  55. 55
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Joel:

    @Tonal Crow: in WA you can track your ballots online. QED.

    “QED”? “QED” what? That I logon to a site that says “yeah, we got your ballot” means very little to the integrity of the overall election. Unless many people do it (and they’re not being spoofed by malware — watch out!), many ballots can be “lost” without discovery or penalty. Further, even if a ballot was truly received, you can’t know whether it was counted correctly.

    QED, it’s insecure and can’t be effectively supervised by the general public.

    Besides, how do you know your ballot isn’t thrown away when using paper or the electronic machines? You kinda have to trust the system at some point.

    You can’t know what the machines do, which is one reason I oppose them. You can know whether your precinct-count ballot was counted if it’s publicly hand-counted, or (to some degree of assurance) if it’s machine-counted with statistically-justified sampling handcounts.

  56. 56
    alhutch says:

    @Tonal Crow: Correctly counted? I’ll trust that the county election workers can run it through an optical scanner without much trouble. Again, there are all types of safeguards built in to stop the type of trouble you are imagining.

  57. 57
    Joel says:

    Another advantage to the mail-in ballot system, is that if enough states adopt it, perhaps the Republicans wouldn’t be so keen on dismantling the USPS. After all, rural service would be the first to go.

  58. 58
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Nihilism is so hot right now. Like Hansel. It transcends political ideology.

    @ranchandsyrup: God, isn’t that the truth. Has been for a while.

    As to the topic: look, pants-shitters, we won anyway. A modicum of involvement and watchfulness will insure that continues to be the case.

    If we’re going to get creamed in 2014 it won’t be because of voter suppression, it will be because the Democratic party hasn’t done jack squat to at least look like they give a shit about the economy, and keep gassing on about guns and other such distractions. Yes, these things are somewhat important, but last I checked the rich are still getting richer and the rest of us are getting measurably and demonstrably poorer, and now that the election is over it seems that we’re all done talking about that. We shouldn’t be.

    I understand why the Republicans are reluctant to pick up that club; they are the party of the millionaires, after all – but Dems should be beating the shit out of them 24/7 with that club, and they aren’t.

    It’s still the economy, stupid.

  59. 59
    Joel says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    If we’re going to get creamed in 2014 it won’t be because of voter suppression, it will be because the Democratic party hasn’t done jack squat to at least look like they give a shit about the economy

    Any suggestions?

  60. 60
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    @Tonal Crow: Do you really know your vote was counted properly? Did you wait with your ballot until they counted it?

    No, but with hand-filled paper that’s counted at the precinct, I could do it. With vote-by-mail schemes (or, worse, electronic or online vote-casting schemes) I cannot.

  61. 61
    alhutch says:

    @Tonal Crow: How can you claim insecurity when you don’t seem to know the first thing about it?

  62. 62
    Tonal Crow says:

    @alhutch:

    @Tonal Crow: Correctly counted? I’ll trust that the county election workers can run it through an optical scanner without much trouble. Again, there are all types of safeguards built in to stop the type of trouble you are imagining.

    What “all types of safeguards”? Name some.

  63. 63

    @Joel: @Forum Transmitted Disease: Turnout. Use the 2010 midterms as an example.

  64. 64
    Tonal Crow says:

    @alhutch:

    @Tonal Crow: How can you claim insecurity when you don’t seem to know the first thing about it?

    Ad homs in response to requests for justification is weak, weak sauce.

  65. 65
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    We the People have to be able to directly supervise our own elections.

    @Tonal Crow: You can, just go volunteer at your local Department of Elections. They take people for pretty much any job you can think of. Poll worker, ballot counting, all that. I don’t know a state in the country that you can’t do this in, the problem is that most people simply won’t/don’t.

  66. 66
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    This issue applies in spades to online voting, which enables remote attackers (e.g., Chinese government agents, Al Qaeda) to selectively DoS election sites to then skew the target election.

    You forgot to include Republican operatives in your list of likely attackers. Maybe not the people we should be pointing out if we want to fight against it. Just say the New Black Panther Party will DOS voting in heavily Republican districts, and the suggestion will disappear faster than you can say Captain Jack Sparrow.

  67. 67
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Joel: That’s a good point, though I’m sure Republicans would get right to work shutting down the right POs.

  68. 68
    feebog says:

    @ Disco:

    I don’t trust it. I don’t trust any system in which I can’t watch my ballot go into the machine and be mixed with all the other ballots.

    Mail-in ballots have too many ways to be fucked with.

    OK, lets examine this. Who exactly would be fucking with the ballots? The postal workers who pick up, process, and deliver the allots to the County? How would they know which ballots to discard? And what would be the motivation for any Postal Worker to do so? Once delivered to the County, there is exactly the same potential for fraud as if you dropped the ballot yourself, no?

  69. 69
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Indeed. The problem is where the system can’t be effectively supervised by the general public. Online voting, for example, is vulnerable to, for example, selective DoS attacks. The general public doesn’t know the first thing about such attacks. An even experts can’t know how many votes such an attack costs which candidates.

  70. 70
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Roger Moore:

    You forgot to include Republican operatives in your list of likely attackers. Maybe not the people we should be pointing out if we want to fight against it. Just say the New Black Panther Party will DOS voting in heavily Republican districts, and the suggestion will disappear faster than you can say Captain Jack Sparrow.

    Yeah. I did say “Al Qaeda”, which means “The Base”. The rest I’ll leave to inference.

  71. 71
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @Tonal Crow: Where is online voting being conducted?

  72. 72
    quannlace says:

    I’ve never understood the rationale that the process for a NATIONAL election should be decided on a state by state basis. Cause we all know that the crazy quilt approach always works, right?

  73. 73
    Punchy says:

    None of the outrage here passes scientific scrutiny. If the message is that recent GOP shenanigans are to blame for these wait times, I’d ask where is the data to prove that this election’s wait times were significantly different? Where’s the data from 08, 04, etc.?

    The white/black difference is almost certainly an urban/rural thing. Not to mention, all the other uncontrolled variables not accounted for, including ability/skill/knowledge of the poll workers, weather, parking availability, etc….All of these factor into voting times and chances that voters just give up waiting…

  74. 74
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    @Tonal Crow: Where is online voting being conducted?

    It is being proposed in some U.S. jurisdictions (e.g., http://www.bbvforums.org/forum.....82378.html ), and supposedly has been used in Estonia. If it can be used for enhanced cheating methods (which it can), you can bet that the usual suspects will push it. Heads up, because Republicans have found a new way to fuck us.

  75. 75
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Tonal Crow: Really, you could find your ballot, watch them mark it down, follow the tally sheets up the chain, aggregated together, up until they are collected at the appropriate level to determine the outcome of one particular election, like say, for president? ‘Cause you’d have to do that in order to make sure your vote was properly counted.

  76. 76
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @Tonal Crow: So it has not been used in the United States as of yet. Anywhere. Correct?

  77. 77

    OT but parliament has just voted to legalize gay marriage. It’s a BFD.

    Guardian is liveblogging here

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/poli.....-live-blog

  78. 78
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Punchy:

    We have a winner! Although I believe that the GOP will sink to any depths I also believe that long voting waits are more heavily influenced by factors other than conspiracy.

  79. 79
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Great, but have they legislated that married gays use toothbrushes yet?

  80. 80
    Djur says:

    @Tonal Crow: The ballots are enclosed in two sealed envelopes. The envelope is signed by the voter and the signature is retained in case verification is required.

    The envelopes are not opened until the ballot is counted, and the counting process is conducted in public with bipartisan observers by public servants, just like with any other paper ballot system.

    Vote-by-mail is identical to any other paper ballot system at the polling facility, and there are safeguards in place to prevent tampering between the voter’s mailbox and the polling facility. If you aren’t comfortable with trusting the postal service, you can deposit the ballot at elections offices or other designated facilities.

    The only way I can think of to influence elections in a meaningful way in this system would be to systematically discard ballots from areas which vote strongly for one party or another, but this would require an extensive conspiracy involving substantial numbers of postal employees. If the wingers can corrupt the USPS, we’ve already lost the war.

    Most elections since VBM was instituted in Oregon have been won by a pretty clear margin, so there hasn’t really been much of a reason to suspect fraud. I imagine if there ever is a surprising or very close election result there will be enough voter interest in confirming their votes were received to catch any significant fraud.

  81. 81
    gene108 says:

    What’s needed is to get public opinion on your side, but since 50% of the population doesn’t vote and 50% of the voting population votes Republican, you are basically looking at 25% of the population trying to cajole the other 75% to change something they (a) do not care about, in the case of non-voters or (b) hurts their interests, in the case of Republicans.

    Just sayin’ this ain’t as easy-peezy-lemon-squeazy a thing to spend political capital on to improve, as some people think it is.

    It’s a worthwhile goal, but so are a lot of other issues.

  82. 82
    alhutch says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Ad homs in response to requests for justification is weak, weak sauce.

    Not an “ad hom” in response to your request. My post hit before your request.

  83. 83
    Djur says:

    @quannlace: The ‘rationale’ is that the US Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to regulate voting procedures, with a few exceptions. There were no federal offices other than Representative that were elected in a direct popular vote at that time, and universal suffrage wasn’t something the Framers were interested in anyway.

  84. 84

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    Hey now, anyone who is a child of the National Health Service since about the 1960s has perfectly fine teeth thanks to free dental care. Something perhaps your country might want to consider. :)

    BTW Where did this English people have rotten teeth meme come from anyway? I have seen more toothless wonders in the US since I’ve been living here than I ever did in the UK.

  85. 85
    Haydnseek says:

    @Disco: Because as we all know, ballots filled out at polling places have never, ever been fucked with.

  86. 86
    gene108 says:

    @Bubblegum Tate:

    Make Republicans stand up and announce that they don’t want people to vote.

    A lot of the Republican base would agree that the vote should be restricted, because that’s how this country was designed in 1789.

    These folks probably contain a good chunk of the subset of our population that also thinks the 17th Amendment was a bad idea.

    Just sayin’, never underestimate the American people. They’ll amaze you with the things they believe in.

  87. 87
    Bruce S says:

    I’ve disliked and disagreed with the GOP for many decades, but in the past ten years I’ve come to loathe them. They are scum. And I say this as someone whose family voted GOP up until the time I was 18. Literally grew up among Republicans – but they were a different breed. My parents switched parties with the advent of the Goldwater movement and never looked back. That was when the Phyllis Schlafly types began their long march – and today The Crazies are not just dominant but have pretty much managed to purge sanity from their ranks. The only push-back is from professional pols like Karl Rove who were only too eager to deploy The Crazy to win elections, but now fear their Frankenstein’s Monster is scaring the village and want to pull back. Frankly, I hope the damned thing they’ve helped create devours them before it self-destructs. The party embodies and amplifies everything foul in our nation.

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gene108:

    you are basically looking at 25% of the population trying to cajole the other 75% to change something they (a) do not care about, in the case of non-voters or (b) hurts their interests, in the case of Republicans

    This. Which is, of course, the underlying cause of why all American politics is fucking hard, and why things that get people all worked up in the blogosphere, like net neutrality and drones, just kind of meander around aimlessly in the collective mind of policymakers.

  89. 89
    👽 Martin says:

    @gene108:

    A lot of the Republican base would agree that the vote should be restricted, because that’s how this country was designed in 1789.

    Democrats weren’t much different in 2004. Lots of calls from the bleachers for an IQ test to vote. Democracy is great when it goes your way, and a travesty when it doesn’t.

  90. 90
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: do you remember the “Motor Voter” bill? Republicans already pretty openly speak about how it should be not easy but onerous to register to vote and to cast votes, because that weeds out the riffraff.

  91. 91
    alhutch says:

    @Tonal Crow: How about this report (PDF) generated for the Commission on Federal Election Reform? It is from 2005, but gives a fair accounting (after a quick skim) of the safeguards.

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @👽 Martin: well, saying that stupid people shouldn’t vote is mostly just venting. But a lot of quasi-intellectual Republicans genuinely believe that voting would be better left to property owners, people who don’t work for the government, that sort of thing. They think too many people vote to give themselves favors. It’s really not the same as being pissed that dumb Republicans picked a dumb Republican president.

  93. 93
    LGRooney says:

    My majority immigrant district in Arlington, Va, had a line that was around 2 hours long. My wife’s first time voting (just got her citizenship a week or two too late for the 2008 vote) so we waited. It was worth it to watch out 9 y.o. son stand in line explaining the ballot to a 7 y.o. girl behind us – her GI father, in uniform, agreed with all the D propaganda my son copycatted from his old man’s rants at home.

  94. 94
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @👽 Martin: If I could think of a way to administer the test without any kind of bias with regards to gender or race, I would still like to impose a political test: The percentage of your vote that gets added is based on how much you know about history and current political knowledge. I just can’t think of any way to do it without it being screwed over in some way.

  95. 95
    Hob says:

    @alhutch: I don’t understand why you replied to Disco’s concerns about sending ballots through the mail with the statement that you feel secure when you don’t send yours through the mail, but rather go down to city hall in person and drop it in a special box. I’m not getting into that argument since I’m not familiar with the system, but it sounds like you’re talking about two different things.

  96. 96
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Tone in DC: I pushed paper ballots and made sure to tell voters that we had them in Spanish as well. None of the Repubs would tell voters there were Spanish language choices. Once they got past the poll books we made sure the wait was minimal.

  97. 97

    Right on cue from my twitter feed

    Kirsten Gillibrand ‏@SenGillibrand I’ve introduced Voter Empowerment Act w/@RepJohnLewis to expand early voting, allow online reg, among other measures to expand voting access

  98. 98
    Redshift says:

    @Tone in DC:

    I am really glad you said this. Along with these ID checkers, I noticed a dearth of actual voting machines in Arlington. Three in our precinct’s poll, and a coworker told me three in his in Alexandria. Other places in the metro area had five, or even as many as 12.

    Part of the reason for this is an actual victory for voting integrity, which has been really poorly publicized. As a result of the efforts of voting activists, Virginia passed a law a few years ago to phase out electronic voting machines and replace them with paper ballots and optical scan. As a result, localities are not allowed to buy new voting machines (except, I believe, for handicapped access, which is ultimately going to be the only thing they are used for.) The problem is, they have done a piss-poor job of informing the public or promoting the paper ballot option.

    At my polling place, there was frequently no wait for paper ballots, because they have about ten stations for people to fill them out at once (there’s never a wait for the scanner.) There were three electronic machines, and the line often backed up to where it stopped the check-in line from progressing. People were simply told they could use either, and since most people have used voting machines their whole lives, they went with what they were familiar with (and perhaps thinking it would be faster because it’s a machine.)

    We really need publicity for this, but we’re not going to get it as long as we have a party in power that benefits from people not voting.

  99. 99
    alhutch says:

    @Hob: It’s on the way to work, so I save a stamp (actually 2, wife’s ballot dropped too). Prior to my current house/job locations, I mailed it without reservation.

    What I was trying to convey was that if ‘vote by mail’ gives you the heebeejeebies, you can up the ante to your personal comfort level, right up to going to the county election office and turning your ballot in, in person.

  100. 100
    Redshift says:

    @Djur:

    The ‘rationale’ is that the US Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to regulate voting procedures, with a few exceptions. There were no federal offices other than Representative that were elected in a direct popular vote at that time, and universal suffrage wasn’t something the Framers were interested in anyway.

    And apparently, like many of the things that are screwed up in this country, it goes back to the compromises dealing with slavery when the Constitution was written.

  101. 101
    SatanicPanic says:

    @quannlace: Yeah, that was kind of a lapse by our Founding Fathers. Probably Jefferson’s fault.

  102. 102

    @👽 Martin: Links? Not that I don’t trust you, I was not paying much attention to politics back then, thanks to the stuff I was dealing with IRL.
    On the other hand I have read and seen Ann Coulter calling for women to be disenfranchised many times.

  103. 103
    Redshift says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Democrats weren’t much different in 2004. Lots of calls from the bleachers for an IQ test to vote. Democracy is great when it goes your way, and a travesty when it doesn’t.

    Oh, bullshit. Equating “call from the bleachers” from people who consider voters on the other side idiots with actual statements by state legislators and prominent Republican figures is “both sides do it” crap.

    If you really believe this, by all means, provide some examples where Democrats in 2004 introduced actual legislation at the state level restricting people’s right to vote.

  104. 104
    artem1s says:

    @PJ:

    they are. CA had much less problems with lines even in areas with high populations. the reason, more polling places in urban areas with more polling booths. it really is pretty simple if your election board is focused on making the process easier.

    In Ohio, Ken Blackwell did everything he could to make voting harder including making up arcane rules for verifying voter registrations and shorting polling places adequate numbers of polling machines in 2004. Jennifer Brunner enacted early voting in Ohio which has been immensely popular and helpful in getting more people to vote (2008). Josh Mandel and his cronies did everything they could to do away with those policies in 2012 and continue to try to put outlandish voter ID laws on the books that have been rejected by the voters and judges alike.

    There are Dems who are fighting this fight but they have to do it county by county and district by district. We desperately need national minimal standards for things like the number of early voting days and polling machines. Until that happens its a Sisyphean effort. As soon as you have one district fixed and turn to the next one, they start legislation to undo all the work just done.

  105. 105
    drkrick says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: There’s some pretty compelling evidence that in Ohio the ratio of voters to voting machines tends to be correlated with the ratio of Dem to GOP voters in a precinct, which would obviously set up Dems for longer lines. That would also look like an “urban/rural” thing if you were inclined to buy that explanation. Similar patterns seem to be present in other states. It’s really not hard to do if you have an election administration that’s comfortable going down that road.

  106. 106
    ruemara says:

    @Hob: Perhaps that is the issue. Vote by mail is not heading to the post office.

  107. 107
    Bago says:

    Biometric login, a receipt and a key to query the database to independently verify the integrity of the vote.if everyone had a key to login to the db to see their officially tallied vote, nobody would fuck with the system. Every single person could check for corruption. Open source the code and the only avenue for shitfuckery is physical access to terminals.

  108. 108
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @drkrick:

    The correlation between Democratic-leaning districts and long lines is in many locations undeniable. It’s important, I think, to accurately determine the reasons for that correlation and then to address them.

  109. 109
    David Hunt says:

    I voted a tad less than a week early. My wait was about 30 seconds, so all you dedicated folks out there that stood in line for hours, you have my sincere sympathies and thanks. Unfortunately, I’m in a red portion of Texas’ 17th district and I can’t think of a single candidate for major office besides Obama/Biden that I voted for that won their race. I’m currently represented in Congress by Bill Flores, John Cornyn, and Ted Cruz. I leave it to you other members to decide which of those putzes is the worst.

  110. 110
    Woodrowfan says:

    @SatanicPanic: Jefferson was in France when the Constitution was written. Just FYI

  111. 111
    Sondra says:

    Hoist by their own petard comes to mind when the States governed by Rs start messing with the voting rules. Here in Florida (yeah I know we’re the worst) I was the Precinct Captain in my community and when it came to affecting the vote by mail group, their new rule hurt them more than helped them. I contacted all of the Dems who would have been affected by their rule that says if you have voted by mail in the past, you had to re-register for the Presidential election last fall. Most of those people were older and unaware of that new rule so I got them all squared away. But guess what, the R’s had just as many older early voters as we did and they were left wondering why their ballots never arrived – so they didn’t get to vote

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