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Generic voting question

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Stan, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Stan

    Stan Premium
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    Thank goodness Florida doesn't matter this time, presidential choice is already done, so regardless of what how Florida votes, it doesn't matter.
    Unlike years ago with the hanging chads and other fiascos, the national votes have already decided the result, so none of that silliness waiting for for endless recounts. Vote can go either way or it can be close enough to require a tedious recount, but it won't make a difference.
     
  2. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    The elections were covered live on UK television (literally all through the night and into the following morning, because of the time zone difference). I thought you guys might like to know that one of the things that bemused Brit commentators was the long lines of people queuing up to vote. The idea of having to stand in line to vote in the UK would seem preposterous. At the most you might have to wait a minute or so. And before you ask, we vote in about the same proportions as you guys, and there are identity checks before you are allowed to vote.
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Well-Known Member

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    Well, it's only in certain areas where that occurs (I'd elaborate on why and where I think it happens but I'd violate forum rules). I live in suburbia and waited maybe two minutes.
     
  4. Stan

    Stan Premium
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    Definitely only in certain areas, every state seems to have its own rules. Where I live switched to voting by mail several years ago. No lines, no waiting, not even any postage cost since I drop my ballot off at a library a few blocks from my home.
    We can vote in this state a week or more ahead of time, no waiting whatsoever. I've never voted "in person", got approved for an absentee ballot when I first started voting, they everything switched to mail only, so made the process a lot easier.
     
  5. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Well-Known Member

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    I'm kinda weird in that I think going to the poll is part of the experience and I like the experience. Feels very American, for lack of a better way to express it. I've voted absentee once, and that was when I was actually going to be out of town.
    No wait at the polling place in my town. Maybe it is because it's California and Obama was going to win my state no matter what. Neither candidate campaigned here, only swooped in to suck up cash.
     
  6. Jason Charlton

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    Just about everyone I know that went to early voting had MUCH longer lines than folks who went on election day.
    edit: (oops, I see you were talking about mailing in votes, not going to a polling place)

    Here in Maryland, schools were closed on election day, so I ended up taking the day off work to stay home with our boys. My wife stopped to vote on her way to work (around 8AM) and was in and out in less than 20 minutes. I took the boys with me at around 10AM and had about a 30-40 minute wait. If you can wrangle going in the early afternoon the wait is pretty short - it's the "after work" crowd that causes lengthy delays in many places.

    I'm actually somewhat surprised that overall voter turnout this election appears to be significantly less than in 2008 (the final numbers aren't in yet due to absentee ballots, but the feeling is that it will still lag pretty far behind). Considering how long and contentious the campaigns were, you would think that members on both sides would be pretty fired up and anxious to cast their vote...
     
  7. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies, guys. I think it must be selective reporting as it was made to sound like it was the case *everywhere*. I'd forgotten when I sent the original post that you also tend to vote for more than one office on election day, and that will slow down the voting process (in the UK, you typically just vote for one candidate for one post, and that's it).
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Well-Known Member

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    ^^^Yes, we vote for offices ranging from the Presidency all the way down to local school boards, not to mention a multitude of ballot propositions, all on the same ballot. Even if one goes in with a checklist of choices made beforehand it can be time consuming--then there are those who are reading each of the 20 or so ballot propositions for the first time there in the voting booth.
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

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    Andrew, it sounds like your news commentators didn't do a very good job of researching their story if they didn't know that our ballots can be quite long. We have that same problem here in the States -- the media never lets the facts get in the way of a good story. :laugh:
    Lines were quite long in numerous communities around here. I noticed that the parking lot to the school in our neighborhood was full before 7am as I drove past on my way to work, so people were getting there early, too. There were a lot of proposals on our ballot (both state and county), plus the normal collection of township officials, county officials, state representatives, judges, university boards of regents, etc. to go with the President, House of Representatives and one Senate seat. It was one of the longer ballots I can remember.
    I am glad I filed an absentee ballot this year and missed the adventure.
     
  10. Stan

    Stan Premium
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    The mail-in ballots are definitely a great way to do things, just that often the results aren't in for a week or more. Plus the usual phony baloney of dead people and felons voting, signatures not matching and other issues, mis-marked ballots that still have to be verified by hand, so there will probably never be a truly accurate solution.
    Never voted in person so am probably missing the community camraderie and further discussion of issues, but unless I move to another state, don't have a choice any longer.
    Not positive, but I think only Washington and Oregon have mail-in ballots, but it's very easy and will probably start spreading across the country
     
  11. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    We have mail ballots as an option in the UK and they are fantastically useful. There have been worries about votes being rigged, but added security measures seem to have got round the problem. We vote by mail as our polling station is difficult to get to from where we live. It's very very easy to do.
     
  12. Jason_V

    Jason_V Well-Known Member

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    Bingo. This was my first presidential election with mail in ballots and the process was super simple. The ballot was delivered to my mail box when I was on vacation, I filled it out, dropped into the mail on a Thursday morning and checked online to see if it was received on Friday. It was done with zero hassle.

    I still find it amusing we have a hard time voting and counting votes when American Idol seems to have this down to a science.
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

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    My ballot was two pages long. There were national offices: President/VP, House and Senate (Congress), multiple state positions: Govenor, Lt. Govenor, Insurance Commissioner, Auditor, Atty General, state representativites, and several other state positions, plus judges (local and state), and multiple state initatives and referendums. Our area is only mail-in ballot so there are no lines.


    Edit: Or I could have just said, "Yeah, what Steve said"
     
  14. Adam Gregorich

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    I have to say that I really like the mail in. I can take my ballot and spend a few hours really going through all the issues and candidates on it. I think most people know who they want for the "big" positions like President and Governor, but not for all the other positions. Having the ballot ahead of time gives me time to look at all the candidates and their positions to make an informed decision.
     
  15. Adam Gregorich

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    Winning no, (at least not I can remember) but acting as a "spoiler" yes. Teddy R (Bull Moose Party), Nader in Bush v. Gore (2000?), and Perot in Bush Sr. v Clinton (1992?). I think the Dems and Republicans try to convince people that third parties are a "throw away" vote as it in their best interests to just have the two parties. After Perot, the Commission on Presidential Debates (run by both parties) changed the rules as to who could debate, to prevent third party candidates from debating. This means no one hears about them as the media doesn't really cover them.

    Its one of my biggest pet peeves that we pay for them. Think of the extra salary and staff that the minority and majority leaders and whips as well as other partisan members of Congress get because of their "party" responsabilities (over $20k/yr more in salary and there are over 270 "leadership" (ie political) staff. Shouldn't the Democratic and Republican parties pay for that additional staff and salary since its for party work? Why we do have to pay for it?
     
  16. Jason_V

    Jason_V Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough. (I do want to emphasize I do not, and never have, watched AI or voted for a winner. Ever.)

    Getting back to voting that matters, I had a slight disagreement with a co-worker on Facebook Tuesday night that she didn't get the point and wished people would stop talking about it. I don't know if she ended up voting, but that kind of apathy is going to be a problem on all sides. One vote does count regardless of what side you're on. One vote turns into 10, which turns in 100 and so on. Pretty soon you're up to 50 million votes.

    If you don't make your voice heard, you have no right to complain. I use that philosophy in all aspects of life.
     
  17. Adam Gregorich

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    While I agree completely with you comment about needing to vote, I think the Electoral Collage has outlived its usefulness and is disenfranchising a lot of voters. Republican in WA, CA, OR, NY? In all honesty your vote for president really doesn't count. Democrat in the Midwest? Your vote for president really doesn't count. That's NOT a reason not to vote, but it can be discouraging to be in the minority party in a winner take all state.
     
  18. Jason_V

    Jason_V Well-Known Member

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    Oh, agreed on that too. I'd be more in favor of a straight popular vote...or mud wrestling...or best of 5 Olympic events... I doubt the EC is going away anytime soon; there doesn't seem to be any interest in tackling that issue, too, considering everything else that needs to happen in the near term.
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Well-Known Member

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    The electoral vote and the popular vote usually favor the same candidate, so I don't see it as the huge problem some do (my Mom included). There have only been, what, four elections in 200+ years where the popular vote was different from the electoral vote? I don't see a crisis. Though I do agree that it's really unnecessary in current modern times.
    But given how the two parties love to game the electoral system against each other, I don't really see it ever changing. Plus, all the news networks would have nothing to report on election night. Everyone would simply have to wait until all the votes were counted (which could take weeks).
    I think the biggest benefit would be that a nationwide campaign would shield the current battleground states from the full-force campaigning now inflicted upon them. The candidates would need to spread their events and advertising nationwide. Though in this case, instead of concentrating on electorally-strategic battleground states, the candidates would likely concentrate only on the largest population states where the most votes would be found. It would make Texas and California more competitive, but the smaller population states will likely be ignored. States like New Hampshire might not want to give up being in the political spotlight (and the millions of dollars in campaign spending in their states that comes along with it).
     
  20. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    Not at all in favor of a popular vote; because if that happens, you end up where the campaign and all issues focus only on the major metros. Part of the reason for an electoral college is that it would require candidates to at least pay some attention to areas of required lower population (large swaths of farmland or federal national parks) which would make sure that the policies don't just ram-rod them.

    That having been said, the "winner take all" electoral college has turned into a serious diservice like you say. So, there is an obvious answer: Keep the electoral college, but make it so that each House Rep has 1 EV (as they supposedly do now) but that they vote as they do. This also has the added benefit of making sure state-level gerrymeandering is held in some check. That way, (R) voters in states like California and NY feel like they have an impact. (D) voters in Texas, Georgia, etc. have an impact. The electoral college outcome this time wouldn't have been that different, but the fact is, you'd give a reason for a (D) to go to Georgia. An (R) to campaign in Northern California. Go straight population, and most of the country goes completely ignored and you become a set of campaign stops of the 25 largest metros only.
     

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