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Author Topic: Mandatory voting in the US?
Pyrtolin
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quote:
Virtually every state has expanded hours, expanded the ease of absentee voting, provided early voting or some other measures to ease voting.
There was progress, but much, if not most of that is being rolled back by cutting hours and reducing early vote periods.

quote:
The law has made it clear that states have an obligation to provide voter id's free of charge to those who can't afford them. All of which is the exact opposite of your claim.
And yet no state requiring such IDs has put forth the necessary compensation for the time and travel to get one, as well as employment protections, child care costs, on the spot document retrieval etc... as needed to actually make them free.

If states really don't trust the poll staff, whose job it is to actually employ the ability humans have to recognize people as the baseline standard for such identification, then they should provide the photographic equipment onsite, such that the first time you vote the staff takes your picture and attaches it to your registration record, then uses that photo instead of your recorded signature as part of the confirmation process.

Instead they employ a process that disenfranchises orders of magnitude more voters than the trivial number of fraudulent votes it prevents.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:

1. The victorious candidate would represent the majority (or a plurality) of the population rather than only that of highly motivated folks. This is a MAJOR blow against special interest groups and I would argue it would work against their influence on candidates.

Wayward said something similar to this also, that it would make it so that a candidate voted in could legitimately be said to have been chosen by 'the people', as opposed to just some fraction of the people.

This is actually my chief argument against having a mandatory vote, believe it or not, because the one thing that the system currently cannot boast is that the people unanimously support it. It is fairly straightforward to see that while Obama won the popular vote in 2012 that doesn't actually mean he was popular. In 2012 he got 51% of the popular vote, with a 54% voter turnout, meaning that ~28% of eligible voters actually voted for him. This doesn't really lead to a credible claim that "the people" wanted Obama as their leader, even though obviously he did win.

By forcing 100% turnout you basically puff up all the numbers and create the illusion of legitimacy just by being able to say more actual people voted for a candidate. I know that everyone who doesn't vote might have the option of "none of the above" (and that is if such an option were offered, of which I'm skeptical), but I suspect that human psychology will veer people to actually pick a person on the ballot rather than make a principled stand excepting in cases where the voter really has a strong belief about it. I don't think "none of the above" would have huge numbers behind it regardless of how little voters in general like the system. Just the fact of using their vote for one party as an effective anti-vote against another party will probably prevent most people choosing "none of the above", and there is some strategic logic to this even though it is to their disadvantage in the long-run to choose a party they don't really believe in.

The #1 hope of the system in general is to increase its legitimacy, and honestly this is the opposite of what I'd like to see at present. Having a mandatory vote could effectively increase the perceived legitimacy of the system without actually changing anything to benefit the populace.

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NobleHunter
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As I'm apparently contrary today, Fenring, I will raise an objection. A lack of legitimacy hasn't stopped Congress or the President from declaring they have the mandate of heaven--I mean the people--and can run roughshod over the opposition. I don't see how an increase in legitimacy could make it worse.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Virtually every state has expanded hours, expanded the ease of absentee voting, provided early voting or some other measures to ease voting.
There was progress, but much, if not most of that is being rolled back by cutting hours and reducing early vote periods.
Which may be appropriate to reduce the risk of fraud. The goal is to make is so that everyone who wants to vote has a reasonable opportunity to do so, not to ensure that political machines have the maximum ability to canvas a region and farm voters.
quote:
And yet no state requiring such IDs has put forth the necessary compensation for the time and travel to get one, as well as employment protections, child care costs, on the spot document retrieval etc... as needed to actually make them free.
Are you seriously suggesting that over the course of an entire year (or 4 years) that someone will not have found the time or ability to get a free ID from the state? I don't find that argument to be something worthy of consideration.
quote:
If states really don't trust the poll staff, whose job it is to actually employ the ability humans have to recognize people as the baseline standard for such identification, then they should provide the photographic equipment onsite, such that the first time you vote the staff takes your picture and attaches it to your registration record, then uses that photo instead of your recorded signature as part of the confirmation process.
By the way, I have no objection to a process that photographs a voter and accepts their vote on a provisional basis. That is entirely reasonable and completely consistent with an effort to reduce fraud after the fact. I think however you would find that potential voters would deem it to be an intimidation and would be back here telling us how unfair it was after the fact of its adoption.
quote:
Instead they employ a process that disenfranchises orders of magnitude more voters than the trivial number of fraudulent votes it prevents.
Orders of magnitude? Really? I doubt it disenfranchises even 100 per state. It would only have to prevent 1 fraudulent vote to beat your "orders of magnitude" exaggeration.

No, what we have now is a system that has almost been deliberately designed not to be able to catch fraudulent votes. And to allow for even more manipulation of at risk persons into being manipulated into voting by operatives sent out to canvas targeted areas.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
There is absolutely no evidence that the US has become "more suppressive" of the right to vote. Virtually every state has expanded hours, expanded the ease of absentee voting, provided early voting or some other measures to ease voting.
Here in Wisconsin, Republicans have cut hours, closed voting locations, closed DMVs (which give out IDs), restricted absentee voting (while expanding it for soldiers), and canceled early voting measures that were in place. It's pretty obvious what they're doing.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
As I'm apparently contrary today, Fenring, I will raise an objection. A lack of legitimacy hasn't stopped Congress or the President from declaring they have the mandate of heaven--I mean the people--and can run roughshod over the opposition. I don't see how an increase in legitimacy could make it worse.

It's just the difference between a lie and a bigger lie. I agree that they do this already, but there is a difference between an Emperor having nothing on but underwear and between him really having no clothes at all. I'd prefer the truth to remain more blatant rather than more easily denied.
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NobleHunter
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I think the ancially effects of a more representative electorate would outweigh any downsides to giving the Emperor underwear.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Are you seriously suggesting that over the course of an entire year (or 4 years) that someone will not have found the time or ability to get a free ID from the state?
Absolutely. For someone living paycheck to paycheck, a day of lost wages is an impossible imposition, and that's not even accounting for the additional transportation costs and risk that you'll be fired for taking the time to get the ID.

quote:
I doubt it disenfranchises even 100 per state.
In PA and Texas the number more than a half million each. On the other hand, in a decade, Texas had 50 cases of voter fraud. So even if you take the whole decade- 50 cases- and the lowball of 500,000, you're talking 5 orders of magnitude more people disenfranchised than cases of fraud prevented.


As far as "getting dead voters of the rolls:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/155615207/SLED-Investigation-Into-Voter-Fraud
It's a false claim, for example, of a claim that 953 decesed identites have been used to vote in SC in 2010:
quote:
-746: Hadn't voted in the 2010 election. Only by including 74 elections over a 7 year period could that number be reached. SLED wasn't going to go digging that far back, but was happy to investigate the remaining 207.
-92: Junior/Senior name recognition errors. In other words, John Smith Sr. had died, and John Smith Jr. had voted, legally.
-6: "Clerical errors," where the poll worker had marked the wrong person in the poll book and not fully erased their mistake.
-56: "Bad data matches," where the state had the wrong social security record on file for the voter. The owner of the SSN had died, but the vote was legit.
-5: Cases where election workers incorrectly marked the wrong person as having voted absentee.
-3: Absentee ballots which the state had issued in the wrong name, but the (legal) voter who requested it filled it out anyway.
-32: Scanner errors. The machine screwed up.
-3: Voters who were alive when they requested their absentee ballot, but died before the day of the election.
That left -10 cases that needed further scrutiny:
Jr. voted, father deceased. (Although Jr. hadn't registered to vote.)
Agent exhausted all leads, no further information.
Jr. voted, legally; father deceased.
Jr. voted, legally; father deceased.
Agent exhausted all leads, no further information.
Agent exhausted all leads, no further information.
Jr. voted, legally; father deceased.
Unrelated individual with the same name, who was a registered voter, voted. (Although in the wrong precinct.)
Jr. voted, legally; father deceased.
Jr. voted, legally; father deceased.

So, at most 4 fraudulent votes, and one case of voter error.
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Pete at Home
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"Absolutely. For someone living paycheck to paycheck, a day of lost wages is an impossible imposition, and that's not even accounting for the additional transportation costs and risk that you'll be fired for taking the time to get the ID."

Where do you get a job in the first place without ID these days? Hell, you can't get benefits without it.

I'd be OK with an ID requirement if we removed the effective poll tax derived from paying for an ID.

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edgmatt
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So you're not in favor of mandatory I.D. if someone wants to vote, partially because many people can't afford the time to go get an I.D....

But you don't see any similar problems with mandatory voting?

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TomDavidson
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There are many more places and ways to vote than there are to obtain photo ID, for one thing.
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yossarian22c
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Personally I would be happy with month long early voting periods (including weekends) and regulations to make sure that every polling place was adequately equipped and staffed to ensure that voting would not take more than 30 minutes. Mandatory voting is ok but simply making voting easier would be my preferred solution.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Are you seriously suggesting that over the course of an entire year (or 4 years) that someone will not have found the time or ability to get a free ID from the state?
Absolutely. For someone living paycheck to paycheck, a day of lost wages is an impossible imposition, and that's not even accounting for the additional transportation costs and risk that you'll be fired for taking the time to get the ID.
So you are asserting that with the DMV open six days a week, that someone living pay check to pay check will be working all six of those days for 4 years straight? How exactly does anyone working that many hours stay pay check to pay check anyway? Lol. You love hypotheticals that you don't have to demonstrate actually occur.

I honestly doubt you can find anyone who meets the standard you set, that has not had one day over the course of a year where they couldn't get ID.
quote:
quote:
I doubt it disenfranchises even 100 per state.
In PA and Texas the number more than a half million each.
Lol, 500,000 people disenfranchised in the state of PA? Really, it only has a population of about 14 million (of which only about 10 million are old enough to vote). 1 in 20 people in PA disenfranchise because they work too hard to get ID? That is such total nonsense. I guess if you are looking at some ridiculous site that pretends its' made a valid calculation of the disenfranchised it may explain your beliefs.

I'm just going to reassert I don't believe you can find anyone who worked so hard they couldn't get a voters ID within the space of year (and you certainly couldn't find a statistically significant amount, when your own claims suggest you should be able to find one for every 20 people out there).
quote:
On the other hand, in a decade, Texas had 50 cases of voter fraud.
So how many votes did the state of Texas verify? I have voted in every election in my adult life, I have never once had someone call me to verify that I did vote, I don't know anyone who has. There is no systemic measurement of actual voter fraud. Besides, I think the bigger risk is voter manipulation/intimidation.

How would one even begin to determine if political operatives pre-filled voters mail in ballots? Or just watched them complete them and threw away the ones they didn't want recorded? How many bussed in voters were influenced by free meals and political propaganda from the "friendly" people taking them to the polls? There is a reason that politicians are barred from the polls, those concerns are completely ignored with voters voting away from the polls.
quote:
So even if you take the whole decade- 50 cases- and the lowball of 500,000, you're talking 5 orders of magnitude more people disenfranchised than cases of fraud prevented.
Yes if we make up numbers we can make a claim like that, meanwhile I'm going to continue on in the real world where its complete nonsense that 1 in 20 people in PA meet your criteria and no one who wasn't caught under the broken system we currently have ever did anything they shouldn't with a vote.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Not voting is a strong political statement.
No, it's a complete lack of a political statement. Submitting an empty ballot or one specifically marked as "not voting" in some way makes a statement. Simply not voting is completely indistinguishable from apathy or actively being barred from voting in one of the many ways that are used.
Agreed. Politicians don't care about people who don't vote. After the elections, the winner counts those people as being on their side. Only actual votes cast for an opponent of the winner make a political statement.

If you need to make a political statement, do so by voting for the third party candidate that most closely represents your views.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Having a low voter turnout is a strong political statement. I specifically worded the part of my last message which you refrained from quoting to address this very fact. Unless people are actively barred from voting for various reasons (including logistical) the other reasons for not voting all involve some sort of either dislike or disdain for the candidates and even the voting process. I will suggest that the vast majority of people who don't vote could reasonably do so but don't want to.

Having a low turnout implies two things: 1) The political process is less legitimized than if everyone was participating, i.e. the election reflects the will of only a certain percent of the population. 2) That there are huge swathes of people available to be swayed by a party or candidate who might appeal to them enough to bring them out of the woodwork. This second point is the more important of the two, because the possibility of finding millions of new votes if only someone would come forward that they believed in means that currently no one is bothering to do that. The key to finding these voters lies in something other than status quo, and obviously these people are not excited by the status quo. That's a positive vote for change, even though they never set foot in a voting booth.

You can be assured that as long as candidates don't even pay lip service to making real changes many voters will (rightly) continue to believe that the system presents a false dilemma both options of which will perpetuate the same power structure. The false two-party system, and all that. I think a lot of people think this way.

Obama presented himself as a potential change in pace, and did bring out a lot of voters for his first election. That proved to have been a spurious image of him since he is obviously no kind of visionary at all. But it also proved that people are hungering for some kind of leadership that is more than just 'some new politician' saying the same old things. That is why a non-vote is a strong message. It means the leaders aren't trying. [/QB]

Limiting voter turnout is one of the first things campaign managers learn. Convince the undecideds to stay home and get your base whipped up into a frenzy to go and vote.

Low voter turnout is one of the main goals of the political campaigners. Trying to use it to make a political statement is misguided. Voting for an opponent is a political statement that will be heard.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
The law has made it clear that states have an obligation to provide voter id's free of charge to those who can't afford them. All of which is the exact opposite of your claim.
And yet no state requiring such IDs has put forth the necessary compensation for the time and travel to get one, as well as employment protections, child care costs, on the spot document retrieval etc... as needed to actually make them free.
While it is generally true that states only give lip service to providing free voter id (reducing voter turnout is seen by campaigners as a key to winning elections) Alabama has done a great job of making it relatively easy to get one of those free voter ids. The only state that I am aware of to do so (and a big reason why the voter id laws in Texas were struck down, but were allowed to stand in Alabama), but Alabama does make the above statement about "no state" false.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Are you seriously suggesting that over the course of an entire year (or 4 years) that someone will not have found the time or ability to get a free ID from the state?
Absolutely. For someone living paycheck to paycheck, a day of lost wages is an impossible imposition, and that's not even accounting for the additional transportation costs and risk that you'll be fired for taking the time to get the ID.

There was a legislator in Texas who was unable to vote due to their new voter id laws. If someone with the resources and ability to become a legislator was unable to meet the requirements, how much more difficult for someone without those resources and abilities to do so?
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NobleHunter
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quote:
Where do you get a job in the first place without ID these days? Hell, you can't get benefits without it.
Most voter ID laws require photo ID. I'm pretty sure you can get a job with non-photo ID (a SIN card in Canada) or with photo ID that doeesn't meet the requirements for the polling station.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I have never once had someone call me to verify that I did vote, I don't know anyone who has
Why would someone call you? The poll worker verified that you you voted when you came to the polls. And they remember far better than any piece of plastic who they have or have not processed in the past.

Heck- I managed to prove that a poll worker is better than a photo ID the second time I went to vote while PA's attempt to pass the law was still waiting to be struck down. One of the workers started to ask if I'd like to show my ID and the other shook her head and said "Don't bother, he's not going to do it" No falsifiable piece of plastic could do a better job of identification than that.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
, meanwhile I'm going to continue on in the real world where its complete nonsense that 1 in 20 people in PA meet your criteria
Fortunately the courts here don't live in your imagination and used those real statistics to throw out our local attempt at disenfranchising those people.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Where do you get a job in the first place without ID these days? Hell, you can't get benefits without it.
To get employment you need your Social Security card and proof or residence. (To note- I'm generally fine with the requirement that the first time someone comes to vote they show evidence of residence, such as a utility bill or bank statement with their address on it, so long as reasonable provision is made to properly give homeless people access to vote that doesn't leave them at the mercy of having to beg someone else to allow them to have proof of location.)

The issue with voter ID laws is not hat they generalyl require identification, but that they speicficalyl require a kind of identification that requires documentation that many people don't have easy access to without taking on additinoal expenses, suich as a birth certificate, require travelling to hard to read locations that involve significant time and expense,and because the people going have to rrely on what public transit exists to get there, they are also generally arriving at peak busy hours, so the represent additional lost wages waiting for hours in line at the place. Then, most often they also require that you fill out the paperwork, wait for a card in the mail, and then repeat the entire process over again.

So far about the only argument that Seriati has offered against that is one that amounts to asserting ignorance of what life is like for people trying to survive on minimum wage shift work. Class privilege at its finest.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
Limiting voter turnout is one of the first things campaign managers learn. Convince the undecideds to stay home and get your base whipped up into a frenzy to go and vote.

Low voter turnout is one of the main goals of the political campaigners. Trying to use it to make a political statement is misguided. Voting for an opponent is a political statement that will be heard.

This is only true as long as both parties are in complete collusion with each other and have no interest of actually leading or representing anyone (except for special interests). In that case they can agree to both ignore the non-voters.

But assuming the fantastical premise that one of the parties decided to actually compete against the other then simple market forces dictate that there is a giant swath of potential voters out there that are even better than swing-voters - they are disenchanted or apathetic voters. They are a market that can be harvested by anyone with the brains and will to do so. If the party system wasn't so broken and corrupt then it seems obvious that having a ton of people who don't vote would make one or both parties vie for their votes. That this doesn't happen is actually proof that voting really is irrelevant since the parties effectively could care less about what the people think so long as they're elected.

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DonaldD
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I think you are misunderstanding exactly how and when they ignore those voters - phil was talking about after the vote is over.

Prior to the vote phil was making a point that the parties very much do care about the non-vote - both from the perspective of getting out their own vote and repressing the opponent's vote.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
I think you are misunderstanding exactly how and when they ignore those voters - phil was talking about after the vote is over.

Prior to the vote phil was making a point that the parties very much do care about the non-vote - both from the perspective of getting out their own vote and repressing the opponent's vote.

No, that is an impossible reading of what he wrote. He said that they try to convince undecideds to stay home and get the voter base out there to vote. That is definitively not a statement about anything after the vote is taken. He is saying that low voter turnout is not only expected but encouraged, where undecided voters are deliberately not reached out to. You can read my response to that again to see my answer.
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philnotfil
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If you watch just about any political campaign, they spend more time trying to get the people that are already in agreement with the candidate to actually get out and vote than they do in trying to convince the undecideds to vote for them. (look at the amount of time and money candidates spend on reaching out to undecideds versus pandering to the base)

The reason that they do this is that it works. It is much more cost effective to repress generic votership while stirring up the base than it is to convince the undecideds to vote for you and to actually come out and vote. (and if you can target your voter suppression at groups unlikely to vote for you, even better)

Additionally, I have also claimed that after the votes have been cast, the winner lumps all of the non-voters in with their supporters. A non-vote means the same thing that a vote in their favor does- that they don't need to change what they are doing. It is only when a voter actively chooses someone else that the politicians care enough to change what they are doing.

[ March 20, 2015, 01:01 PM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If you watch just about any political campaign, they spend more time trying to get the people that are already in agreement with the candidate to actually get out and vote than they do in trying to convince the undecideds to vote for them.
There's also a huge amount of time spent convincing people that their party's candidate is uncompelling, dishonest, or otherwise no different from the other guy. If you can persuade all the Republicans that their guy is just another Democrat and convince all the Democrats that they absolutely need to vote to keep out the crazy Republican, the Democrats win.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If you watch just about any political campaign, they spend more time trying to get the people that are already in agreement with the candidate to actually get out and vote than they do in trying to convince the undecideds to vote for them.
There's also a huge amount of time spent convincing people that their party's candidate is uncompelling, dishonest, or otherwise no different from the other guy. If you can persuade all the Republicans that their guy is just another Democrat and convince all the Democrats that they absolutely need to vote to keep out the crazy Republican, the Democrats win.
Yes, thought control is done at various levels and it works. I fully acknowledge that all sorts of tricks are used and are effective in winning campaigns. None of this, however, speaks to my point, which is that when there is a giant amount of non-voters in the system there is a market to be reaped by someone willing to break out of the traditional status quo the two parties have established. It is better for us that those people remain as non-voters because they are the potential payoff for a candidate who decides to screw the normal crooked way of doing business and wants to appeal to the people for real. If you turn all of those non-voters into voters by fiat then they will end up naturally falling in with whatever side they find less repellent. At best they will be using their vote as an anti-vote, which I consider to be harmful to democracy since it doesn't motivate political change, and at worst they will 'get used' to voting for some party and sort of become habitual voters for that party in the sense of brand loyalty even if they don't believe in that party. Getting people to change their habits, even if they know it's in their interest, can be hard.

That said, this is just one argument against a mandatory vote. I also think there are some good points for it, assuming certain provisos are met.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If you watch just about any political campaign, they spend more time trying to get the people that are already in agreement with the candidate to actually get out and vote than they do in trying to convince the undecideds to vote for them.
There's also a huge amount of time spent convincing people that their party's candidate is uncompelling, dishonest, or otherwise no different from the other guy. If you can persuade all the Republicans that their guy is just another Democrat and convince all the Democrats that they absolutely need to vote to keep out the crazy Republican, the Democrats win.
An important part of reducing voter turnout.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
[QB]
quote:
I have never once had someone call me to verify that I did vote, I don't know anyone who has
Why would someone call you? The poll worker verified that you you voted when you came to the polls.
Because that's how verification works, how studies would be run, and ultimately how you would catch voter fraud. The biggest limitation we have on actually determining if fraud occurs is the secret ballot, but giving that up would cause more problems.

Hanging your hat on a system that to catch voter fraud requires subjective efforts to catch it rather than systemic or objective ones is just willful blindness.
quote:
And they remember far better than any piece of plastic who they have or have not processed in the past.
Not even remotely. They may recognize a face, that doesn't in any way help them when a face they don't recognize walks in. Unless they know you personally, they'd be extremely unlikely to catch someone else using your name.
quote:
Heck- I managed to prove that a poll worker is better than a photo ID the second time I went to vote while PA's attempt to pass the law was still waiting to be struck down. One of the workers started to ask if I'd like to show my ID and the other shook her head and said "Don't bother, he's not going to do it" No falsifiable piece of plastic could do a better job of identification than that.
All that proves is the well known fact that people who break from convention are remembered better. Says nothing about the hundreds of other people in line with you.
quote:
quote:
meanwhile I'm going to continue on in the real world where its complete nonsense that 1 in 20 people in PA meet your criteria
Fortunately the courts here don't live in your imagination and used those real statistics to throw out our local attempt at disenfranchising those people.
No those aren't "real" statistics, they are your attempt to ascribe a much larger group to the far more limited criteria you initially cited to. They don't represent anything but statistical attribution of a category without proof that the category members actually have individual circumstances that apply.
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ScottF
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ID or not I'd like to see all voters subjected to a very brief multiple choice quiz before they're allowed to vote. It simply asks which issues and/or which candidates are on the ballott. Failure to get at least 50% correct would result in your vote being discarded.
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Chael
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I'd be okay with mandatory voting if we changed the rules.

1. Have a 'I dislike all the candidates' option. If more people vote for this option than vote for all candidates combined, all candidates are disqualified from the office they are seeking until the next election cycle. (Edited to add: Incumbents retain their office until a new election can be held, which is mandated to be within a certain number of weeks after the first election, I suppose. If anyone can think of a better way to manage this part, I'd be interested to hear it.)

I don't care that it would be expensive and time-consuming to dig out new candidates and hold another election with mandatory voting. If the candidates are /that bad/, it's the cheapest and best option for the country.

In addition, it would actually give the conscientous objectors a voice--and if you're going to have mandatory voting, I think you pretty much have to do this. Otherwise you're forcing people to use their time (and money, depending on how easy it is for them to get to a polling station--transportation, potentially lost income from not working, etc.) for something which would have no benefit to them and how they think the country should be run whatsoever.

2. Allow ranked voting. 'I like this candidate best, but this candidate is my second choice.' Allow people to bubble in for as many candidates as they desire, so if they want to go through the whole list--fine, and if they don't, fine.

3. Every citizen over the age of majority is qualified and compelled to vote, including felons who are a) not in jail, and b) not on parole. If you have been judged completely fit to re-enter society, you should have the rights and responsibilities of living in that society.

4. As other people have already mentioned, make voting day a federal holiday--perhaps a holiday long weekend. Extend it over multiple days and require that employers give their employees one of those days off, to deal with the police/firefighters/hospital workers issue. Give a filing deadline of a few months in the future for valid excuses, e.g. hospitalization. I suppose we'd have to have some enforcement, so fine the people who just can't be arsed.

[ March 21, 2015, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: Chael ]

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TomDavidson
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I endorse all those changes.
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Pete at Home
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again, I think that it's very important to have a distinct quote I don't know enough to make a meaningful vote unquote option,in addition to the rejection none of above
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Chael:
I'd be okay with mandatory voting if we changed the rules.

1. Have a 'I dislike all the candidates' option. If more people vote for this option than vote for all candidates combined, all candidates are disqualified from the office they are seeking until the next election cycle. (Edited to add: Incumbents retain their office until a new election can be held, which is mandated to be within a certain number of weeks after the first election, I suppose. If anyone can think of a better way to manage this part, I'd be interested to hear it.)

I don't care that it would be expensive and time-consuming to dig out new candidates and hold another election with mandatory voting. If the candidates are /that bad/, it's the cheapest and best option for the country.

In addition, it would actually give the conscientous objectors a voice--and if you're going to have mandatory voting, I think you pretty much have to do this. Otherwise you're forcing people to use their time (and money, depending on how easy it is for them to get to a polling station--transportation, potentially lost income from not working, etc.) for something which would have no benefit to them and how they think the country should be run whatsoever.

2. Allow ranked voting. 'I like this candidate best, but this candidate is my second choice.' Allow people to bubble in for as many candidates as they desire, so if they want to go through the whole list--fine, and if they don't, fine.

3. Every citizen over the age of majority is qualified and compelled to vote, including felons who are a) not in jail, and b) not on parole. If you have been judged completely fit to re-enter society, you should have the rights and responsibilities of living in that society.

4. As other people have already mentioned, make voting day a federal holiday--perhaps a holiday long weekend. Extend it over multiple days and require that employers give their employees one of those days off, to deal with the police/firefighters/hospital workers issue. Give a filing deadline of a few months in the future for valid excuses, e.g. hospitalization. I suppose we'd have to have some enforcement, so fine the people who just can't be arsed.

You still run into the problem of people not knowing enough and picking based on random or superficial criteria, and even in the case of someone not liking all of the candidates they'd be worried that not enough would choose that option to trigger the ballot cleanse so you'd see huge adoption of "ranking by the lesser evil to worst evil."

No, these suggestions are cumbersome, complicated and frankly dangerous. You'd see such a flood of low information voters that if you think money in politics is bad now just wait until it all becomes a gigantic name recognition and celebrity game.

As usual the best solution is freedom based. Leave voting voluntary. Under that system people who care the most about the issues and the candidates will be the most motivated to vote. If a political party can't bother to get its own base motivated to vote then that is political natural selection.

Maybe make election day a holiday or move it to a pre-existing federal holiday. However even those logistical issues are easily fixed with mail by ballot systems which also work well to fight voter fraud as the ballots can be checked against citizenship and criminal histories as many people mail them in ahead of time.

[ March 21, 2015, 05:57 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
You still run into the problem of people not knowing enough and picking based on random or superficial criteria, and even in the case of someone not liking all of the candidates they'd be worried that not enough would choose that option to trigger the ballot cleanse so you'd see huge adoption of "ranking by the lesser evil to worst evil."

I don't see how any of this is different from our current system of people picking who they believe is the lesser of two evils, based on what they heard in the news that morning (maybe), who their neighbor is voting for (maybe), or whose name they like the best.

Some people will make ill-informed choices against their own best interest. Others will make the best choice that they see at the time and see it turn to crud as soon as the politician in question takes office. That's life.

quote:

No, these suggestions are cumbersome, complicated and frankly dangerous. You'd see such a flood of low information voters that if you think money in politics is bad now just wait until it all becomes a gigantic name recognition and celebrity game.

If I recall correctly, you were arguing upthread that there were a fair number of people abstaining from the vote for reasons of conscience, and that we should protect their right to do so, no?

What do you think those people would say on a ballot, if given the incentive that they might actually make a difference?

How many of those do you think there are, versus the ignorant masses?

In other words, how much of your argument is based on a belief in free choice, and how much is based in fear of the changes an ignorant citizenry might wreak if more people in it used their voices?

quote:
If a political party can't bother to get its own base motivated to vote then that is political natural selection.

Political natural selection would also be well-served by needing to address the needs of more than fervent fellow-believers. What would politicians do if they had to take into account more of the country, instead of being able to count a vote as unlikely to be cast and thus safely ignorable?
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Chael
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Mind you, I agree that my suggested implementation is potentially cumbersome and likely expensive. I just disagree that it's dangerous. [Wink]
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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
again, I think that it's very important to have a distinct "I don't know enough to make a meaningful vote" option,in addition to the rejection none of above

I'm fine with that.

I didn't specifically spell it out, but one of the things I would like to be possible with my ranking system is bubbling in /none/ of the candidates for a particular race, just as it is now. When I cast a ballot, for example, there are sometimes races I haven't had time to research sufficiently for my own peace of mind, so I leave those sections blank.

But I'd also be fine with people bubbling in something that says 'I don't feel I can make a good choice in this race,' or something like that.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If a political party can't bother to get its own base motivated to vote then that is political natural selection.
What is being selected for, though? This doesn't actually identify the political groups with the best ideas, or that would produce the best results for the country, or anything of that sort; it only selects for the groups best able to motivate people to vote, which as we've seen is hardly equivalent. If the goal in voting is to produce a beneficial government, it seems to me that we should be encouraging processes which select for beneficial traits.
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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by Chael:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
You still run into the problem of people not knowing enough and picking based on random or superficial criteria, and even in the case of someone not liking all of the candidates they'd be worried that not enough would choose that option to trigger the ballot cleanse so you'd see huge adoption of "ranking by the lesser evil to worst evil."

I don't see how any of this is different from our current system of people picking who they believe is the lesser of two evils, based on what they heard in the news that morning (maybe), who their neighbor is voting for (maybe), or whose name they like the best.

Actually, I take it back. There is a pretty important difference that I should outline.. sorry; it's been a while since my last online political discourse. [Smile]

In our current system, a person is told not to vote for the candidate who most closely matches his/her views (unless they magically happen to align with one of the two major parties) because it would be a 'wasted vote'. Some people will still do it, but they're rare enough to make third parties completely unviable. At this point, change comes only from within the mechanics of existing parties.

(You can see a similar malaise sometimes within minority voters in a state whose majority doesn't agree with them.. 'why vote; it won't make a difference anyway.' Heck, I wouldn't mind seeing the votes tabulated based on overall population rather than based on the population within a single state for the presidential election, but that's probably crazy talk. [Wink] )

There is a certain stability that comes from this system.. or at least a certain lack of surprises.. but it also strongly contributes to a sports-match mentality. 'My team against your team. Whatever your team supports, I oppose.' This means that ideas aren't able to be honestly tested. Instead, there's knee-jerk defensiveness from the 'side' that didn't put them forth.

Under my proposed changes, the people who weren't completely and utterly disgusted by the candidates that were offered might be talked into doing ranking-system voting. I'm okay with that, because 'throw them out and start over' /is/ a strong move, and should, I think, be accompanied by strong feelings. If a majority of voters are motivated enough to ignore likelihoods and vote that way, there must /really/ be something wrong with the candidates, eh? And even if it doesn't happen, but that number grows, it says something real about the legitimacy of anyone who wins.

We'd be able to see how people actually feel about third-party candidates (that name always amuses me--we have 'the two parties,' and everyone else is a third party. We don't even have a fourth party! They're all the same.) If given the option of a ranking system, where no positive vote can be 'wasted,' more voters might feel comfortable with voting based on their convictions.

And yes, people will still support 'their side,' sometimes past the point of sense. That's a human thing, and I don't know how to deal with it. But if there are more real options, there will be more real sides, and at least we might see a broadening of political discourse.

Anyhow. My proposed system isn't perfect, of course, and I'm open to suggested amendments. I still think it's miles better than what we currently have in play. If I had the power, I'd implement the applicable provisions with or without mandatory voting.

[ March 21, 2015, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: Chael ]

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Seneca
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Making it mandatory is what makes it bad. A ranking system wouldn't be bad on its own, but making it mandatory would lead to a huge amount of people who didn't feel motivated enough on their own to vote deciding that since they are forced "anyway" they should go for the "least" evils in ranking order rather than "waste" their vote in the "slim" hope that the ballot is cleansed by most picking "none of the above," whereas the most passionate voters who would have voted anyway no matter what without being forced will vote for their ideal candidates or lack of candidates and be overwhelmed.

This would be my suggestion to edit it: keep voting voluntary. I understand the benefits of a ranking system, you will maximize those benefits with voluntary voting.

Voting is supposed to be the ultimate expression of freedom in government. How ironic and sad would it be if voting became forced.

[ March 23, 2015, 01:21 AM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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