Voter suppression: targeting the poor, the old, and students

Discuss

130 Responses to “Voter suppression: targeting the poor, the old, and students”

  1. royaltrux says:

    That is dirty pool.

    • TWX says:

      I think that it should be considered treason.  The right to vote is guaranteed in our nation’s constitution.  Anyone who subverts that right to vote should be prosecuted, and I don’t care if it’s through negligence or incompetence.  That should be the burden on election officials.

      • hymenopterid says:

        If time is money, and poll taxes are illegal, then this really isn’t any different than a poll tax.

        • Boundegar says:

          To anybody paid an hourly wage, time is absolutely money.  And it might cost $100 or so to stand in line to vote.

          • Sagodjur says:

            Money is already considered a form of free speech. So time being money means that wasting the time of voting citizens is suppression of free speech. But, you know, I’m sure that these officials and bureaucrats love America and uphold its ideals such as free speech and unhindered political participation… when you plan to vote for their party.

  2. in before ‘that Stalin quote’

  3. Jake0748 says:

    Ridiculous and shameful.  So much for democracy

  4. thecardcheat says:

    Every time their is going to be (or is) a close political race this tired old excuse is trotted out.

    • royaltrux says:

       These are new laws. And early voters in Florida did wait in line for over seven hours. That is unacceptable. And learn how to spell “there”.

      • thecardcheat says:

         But they did get to vote! There!!

        • royaltrux says:

          But the world hasn’t seen voting lines like that since South Africa shook off apartheid. This is just wrong.

        • Funk Daddy says:

          ?? How the heck would you know? How many just could not afford to lose the job they feed their family with to wait 7 hours to vote? Were there chairs for the elderly waiting in line? 

          The end result will still be Obama with a second term but some of this action to prevent black, young and old, single female/moms, from being able to cast a ballot are ongoing efforts from election to election, as witnessed by the quote in the article.

          The fact is that voter suppression can be seen, there is tangible evidence that the right wing wants to take the vote from young, minority, elderly and female voters. 

          Cute that you think it’s a close election.

          The tired old canard that has been demonstrated as false on each and every occasion it is trotted out is the Republican fear-mongering over voter fraud.

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          Yeah b.s.  7 hours surely means that many people would have to go get kids, go back, or to jobs and so on. Time for the poor and working class is a precious commodity. The working poor can’t just knock of work. They’re often not in the kinds of jobs where that kind of flexibility is allowed or tolerated by bosses. That’s why it’s so despicable that middle class and upper class people act like the poor have the same ease of voting as they do, when they obviously don’t.

          Also, you’re arguing for less access to voting and democracy. That’s pretty indefensible.

    • acerplatanoides says:

      I know, it’s such a canard. Like the poor think they have a right to vote or that they’re even people.

    • Stooge says:

      excuse strategy

  5. Christopher says:

    Something I think about every time elections roll around, and then, I’m sorry to say, promptly forget, is that it’s almost impossible for anyone in my area who doesn’t drive or have access to a car to get to the polling place in my area.

    Yes, the main polling place in my area is on a bus route that runs approximately every 30-40 minutes. And taking the bus you can get out at a stoplight and walk three hundred feet along a four-lane road with no sidewalk. Then once you’ve voted you can walk back the same way, cross the street at the stoplight, and hope the bus either stops at the light or you can step halfway into the lane to flag it down. I’m sure it was easy for the woman in the wheelchair who rides the bus in my neighborhood.

    At least this year they’re using the main polling place, and not the church that’s conveniently located a couple of miles away from any bus route.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention previously that I live in a state, Tennessee, that is so red there doesn’t seem to be a real need to suppress the votes of the poor or minorities. All it really does is prove that local politicians, in spite of their claims to the contrary, do not believe in democracy. If they believed in the value of voting as much as they claim they’d make it easier.

    • ChicagoD says:

      Where I live the party that stands to benefit from the votes rents a bus and picks people up.

      • acerplatanoides says:

         ground game goes a long way. So do the tendrils of the old south.

      • Christopher says:

        That works, although I think we can all agree that if people really do value democracy it should be equally easy for everybody to get to a polling place.

        And even if, say, the state Democratic party, did pick up all Democratic voters and drive them to a polling place I doubt it would make any difference in the final outcome. Tennessee would still be solidly red. I guess that’s why none of our politicians have any interest in making it easier for people to get to the polls: it wouldn’t benefit anyone.

        • ChicagoD says:

          Ideally we will get easier and easier voting. To me that is fundamental.

          As for the outcome argument . . . I disagree. There are always local races that someone wants voters to get to. The top line race may be decided, but there is some second assistant dog catcher candidate who sees the wisdom in ponying up $200 to get voters out.

        • Jake0748 says:

           Some would say that voting in and of itself is a benefit.

      •  Don’t all parties do that? They do in Canada. You call the candidate of your choice and they’ll send a volunteer around.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The one time that there was a controversial local ballot issue that was likely to run counter to the interests of the guy who owns half of Palm Springs, our polling place was changed, for the first and only time in decades, to a clubhouse in the middle of a condo complex with no reasonable access or parking. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

  6. lknope says:

    In Ohio, the Republican Party chairman of Franklin County, which includes Columbus, was even more blunt. Doug Preisse said, “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter turnout machine.”

    WTF?  Isn’t not accomodating all voters what “contorts” the voting process?  Unless you think only white male landowners should be allowed to vote.

    Jeebus, I can’t believe someone can say something like that with a straight face.  It’s like standing in the pouring rain and saying what a lovely sunny day it is.

    • acerplatanoides says:

      In my family it’s “pisses on your leg, tells you it’s raining”

    • Boundegar says:

      No, it’s like standing in the pouring rain and saying black people shouldn’t be able to vote.

    • Marja Erwin says:

      I ran into someone the other day, arguing that white male landowners built this country and ought to continue to lead this country. So there really are people who believe this.

      It would be more accurate to say that slaves and indentured servants built this country.

      • ChicagoD says:

        It would be more accurate to say that immigrants in the big industrial cities and rural coal fields built this country. Some of those immigrants were internal within the U.S. (Great Migration, poor mountain whites, etc.), some were from abroad.

        In any case, it was *not* white male landowners.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        It would be more accurate to say that slaves and indentured servants built this country.

        Well, they certainly built the White House and the Capitol.

  7. Maj Variola says:

    Here in california, we can vote by mail for the price of a stamp.
    Do it while waiting for your dispensary to deliver.

    Oh right, you’re not in california.. STBU

    • ChicagoD says:

      “Oh right, you’re not in california.. STBU”

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That’s so 1990s of you.

    • mccrum says:

      If Ohio or Florida goes against who you voted for because of voter suppression it STBU as well.

      Empathy, look into it.

    • wysinwyg says:

      Obnoxious Californian…I suddenly have a Tool song running through my head.  Anyone want to guess which one?

    • jowlsey says:

      Florida also has vote by mail.  All you have to do is ask. No idea why more people don’t take advantage of it. Lack of awareness is my best guess.

      • Marc45 says:

        Yes, lack of awareness possibly mixed in with some last minute thinking.
        GOPers, being of the more successful sort in general, like to plan ahead (that’s why they’re more successful) and vote by mail.  So the obvious tactic is to make it hard to vote in person.
        I haven’t voted in person in many years.  I have better things to do than wait in line but you don’t have to vote Republican to vote by mail.

        In some states, employers are required to give workers time off to vote. I’ve seen it at my company that workers drive to the polls on election day simply because they won’t get the time off if they vote absentee.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          When I first registered to vote in this area, I signed up outside the grocery store. When I went to the polling place I wasn’t on the list. It turns out that the people who were being paid to register voters were also being paid to throw out the forms for everyone who didn’t register Republican.

    • Funk Daddy says:

      So if you had a problem at your polling station today, would your postmark validate your voting by mail today?

      Naw.

    • L_Mariachi says:

      You don’t even need the stamp, the ballot comes with a business return envelope.

      EDIT: At least in San Francisco. I figured such a thing would be statewide.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        They must give you free postage since there are usually multiple voting cards to cover the three dozen local ballot initiatives in SF.  I remember one election when the voter information booklet was 250 pages.  Here, it’s two cards and requires two stamps.  In 2010? maybe 2008, they didn’t bother to tell anyone that it required two stamps.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Here in california, we can vote by mail for the price of a stamp.

      Two stamps here. I dread to think of the postage on a San Francisco ballot.

    • billstewart says:

      I voted today in California.  One person was in line ahead of me.  We use paper ballots, which later get scanned by optical scanners, and that scales really really well – about 10 people were sitting at tables or standing at booths to fill them out.  There’s also an electronic voting machine (mainly for people who want the big print or audio assistance), but nobody was using it.  It was also a short line because it was mid-afternoon, after any lunch crowd.

      But if the voters in Washington and Colorado make the right choices on their marijuana initiatives today, it won’t suck to be them either!

  8. bishophicks says:

    I was in and out of my suburban voting place in under 4 minutes.  The idea that there are people who have to wait in line for as much as 9 hours is both inspiring and infuriating.  Why should some be barely inconvenienced while others are forced to commit their entire day.  States should be allowed to set their own rules for elections, but there should be minimum service levels that have to be met.  If it takes more than a couple of hours to travel (car, bus, train or on foot), wait in line and then vote that’s a problem.   If the US is the shining example other nations are supposed to strive to emulate why aren’t we the best in the world at allowing our citizens to vote.  Money can’t be the issue: both Mexico and Brazil rate higher than the US when it comes to voter rights, access and accuracy.

    • jandrese says:

      My suburban polling place took 90 minutes today, partially because the state government went and gerrymandered the crap out of the local districts and a lot of people were going to the wrong polling place.  Also, making the octogenarian poll workers type in your name and address on the netbook seemed cruel to me, why can’t my voter registration card (mailed to everybody a couple of weeks ago) have a barcode that they could just scan to immediately look you up? 

      It could be so quick.  Beep – Verify name and address – hand over a ballot and say “next”.  Sure only like 1/4 of the people bring their registration cards, but for those that do, they should make the process super quick and painless.  Maybe a specific line for people who brought in the registration card? 

      • billstewart says:

         Wow, that’s incompetent!  California also gerrymandered their district boundaries, so it might have been tough for the candidates to figure out which districts to run in, but my polling place has been the same for 10 years or so.  And the poll workers don’t have to use computers with potential security risks to look up our names – they’ve got traditional paper lists, which work Just Fine, thank you, and can be audited if there are problems.  Was it the official election commission poll workers that had netbooks, or the partisan poll watchers?

  9. sdmikev says:

    says a lot about the person and the party that they have to resort to dirty (filthy) tricks to keep the other side from voting.
    guess they don’t love freedom as much as they claim..

  10. angusm says:

    Should someone explain to the Republicans that “voter fraud” does not mean “voting for the opposing candidate”?

    I always have the impression that they like everything about this democracy stuff except for the part that says that people who don’t agree with them get to vote and sometimes even to win.

  11. Grok says:

    America.

    Redefining democracy – 1 election at a time.

  12. waetherman says:

    Seems to me that the solution to all this chicanery is to make voting easier through the use of a secure, distributed network of voting places that can be accessed by everyone with minimal effort, with safeguards in place to prevent voter fraud. Turns out we have just such a network; banking ATMs. 

    We should make voting day a national holiday and close the banks. Then turn every ATM in to a voting machine, and issue voting cards to anyone who doesn’t have already have a debit card. Supplement the system with regular poling places, early voting and absentee voting and you’d have the most robust, secure and accessible voting system in the world.

    • Boundegar says:

      Because nobody ever scams ATMs.

      • waetherman says:

        Well it’s a heckuva lot harder to scam an ATM than it is a voting center. Anyway, it’s about access not just security.

        • dragonfrog says:

          As a Canadian, I’m constantly baffled by how much difficulty the US has in conducting voting quickly, accurately,  accessibly, and transparently.

          Here, on voting day, we are handed a paper ballot, fill it in with a pencil, drop it in the box, and the results are counted by hand that evening, with the polling place open to the public from the moment it’s set up to the moment the tally is called in to the elections office.  Any interested member of the public with the time to spare can spend the whole day there, and know that every step of the process was fair.

          I realize a lot of it is down to there being different local, county, and state initiatives and elections crammed in alongside the federal election on each region’s ballots, but still and all – it’s baffling…

          • Missy Pants says:

            Don’t forget the traditional calling of the election before the votes in Alberta or BC are counted. ;)

          • dragonfrog says:

            The CBC calls it – the final counts are still what’s authoritative.

            But, I agree – instead of their silly and unenforceable publication bans, they should just hold off on counting the ballots on the East coast until the polls close in the West.

          • ChicagoD says:

            Also, all of Canada is about the same size as New York and LA combined (by population), with 2/3 or so living in just two provinces. I mean, you’re basically comparing a state election to a national election.

          • Dave Lloyd says:

            Bullshit! What part of this doesn’t scale: you have more people, but you also have more locations and more people to manage the polling. Seems to the rest of the world like you’re not taking it seriously and it’s just a concession to have this illusion of voting.

          • Missy Pants says:

            Ok, how about Japan, they’re a 1/3 your size, and they vote by writing the candidates name on a blank ballot and putting it in a box. They have early voting, voting machines and paper ballots tallied by human beings. And yet no issues. How about a system like that?

          • ChicagoD says:

            @google-5a6e6cbe6dbbad222854b65bfad03e85:disqus Bullshit? From the man who speaks of the “illusion of voting.” Indeed.

            In any case, the U.S. is counting a lot more ballots in a lot more races. It is a weakness in the system that we also have a bunch of different ways to vote.

            However, let’s see how long it takes to get the NY-DC corridor votes tallied and how big the issues there are. That’s a Canadian election, and I bet it goes pretty well, even after Sandy.

          • dragonfrog says:

            It seems to me the population difference should account for an extra day’s delay perhaps, but not for the lack of transparency or accessibility. 

            Ten times as many people voting at ten times as many polling stations, also have ten times as many scrutineers counting their votes – the polling stations still count their ballots in parallel.  You might need a little extra time to tally the results from those polling stations.

            Understand though – I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong, just that I don’t understand why it’s so hard.

          • billstewart says:

            The number of issues affects how well the process scales.  You’re voting for what, a federal MP, provincial MP, and maybe a city office?  And the result for PM is a roll-up from the district winners.  I had about 25 choices to make, so the “counting by hand” would take about 8 times as long (except that some are more complex, like “Choose 3 out of 5 candidates for school board”.) 

          • dragonfrog says:

            At a federal election, a federal MP.
            At a provincial election, a provincial MLA/MNA, plus if you’re in a province that whose legislature has unconstitutional views about how the senate should work, a senate “nominee”.
            At a municipal election, maybe five or six things, including a few “choose up to N of M”

            Provincial and city elections are on their own timetables, and even if some district were insane enough to try to hold them on the same day, Elections Canada would laugh out of the room any province or municipality that asked for special ballots to be printed, different polling stations in the same federal riding to get different ones depending on which provincial ridings they fall into, or even for the some federal polling volunteers to get special training to cover two different elections they’d be managing.

    • dragonfrog says:

      That is an awesome idea, and also probably a terrible one.

      Remember the repeatedly discredited software voting kiosks by Diebold?  Diebold’s main line of business is ATMs – no bank would ever buy an ATM that didn’t produce a reliable paper trail, but somehow their voting machines couldn’t.

      - If we can’t get one ATM vendor to produce reliable voting kiosk firmware for one hardware spec with dedicated network infrastructure, can we expect all ATM vendors to do so for all versions of their ATM hardware that’s in the field?

      - Do we expect the banks to completely reconfigure their networks for voting day, then put them back into their standard config the next day, and somehow have it come off without a hitch?

      - A polling place’s security isn’t just, or even mostly, about the security of some computer hardware, software, and network infrastructure.  It’s also largely about security against coercion – those little cardboard booths you stand behind, and the fact that everyone can see that each person goes behind the booth alone, and no one forces them to vote a particular way.   A bank’s ATM room doesn’t offer that

      - A bank card and PIN is not an identity – how to you ensure that an overbearing patriarch doesn’t simply collect all the voter cards and PINs provided to his household, voting multiple times for himself and disenfranchising his family?

      • waetherman says:

        You raise some valid concerns, but I think they are the same ones that already exist with electronic voting and mail-in ballots. Banks offer a much higher level of security than most other places in the country, so physical security is good and cameras can prevent multiple voting fraud. As for data security, if the system is used by multiple banks there are more eyes on it to keep it honest. Personally I think it would be a lot better to have a large, distributed system involving lots of vendors than have one largely unsupervised proprietary system.

        • dragonfrog says:

          Agreed, electronic by Internet has all those problems and then some; mail-in ballots too, for the most part.

          Electronic voting with a dedicated kiosk system at a dedicated polling place has some but not all of the issues.

    • Cyran0 says:

      Just making it a national holiday is an excellent start.
      Your other points are just icing on the cake.

      If we can have two holidays in honor of those who fight to protect our freedoms, why not one so everyone can exercise one of the greatest of those freedoms?

  13. alrom says:

    This is ridiculous. Seven hours??? that’s totally unheard of in my country. I have never had to wait more than 20 minutes in a polling place in order to vote, and come on, you’re the USA, you’re supposed to handle this kind of things better than the spaniards.

    In the last general elections in here some people had to wait for more than 1 hour and that was considered outrageous. Maybe it helps that we vote on sunday.

    • acerplatanoides says:

      We sent our boys down there a hundred something years ago to straighten them out.

      This is as far as we could drag the troglodytes.

      Signed,
      –Massachusetts

      • Christopher says:

        Some of us who are down here are trying to continue the job y’all started. I can’t say if we’re making progress. I’d like to turn on a light and check, but too many of my fellow troglodytes find such a notion objectionable.

    • ChicagoD says:

      Voting on Sunday is definitely a better practice than on Tuesdays.

      Part of the long lines is also the needless complication in the voting in many instances. I knew exactly how I wanted to vote and had used all the equipment before and it still took 25 minutes to do all the do required to complete the ballot.

      • alrom says:

        Here in Spain, if you’re working on election Sunday, your workplace must give you up to 4 (paid) hours so you can vote. And if you’re working too far away from your polling place you can use those 4 hours some other day in order to send your vote by mail.

        • ChicagoD says:

          Four hours to mail my vote in? Boss, I’m going to need every second of that. These stamps are VERY complicated.

          All joking aside, that’s what participation requires.

          • Rives Binford says:

             I’d say it took me a couple of hours+ to research every single candidate and issue this year while filling out my mail-in ballot.

          • ChicagoD says:

            Oh. See, I have been doing that incrementally over time for the last year or so.

    • jandrese says:

      Took me 90 minutes today in my fairly affluent Northern Virgina neighborhood, but we also have quite a large number of immigrants in the area and how long it takes to vote seems to be proportional with the number of minorities in your district.

      • billstewart says:

        Well, now, wasn’t that a special way to describe your neighbors!  Did you really intend to sound like that?   

        I have a choice of ballots in something like 6 languages.  If there’s any difference in how long it takes, it’s because nobody’s asked for the Cambodian one in an hour or so and the poll workers have to look through their stash to find a blank.  And some times there are Old People who need some help because they want to use the large-screen voting machine instead of paper ballots.  But it’s just not a problem.  (And of course, since this is California, even the gringos at the polling place can speak as much Spanish as @ElBloombito, which is enough.)

  14. peregrinus says:

    Haven’t I heard someplace of a blog / site etc that monitors all this … couldn’t it be converted to action way ahead of time??

    Something like this - http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=475643 - but not just snarky; more action-oriented.  Some kind of registration and online petitioning.

    We all have the responsibility to ensure we’re governed appropriately.

    I hate to sound big and shouty about it, but ever since GB jnr stole Florida in 2000 this is international news every election.  Gore really should have stuck it out and jammed up the system.

    • Marja Erwin says:

      Gore had a responsibility to his voters, and to the country, and he betrayed that by taking a fall. He got more votes in Florida, but he conceded, and he mishandled the court case, and that’s only emboldened further disenfranchisement.

  15. johne2 says:

    So, every state has absentee voting available, right?

    • Boundegar says:

      Yes, but not every state allows early voting.  Not the same thing.

      • johne2 says:

        Understood…but listen, I’m in CA.  Here, there’s no restriction on who can vote absentee, if getting to the polling place is a problem.  I’m not sure if that’s a nationwide thing, but at least in the places where it is available (like CA), the notion that anyone’s deprived the right to vote is highly unlikely.

        • Funk Daddy says:

          Excepting those persons who presume to be able to vote today. 

          Your premise only stands if everyone voting today presumes that there will be a problem at the polling station and opts out of in-person ballot casting.

  16. Dave Lloyd says:

    Seems to me the UN needs to send in troups to monitor your elections. If this was going on in a third world country the USA would happily use this sort of shenanigans to deny legitimacy of the result.

    • ChicagoD says:

      A troupe of what?

      • mccrum says:

        ImprovEverywhere Goes To the Polls!

      • IronEdithKidd says:

        Is this really the time to get all pedantic?  It’s a valid suggestion considering all the existing evidence of voter supression and intimidation.  We should have our elections monitored by the UN.

        • Heard on the radio the other day that our elections are internationally monitored.  Can’t remember exactly by who, but it happens.  Probably fairly cursory as such things go.

        • ChicagoD says:

          Actually, it’s an idiotic idea. While we all like to freak out about the activities on the margins, they are just that, on the margins. The overwhelming majority of polling places and voters will experience absolutely no issues whatsoever. They will go in, get their ballots, vote, the ballots will be counted and appropriately recorded.

          Since I can think of fewer than 20 countries in the UN who could say the same, it isn’t clear to me who you think ought to be monitoring American elections. That is not to say that there are not issues in the U.S. It is to say that monitors from countries worse at it than the U.S. are useless.

          EDIT: Just saw the OSCE article below. Most of the 20 countries I could name are included in the OSCE (Japan, Australia, New Zealand, maybe a few others are not).

          • Dave Lloyd says:

            Unfortunately it is in the margins that elections can be thrown. No-one would try to gerrymander a safe seat. 

            Also you should remember that the organisation of the OSCE and the monitors do not necessarily reflect the practices of their home countries but rather a greater set of ideals. They’re not affecting how the election is run but monitoring it for abuses and you hope as external participants they are less biased than local monitors and hence will call foul if either side cheats.

          • It’s also potentially politically important to allow our own elections to be monitored so we can stand higher on our high horse when we are trying to get election monitors into some country that doesn’t want them.

            Plus, probably good for those organizations to have experience with elections that are expected to be pretty good.  Gives them a sense of how things feel when they are going reasonably well.

          • billstewart says:

            It was those abuses at the margins that led to George Bush’s 5-4 victory over Al Gore, with no real vote recount in Florida, and while there was a lot of statistical analysis afterward that may have found most of the Republican cheating, there wasn’t any systematic documentation of the intimidation of black voters that got reported in the press, nor any repairs to the votes of people who were falsely disenfranchised as “felons”.

    • xzzy says:

      I would love to see that happen, just for the resulting shitstorm when the us government throws a temper tantrum over it.

  17. nvlady says:

    In CA, I registered permanent absentee. I sit at my kitchen table a week before the election with my sample ballot, official ballot, elections manual, and a glass of wine.

    If FL and OH want shorter lines, they have to vote their interests for it. Short term memory loss is chronic after big mess-ups.

    • wysinwyg says:

      If FL and OH want shorter lines, they have to vote their interests for it.

      Yeah, if you want to be able to vote you need to vote for your right to vote!

      Quite a catch, that Catch-22.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

       Maybe I missed your point, but isn’t this very story about people trying to ‘vote their interests’ and having that vote suppressed?

      • mccrum says:

        Pretty handy, those words.  In the article.

        “How about Ohio, another “battleground” state governed by partisan fiat. Its election rules are administered by a secretary of state, Jon Husted, who just a few years ago was the GOP speaker of the state house. Like their counterparts in Florida, Ohio’s Republican lawmakers sought to restrict wildly popular early-voting hours around the state. And again the federal courts blunted the impact of their new rules. So what has Husted done? He’s focused his energy this weekend ginning up ways to justify discarding provisional ballots cast by his fellow citizens.”

  18. rocketpjs says:

    I am going to indulge in a little Canadian smugness here.  Every neighbourhood has a polling station, it takes 2 minutes to vote, and the votes are clear and counted.

    In the couple of instances where some US style voter suppression were tried in the last election, they are now a scandal and are currently before the courts (Pierre Poutine). 

    Of course, we still got stuck with a right wing future oil executive who governs like an emperor despite winning only ~38% of the vote, so we have our weaknesses too. Blatant vote suppression without any meaningful consequence is not one of them. 

    Is it so unimaginable to enact a national agency that is strictly non-partisan and responsible for ensuring elections are fair (by running them at every level)?

    • Dave Lloyd says:

      Do not taunt the US voters. They believe that everything they do is the best of the best particularly democracy!

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      I am going to indulge in a little Canadian smugness here.  Every neighbourhood has a polling station, it takes 2 minutes to vote, and the votes are clear and counted.

      I live in a U.S. city of about 3 million and in my neighborhood I walk about two blocks and never have to wait much more than 10 minutes or so, and usually there’s no wait at all tbh, and I go at the worst time, after work between 5 and 7. 

      So why is it so easy for the big city to handle a much larger volume of voters yet these “Swing States” are always having problems out in their suburbs?  Makes you wonder about these problems and who makes them……..

      • billstewart says:

        At least in Ohio, it’s mostly the opposite.  The suburban districts don’t have any problems, their voting machines work just fine, lines are short, and it all runs smoothly.  It’s the big-city districts which have 2-hour lines out the door in the rain, new complex voting machines that are missing power cords or table legs or otherwise don’t have all the correct parts to open on time until the city council person who lives in the district calls up the governor to get it fixed, and general chaos and anarchy.  And wouldn’t you know it, the suburban districts where everything works fine are mostly Republican, and the city districts where it’s a total mess are mostly Democrat, and sorry there’s a line out the door, but it’s 8pm and time to close the poll, y’all come back early next year!
        (That was really well documented in 2004; I hope the Democrats have been aggressive enough this year about preventing the state election bureaucrats from doing it again.)

    • Paul Renault says:

      rocketpjs, you missed an opportunity to be even more smug. 

      You forgot to mention that, by law, voters in Canada must have four uninterupted hours away from work, while the polls are open, to go vote. 

      For example: if the polls open at 8AM and close at 7PM, and your work day is from 9 to 5, your employer must either let you come in at 12 or leave at 3PM – or give you four hours off in the middle somewhere. With no reduction in pay.

      (The only peope who kinda get screwed are people working evening or night shifts.)

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Those kind of rules also only apply to people who have “jobs”, a diminishing demographic group. Casual workers and independent contractors just have to go without pay.

  19. Chris Lee says:

    Could be worse…there could be giant, scary black men holding the door politely for you. It’s getting bad out there.

    http://wonkette.com/488748/fox-friends-new-black-panthers-back-and-intimidating-voters-by-holding-door-open-for-old-white-ladies

  20. Could still be a mistake rather than by design.

    If an early voting system is designed to collect 5% of the votes, but 25% of the people in some areas decide to vote early the early voting will be overwhelmed.

    Not saying it’s not an intentional thing, but it could be unintentional.

    Note: they had early voting of some type in one place I lived (maybe seattle?) and there were only a few locations in the entire city for it, clearly designed for far fewer voters than the main election day.

  21. chgoliz says:

    What burns me up is that the opposing side, instead of being appalled, is thrilled that citizens’ civil rights are being violated.  It’s a feature, not a bug, to their version of patriotism.

    Representative democracy: we’re doing it wrong.

  22. Geoduck says:

    In Washington and Oregon, we’ve gone to all-mail voting. You do lose the feeling of community that comes from trekking to your polling station, but you can fill out the ballot in your free time at your leisure. If you don’t trust the mail, there’s places to return the ballot directly.

  23. OH MY GOD, the comments here defending the actions of these disenfranchising states make me ill. The US is a democracy. Those who find these long lines and pulling of early voting days by these state governors acceptable don’t give a dam* about the rights of their fellow  Americans. You could not defend this disenfranchisement if you did.

    I watched this occur all over Miami since early voting began and it’s appalling. It is blatant voter suppression by the GOP. All these states experiencing these problems have GOP legislators elected in 2010 and are all members of the united States of ALEC. Open your eyes, people. 

    If I saw DEMS do this, my feelings would be the same. Any party who takes steps to stop people from voting is making a mockery of the US and the world is watching. If you’re such a die hard Republican, perhaps you could care about the US standing in the world even if you don’t care about your fellow Americans.

  24. Jay Yeman says:

    Voting should be easy and accessible.

  25. morcheeba says:

    Your argument makes no sense. Oh, how I wish more of the military budget went in to schools so that we don’t breed a generation of logic-illiterate.

  26. nowimnothing says:

    No, early voting is intended to reduce the amount of time it takes to vote on election day, attempting to prevent the issues we have seen in the past with long lines still there past the closing of the polls. If these people all voted on election day, even if there were 20 times the polling locations (I would like to see where you pulled that one from) the polls would be overrun. Therefore it would take several hours to cast a ballot on a typical work day. For those that work that day without paid leave time, it is a substantial burden.

  27. ChicagoD says:

    I don’t think you’re right about early voting. Maybe some states treat it as absentee, in-person voting, but I think in Illinois it is . . . early voting. I think you just need to be eligible, then vote. The only reason I didn’t do it is because we like to take our child to the polling place with us so he sees the process.

  28. Quaternion says:

    I’ll take your bet. The long lines should be evidence enough that a large number of them cannot vote on election day.  If you could also vote Tuesday, would *you* continue to stand in line for 6 hours, or would you just leave and come back on Tuesday?

  29. sdmikev says:

     what the hell is wrong with you?  you make zero sense.

  30. thatbob says:

    “These locations are designated early voting locations for those who cannot vote on election day not for anyone who just decides to vote early.”

    Yeah, sure, maybe – but unless you know where the picture was taken, and the exact voting rules that govern that location, you should STFU.  Where I live, early voting is for anyone, including everyone who “just decides to vote early.”

    I went to early vote last week, and the lines (at 2 locations) were over an hour.  I would happily bet that 80-95% of the people willing to wait in line were people who are going to be too busy on election day to vote.

  31. Boundegar says:

    I would happily take that bet, except there’s no way to collect data, and you’re trolling.  You really think somebody would travel an extra mile or ten and stand in line for hours…  just for fun?  Probably 99% of those people are required to work long hours, made longer by commuting by bus.

    And they are “taking advantage.”  It’s really bad when minorities vote, isn’t it?

  32. acerplatanoides says:

    As in everything political advantages will be taken by those that have an issue to make.

    Political advantage will be taken by the majority.

    “Boing Boing is just a parott for those that make an issue over nothng.”

    Speak for yourself, polly. Or take the time to listen.

  33. Funk Daddy says:

    ?? Right, thereby if polling stations and voter suppression exist then your premise falls. Because in that instance some will be disenfranchised despite having had the option of absentee mail-in ballots before election day.

    Your assessment that everyone *can* vote depends on everyone anticipating that they cannot vote in person. That is not the situation is it?

  34. Funk Daddy says:

    No, it isn’t really possibly the case that all Californian voters expect not to be able to vote on election day.

    And everyone you know are not usually the targets of voter suppression tactics in swing states. 

    I understand that -you- *can* vote via mail for any reason you want in Cali, yes, but that in no way translates to every Californian being innately protected from election day/week voter suppression campaigns.

  35. ChicagoD says:

    @johne2:disqus Not to be paranoid, but if I vote by mail in a close election and my zip code is demographically “suspect” for some people counting votes, why wouldn’t they just shred it unopened. How would I know?

  36. billstewart says:

    The only reason it takes a long time to vote on election day is if your election officials have either significantly mispredicted the number of voters who’ll show up, or if they’ve chosen not to have enough voting positions for the number of voters they expect.  Whether that’s because they’re incompetent, or cheapskates, or deliberately manipulating the voting process is something you’ll have to take up with them, but there’s no excuse for it, unless they’ve had their plans disrupted by a natural disaster they didn’t adequately prepare for.

  37. billstewart says:

    Here in California, the early voting process looks just like the regular process, except instead of going to the polling place down the block, you have to go to the inconveniently located county elections office, and the clerk who checks your data and hands you your ballot is behind a counter instead of at a rickety card table.  I did that last election when we were going to be out of town on election day, worked fine.

  38. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Up until this election, early voting for me would have been 113 miles round trip and taken three to five hours depending on traffic. Now it’s down to 25 miles round trip and about an hour of driving.

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