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March 18, 2015

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and how this amendment going to get 2/3 state to sign on ?

The Southern States need to be FORCED with 14th-15th amendment and civil rights movement to allow black to vote. Even non southern people often have qualm with felon voting. And a lot of people believe paying income tax is qualification of voting.

And Amendment supporter would soon realize there are many way to prevent voting legally, in many states people still have to work on voting day for example.

No need for a constitutional amendment.

Just make "attempted voter suppression" an affirmative defense against homicide charges.

Aren't we often told how the 2nd Amendment is a bulwark against tyranny?

How about:

The privileges and immunities meant in the 14th Amendment to this Constitution shall be understood as including the protections afforded by this Constitution and its Amendments against the United States.

If you are going to start amending the US Constitution, overruling Slaughter-House cases would be a good start.

Any exception can and will be abused. I would not have a problem with felons voting anyway, even if it is 5 minutes before execution.
I agree with philippeo though, that the 'election on a working day' has to go. The original reason to put elections on Tuesdays has lost all validity. Either put it on a Sunday and/or make it a national holiday.
That still leaves lots of vote-suppressing shenanigans though like the positioning of poll-places, insufficient equipment and staffing thereof etc.

How about "you already voted once in this election"? How about, "Why are you trying to vote in Nebraska, you live in Kentucky"? Both of these require knowing who somebody is, and where they live.

For that matter, the big fuss in Arizona, is that they didn't want to just have to take somebody's word for whether they were a citizen, they wanted some kind of evidence. And the Justice Department's position is, "No, you have to take their word for it."

So, when a child young enough that they can't ride on some amusement park rides, and speaking no English, walks in to the polling place, and says, (In whatever language they speak.) "I'm a citizen, and 18, and I want to vote!", do you have to take their word for it, and let them vote? Or are you allowed to demand evidence?

How do you prevent double voting if you have to take somebody's word for who they are? How do you apply even restrictions you've explicitly authorized, without adding the requirement that they provide evidence that they're a citizen and 18, and refusing to let them vote if they won't supply it?

The honor system? That appears to be the Justice department's position, but I doubt you'd convince 2/3 of the states to ratify that rule.

Let me endorse Lurker's proposal: Time, long since time, to abolish the idea of selective incorporation. It's just a residue from the Court's early betrayal of the 14th amendment, which some people find useful in the case of rights they dislike.

Oh, and I'd add one very important reform: An amendment to end birthright citizenship for anybody whose parents weren't at least legal immigrants at the time of birth, and clarifying that votes were to be apportioned on the basis of numbers of citizens, not warm bodies.

We could at least seriously discuss the first. There would likely be a major problem in execution, even if we could agree on transition to ius sanguinis in general (any system has its injustices even if applied without specific bias). The transition would be the tricky part since it would definitely be tried to use it as a tool of permanent disenfranchisement and lead to decades of court fights (unless of course there is 'reform' first to keep the disenfranchised from see king redress).
As for the second part, do you mean House seats, when you say 'votes apportioned'? I think we could agree on that. But why stop there? Could we not apportion seats depending on votes cast giving an incentive for high turnout independent of party? I am aware of course that this would require a major change of system since it could not work with fixed districts before the election (no one knowing in advance how many critters will go to DC until after the completed vote count).

'seeking' not 'see king', resaturation (drat typos. I mean restauration) of monarchy is lower down on the secret agenda.

Brett: How about... For that matter... So, when a child...

how about we address one problem at a time, focusing first on those that are known to be real?

etc

What's restauration? Conversion into a restaurant? I think maybe you mean "restoration".

Changing from birthright citizenship to something else would be complex in execution. I can't see how it could be applied retroactively, but might be written so as to apply back to the date the amendment process began, so as to prevent a last minute rush for "anchor babies".

Yes, I did mean House seats. Why should citizens get their votes enhanced just because there are a lot of illegal aliens where they live?

"how about we address one problem at a time, focusing first on those that are known to be real?"

All these are problems which are known to be real. The scope of them is debatable, but they are real.

For that matter, I'd propose a post-election audit, to check on the scope of these problems: Pick a random sample of people who are recorded as having voted in each election, and have investigators visit them in person, to confirm their identities, and that they did vote.

Every once in a while somebody attempts this, and gets shut down as supposedly engaging in "vote suppression". But a voter audit is vote suppression like a bank audit is depositer suppression. Both are checks to see that the people running the system aren't fraudulently inventing transactions that didn't really happen.

I think that's the greatest challenge of securing any election system: The people running it are the best positioned to commit fraud. In our system, such people are selected locally on a partisan basis, so that in any district where one party dominates, the elections are run by that party's members, with deplorably little in the way of real oversight.

Brett,

the penalties already on books for non-citizens votimg in the US are a pretty big deterrence factor. Like in any decent honour system, the consequences of cheating are there already.

I seem to remember that voting as a non-citizen disqualifies one permanently for US citizenship, inter alia, and also exposes one to criminal charges and deportation. What more can you wish?

The voting registration problem could be simplified quite nicely by combining it with the US postal service, IRS and Social Security Administration databases. With a single national population database, there will be no need to register for voting. Everyone can be automatically registered at their current address, if they are citizens.

Facinating. that's the second time I've drafted a detailed response to something, posted it, seen it display, and a moment later, refreshed to see if any comments had crept in while I was writing it, and my new comment was gone.

There's a glitch in the system, that's for sure.

"the penalties already on books for non-citizens votimg in the US are a pretty big deterrence factor. Like in any decent honour system, the consequences of cheating are there already."

Consequences for cheating are only a concern when there is a mechanism present to DETECT cheating. And, that's what you're objecting to: Instituting a mechanism to detect cheating the current system, (Such as Motor Voter, and illegals being permitted to get drivers' licences.) facilitates.

My chief objection to automatic registration is that it is widely agreed that most ballot fraud is absentee ballot fraud, not in person ballot fraud. And the raw material of absentee ballot fraud is... people who are registered to vote, but don't.

You're going to maximize the raw material for committing absentee ballot fraud, without any mechanism being added to catch it?

Lurker, that's anathema. Don't you know that a national citizen database is the first step to murdering us all (after taking all our guns, putting us in FEMA camps and forcing affordable healthcare on us*)?

'Restauration' is the old spelling. It seems not to have crossed the pond to the US or underwent the au->o transformation while on the way. It's still in my European English dictionaries (more than one), in at least one with the specific meaning of re-installing of a hereditary monarch (e.g. after Cromwell and Napoleon) or another 'ancien regime'.

*not to forget forced gay marriage

Oh, and I'd add one very important reform: An amendment to end birthright citizenship for anybody whose parents weren't at least legal immigrants at the time of birth

What happens to the children of the US-born non-citizens? Are they non-citizens too?

In other words, do you want there to be permanent, multigenerational populations of non-citizens in the US? The countries that already have this have notable problems with them.

"In other words, do you want there to be permanent, multigenerational populations of non-citizens in the US?"

No, I want everyone who's not here legally to be deported to their nation of origin. Their children can go with them.


The substance of my vanished comment:

The weak point of any system of elections, is that the people best positioned to commit ballot fraud, are the people operating the system. Not regular people, but elections administrators.

In the US, elections administrators are, typically, of whichever party dominates a district. So, in Republican areas, elections are administered by Republicans, with some nominal level of scrutiny by 'observers' selected by the opposing party. In Democratic areas, elections are run by Democrats.

As someone who has served as an election observer, I assure you the scrutiny is VERY nominal. Almost everything is happening out of your view, and you can't keep records. And, in large parts of the country, Republicans are enjoined by the courts from even having elections observers! Which means Democrats get to run the elections without any scrutiny at all.

If you'd set out to design a system to facilitate ballot fraud by the people running the system, you couldn't have done much better.

I've proposed, and this would take an amendment, that elections administration be taken away from local authorities, and given to a national "election corps", modeled after the Peace Corps, where young people could volunteer, be given training, and be randomly assigned to a district where they'd administer the elections.

It would be remarkably difficult to assemble a conspiracy to rig elections out of randomly assigned people, who got reshuffled elect election.

No, I want everyone who's not here legally to be deported to their nation of origin. Their children can go with them.

How about their grandchildren? Because you know that's not actually going to happen in time to prevent grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.

I know it can happen, if we can elect people who want it to happen. That's the current challenge, electing people who not only find it necessary to say they want it, but who actually do want it.

It's a bad sign for a democracy, when a large majority of the population want something, year after year, and can not elect a government willing to do it.

Restauration must be a pretty old spelling, as it predates my early education.

There's a glitch in the system, that's for sure.

Bug, or feature ?
:)

As long as the intent, which should be obvious, is preserved, I'm fine with it.

I'm unclear on the intent actually. Are you suggesting an amendment where any person can walk into any precinct on election day and cast a ballot (e.g. do away with the registration system entirely)?

Or are you saying, once you've demonstrated you're eligible to vote in a district and registered with the relevant authority (frex county clerk), you can't be denied the vote due to lack of ID at the precinct.

The second one I think is good. I'm actually one of those crazy people that thinks the right to vote shouldn't even need to be enumerated, because it should be an inalienable right.

The first one I don't know how I would feel about it, I think the system would be rife with abuse, especially for local elections.

Don't you know that a national citizen database is the first step to murdering us all (after taking all our guns, putting us in FEMA camps and forcing affordable healthcare on us*)?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to murder us BEFORE paying for our healthcare? Just another example of wasteful government bloat.

Seriously, I'd be happier with election ink. I'm not especially concerned about illegals voting, mostly because the illegals I've met (its hard not to know a few in central valley of CA) couldn't be dragged into any sort of official building.

If anybody wants to offer up evidence that illegal votes are a problem, I'd listen. But right now I'm more concerned with requiring citizens to, say, get a government issued ID and implant themselves in a government database to vote. Which many people either don't want to do, or find it difficult to do, and would be disenfranchised.

And yes: Election day shouldn't be on a Tuesday.

"Seriously, I'd be happier with election ink."

I am absolutely, categorically certain, that were Republicans to propose this, Democrats would declare it to be voter suppression, the moral equivalent of siccing dogs on any black person who approached the polling place.

as with the 15th A, you'll need the following section:

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

I am absolutely, categorically certain, that were Republicans to propose this, Democrats would declare it to be voter suppression

Well, as long as you are absolutely and categorically certain, I see no reason to ask for any evidence to support that assertion.

History shows that raising your right hand and swearing an Oath to the Constitution does not 100% eliminate High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore we need "a mechanism" in place to detect this.

Something must be done.

We who normally abhor laws in general and feverishly decry the authoritarian state because Liberty! must fall on our swords, take one for the team, and pledge our lives, fortune, and honor and insist on law to grant us political advantage.

This is a bedrock principle. How can it be denied?

I base that on some of the absurd things Democrats have insisted was voter suppression. Like, even having Republican poll watchers. A police car making a traffic stop near a polling place.

Would you be willing to preemptively disavow any claim that election ink was vote suppression, and commit to declaring that anybody who made such a claim was at best a crank?

Let's seriously propose it, I like the idea.

While I wouldn't phrase it so colorfully, what bobbyp said. I would rather have some nominal voter fraud then ceding more power to the government to regulate who gets to vote.

Brett: Why should citizens get their votes enhanced just because there are a lot of illegal aliens where they live?

To compensate them for the inconvenience:)

In all seriousness, I'm sure you know the historical roots of allocating representation by the number of persons rather than the number of voters. They are the same historical roots which give citizens of Wyoming about 50 times as much say in the Senate as citizens of California.

But, back to Russell's proposal. First, a nitpick:
"No conditions other than citizenship or having attained the age of 18 years" should probably read "No conditions other than citizenship AND having attained the age of 18 years" to avoid endless argument over the meaning of conjunctions. Good thing there's not a comma in there too.

Second, "conditions" is as loose a word as "abridged" or "infringed". I suppose there is no set of words in the English language that lawyers and judges can't twist to suit their ideology, and I admit that I have no better phrasing to propose. Still, it should be possible to make the text more precise -- even if it makes the amendment narrower in scope.

For instance, are we talking about "conditions" on registering to vote (a one-time thing) or on casting a ballot (an every-election thing)?

Also, and with all due respect to the States' Rights crowd, I would not limit the 28th to "federal" office. If the US is to be a single nation, then citizen of the US ought to have the same power over their state and local officers as over federal ones.

--TP

Would you be willing to preemptively disavow any claim that election ink was vote suppression, and commit to declaring that anybody who made such a claim was at best a crank?

I would be willing to say that it is not voter suppression, and anybody claiming such is wrong, and I would attempt to convince them otherwise.

Or is it required that I call them a crank?

What's restauration? Conversion into a restaurant?

I suggest a new posting rule: people whose first language is not English get a pass on nit-picking about spelling and grammar.

Just saying.

How to prevent voting fraud:

First, is it actually a problem? Are there significant amounts of fraud, or any demonstrable fraud at all, above and beyond normal bonehead administrative blunders?

Assuming it is a problem we want to address, what would be a fair and practical way to demonstrate citizenship? I.e., how would you do that, in a way that doesn't disenfranchise particular sectors of the population?

I've proposed, and this would take an amendment, that elections administration be taken away from local authorities, and given to a national "election corps", modeled after the Peace Corps, where young people could volunteer, be given training, and be randomly assigned to a district where they'd administer the elections.

I would fully agree with this general idea. Over here it is organized like jury duty, i.e. any citizen can be called up to be an election helper (in one's home district or at least the region not in a random part of the country though).

what would be a fair and practical way to demonstrate citizenship?

In a court of law an affirmative oath swearing that you will tell the truth or suffer the penalty of perjury is enough. It should be enough when you register to vote.

How about registration at birth?

And just what the hell are these things called "provisional ballots"?

It's a bad sign for a democracy, when a large majority of the population want something, year after year, and can not elect a government willing to do it.

Is this the same person who routinely harps at us to "amend the Constitution" whenever we point out that ours is a position supported by the majority?

We need a mechanism......

"In all seriousness, I'm sure you know the historical roots of allocating representation by the number of persons rather than the number of voters."

I said number of "citizens", and basing representation on "persons" rather than "citizens" was a method by which slave states increased their representation in Congress.

First, is it actually a problem?

This really should be the first question people ask when we are discussing giving government power to regulate something.

Assuming it is a problem we want to address, what would be a fair and practical way to demonstrate citizenship? I.e., how would you do that, in a way that doesn't disenfranchise particular sectors of the population?

Unfortunately, the way many non Anglo-Saxon countries do it is anathema: Mandatory national identity cards. I am not talking about Tony Blair's Orwellian proposal that in addition to its intrusiveness would have cost everyone an extra £400 every few years but the basic piece of cardboard (or these days plastic) with photo, name, address, nationality and maybe a few basic 'biometrics' (over here eye colour and body height) on it as used in most countries. I would not be opposed to fingerprints, although they are not currently required. And somehow we also manage to keep databases separated (so the tax bureau or the police cannot simply access them at will or outsource/sell them to private entities) and to successfully prevent and persecute violations of data protection laws.

"And just what the hell are these things called "provisional ballots"?"

That's when you show up at the polling place without proof that you're entitled to vote, and they let you fill out a ballot anyway, and give you some time to come back with that proof. Inherent in the notion is that, if you don't bother coming by later to provide it, the ballot doesn't get counted.

"Is this the same person who routinely harps at us to "amend the Constitution" whenever we point out that ours is a position supported by the majority?

We need a mechanism......"

Indeed, and the amendment process is the mechanism by which you demonstrate you actually have that support.

I suggest a new posting rule: people whose first language is not English get a pass on nit-picking about spelling and grammar.

I concur. It gives the impression that the commenter doesn't actually know who s/he is talking to and can't be bothered to keep track of opinions.

Well, I appreciate corrections concerning correct use of language, as long as it is not just used to discredit the arguments being made. I still stand by 'restauration' being a possible spelling in this context and in particular for changing a political system, replacing it with an older one. Peace gets restored, monarchy restaured (not actually; the 'au' spelling seems to only apply to the noun, not the verb, at least in English).
Btw, by the pure feeling of it 'restore' seems to fit more to shops replenishing goods ;-)

Btw, I get about 300K google hits for 'restauration of monarchy' and 600K for 'restoration of monarchy', although admittedly the top hits almost all point to the specific post-Cromwell and post-Napoleon situations.

Well, admittedly I should have ended that line with ;)

"Replenishing"; Do people ever "plenish" things in the first place? It's things like that which caused me to get so interested in Loglan years ago.

Friendly(?) amendment to the "ESL anti-nit-picking" rule: it's always okay to make light of spelling autocorrect.

At least until our Benevolent Robot Overlords stomp us under their iron/carbon-nanofiber composite heel.

(note for inclusion in post-revolution archives: all of the above was an autocorrect glitch. J'Accuse, Clippy!)

Are you suggesting an amendment where any person can walk into any precinct on election day and cast a ballot (e.g. do away with the registration system entirely)?

Or are you saying, once you've demonstrated you're eligible to vote in a district and registered with the relevant authority (frex county clerk), you can't be denied the vote due to lack of ID at the precinct.

The second one I think is good. I'm actually one of those crazy people that thinks the right to vote shouldn't even need to be enumerated, because it should be an inalienable right.

What I'm suggesting is that we explicitly enumerate voting as an inalienable right.

We would obviously need a way to establish who is and who is not a citizen, but we do that now, for other purposes, so we're obviously capable of it.

I'm not at all suggesting that we eliminate registration, some kind of registration process is probably the easiest way to manage the question of who can and can't vote.

National ID cards are possible, and work elsewhere, but as far as I can tell they are just as prone to hacking and fraud as anything else, and they'd be a hard sell here in the good old USA.

Where I live, you register, you show up, somebody asks for name and address, they check you off on your way into the booth, and on your way out.

I could wander over to the next precint and pretend to be Joe Smith who lives on Oak St, but (a) the monitor and/or somebody else in the room likely knows who Joe Smith is, and (b) it would take a hell of a lot of that kind of fraud-by-onesies to make a difference, electorally.

You don't need a perfect solution, you need a sufficient one.

To Tony P's question, what I mean by "conditions" is any barrier that a jurisdiction might choose to place between a citizen and the ability to vote.

As far as people voting multiple times / people pretending to be other people / people fraudulently submitting absentee ballots, I would be interested in seeing some kind of evidence that it's actually a problem before I would consider it an issue that trumps ensuring the ability to vote.

I'd be fine with making the feds responsible for running elections for national office, and a volunteer cadre of people trained to run the voting process is also fine with me.

I'm somewhat surprised to see that suggestion come from Brett, anything giving the feds more power or responsibility usually seems to freak libertarians out.

Long story short, what I'm after here is establishing voting as an explicitly enumerated right.

Language usage complaints should be sent to the law firm of "Ruly, Sheveled, and Couth".

"Or are you saying, once you've demonstrated you're eligible to vote in a district and registered with the relevant authority (frex county clerk), you can't be denied the vote due to lack of ID at the precinct."

But, lacking ID, unless you are personally known to the elections workers, (Admittedly, normally the case in the rural precinct I used to live in.) who's to say that the "you" who registered, and the "you" who showed up to vote, are the same person?

"As far as people voting multiple times / people pretending to be other people / people fraudulently submitting absentee ballots, I would be interested in seeing some kind of evidence that it's actually a problem before I would consider it an issue that trumps ensuring the ability to vote."

I'd be interested in there being some sort of process by which such evidence could actually be created, if the problem is real. Right now, it's sort of like this:

"There's a unicorn behind that tree."

"How could you know that? You haven't looked behind the tree."

"Ok, I'll walk over there, and take a look."

"Oh, no you don't!", and the second person in the conversation gets an injunction preventing anyone from looking behind the tree.

That's why I've suggested a voting audit be conducted after elections, where a random sampling of voters are contacted to make sure they really did vote. We need actual data, to end this argument. The absense of data doesn't mean anything, when nobody is allowed to collect it.

"I'm somewhat surprised to see that suggestion come from Brett, anything giving the feds more power or responsibility usually seems to freak libertarians out."

I try not to be mindless. Some problems actually do have a federal solution. Just not most of them.

But, lacking ID, unless you are personally known to the elections workers, (Admittedly, normally the case in the rural precinct I used to live in.) who's to say that the "you" who registered, and the "you" who showed up to vote, are the same person?

Speaking purely for how things run where I live:

Short of the monitor knowing you personally, there is no way to prevent somebody who is not (for example) me from walking to my precint polling place, giving my name and address, and voting in my place.

If we wanted to absolutely prevent that from ever happening, folks in the jurisdiction that runs elections (I assume the state) could require me to present a photo id with my address on it to demonstrate that I am, in fact, me.

The upside would be an incrementally greater assurance that the person voting was, in fact, me.

The downside would be that folks who didn't have a photo id wouldn't be able to vote.

And, if they did institute such a procedure, it wouldn't rule out fraude. The fraudulent voter would simply be required to manufacture a false id with my name and address, but their picture. Which, nowadays, is actually not that big of a hurdle.

We could then move on to biometrics. And so on.

We need a regime that prevents people from voting fraudulently, while allowing everyone who is entitled to vote to do so.

It doesn't need to be perfect, because to make something like that perfect would bankrupt the nation.

It needs to be good enough.

What we have now in many jurisdictions is a regime that seeks to prevent fraudulent voting, which as far as I can tell is demonstrated to occur in cases numbering in, maybe, the hundreds? Very low thousands, at a stretch?

And to achieve that, they prevent tens or hundreds of thousands of people who *are* entitled to vote from doing so.

And, conveniently for some, the folks who tend to be disenfranchised tend to vote for (D)'s. Wink wink nudge.

There may well be a unicorn behind the tree. Are there a thousand, or ten thousand, or a hundred thousand unicorns behind the tree?

At the point where you're asserting many thousands of unicorns, the burden of proof shifts to you.

Long story short, what I'm after here is establishing voting as an explicitly enumerated right.

Agreed, 100%, then. I'm just wondering if the current wording could be construed to mitigate a requirement for voter registration, as registration could be viewed as a condition above and beyond (a) being 18 and (b) being a citizen. I don't know exactly how I would rephrase it, or really if its necessary.

Where I live, you register, you show up, somebody asks for name and address, they check you off on your way into the booth, and on your way out.

Yeah, basically the same in every precinct I've ever voted in. I think that is broadly sufficient to mitigate voter fraud, unless someone wants to provide evidence otherwise.

That's why I've suggested a voting audit be conducted after elections, where a random sampling of voters are contacted to make sure they really did vote.

I have no objection to this. My understanding of this is that at least in many states, that data is public record. There was a whole 'vote-shaming' kerfuffle a few months back based on public data regarding voting, IIRC. It should be relatively easy for an interested party to get a list and do a survey. But until someone does and demonstrates that unicorn exists, I'm going to assume voter fraud is of minimal concern.

I have no objection to this.

Nor I. It doesn't get in the way of people actually voting, so fine with me.

There was a whole 'vote-shaming' kerfuffle a few months back based on public data regarding voting, IIRC.

I'm assuming the issue here is not wanting to embarrass people who didn't vote.

If so, just call people whose names are checked off as voting.

"It should be relatively easy for an interested party to get a list and do a survey."

It certainly *should* be, but on every occasion I've heard where it was attempted, somebody went to court to stop it, on the basis that it was a form of voter harassment.

I can't speak for all precincts of all states, but IIRC I've mostly encountered "name, address: SIGN THE BOOK" and they check that signatures match.

One can argue whether that's 'high security' enough, but it's what is commonly used for legal documents, writing checks, tax forms, etc. Under penalty of law for fraudulent use.

Voting fraud issues in this day and age are just a tiny fraction of what they were 100-200 years ago: back then, ballot boxes were made of glass, so that 'stuffing' would be visible. And all the holdover 'no liquor sales on Election Day?' Yeah, a problem then, not so much now.

Purple ink? Fine, a solution to a non-existent problem, but whatever. Having centralized non-partisan election administration? Good idea! Doing random audits of elections (not just the 'close' ones) is also good, I'd guess that it turns up some 'interesting' issues that no one was expecting.


If so, just call people whose names are checked off as voting.

That's all you would need to do the study, I would think.

It certainly *should* be, but on every occasion I've heard where it was attempted, somebody went to court to stop it

Can you give an example? I mentioned vote-shaming above (here's an article: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2012/11/02/peer-pressure-and-voting/1675019/ ), so clearly people can and do get voting records.

Purple ink? Fine, a solution to a non-existent problem, but whatever.

I mentioned it more for the case if we no longer had registration...at least people couldn't vote twice. But that wasn't what russell was proposing, so whatever. I agree it doesn't do much in system with registration rolls.

The biometric used where I live is a signature. You sign the book next to a copy of your signature from your registration. I'd also guess that, say, an elderly woman, who could somehow mimic my signature, still might not be allowed to vote as a 46-year-old male.

I can't really think of anything off the top of my head that would cause me to raise an objection in principle to Brett's suggestion of post-election audits, so long as they weren't unduly resource intenstive and were done in good faith.

Some problems actually do have a federal solution.

You have resolutely refused to demonstrate that there is indeed a "voter fraud problem".

Let's try starting at the beginning, shall we?

I'd add a third condition (in addition to citizenship and adulthood): "resident in the jurisdiction."

That is, if it's an election for Senator from Arizona, and you live in California but happen to be passing through, you don't get to vote for that. Probably the easiest is to phrase so it looks at the jurisdiction where the polling place is, and you have to live there -- I just can't come up with a concise way to say that.

in large parts of the country, Republicans are enjoined by the courts from even having elections observers! Which means Democrats get to run the elections without any scrutiny at all.

Brett, have you got a citation for that? Specifically, a court order that forbids one party, but not the other, from having people at the polling places.

Thanks.

We have in Finland the photo ID requirement for voting. In Estonia, our neighbouring country, they have a mandatory (and free) national ID card that has been a great success. They actually can vote via the net from home.

Our national ID is voluntary and costs money, but you can also vote by showing a driver's licence or passport. If you lack a photo ID, the police will issue you one for the purpose of voting for free, but that is valid only for the election week so you can't skirt the cost of the ID.

In addition, the neighbourhood elections board members (i.e. the poll workers) have the authority to state that they know you. Nowadays, I don't have to show an ID when voting because I live in a small precinct with only about a thousand voters. The poll workers know me. It was a really touching experience to go to the polls and be told for the first time in my life, when I was fumbling for my wallet: "No need, Lurker, we know you."

See, for instance, 2e

"2. The RNC and RSC (hereinafter collectively referred to as the "party comittees") agree that they will in the future, in all states and territories of the United States:

...

(e) refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose of significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting; and the conduct of such activities disproportionately in or directed towards districts that have a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations shall be considered relevant evidence of the existence of such a factor and purpose;"

IOW, if the Republican party posts poll watchers disproportionately in minority precincts, this is considered conclusive evidence of racial animus, and the Republican party has to stop using poll watchers.

Think about this for a moment: Given that 80-90% of blacks vote Democratic, is it possible for the Republican party to put poll watchers in Democratic precincts, and NOT have this correlate with minority precincts? Of course it isn't.

The net result of this is that the GOP is only allowed to watch itself...

Claim: "in LARGE (emphasis mine-ed) parts of the country, Republicans are enjoined by the courts from even having elections observers!"

I am breathless.

Request: cite, please, sir?

Response: "See, for instance, 2e"

What do we see there? A consent decree! GOP thugs AGREE to stop sending people to polls in predominantly minority populated districts with the express purpose to intimidate (i.e., suppress) voters.

(frankly, I should think such behavior is subject to 2nd Amendment remedy-but whatever.)

Conclusion: The initial claim is laughable.

The way I read that is that there is no problem with Republicans posting poll watchers in precincts which are 80-90% black (and therefore Democratic), provided that they are not doing so based on race. That is, provided they also post poll watchers in other precincts where blacks (or other racial minorities) are not a major part of the voting population.

The net result is that the GOP is allowed to watch the Democrats, provided they show some evidence that they are watching Democrats, not just blacks. Or is there something there that I am missing?

is it possible for the Republican party to put poll watchers in Democratic precincts

Yes.

Put poll watchers in all districts, in basically equal proportions.

In particular, don't disproportionately target minority districts for efforts whose intent is to prevent qualified people from voting.

You have a problem with that?

So how many polling places can you just show up at? How many times can you just show up? This is really poor critical thinking.

You have to have something that prevents people from voting multiple times. Once you accept that reality the step to registration is essentially necessary and the step to voter id is just so simple that it's silly not to do it.

And there is no need to show that the current controls are inadequate to prevent large scale voter fraud to justify a system that would be more streamlined in a world where the people in Dade and Broward Counties stand in line for four hours, at least, to vote. That's after ten days of the ability to early vote that includes two weekends.

if the voter ID isn't free, it's a poll tax.

we've been through this. a lot of people fought and died because of it.

You have to have something that prevents people from voting multiple times.

As far as I can tell, the basic check-in / check-out regime that appears to be the norm prevents you from voting multiple times.

Likewise, is effective in preventing people from voting in someone else's name.

Once you accept that reality the step to registration is essentially necessary and the step to voter id is just so simple that it's silly not to do it.

Nobody's against registration as far as I can tell.

The objections to voter id are basically pragmatic ones. Objections to voter id in principle are more likely to come from the libertarian side than not.

I'm not sure what point you're making here.

You have to have something that prevents people from voting multiple times.

The obvious solution is the one which is in place currently: there is a list of all of the voters in the precinct. When you vote, you sign next to your name. If you've already signed, you can't vote again.

If I read the original proposal correctly, there is nothing to prevent that. You make a list of everybody who lives there. We already have the basis for that: the census. If you move in, you add your name (and where you are moving from, so they can be notified to remove you there). You could even do that at the polls, just so it gets done.

cleek, even if it is free, it is still effectively a poll tax if to get it you have to go to somewhere which is not easily accessable. For example, if part of the district travels by public transport (and therefore doesn't have a car), but the location is accessible only by car -- or an hour's walk.

"The way I read that is that there is no problem with Republicans posting poll watchers in precincts which are 80-90% black (and therefore Democratic), provided that they are not doing so based on race."

The bolded text provides that it will be presumed that it is on the basis of race, if it is disproportionately at black precincts. Which is will unavoidably be, unless resources are wasted placing Republican poll watchers in Republican precincts.

Essentially, the Democratic party is allowed to put poll watchers wherever they want, while the Republican has to put them where the court is comfortable with, which happens to not be where the Democrats are.

The objections to voter id are basically pragmatic ones. Objections to voter id in principle are more likely to come from the libertarian side than not.

Yes and yes. I have objections to voter ID because I have spent substantial time getting to know people that lack the inclination or ability to get a government issued ID. On principle, I don't want to force them. On practicality, not everyone has the free day and $50 it takes to walk/bus to the nearest DMV and get an ID, because they are busy trying to make enough money to pay for things like rent and food.

even if it is free, it is still effectively a poll tax if to get it you have to go to somewhere which is not easily accessable.

Yes.

"You have to have something that prevents people from voting multiple times."

We do. It is called "registration".

Just like Brett, you do not provide ANY EVIDENCE beyond bare assertions and wild hypotheticals demonstrating a widespread "problem" that would have any noticeable statistical impact on election outcomes. Instead, your political allies (GOP) gin up public policies that result in disparate impact on groups of people who just incidentally tend to vote for the Democratic Party.

Perhaps you could explain why.

What a fnking surprise!

"Essentially, the Democratic party is allowed to put poll watchers wherever they want"

That is a manifestly false claim that is not in any way supported by the text of the decree.

You are just making it up.

Essentially, the Democratic party is allowed to put poll watchers wherever they want, while the Republican has to put them where the court is comfortable with, which happens to not be where the Democrats are.

that's not what it says at all.

it says the RNC can't:

a: break the law
b: put up signs that don't disclose the sponsor
c: tell its employees to remove lawful signs
d: tell its employees to interrogate people as to their voting qualifications
e: attempt to dissuade voting under the guise of 'security'; and if they do they will be checked for racial motivation
f: pretend to be govt officials
g: hire cops to do their bidding, either

none of that says anything about prohibiting RNC people from watching. it says RNC people can't lie, break the law, intimidate people or pretend to be authorized to run an election. what part fo that do you have a problem with?

What's restauration

It's a kind of spelling flame.

The bolded text provides that it will be presumed that it is on the basis of race, if it is disproportionately at black precincts. Which is will unavoidably be, unless resources are wasted placing Republican poll watchers in Republican precincts.

Unless you posit that all, or at least most, Democratic precincts are majority black, it isn't obvious how this follows. If you put poll watchers at all Democratic majority precincts (and none at Republican majority precincts), you have manifestly conformed to the requirements of the consent decree.

Or is your thesis that voting fraud is disproportionately happening in black precincts? And if so, on what evidence?

Reading this discussion from the UK, it seems obvious that the real problem is not ID requirements but their implementation by partisan politicians. Over here, the (independent) Electoral Commission has proposed bringing in voter ID some time in the next five years, and hardly anyone has noticed.

I note also that following Shelby County v Holder, the Republicans first move was to gerrymander the district boundaries. Here in the UK we have independent Boundary Commissions which don't do that stuff.

I respectfully suggest that you take the running of elections away from people with a partisan interest in the results.

btw, I find it hard to believe that personation at the ballot box is much of a problem - the risk-reward just doesn't work. It's vanishingly unlike that a single vote will change the result of an election (unless it's the vote of a supreme court judge).

Here in the UK we have independent Boundary Commissions which don't do that stuff

a few states already do that.

I respectfully suggest that you take the running of elections away from people with a partisan interest in the results.

voting is generally handled by local, independent, boards.

gerrymandering is the biggest problem, IMO.

I have personally read about ONE voter impersonation case in the past 25 years, and that was where a guy registered in multiple districts and drove around voting on election day. Under his own name.

It only worked because the voter registration is handled at the County level, they Counties don't coordinate with one another, and about 4-5 counties converge in a small area in this particular case.

He was caught, after YEARS of doing this, charged, and got off with a slap on the wrist and no jail time.

Oh yeah, a white Republican, did you guess? On the outskirts of a major center of Urban Thugs.

I just scraped a whole bunch of comments by Brett, Count, and cleek out of the spam filter. I don't understand, either.

I just scraped a whole bunch of comments by Brett, Count, and cleek out of the spam filter. I don't understand, either.

I blame Hillary.

i always end up in the spam filter when i include a URL in the box above the Post and Preview buttons.

"I just scraped a whole bunch of comments by Brett, Count, and cleek out of the spam filter. I don't understand, either."

ablogortion.

badda-boom, badda-bing

"Frankly, whatever the intentions of Republican lawmakers with regard to imposing more stringent voter ID requirements - prevent fraud or suppress votes - the data suggest that the requirements are a big waste of time and money."
Voter ID Laws Suppress White, Latino, and Black Voting About the Same Amount

that headline seems a bit less nuanced than the article:

Five of these 10 studies found that ID requirements had no statistically significant effect on turnout; in contrast 4 studies found decreases in turnout and 1 found an increase in turnout that were statistically significant.

which suggests to me that there's something going on which the studies haven't accounted for.

The concluding graf rom the article cited by CWT:

"Frankly, whatever the intentions of Republican lawmakers with regard to imposing more stringent voter ID requirements - prevent fraud or suppress votes - the data suggest that the requirements are a big waste of time and money."

Now this, I could agree with.

"Unless you posit that all, or at least most, Democratic precincts are majority black, it isn't obvious how this follows."

It didn't say "majority black". It said, " a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations". And, yes, that's a description of the typical Democratic precinct: Disproportionately minority. When your party is disproportionately minority, the precincts where you win will be, too.

It's still not clear that, if you put poll watchers in every precinct that is more than, say, 60% Democratic you would be in violation. Even if many of those had substantial minority populations.

It's just if you only go after the heavily Democratic precincts** which have large minority populations, while not going after those which do not, that there is a conflict with the consent decree. And any lawyer worth his salt could easily make that case.

** Or swing precincts. It's just a matter of treating all of them the same.

When your party is disproportionately minority, the precincts where you win will be, too.

When minorities run the hell away from the other party as fast and as far as they can, you end up having a "disproportionate" number of minorities.

Who gives a crap?

The RNC was told to quit targeting minority districts for efforts that sought to prevent people who should have been able to vote from doing so.

The fact that they were *trying to prevent people from voting who should have been able to vote* is all she wrote, as far as I'm concerned. I don't care what color skin the folks involved had.

I don't think it's necessarily a racist thing on their part, it just happens that hassling black and brown people tends to suppress the (D) vote.

The RNC should quit hassling people who want to vote. Period.

If the RNC wants black and brown people to vote (R), they should quit telling them the only reason they vote (D) is because they want to be on Uncle Sugar's plantation.

If you act like an asshole to people, they probably aren't going to vote for you. It ain't rocket science.

An acquaintance of mine a (now sadly deceased) handicapped (white) lady from Texas had her own experience with those GOP 'poll watchers'. The SMO seemed to be to challenge everyone in order to gum up the works. The longer the lines get the more probable it is that people will leave frustrated without having voted even if not a single challenge was successful. But when it came to said old lady the 'poll watcher' could call himself lucky that he got away without a fractured skull (while fragile she was still able to use her walking stick for self-defense). The poll workers knew her well, so the guy did not get any support when he complained that she was threatening him with the stick should he not stop to harass her.
I guess for the GOP that was an example of Dem thugs threatening harmless poll watchers with violence.

Look, Russell, we have an elections system in this country which relies, for better or worse, on elections observers as the first line of defense against corruption on the part of people running the elections. Take away one of the two major party's ability to field elections observers, and you break that system.

No matter what your reason or pretext is for doing so.

Take away one of the two major party's ability to field elections observers

which did not happen.

Look, Brett, we have an elections system in this country in which everyone who is qualified to vote is supposed to be able to do so.

You started with "Republicans aren't even allowed to have election observers!!!111!!!!!".

Someone said "Cite please".

You respond with a citation from a consent order in which the RNC is instructed to quit ratfncking elections.

The forms of ratfnckery from which they are enjoined to desist includes, but is certainly not limited to, singling out minority districts for efforts to DETER QUALIFIED VOTERS FROM VOTING.

This might be, for you, a personal best.

It's pointless to even pursue this any further. Suffice it to say that the consent order does not amount to an effort to prevent (R)'s from putting election observers in place, in whatever district they like, for the legitimate purpose of observing elections.

What's your opinion on whether voting should be considered an inalienable right?

Untrammeled civic participation being necessary to the promotion of the General Welfare, the right of the people to vote shall not be infringed.

"is instructed to quit ratfncking elections."

And which defines trying to put poll watchers in disproportionately minority districts as presumptive evidence of ratfnckery. In a country where Democratic precincts are, unavoidably, disproportionately minority.

Not my fault if you're not willing to connect the dots. The RNC, if it puts poll watchers anywhere it would rationally want to put them, is presumptively guilty under the terms of this consent agreement. They don't have to be proven to actually be doing anything abusive. Just the fact that they try to put the poll watchers there convicts them.

FFS, give it up

If the RNC has to waste resources on districts they're not really interested in to demonstrate that they aren't disproportionately going after significantly minority districts, it's a pickle they put themselves into with their past behavior. Tough sh1t.

uh, Brett, it is a CONSENT decree (Hint: The GOP agreed to the terms).

Don't believe me? Look the term up.

So, I haven't had time to read the actual paper, so I'm not vouching one way or the other for its accuracy. But in my search re: voter fraud numbers, I found this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/10/24/could-non-citizens-decide-the-november-election/

trolls gotta troll

thompson, thanks for the link.

Statistics are generally above my pay grade, but it seems like the sample size there is fairly small.

If you have a chance to read the article itself, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

I'm also curious about the whole non-citizens voting thing. Some folks say hundreds of thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote, some say the number is basically noise.

I don't know which is more accurate. And, I don't know how many non-citizens who are registered via things like Motor Voter etc. actually vote.

If anyone knows, I'd be interested in the information.

There's a lot of Strongly Worded Claims made on the topic, I'd like to know what's more or less true.

I'd also be interested in seeing some background on the YouGov poll which provided the source of the data. Whether someone self-reports as a non-citizen who is registered to vote can depend on exactly how the question was phrased. (A problem which occurs in lots of polls.) For example, if someone interprets the question as asking whether they are a native-born (vs. naturalized) citizen, they will answer differently.

It would also be good to know how they selected their 50,000+ pool of respondents.

We can take this to a whole new level. Today, on one of the Economist's blogs, Matt Steinglass suggests that we consider mandatory voting:
http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/03/mandatory-voting

At least he has the wit to note in passing that this would be politically impossible.

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