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04 October 2011


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Google "Australian electoral commission". You could do worse.

Adam L Silverman


We do use your balloting format (sort of) as the template for ours.


"Our electoral system is in dire need of reform - one set of rules and procedures applying to everyone in every state would be a good start"

I agree.

IMO all this crap is happening because the US still doesn't have effective voter registry. Some states have theirs outsourced. The states are cooking their own thing in this regard, and one can think of the Republic and the states as one wants, in federal elections that zoo of rules is not a good thing. In sharp contrast to the riotous spectacle presented in America, our elections in Germany are boring, as they IMO ought to be. Yes, we have recounts at times, and challenges in court, but they the exception. And we only have elections on Sundays, so that people have time to cast their ballots.

GOPers usually win by short margins, and their vote rigging schemes are a way to get that 0.1% needed.

50.1% wins elections and legislative battles, but it is not a governing strategy. 50.1% means that half the country, the Congress or the Legislature wakes up every day thinking the winner's use of power is illegitimate. Stupid, short term thinking on the GOPs part to rely on that.

What I find striking is that the GOP has no qualms about undermining the trust into the electoral process system by using these dirty tricks. Reckless in the extreme. How can one call himself patriotic if one tramples in such a way the spirit of that Republic the sainted Founders set up? Oh never mind. It's "winner takes all" politics, and the end justify the means. They presumably just like old font.

Just as a side note: Our constitutional court has ruled the electronic ballot unconstitutional because of lack of transparency. Here's the verdict in English; the arguments made are valid irrespective of the differences in constitutional law in Germany and the US.


The US need to get their act together, alas, there appears precious little ability to reform itself short of a major failure. Good luck with that in light of present partisan polarisation and GOP obstructionism.

William R. Cumming

Dr. Silverman a great post! I also was on active service in the fall of 1968 and deprived of my vote. I understand absentee ballots routinely trashed at the APOs!

Yes we need at least a federal voting law and its enforcment at least for federal elected positions. We don't need a Landslide Lyndon adding 48 votes to win a Congressional seat again. And TEXAS seems as wide open as any state when it comes to voter fraud. Well time will tell whether the USA survived the political hand of the TEXANS!


i want every american to have a clearly established right to vote

below - a cut and paste from wikipeidia aptly defines the present status of our right to vote

(from voting rights act entry - wikipedia)

No affirmative right to vote

While the title of the Voting Rights Act might imply that it established an explicit right to vote for U.S. citizens to vote in presidential elections, there is no such federal right. However, the Voting Rights Act and three constitutional amendments that prevent discrimination in granting the franchise have established in United States Supreme Court jurisprudence that there is a "fundamental right" in the franchise, even though voting remains a state-granted privilege. However, states are given considerable leeway when it comes to this "fundamental right".

In Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), the Supreme Court noted that, "The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States," a logical conclusion given the history of the Electoral College. States do not have to extend suffrage to ex-felons, nor do they have to allow citizens to register and vote on Election Day. In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law which required all voters to provide a photo ID, holding that the Indiana law could be considered a legitimate attempt to deter voter fraud.[34] While the Supreme Court has stated that the right to vote and the right to be a candidate are connected, they have often upheld state laws that make it difficult for independent and minor party candidates to be included on the election ballot.[35]

i don't think voting should continue to be regarded as a state-granted privilege

Nancy K

I recently watched on line a George Carlin show and he was so right on about our government and both parties. His language was a bit rough but he said it just like it is. Our government and politicians do not care about us the voter, they care only about power and money, and the average American has neither.

john in the boro

A while back I read a letter to the editor in which the author expressed his opinion that the Democratic Party is the party of ethical institutions and immoral persons while the Republican Party is the party of moral persons and unethical institutions. I'd say he was about half right in each case. Electioneering began before the ink dried on the founding documents and has proven highly innovative and especially resistent to rules or regulations. Simply, people eventually figure out ways to game the system until society says enough. Are we there yet?


I can't fail to notice that all of the examples of vote suppression listed are Republican Party initiatives.

I just don't understand the equivalency people ascribe to the 2 dominant political parties. Neither are fabulous, but they do have their differences. Just ask anyone who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.


Rachel Maddow had a report yesterday of Colorado's Republican Sec. of State ordering county clerks not to mail ballots to registered voters who didn't vote in the 2010 election as well as U.S. servicepeople stationed overseas. The two biggest areas affected are populated mostly by Hispanics who voted heavily Democratic in 2008. The Sec.State is suing a clerk who intends to mail those ballots, claiming that the voter registrations are not currently valid for a variety of reasons -- without proof, it seems -- and he wants the clerks to first send a postcard verifying their registration status, and then they may be mailed ballots. The deadline is October 10th. The clerk wishes to avoid that step on the basis of costs for mailing and manpower hours, and sees the move as an overt attempt to suppress the vote.

Politics Matters

Fred Hudson, 2nd Vice-Chair of the Virginia Democratic Party, discusses redistricting and gerrymandering on the locally-produced Charlottesville, VA, politics interview program Politics Matters with host and producer Jan Madeleine Paynter: http://bit.ly/pm-hudson. The current program features Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, discussing journalism and the media.

Charles Pergiel

Seems to me that all this griping about the rules is being done by people who are getting the short end of the stick. Why is that? It's because your opponents are better organized. No, the playing field is not level, and it never will be. Politics is just another form of warfare, and all's fair in war, so get your shit together and fight back. Don't waste time trying to make the field level. The other side certainly isn't.


Charles Pergiel,
what nonsense. What's wrong about people getting the short end of the stick complaining.

Rape victims get the short end of the stick, and they have every right to complain. You call them sore losers?

What's being raped here is the electoral process, and the trust in the integrity of the electoral process, not for the first time, mind you. It's a continuation of the old tricks used to disenfranchise black voters. The Republican (and formerly Dixiecrat) tactics are trampling the idea of fair elections. What they do is only slightly more sophisticated than ye olde ballot stuffing, banana republic style. It's somewhat more subtle but just as odious.

When Republicans undermine the trust in the electoral process they cause serious harm to the body politic. There is ample and good reason to complain.

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