Social Question

ETpro's avatar

How difficult would you like to see voting made?

Asked by ETpro (34425points) November 5th, 2012

Election day is almost here in the USA. And questions about how voting should proceed are swirling. What sort of ID should a voter have to show to vote? How many polling places should be available? How many hours should voting be possible? All these have become contentious issues this year in an election where Republicans in the USA see a partisan advantage in making voting more difficult. They hope to limit voting among certain groups who traditionally vote Democratic by making the qualifications to vote tough enough that a significant part of those Democratic demographics can’t easily meet the standards, or by limiting poling-place access so that the poor and those with limited transportation availability simply can’t tough out the process. See reference 1, 2, and 3 for more background information if you are unaware of the details of this debate.

Of course, in a world where the only constant is change, setting up onerous rules that seem to give one partisan group an edge can easily backfire in a future we can’t yet see. Shifts in the fortunes and sizes of demographic groups can push what looked like a great advantage when it was enacted into a deep liability. Consider how the solidly Dixiecrat South abandoned the Democratic Party after Democratic President Lyndon Johnson sent Federal troops into Alabama to enforce the “Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act. Today, many young people don’t even know that for 100 years after the Civil War where the North was led by Republican President Abraham Lincoln, the South was solidly Democratic. It’s been Red so long now it’s hard to imagine a South that was ever Blue. Stuff happens. Things change.

So given all that, should we expand voting rights, contract them, or leave the system pretty much as it has been? After all, while it’s often cited as the rationale behind major changes, there is virtually no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Huge efforts have been expended to root out such fraud and stop it, yet there have been only a handful of real instances of it identified over the past decade. And note that voting improprieties are far more frequent among campaign officials, election officials, and third-party organizations than actual voters. Such institutional impropriety wields a far greater influence on election outcomes than the scant few cases of individual voter fraud can possibly do, and none of the proposed voting changes do anything to prevent systemic fraud.

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39 Answers

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Well, I think it is of paramount importance that only citizens are allowed to vote, especially considering that anyone can walk into our country unchecked. Also, I certainly hope that the system is iron-clad enough that candidates can’t cheat or pay off officials to cheat, because if it were possible, you know they would. And they certainly have the money to buy an election, if it were possible.

I am not sure what the system looks like now, but I am sure these precautions have been taken or the losing candidates would be throwing their fit.

I think all voters have the opportunity to vote, so I guess I am saying that the system is good as it is. I only expect it to change as technology changes, as it did when we went from paper to electronic ballots.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Voting should be handled completely online. It shouldn’t suffer any more security than what credit cards or online banking requires.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It should never take someone more than an hour to vote. (10 minutes is reasonable.) Polling booths should be open to accommodate the strain. If, for example, the Florida ballot is 12 pages long and takes 10 minutes to read, the polls should be open 24/7 if that is what it takes. Maybe that will be an incentive for politicians to write concisely.

Anyone who must wait in line for hours should consider which party was responsible for the debacle and vote accordingly.

Fred931's avatar

Bottom-line: Ease of exercising the right to vote should not be a tactical device for the manipulation by any political interest group or party. It should be as easy as exercising my right to own property and speak freely.

edited for flow

Fred931's avatar

I think I just figured out the Perfecto-fish award…

poisonedantidote's avatar

You need to find a way of working-in a planetary alignment of some kind, for there to even be an election.

As for voters, I say make them prove they have a rare blood type, and/or hold at least 3 or more absurd conspiracy theories to be true.

wundayatta's avatar

In rural areas, there should be no more than one polling place per five hundred square miles. People in such areas should have to have five separate legal documents to vote, and should have a blood test that matches a blood sample on file. Polls should open at 1 am and close at 2. If you are not inside the doors by 2, you don’t vote.

We want to make sure that only people vote, and not sheep or cows or whatever else they register and push through the voting booths out there in the sticks. Most animals are asleep at night. So only people should be able to vote.

Fred931's avatar

I was completely oblivious to the fact that this was Social when I wrote my post.

ETpro's avatar

This humorous poll on voting suppression just in from The Upworthiest.

I’ll respond to the great comments above this evening when work pressures are abated. For now, thanks to all who have added opinions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It’s absurd that we can’t vote online, we do our banking online and everything else, wth?!

Strauss's avatar

I think voting should be as easy as possible. The big stink about voter fraud has been debunked by a Republican who was a strategist for the McCain campaign, according to this article on

I also heard the original comment on Morning Joe this morning on MSNBC.

As I’ve stated on other threads, I believe the voter ID laws are a concerted attempt to suppress the vote in various demographic groups that traditionally vote Democratic.

Seek's avatar

I think Voting for president should be exactly the same as voting for American Idol. Watch the debates, vote by text or email.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr What a novel idea. I like it!

Fred931's avatar

Simon Cowell will moderate the debates.

Seek's avatar

^ No. We WANT people to watch them.

wundayatta's avatar

Who is Simon Cowell?

Seek's avatar

You have a picture of him as your avatar.

augustlan's avatar

I have no problem with requiring ID to vote, so long as every single eligible voter gets a free ID for that purpose, and in plenty of time before they’re required to use it. Beyond that, voting should be as easy as possible. There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to vote online or by phone/text… the technology clearly exists. We’d use the number that’s on our IDs and a unique password, and BAM. Done.

ucme's avatar

Maybe if they had to spell the name of their intended vote, Barack Obama or Mitt Thatdumbshit Romney.

glacial's avatar

I know some Americans will resist this idea, but once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, I think all Americans should be required to have health care cards with photo ID. These could easily be used as voter ID, and all citizens would be highly motivated to get and keep that ID, regardless of income. It would be impossible for polls to reject it as a valid form of ID.

I’m saying this as a Canadian – here, healthcare is managed provincially, so some provinces have cards with photos and some have cards without – but nearly everyone has a card. This would not apply to all homeless people, for example, but then they will already need some kind of special solution for voter registration anyway.

The other difference is that here, we link voter registration to our tax returns – so there’s a little box on the front of the return that says something to the effect of “Do you give us permission to forward your relevant information to Elections Canada”, and if you tick it, you’re registered. Done. There’s also no party affiliation linked to voter registration, so there is no incentive for the parties to tinker with this process (i.e., no one will destroy registration forms for voter for the opposite party; no one will hand out forms only to those of the same party). There’s no room to politicize voter registration here.

There’s no reason the US couldn’t implement these policies to streamline the processes of registration and voting. It would make both processes more fair, and probably cheaper as well. But of course, a lot of people would be terrified that it might be a sign of the coming apocalypse.

phaedryx's avatar

Here’s how I’d like them to do to make voting harder: remove the ( R ), ( D ), ( L ), etc. from besides the person’s name. That way people would actually have to know something about the people they are voting for besides the party they belong to.

Strauss's avatar

New Jersey is allowing voting by email as a result of the devastation from Storm Sandy. To be sure, it is only an emergency measure for now, but I think there should be some serious consideration for secure voting by email or fax.

ETpro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser In a day when we can shop and bank on the laptop or cell phone, 8 hour lines to vote are without excuse.

Strauss's avatar

@ETpro Now that it’s over, my hat is off to all those who stood in line. Many pundits said it was because of turnout and enthusiasm, but I think it was more because there were barriers put up.

ETpro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser I certainly react that way. Tell me I can’t have something I know I should have a right to, and the battle is on. I say, “Oh yeah! Says who?”

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@ETpro I agree with that. Take the race between Jim Matheson and Mia Love, for instance. When we got a fourth congressional seat recently, the republicans carved up the state deliberately to their advantage, and for the express purpose of unseating Jim Matheson, the only Democrat representative that we have. Then they went further by shamelessly cramming their candidate, Mia Love, down our throats – giving her national exposure and having Utah’s golden boy, Mitt Romney, endorse her.

I would have gotten to the polls to vote for Matheson if I had to crawl there. My feeling was just that, “oh yeah, says who?”

phaedryx's avatar

For some context, @Skaggfacemutt is talking about district 4:

Response moderated (Spam)
Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Oh, sorry. I keep forgetting that not everyone knows what I am talking about.

In a nutshell, Utah is a republican state – all except liberal Salt Lake County, the little area around Salt Lake City. Utah is sparsely populated, though, and the majority of the population lives in Salt Lake County.

When our population grew enough to get a 4th congressional seat, all of our lovely republican legislators got the great idea of carving Salt Lake County up like a turkey, putting pieces of it in several different districts, in the hope of diluting the democratic votes with rural republican ones. I guess they thought they didn’t have enough power in Utah-hahahahahaha.

Actually, as long as one democrat is still standing in Utah, republicans won’t be satisfied.

phaedryx's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt all of that time and effort they put into getting the gerrymandering right, and people like you went and ruined it all.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Yeah, I know. Hehehe…

ETpro's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt I’d love to find some way to stop the gerrymandering. Courts occasionally step in when it gets utterly outrageous. But that’s far too rare. It’s just one more assault on democracy.

wundayatta's avatar

Then again, the whole thing may backfire on them. They may be diluting the Republican districts enough that in five years, many of those districts turn Democrat due to the portion that is in SLC.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

New development – Mia Love has demanded a recount! The Republicans are just bound and determined to get her elected. Makes me so mad! I wonder if they greased some palms to count the votes in her favor. If so, I think I will start a revolt!

phaedryx's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt It looks like there are about 500 precincts, so she would have to be within 500 votes of Matheson, which isn’t the case. I’m not worried.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@phaedryx Thanks for the info – that makes me feel a lot better.

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