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Lawmakers ask that U.N. monitor election
July 7, 2004 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Lawmakers ask that U.N. monitor election "A group of congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, has asked the United Nations to monitor this year's presidential election." Fortunately, the UN said no. Unbelievable. I hope that everyone that signed this letter will lose their seat in the November election. What a shameless publicity stunt. "Besides Johnson, Democratic members of Congress signing the letter to Annan were Julia Carson of Indiana; Jerrold Nadler, Edolphus Towns, Joseph Crowley and Carolyn B. Maloney, all of New York; Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Corrine Brown of Florida, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, Danny K. Davis of Illinois and Michael M. Honda of California."
posted by Oxydude (114 comments total)

 
But Oxydude, what's your opinion on this news item?
posted by mr_roboto at 1:30 PM on July 7, 2004


goldurn freedom-haters
posted by mookieproof at 1:31 PM on July 7, 2004


Mr. Roboto, funny, funny.
posted by Oxydude at 1:35 PM on July 7, 2004


"My name is Oxydude, and I approve this message."

OT: Shouldn't Danny Davis be appealing to the Reverend Moon?
posted by Dr_Octavius at 1:35 PM on July 7, 2004


What a shameless publicity stunt.
posted by soyjoy at 1:37 PM on July 7, 2004


So our elections are completely beyond reproach?

If the UN came and said we had exemplary elections, then good for us,
if the UN came and found some warts, well, then we would know what to fix. So why the outrage?
posted by milovoo at 1:38 PM on July 7, 2004


I'll take the bait.

Congress is authorized to enact legislation enforcing the Fifteenth Amendment, which ensures that nobody is prohibited from voting on account of race.

So the above members of Congress should lose their seats for doing their job, eh? An interesting world we live in.

(note: most of the above have only token opposition, if any, in November.)
posted by PrinceValium at 1:42 PM on July 7, 2004


the UN said no. Unbelievable.
posted by soyjoy at 1:49 PM on July 7, 2004


Diebold electronic voting systems installed in swing states is a very dangerous proposition, indeed. Do you keep tabs on Diebold? Do you trust it? What if Diebold largely donated to democrats, instead of the other way around? The religious right would shit their pants.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:51 PM on July 7, 2004


I hope that everyone that signed this letter will lose their seat in the November election.

This is a Congressional Black Caucus thing, right? Cummings, Brown, Davis, and Johnson at least are all prominent in the CBC. I think you'll find that the constituencies of CBC members still have a lot of anger over what happened in 2000: African Americans tend not to just trust that the U.S. government is going to be fair with them. I think they'll appreciate their representatives looking out for them.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:52 PM on July 7, 2004


Unbelievable. I hope that everyone that signed this letter will lose their seat in the November election.

We need the UN to monitor this election. I for one have little confidence in the fairness of the system.


On another point: What the fuck has happened to MetaFilter? OxyDude -- who the fuck are you? Get away from me with your insane reactionary blather. Go back to talk radio or something.

Jesus on a stick.
posted by mooncrow at 1:57 PM on July 7, 2004


Oxydude, it doesn't look like you read metatalk much or at all. If you did, you would know that there's been a lot of discussion there about excessive editorializing in front page posts, and I think I can safely say that it's generally considered a Bad Thing.

In any case, this issue is nowhere near as one-sided as you seem to think it is -- I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that many of us would actually be happy to see some independent oversight of the next election, what with the looming taint of Diebold, SCOTUS, FL vote purges, etc., etc., etc... The UN ain't perfect, but they'd be better than nothing...
posted by ook at 1:59 PM on July 7, 2004


"On another point: What the fuck has happened to MetaFilter? OxyDude -- who the fuck are you? Get away from me with your insane reactionary blather. Go back to talk radio or something."

Yeah, now lets get back to Bush bashing and supporting Michael Moore!

"We need the UN to monitor this election. I for one have little confidence in the fairness of the system."

I, for one, have no faith in the fairness of the UN (self link).
posted by soulhuntre at 2:02 PM on July 7, 2004


Countries fall when they lose their base of legitimacy. Ours took quite a whack from Cheney's duck-hunting buddy when he re-wrote "equal-protection' to benefit the chimp. Frankly, I'd welcome an impartial audit.
posted by RavinDave at 2:02 PM on July 7, 2004


Especially when you read about the problems in Florida in the last election. Tens of thousands of voters wrongly purged from the electoral roll. A confusing ballot, whereby Pat Buchanan received abnormal numbers of votes in areas with a large Jewish and black population. No clear procedure for determining the legality of a vote, leaving the whole election in the hands of the Supreme Court.

In what way would the UN monitoring of the election be a bad thing?

Oh yes, ditto Mooncrow.
posted by salmacis at 2:05 PM on July 7, 2004


For a government to be legitimate, it's not enough for the elections to be fair, they also have to be perceived as fair by the people. Given the serious doubts about Diebold's unverifiable electronic voting scheme, not to mention the errors in striking black voters from the rolls in Florida in 2000, this seems like a legitimate approach by a group of representatives who are actually trying to preserve the democratic system. (on preview: what everyone else said)

The "why do they hate America" editorializing in this post is a pretty childish way to crap on the front page of MeFi, and I'd say the same thing about a lot of the "Bush-is-evil" FPP editorializing as well.
posted by fuzz at 2:07 PM on July 7, 2004


I just got out of a 2 1/2 hr class (as a poll judge I have to take these) and I have to tell you that at least in North Carolina you have nothing to worry about. There is one change that all of you will see as it is federally mandated-there will be a really big poster up in English and Spanish with all of the rules and regulations governing the voting-regarding who can and who cannot legally vote, etc. It's compicated but I can tell you that it all boils down to we bend over backward to make sure you get to vote. And this year if for some reason you have to vote a provisional ballot (there are a few cases where there is a question whether someone should vote or not-too long to go into here) there will be a pin number given out whereby that person will be able to check on the status of that ballot.
posted by konolia at 2:11 PM on July 7, 2004


I think montoring this election would be for the best, when you consider Florida 5 years ago, the problems with the Diebold machines, and the problems with the executives of Diebold.
posted by trbrts at 2:12 PM on July 7, 2004


We need the UN to monitor this election. I for one have little confidence in the fairness of the system.

How much confidence does the UN fill you with? I'm not as pissed at the people that suggested it like oxydude is, but I think the UN being involved would be a terrible idea.

Especially when you read about the problems in Florida in the last election.

Do you think there were problems all in all states? Florida is the one everyone bitches about, but that's just because that's where the election came the closest. If politicians cared about every vote, they'd use so one system (hopefully non-Diebold) in every state. But they don't care, so it's the same screwy shit. I wouldn't even be against some foreign firm or company overseeing/handling the election (in theory). But the UN? That's like introducing a whole new batch of corruption into the process.
posted by stifford at 2:18 PM on July 7, 2004


Yeah, that U.N. Oil-for-Food Program investigation sure is turning up a lot. Wasn't Chalabi, that trustworthy fellow, the sole proprietor of all of the evidence - evidence which mysteriously got hacked from his computer the same day his house was invaded?

I hope these congressmen get re-elected. This election definitely needs some oversight.
posted by destro at 2:21 PM on July 7, 2004


Frankly, I'd welcome an impartial audit.

Welcome it, hell, I'd help PAY for it!
posted by rushmc at 2:23 PM on July 7, 2004


that's just because that's where the election came the closest

Oh, and also because the president's brother happens to run the state. (I know, I know, it was all just a craaazy coincidence...)
posted by soyjoy at 2:23 PM on July 7, 2004


And this year if for some reason you have to vote a provisional ballot (there are a few cases where there is a question whether someone should vote or not-too long to go into here) there will be a pin number given out whereby that person will be able to check on the status of that ballot.

I think provisional balloting is a solid gold brilliant idea, but is it required nationally? I know that the people turned away in Florida in 2000 were not allowed to vote provisionally; will they be able to this year?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:25 PM on July 7, 2004




I don't understand why so many people are upset! We don't need the UN--we have the American Supreme Court to act in our behalf...don't outsource their job!
posted by Postroad at 2:29 PM on July 7, 2004


Oh, and also because the president's brother happens to run the state. (I know, I know, it was all just a craaazy coincidence...)

I'm not saying what went down in Florida wasn't shady. But do you think every other state had 100% accurate results? That no Black People's votes got hosed in other states? That some districts didn't close early when more people were coming to vote? of any of the other shit that happened (minus whatever Florida-Bush connections there were?). If were are going to be concerned with getting all the votes, let's get ALL of them right.
posted by stifford at 2:31 PM on July 7, 2004


If the UN had supervised the election in 2000 there might be around 850 more Americans alive at this time, and quite a few more not missing an arm or a leg.
posted by clevershark at 2:45 PM on July 7, 2004


If the UN sent more troops into Rwanda, there might be alot more Rwandans alive at this time.

Hey, this "What if" game is fun!
posted by stifford at 2:50 PM on July 7, 2004


I'd go so far as saying that if the UN had supervised the election in 2000 there might be over 3000 more Americans alive, because the President did his job and read his daily briefings.
posted by wendell at 2:53 PM on July 7, 2004


If were are going to be concerned with getting all the votes, let's get ALL of them right.

Stifford's right. Although Florida was the focus in 2000 because of the media snafu in calling the election and the subsequent lawsuits, plenty of other states have problems as well. Even the states with relatively few election problems have an error rate of as much as +/-3%. Considering how close the last presidential electionwas , that kind of error rate is downright scary. If that error rate held true in each state, 16 states would fall within the margin of error. Nationwide the difference was, as most of you know, about 1/2%. Six states were decided by less than 1%. Those six states together have 59 electoral votes, and the nationwide election was decided by only 5. And, although this is a separate issue, the electoral vote and the popular vote went in different directions.

Democrats, and for that matter, anybody else, who complains only about what happened in Florida in 2000 is missing the much, much larger picture. The way we vote for the President and most other offices needs to be completely overhauled.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:56 PM on July 7, 2004


here might be over 3000 more Americans alive, because the President did his job and read his daily briefings.

Unfair. The President reads his daily briefings.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:00 PM on July 7, 2004


Stifford, wouldn't that (problems in more states than just Florida) be more of an argument *for* having the UN monitor the election?

But the problem with this suggestion is that you need an impartial party to do the monitoring, and while I'm pro-UN, in the case of US presidential elections they simply couldn't be impartial.

When the result of the election is likely to have only a small impact on the rest of the world or the UN, like in Sudan, then the UN is well-placed to monitor the election. But the impact of US foreign policy is so large that the UN is bound to be biased towards the candidate with a greater commitment to diplomacy. At the very least, they could reasonably be expected to be biased, and so a judgement that they made on the fairness of the elections wouldn't carry much weight.

Crappy FPP, though.
posted by wilberforce at 3:02 PM on July 7, 2004


"Four to six million votes, a number which is double the population of Chicago, were lost in the 2000 presidential election due to problems with ballots, equipment, registration or at the polling place, according to a joint analysis by experts at the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The report, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation, is a non-partisan examination of the existing voting process, and the first comprehensive study of voting technology to be completed in the wake of the 2000 Presidential election."

One Million Black Votes Didn't Count in the 2000 Presidential Election - It's not too hard to get your vote lost -- if some politicians want it to be lost

by Greg Palast
 
In the 2000 presidential election, 1.9 million Americans cast ballots that no one counted. "Spoiled votes" is the technical term. The pile of ballots left to rot has a distinctly dark hue: About 1 million of them -- half of the rejected ballots -- were cast by African Americans although black voters make up only 12 percent of the electorate.

This year, it could get worse.

These ugly racial statistics are hidden away in the mathematical thickets of the appendices to official reports coming out of the investigation of ballot-box monkey business in Florida from the last go-'round.

How do you spoil 2 million ballots? Not by leaving them out of the fridge too long. A stray mark, a jammed machine, a punch card punched twice will do it. It's easy to lose your vote, especially when some politicians want your vote lost.

While investigating the 2000 ballot count in Florida for BBC Television, I saw firsthand how the spoilage game was played -- with black voters the predetermined losers.

Florida's Gadsden County has the highest percentage of black voters in the state -- and the highest spoilage rate. One in 8 votes cast there in 2000 was never counted. Many voters wrote in "Al Gore." Optical reading machines rejected these because "Al" is a "stray mark."

By contrast, in neighboring Tallahassee, the capital, vote spoilage was nearly zip; every vote counted. The difference? In Tallahassee's white-majority county, voters placed their ballots directly into optical scanners. If they added a stray mark, they received another ballot with instructions to correct it.

In other words, in the white county, make a mistake and get another ballot; in the black county, make a mistake, your ballot is tossed."
posted by troutfishing at 3:11 PM on July 7, 2004


Election fraud, American style.

Call in the UN. That level of fraud wouldn't cut it anywhere else in the World. UN observers would have declared the 2000 election invalid.

I'd think we could at least try and hold our democracy to the standards of an average third world nation.
posted by troutfishing at 3:15 PM on July 7, 2004


Very, very poorly framed post. Unbelievable, even.
posted by cmicali at 3:26 PM on July 7, 2004


So why the outrage?

Well, I'm not saying I neccessarily agree, but to some people it would seem like we'd be giving up American soveriegnty.
posted by jonmc at 3:42 PM on July 7, 2004


"Oxydude, it doesn't look like you read metatalk much or at all. If you did, you would know that there's been a lot of discussion there about excessive editorializing in front page posts, and I think I can safely say that it's generally considered a Bad Thing."

No, I don't. I read here daily, post very little and never log into metatalk. But I must say that I do see posts similar to mine all of the time. I did not know (and still do not think) it is considered a "bad" thing to editorialize.
posted by Oxydude at 3:49 PM on July 7, 2004


As a Floridian, my friends and I have often expressed the wish for UN oversight for the 2004 election. Hell, we knew...knew...that if Bush got into office the first time, we'd be in a war.

Get the bastard out of there.
posted by Beansidhe at 3:51 PM on July 7, 2004


If the UN had supervised the election in 2000 there might be around 850 more Americans alive at this time, and quite a few more not missing an arm or a leg.

goddam repubushcans, always with the body parts, literally left lying around littering the landscape.
posted by quonsar at 3:52 PM on July 7, 2004


The worst part is that even through all our understandings and misunderstandings, we have no power to change what is happening. Even though we may consider ourselves informed, it makes no difference. The struggle of changing the power of the rich and privileged, even if a few that want to are, cannot change the course of events. If everyone who posted here voted, or lobbied, it would not matter. Such is the way of American society. Life is nasty, brutish, and short. /just got out of ps class
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:54 PM on July 7, 2004


I've said before and will reiterate ... GWBush came to office with two agendas, and only two. Take out Saddam, and get reelected. (That's right, the two things daddy couldn't do.) If anything, even if oversite from the League of Janitorial Workers could lend legitimacy to the upcoming election, I'd help pay for it. What do you say folks? We spent 121 billion trying to get Iraqis the right to fairly vote, can't we at least say to the UN, sure, come on in, and see how it gets done right? Or is there really anything for those in power to fear from more eyes on the Constitutional process?

And I would like to add my more hostile voice to the chorus ... OxyDude, this post as you did it was truly ASS.

On preview, jon, the UN couldn't tell us to invalidate the vote, just inform the people that it was or wasn't fair. Sovereignty in secrecy has been one of the HUGE problems with this current administration. I would ask who really would be threatened by someone else saying "Gee, that was fucked up, and here's why ..."? Democracy is about getting allthe cards of the table, not just those that are state approved, yes? Talk about losing (public) sovereignty ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:00 PM on July 7, 2004


But I must say that I do see posts similar to mine all of the time. I did not know (and still do not think) it is considered a "bad" thing to editorialize.

Oh, how charming. The "they started it, and at least I'm no worse them them (Saddam)" defense. Yep, that there's got some purchase power.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:12 PM on July 7, 2004


Stifford, wouldn't that (problems in more states than just Florida) be more of an argument *for* having the UN monitor the election?

I'm not against having some "neutral" third party monitoring the elections, whether is some entity from the US, or from another nation. What I'm saying is, I don't think the UN should be the ones doing it. Even if you disagree with me about the level of corruption or politics involved in the UN, I think it's fair to say they aren't the most efficient group around.
posted by stifford at 4:36 PM on July 7, 2004


Your electoral college system buggers up anything like a real democratic process anyway. The whole damn enchilada needs overhauling before the rest of the world can do anything but laugh at your simpleton president's pronouncements about 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Come on, already!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:40 PM on July 7, 2004


I think this next USA federal election will be a tipping-point: either the electoral system becomes completely vulnerable to cheating, or it gets tightened up and democratic.

I don't hold high hope for it.

GWBush came to office with two agendas, and only two. Take out Saddam, and get reelected.

That bespeaks of a childhood of never being able to meet daddy's expectations. Show the bastard up by beating him at his own game.

posted by five fresh fish at 4:50 PM on July 7, 2004


to some people it would seem like we'd be giving up American soveriegnty.

As opposed to corporate sovereignty?
posted by rushmc at 5:02 PM on July 7, 2004


MetaFilter is great because one stupid faux-outrage FPP gets replied to by lots of cases off specific evidence for the counter opinion. The end result is that the person pushing the POV in the original post makes his position look worse than had he never posted it.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:04 PM on July 7, 2004


"If everyone who posted here voted, or lobbied, it would not matter."

Exactly. Democracy is a stupid idea, and we should all just go sit in the corner and pout.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:28 PM on July 7, 2004


Metafilter: keeping as many liberal and pacifist a-holes inside, so they do the least amount of damage possible in the real world
posted by ParisParamus at 5:37 PM on July 7, 2004


Florida's Gadsden County has the highest percentage of black voters in the state -- and the highest spoilage rate. One in 8 votes cast there in 2000 was never counted. Many voters wrote in "Al Gore." Optical reading machines rejected these because "Al" is a "stray mark."

Here, such ballots would be kicked into a special pile in the voting machine. At the end of the night we look at them and are required to count the vote if human eyes can determine the intent of the voter.
posted by konolia at 5:39 PM on July 7, 2004


And just so you know reps from BOTH parties are required to work each polling place. And we all have to sign off on the totals.
posted by konolia at 5:40 PM on July 7, 2004


Konolia: having both parties present isn't a panacea. It's often the case that one party rep, if he thinks it would help, might can start contesting ballot after ballot to slow the process down and create impatience.

---

ParamusFilter: Damn those a-holes who want peace.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:48 PM on July 7, 2004


In other words, in the white county, make a mistake and get another ballot; in the black county, make a mistake, your ballot is tossed.

Is this really a sign of racist behavior? If we have a predominantly-black county it seems that the officials in charge of the local elections and making the rules would be predominantly black, so shouldn't the fault be placed on those black officials?
posted by gyc at 5:49 PM on July 7, 2004


An overnight poll by MSNBC says:

John Kerry / John Edwards (D)
49%

George W. Bush / Dick Cheney (R)
41%

Ralph Nader / Peter Camejo (I)
4%

Likewise, a CBS poll has Kerry ahead 49% to 44%.

There's very little "good news" that the Bush administration can depend upon before the election regarding either Iraq or the economy, which will presumably have its traditional summer slump before the end-of-the-year Christmas bounce. That said, there is a lot of bad news that they can reliably expect.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that demographically and registration-wise, this country is more slanted to the Democrats than ever before, due to a higher percentage of minority voters and to changes in how people can register to vote, such as the "motor voter" laws. These changes, plus the huge coordinated efforts to register voters, will help make the so-called "likely voters" that we hear about in polls much less of an issue.

Frankly, this might not be a race that is close enough to matter, even if some voters are disenfranchised from their votes again or not.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:49 PM on July 7, 2004


If we have a predominantly-black county it seems that the officials in charge of the local elections and making the rules would be predominantly black, so shouldn't the fault be placed on those black officials?

Misdirection. Bad argument style, and no attempt to actually look anything up. Appeal to a faulty sense of 'common sense' in an attempt to avoid actually looking at what really happened. And even if it were true, placing blame isn't the end, the end is to ensure it isn't repeated.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:58 PM on July 7, 2004


That bespeaks of a childhood of never being able to meet daddy's expectations.

Jeesus marimba, the man (GW) failed or barely sqeaked by at absolutely everything he's ever done ... except get elected to public office. For pity's fucking sake, we were all well informed of this before the election in 2000. If I were his father (with enormous and sometimes questionable achievements under my belt) I'd be pretty damn disappointed in little George too. The only real question is why are we, the American public, willing to foot the bill for GW's absolution with his daddy?

posted by Wulfgar! at 5:59 PM on July 7, 2004


Normally I'd take this to metatalk, but this guy doesn't read metatalk, see...

I did not know (and still do not think) it is considered a "bad" thing to editorialize.

Hey, do what you like; you're certainly right, there are plenty of crap posts out there, and you're free to add to the pile if that's what you're into.

posted by ook at 6:02 PM on July 7, 2004


Konolia: having both parties present isn't a panacea. It's often the case that one party rep, if he thinks it would help, might can start contesting ballot after ballot to slow the process down and create impatience.

Look, we work with the SAME PEOPLE time after time after time, and many times we LIVE in the same precinct we work in. I don't see your scenario happening, and if it did, the Board of Elections would be called in to settle it. Most election workers here are basically mostly retired women with a few other types thrown in. We ain't party hacks, and we ain't beholden to anybody.

I can't speak for Florida, but if you come to North Carolina you can take off the tinfoil beanie.
posted by konolia at 6:07 PM on July 7, 2004


> Frankly, I'd welcome an impartial audit.

So would I. But why do we think that the UN would be impartial? Every person in the UN is human, and represents some other country who's economy (not to mention potential under the table kickbacks) could be greatly influenced by who is elected.

I'd agree that there was too much editorializing done on this post. A follow up inside with your opinion would have been fine. I do however think that the link and further discussion was interesting news and a good topic for a post.
posted by woil at 6:11 PM on July 7, 2004


Besides which, what konolia describes is similar to what all of Canada uses, and I don't recall it being an issue.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:15 PM on July 7, 2004


Misdirection. Bad argument style, and no attempt to actually look anything up. Appeal to a faulty sense of 'common sense' in an attempt to avoid actually looking at what really happened. And even if it were true, placing blame isn't the end, the end is to ensure it isn't repeated.


Yet you have no answer to my question.
posted by gyc at 6:17 PM on July 7, 2004


I didn't mean to say it was a bad way of doing things, (no need to YELL, really.) Just that that, in itself, isn't a perfect solution.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:19 PM on July 7, 2004


Konolia, I seem to remember you saying much the same sort of thing about your poll work during the last election -- where we clearly did have problems with the counting process. Sounds like things are just peachy in North Carolina, and that's great, but you can't extrapolate from that and say the problems in other states didn't exist.

insomnia_lj, I hope you're right... it's difficult for me to imagine anyone who voted for Gore last time around switching to Bush this time, while it's very easy for me to imagine lots of people switching the other way. But I'd rather not have to count on a wide-margin win for Kerry to make up for the Republicans and Diebold shaving a few percentage points here and there.

And, Paris, it's okay; you can say asshole. Nobody's opinion of you will be any lower for it.
posted by ook at 6:23 PM on July 7, 2004


I am probably joining this thread too late, and excuse me if I am beating a dead horse, but...

Oxydude's indignation doesn't shock me so much, though U.N. observers are certainly nothing to be ashamed of in a nation where large numbers of voters find their ballots rejected through no fault of their own.

What does shock me-- a white guy from a largely white state-- is the blase attitude of Americans to the plight of 2000 voters who are inexplicably and erroneously barred from voting-- not just denied rights, but denied the ability to fulfill their most basic civic responsibility. WTF? This forces me to seriously reevaluate my view of race in America today.

Can anyone seriously picture this happening to white voters?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:23 PM on July 7, 2004


Uh, rereading my last post, I phrased it terribly; the "did have problems" was of course meant to apply to the election as a whole, not to your poll work specifically, Konolia. 'pologies.
posted by ook at 6:29 PM on July 7, 2004


so shouldn't the fault be placed on those black officials?

The answer to your question is that it's a meaningless question. "blaming" isn't going to fix the problem, having well-trained election officials (of any race) is what is needed, not saying "it's their fault" and trying to imply that the race of the election official bears any importance on whether some individual's vote should be counted or not.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:36 PM on July 7, 2004


there will be a really big poster up in English and Spanish with all of the rules and regulations governing the voting-regarding who can and who cannot legally vote

RULE NO. 1: YOU MUST BE AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, MINIMUM 18 YEARS OF AGE.

RULE NO. 2: THERE IS NO RULE NUMBER TWO.

RULE NO. 3: NO POO... sorry...

Someone help me out with the Spanish, will you?

posted by Dick Paris at 6:37 PM on July 7, 2004


Weren't United Nations inspectors refused access during the 2002 US elections?
Is this why they are refusing to come in 2004?

Personally, I think we should hold the U.S. to at least the same standards that we hold 3rd world nations that get UN oversight for their elections.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:43 PM on July 7, 2004


"....But why do we think that the UN would be impartial? Every person in the UN is human, and represents some other country....." - Indeed. This standard of impartiality is a tough nut to crack. Since all humans are, well.....human and so are suspect - and doubly so because they all live in countries - we'll just have to appeal to the 2q356@#^hgh people from the planet Blort.

What, you say they're busy waging a vicious campaign to conquer their sector of the galaxy?

Damn. I guess we're shit out of luck then, and stuck with our election fraud.

Well, we could do the best with what we have - our less than perfectly impartial humanity. In the spirit of pragmatism, we could pluck humans at random, from around the globe, and deprive them of their national citizenship so they could be stateless and so be able to impartially judge American elections.

They could live on an ice floe around the North Pole and just float around up there until we needed their services.
posted by troutfishing at 6:55 PM on July 7, 2004


Frankly, this might not be a race that is close enough to matter, even if some voters are disenfranchised from their votes again or not.

agreed. every anti-war mother with a son or daughter in Iraq swings the vote further and further towards Kerry. this election will be a referendum on Iraq, and things could obviously change, but it doesn't look good for Bush.

however, international oversight and/or participation in elections should be a welcome thing, especially if it's solely a fact-finding, research organization. as long as the organization is solely an observer with access to all the pertinent information, what's wrong with independent research? greater transparency and accountability is usually a good thing.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:57 PM on July 7, 2004


In Canada, there are penalties for fubaring the election. When counting votes, f'rinstance, you risk $5000/5yrs in prison if you cheat.

Also in Canada,

Persons qualified as electors: Every person who is a Canadian citizen and is 18 years of age or older on polling day is qualified as an elector.

Disentitlement from voting: The following persons are not entitled to vote at an election: (a) the Chief Electoral Officer; (b) the Assistant Chief Electoral Officer; and (c) every person who is imprisoned in a correctional institution serving a sentence of two years or more. [I believe item c is no longer in effect.]

Rejection of ballots: In examining the ballots, the deputy returning officer shall reject one (a) that has not been supplied by him or her; (b) that has not been marked in a circle at the right of the candidates' names; (c) that is void by virtue of section 76; (d) that has been marked in more than one circle at the right of the candidates' names; or (e) on which there is any writing or mark by which the elector could be identified."

Manner of voting: An elector shall, after receiving a ballot, (a) proceed directly to the voting compartment; (b) mark the ballot with a cross or other mark in the circular space opposite the name of the candidate of his or her choice; (c) fold the ballot as instructed by the deputy returning officer; and (d) return the ballot to the deputy returning officer.

Return of ballot: The deputy returning officer shall, on receiving the ballot from the elector, (a) without unfolding the ballot, verify that it is the same one that was handed to the elector by examining its serial number and the initials on it; (b) remove and destroy the counterfoil in full view of the elector and all other persons present; and (c) return the ballot to the elector to deposit in the ballot box or, at the elector's request, deposit it in the ballot box.

Our Federal Electoral Legislation and particularly the Canada Elections Act Table of Provisions is good reading, as such things go. It's written to be very accessible to the public.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on July 7, 2004


Laughing my ass off. There's enough evidence to indicate that millions of folks didn't have their votes counted, that state-level election proceedings were deliberated and illegally tampered with, and that everything from legal hijinks to strongarm tactics were used to ensure that the RNC got what the RNC wanted. We've overthrown governments because of less evidence.

I'd welcome UN observation.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:14 PM on July 7, 2004


every anti-war mother...

...counts for squat if the electoral process is being rigged.

The essential question everyone needs to ask is merely this: Can you trust the electoral system?

I'm a little worried that it might not be at all trustworthy.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:18 PM on July 7, 2004


RULE NO. 1: YOU MUST BE AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, MINIMUM 18 YEARS OF AGE.

RULE NO. 2: THERE IS NO RULE NUMBER TWO.

RULE NO. 3: NO POO... sorry...


Uh, hello...you have to be REGISTERED, you need to vote in the right precinct, oh, did you move since the last election, did you report it, if not, did you move in the last thirty days? Are you who you say you are? If you registered after such and such a date, did you show a photo idea? if not, you need to show one now...or vote provisional then take it down to the Board of Elections by such and such a date...are you a Libertarian, then you get an unaffiliated ballot in the primary, but if you are just unaffilliated you get to choose R or D but if there is a runoff you have to stick with the party ballot you used...if you are an R to begin with you only get an R ballot, D only gets a D ballot...oh, and you better not be a convicted felon. And you are an American citizen, right? Oh, did you just get naturalized today-why then you can register AND vote today, whoda thunk it...

I could go on, but one could get nauseous.

The neat thing about the poster is that it tells you, the voter, that it is really purt nigh impossible for us to deny your casting a ballot, with very very few exceptions.

People, tell you what. Go down to your local Board of Elections. They can TELL you exactly what the procedures and rules are in your area. Be educated and know what your rights, duties and privileges are as a registered voter. In most cases I think you will actually feel a lot better about it all.
posted by konolia at 7:19 PM on July 7, 2004


Formless one, go examine all the checks and balances in the system. I am not saying that all systems are tamperfree but it is really easy to bump ones gums instead of go see how your local system is set up. If yours is tamperable squawk and raise hell till you get a better system. They are out there and they work.
posted by konolia at 7:21 PM on July 7, 2004


konolia, as an outsider who has read the whole thread, I want to know: if your local system works so well (I sincerely believe you when you say it does), why is it that there are any doubts about the rest of the states? Yours could be the model: evangelise NC's system, or the UK's, or Canada's.

Do you even acknowledge that there is a problem elsewhere?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:38 PM on July 7, 2004


five fresh fish, the answer is easy. If my candidate gets in, I trust the system. If not, I doubt both the system and my countrymen, since I'm obviously right. And there's only one "right," believe you me. These moral relativists make my blood boil.
posted by mikeh at 7:39 PM on July 7, 2004


Republican moral relativist Lysenkoist Satan-worshipping libertines gnaw at the jugular of America.
posted by troutfishing at 7:49 PM on July 7, 2004


"I think I can safely say that it's generally considered a Bad Thing"

But that doesn't change that this is turning into LeftFilter. Metatalk can discuss it all it wants... nothing seems to be changing. Now, thats fine - this is a private site and can become as slanted as it wants - but you'll have a hard time telling some peopel not to editorialize jsut because the crowd dislikes them.

"On preview, jon, the UN couldn't tell us to invalidate the vote, just inform the people that it was or wasn't fair."

Yeah, and that makes a lot of sense. Look, the UN has a vested interest in who becomes president of the US... and giving them that level of monitoring authority is basically handing the whole thing over to them. Then we get to see what kind of back room deal they will want to cut in return for their support.

The UN has an agenda and is far from above a little scandal... give them some leverage and they will absolutely look to cut the legs out from under the US as we are in many ways the last truly soveriegn nation that can enforce it's own safety.

This election is goign to be a serious problem anyway - the left is so convinced it is in the right and has been robbed that if Kerry loses the election they will simply decide they have been robbed and nothign will convince them otherwise. hell, UN oversight wouldn't convince them. Its going to be a bloody mess.

Many of those who use the fervor of the left for their own causes are getting a serious bonus out of telling them how bad things are - they aren't going to give that power back no matter what happens... this is the sort of thing A.N.S.W.E.R. lives for.
posted by soulhuntre at 7:59 PM on July 7, 2004


soulhuntre, you're imagining things. You're ascribing sinister motives, ans using them as a basis for your conclusions. Thinking the entire world is out to get you just isn't healthy, darling.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:11 PM on July 7, 2004


But that doesn't change that this is turning into LeftFilter.

Not only doesn't it change it, it's completely unrelated to it. Slanted posts suck no matter which way they lean.
posted by ook at 8:14 PM on July 7, 2004


Many of those who use the fervor of the left for their own causes are getting a serious bonus out of telling them how bad things are - they aren't going to give that power back no matter what happens... this is the sort of thing A.N.S.W.E.R. lives for.

Oh please. Exactly which shadowy power brokers are you referring to here? Are you seriously suggesting that a group like ANSWER would have as much influence in a Kerry administration as Pat Robertson, Reverend Moon, and a host of other extreme right-wing scumbags do in the Bush adminstration?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:15 PM on July 7, 2004


"...we'll just have to appeal to the 2q356@#^hgh people from the planet Blort"

Oh, Jesus, are we fucked.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:32 PM on July 7, 2004


"Look, the UN has a vested interest in who becomes president of the US... and giving them that level of monitoring authority is basically handing the whole thing over to them..... give them some leverage and they will absolutely look to cut the legs out from under the US" - This post has touched a nerve, I'd say.

Everyone else is out to get me too. Can't somebody cobble together a quick German psychological term for "generalized paranoia with a special fear of the UN" ?

As for the concentration of political power in America....I'd say that the executive branch has recently added a bit to it's aegis.
posted by troutfishing at 8:45 PM on July 7, 2004


Half of the reason we helped overthrow Aristide in Haiti was because of some indiscretion with the vote in his last election as monitored by the U.N.

...but to consider the U.N. overseeing the election in the U.S. as slanted is a little hypocritical.
posted by destro at 8:51 PM on July 7, 2004


mr_crash_davis - yeah, but we've been fucked for a long time. I'd trust them as much as anyone, maybe more. As long as they don't try that trumpet-ass trick on me, I'm cool with the Blortians.
posted by troutfishing at 8:53 PM on July 7, 2004


Everyone else is out to get me too. Can't somebody cobble together a quick German psychological term for "generalized paranoia with a special fear of the UN" ?

I think it would be Neueweltauftragfurcht
posted by destro at 8:54 PM on July 7, 2004


soulhuntre...You're ascribing sinister motives, ans using them as a basis for your conclusions.

Comparing him to Michael Moore? Touché.
posted by dhoyt at 8:56 PM on July 7, 2004


As a Floridian, my friends and I have often expressed the wish for UN oversight for the 2004 election. Hell, we knew...knew...that if Bush got into office the first time, we'd be in a war.

As a Canadian my friends and I knew...knew...that if Bush got into office the first time, the U.S. would be in a war. Ok, to be fair, we thought it highly probable. But then who didn't?

It's a small world after all it seems.

I'm still not following how this request is either shameless or a publicity stunt. A fair election is desired by all, is it not, regardless of that bizarre left/right thing some of you folks cite on occasion in the U.S? But just on occassion of course.
posted by juiceCake at 9:03 PM on July 7, 2004


Comparing him to Michael Moore? Touché.

Sorry, the Moore as stand-in lefty equivalent to whatever right-wing idiot is being called out is a bunch of shit and you're not getting away with it.

Moore 1) presents factual information, 2) asks questions, but 3) doesn't draw conclusions.

Exactly the opposite of soulhuntre's approach, which is to assume that the UN is a bunch of anti-american operatives, and then says that because of this they will help rig an American election if allowed to watch it.

Either your reading comprehension skills or your honesty are lacking.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:16 PM on July 7, 2004


shot down.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:24 PM on July 7, 2004


Perhaps the UN refused because they wanted to save themselves the trouble of withdrawing, as former president Jimmy Carter (of the highly respected international election observation organization, the Carter Center) maintained they would have done, had they been asked to observe the election in Florida: "...if we were invited to go into a foreign country to monitor the election, and they had similar election standards and procedures, we would refuse to participate at all.". Would a "home grown" election observation team be more acceptable to the UN-bashers in da house? If you think so, why not sign the petition?
posted by dinsdale at 11:24 PM on July 7, 2004


It seems to me that the person in charge of certifying the ballot counts for a state should at least not be allowed to be that state's campaign chair for any of the candidates in that election.

Mostly because that leads to the not-unreasonable assumption that this person might not be impartial.
posted by clevershark at 11:49 PM on July 7, 2004


Can't speak to the others, but Julia Carson's district (urban Indianapolis) is heavily Democratic. No chance in hell she'll lose.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:24 AM on July 8, 2004


"Moore 1) presents factual information, 2) asks questions, but 3) doesn't draw conclusions."

The sad thing is that some people really, truly believe that that is true. This is the danger of blind zealotry. Look, even if you agree with Moores politics you can't honestly believe that he doesn't misrepresent information or draw conclusions.

"Everyone else is out to get me too. Can't somebody cobble together a quick German psychological term for "generalized paranoia with a special fear of the UN" ?"

"soulhuntre, you're imagining things. You're ascribing sinister motives, ans using them as a basis for your conclusions. Thinking the entire world is out to get you just isn't healthy, darling."

Right, but a vast conspiracy of rich people and shadow corporations planning the rise and fall of nations at the expense of the working man isn't a little paranoid... or is that just NPR? :)

Side note: I don't recall saying the whole world was out to get me or "US".

"As for the concentration of political power in America....I'd say that the executive branch has recently added a bit to it's aegis."

It is not at all inconsistent to disagree with both the misuse of presidential power and the misuse of UN power.

"Oh please. Exactly which shadowy power brokers are you referring to here? Are you seriously suggesting that a group like ANSWER would have as much influence in a Kerry administration as Pat Robertson, Reverend Moon, and a host of other extreme right-wing scumbags do in the Bush adminstration?"

I didn't imply any such thing, re-read please.

What I said was that a whole bunch of people are gaining political influence and converts because of the disenfranchisment felt among the left. That ANSWER is enjoying being able to drive 10's of thousands into the streets under at best less than well advertised motives and that many of these groups have an interest in keeping people angry and scared.

If Kerry loses this election I guarantee you ANSWER will start pushing for ever more violent protests, setting the stage for a full on civil conflict. It won't matter whether Kerry loses fair or not, they will simply fan the flames of election paranoia and drive millions out into the streets.

Hell, it may be worth supporting Kerry just to take the wind out of their sails and shut down the damage they coudl do ont he backs of a Kerry loss. It may be that the damage Kerry might do (and that is not to say Bush isn't doing any or might be doing more) will be less than what we gain by not having to deal with the repercussions of his losing.

The only thing is that it sucks to have to pick a candidate not on his merits, but to keep some external organization with an agenda from being able to abuse the outcome for it's own ends.

This situation is entirely independent of the issue of who will have influence in a Kerry administration. However it is safe to say that the UN leadership would much rather it be him than Bush and that alone makes them far from impartial.
posted by soulhuntre at 12:34 AM on July 8, 2004


I think there will never be absolute impartialy during an election ,because we simply find ourselves favouring something or somebody ; because of that a double or triple check systems of votes with _different people_ could be a very good idea (even if expensive, much less expensive then electing an idiotic puppet easily manipulated by anybody)

Now what I'm seriously worried about is the electronic voting system. It is seriously dangerous because it makes "counting errors" enormously easier (as anybody with more then Dummy Guide to PC book experience knows). Equally as dangerous is the practice of relying on one database to ascertain who doesn't have the right to vote, who is dead and can't vote.

For this round it happens that Diebold is in bed with Republicans and that Diebold makes a number of voting machines ; it would be exaclty as bad if the company was called BoldDie and the in-bed group was Democrats.

To keep it simple : there is no fucking need for an electronic voting system.. Nobody is going to die if the election results come in one day later or one week later, as there is no void of power during the counting and declaration phase, as whoever is in power remains in power.

It appears that some people is so much distracted by the empty useless diatribes on "liberal" anything or "neocon" anything that the fundamental serious problems with voting systems are considered a mere annoyance.

So here it's in a snap with an Iraq twist, so much appreciated these days:

you stupid idiot, your vote is going to be lost even if you're going to vote republican , democrat or martian because the computer will have a glitch and your vote will be lost.Thanks for nothing and for supporting e-voting, lazy bum, why don't you go live under Saddam Hussein ?
posted by elpapacito at 4:46 AM on July 8, 2004


Konolia,

My point is that which gives us the right to cast a vote is quite simple and, I think we would all be better off if it could really be that simple on election day. I know all the fine print but what good does all that do on election day? With all the technology being thrown about, a citizen should be able to walk in on election day (for a national election), place their vote and have the background of the voting nitty-gritty checked within the week.

Oh, and no poof... sorry!
posted by Dick Paris at 5:28 AM on July 8, 2004


I wouldn't even be against some foreign firm or company overseeing/handling the election (in theory)

I know! I know!

Let's get Arthur Anderson to audit the elections!

What? :-)
posted by nofundy at 5:40 AM on July 8, 2004


My point is that which gives us the right to cast a vote is quite simple and, I think we would all be better off if it could really be that simple on election day. I know all the fine print but what good does all that do on election day? With all the technology being thrown about, a citizen should be able to walk in on election day (for a national election), place their vote and have the background of the voting nitty-gritty checked within the week.

And here that is exactly what happens, hence the provisional ballots.

Remember, a lot of these rules are to make sure someone doesn't vote more than once, and to make sure they get the correct ballot for the local elections that may be held the same day.
posted by konolia at 5:48 AM on July 8, 2004


"...many of these groups have an interest in keeping people angry and scared.

If Kerry loses this election I guarantee you ANSWER will start pushing for ever more violent protests"

Gee, I think that the State of Florida-acknowledged theft of the 2000 election might be reason enough for anger. Doubly so for electoral "irregularities" in the 2002 elections and trebly so if these abuses of the democratic process continue in the 2004 election.

The "de-legitimization by association" argument is bogus. ANSWER is one of the least reputable among various groups questioning election fraud and the continued presence of US troops in Iraq.

"Are you a white male?"

"Ummm....yes?"

"Well then, we'll have to take you in for questioning. White males have been associated with all sorts of deviant behavior. Murder even. Why just recently, a white male......"


IN fact, however, the bulk of politically motivated violence and hate crimes has come from, and continues to come from, the US far right. (see Dave Neiwert/Orcinus) Not to mention government-legitimized busting of heads.

soulhuntre - hunt within.
posted by troutfishing at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2004


I wouldn't even be against some foreign firm or company overseeing/handling the election (in theory)
I know! I know!
Let's get Arthur Anderson to audit the elections!


Obviously not, but perhaps halliburton has an election monitoring division.
(seriously, when that day comes, we'll know it's probably too late to fix the system)
posted by milovoo at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2004


Almost a hundred comments, and no one yet has pointed out that there have already been international observers at an American election? In 2002, a team of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were sent to monitor and report [164K PDF] on the 2002 midterm elections in Florida, at the request of the Bush Administration. Here is Ollie North's (unintentionally hilarious) take on it. And here is a letter of support for the idea of election monitoring - that is, a right-winger's support for monitoring the 2000 election, because of alleged manipulation on the part of Democrats. Just goes to show that ensuring electoral integrity is not a partisan issue, although both parties harp on it in partisan ways.

Also, in response to soulhuntre's self-linked blog entry: First, what "enforcement capability" does the United Nations have? Where are the U.N. police? Where is the U.N.'s army? Any forces deployed under the U.N. flag have been voluntarily sent by member states, and can be withdrawn by their respective governments at any time, for any reason. So the U.N.'s capacity to independently enforce its own resolutions is pretty much nil. Second, you mention "a judicial branch" of the U.N. as if that were a new thing, when the U.N. has featured a court (the International Court of Justice) to adjudicate international disputes from its very inception. The only new thing about the International Criminal Court is that it is (theoretically) empowered to prosecute individuals, in the absence of state jurisdiction, for crimes against humanity, whereas the ICJ is basically a civil court for states to settle grievances amongst themselves.

To me, the U.N. might be a less than ideal choice, but for exactly the opposite reasons that soulhuntre cites - it is too dependent on the United States, financially and otherwise, to be a truly independent observer. It's like asking someone to write a public evaluation report about their immediate supervisor. But we don't have to just take the U.N.'s word for it; there are plenty of international organizations that are equipped for election monitoring - OSCE, OAS, IFES - and that could all be invited to monitor this election, in addition to the U.N. I say the more, the merrier.

The whole ANSWER thing is a digression from the point of this thread, so suffice it to say that soulhuntre greatly overestimates their power - they're about as politically influential as the makers of the Pet Rock. ANSWER, the IAC, and the Workers World Party have opposed every American military intervention since at least the mid-1990s, including Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Where were the massive protests against the Kosovo bombings or the Afghanistan invasion? ANSWER/IAC/WWP were at the right place at the right time for the anti-Iraq war movement, and got lucky. But they couldn't push anyone off a bed, much less into the streets. Besides, there are other options.
posted by skoosh at 8:39 AM on July 8, 2004


The USA should hire the Australian's election-running company. They're efficient and high-quality.

Q: over the past century, has a democrat president ever been responsible for initiating a war?

Perhaps someone who knows would like to post a list of US military actions, the year initiated, and the president/party in charge.

I suspect we're going to see that the Repubs are solely responsible for all non-defensive military actions.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:38 AM on July 8, 2004


I thought the US was supposed to be the birthplace of democracy, or somesuch. If so, shouldn't there be UN observers, if only to set a baseline for the rest of the world?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2004


five fresh: Actually, most of the "big wars" that the United States has been involved with over the last 100 years have been started (or U.S. involvement initiated) during Democratic administrations:
  • World War I: Woodrow Wilson
  • World War II: FDR
  • Korean War: Harry Truman
  • Vietnam War: massive troop escalations under JFK and LBJ (although a few hundred military "advisors" had been sent in earlier by Eisenhower)
The only really big wars that Republican presidents have sent a lot of Americans to fight (>10,000) have been started by the Bushes. Even Clinton bombed Yugoslavia.

On the other hand, Republican presidents have also been responsible for some of the largest government budget deficits and debt increases in American history (Reagan, Bush I, Bush II), so there you go.
posted by skoosh at 5:11 PM on July 8, 2004


Huh. Whaddya know. The WWs weren't, of course, started or initiated by the USA. And wasn't the US's involvement with Yugoslavia prompted by the request of the UN?

I don't know how the Korean or Vietnam wars got started. Were they like the Gulf wars, where the US unilaterally decided to have its armies leave the national borders to go kick some foreign ass?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:02 PM on July 8, 2004


Lurker "DT" mails me this:
Hi,

I’m a MeFi lurker (no account) and I saw your post regarding overseas military engagements. The short version is that plenty of democrats have been involved in plenty of aggressive attacks (Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bay of Pigs, etc).

Some highlights as to who started what conflicts:

Vietnam – started by both Eisenhower (R) and JFK (D) – 1959-1972
Cuban Missile Crisis / Bay of Pigs – initiated by JFK (D) – 1960
Dominican Republic Invasion – JFK (D) – 1965
Iraq – Bush (R) - 1990
Somalia – Clinton (D) – 1993
Haiti – Clinton (D) – 1994-5
Bosnia – Clinton (D) – 1995
Iraq (air strike) – Clinton (D) – 1998
Kosovo (air strike) - Clinton (D) – 1999
Afghanistan – Bush (R) – 2002
Iraq – Bush (R) – 2003

Good source:

http://www.aiipowmia.com/other/hostilechron.html

Best,


D____ T_______
posted by five fresh fish at 9:35 PM on July 8, 2004


The only really big wars that Republican presidents have sent a lot of Americans to fight (>10,000) have been started by the Bushes

Spanish-American War.

There was also the small matter of, as Silent Sam at UNC diplomatically terms it, the War of 1861--1865.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:56 PM on July 8, 2004


Yes, but I said "this past century."
posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 AM on July 9, 2004


Can someone explain to this clueless canadian the difference between a Republican and a Democrat ballot? 'Cause it sounds like the two don't get the same choices and I can't see how that would work.
posted by Mitheral at 2:29 PM on July 9, 2004


Can someone explain to this clueless canadian the difference between a Republican and a Democrat ballot?

The only time you'd see Republican or Democratic (or Green or Libertarian or anything else) ballots are in primary elections.

All of the states in the US regulate how political parties choose their nominees for different offices. They're legally forbidden from simply making the choice among the party leadership, or among dues-paying members, etc; they are required by law to use whatever system of choice the state imposes on them.

Almost all of the states use primary elections, where the general public who says they're Democratic picks the Democratic candidate for the relevant constituency/office, and the Republican voters pick the Republican. There is no checking to make sure you actually hold Democratic or Republican beliefs or values, and it's not that uncommon for people to register in the party they actually like less.

This causes hijinks from time to time, because if the party voters in a given constituency vote for someone, they are the official, no-shit, 100% legal, can't-do-a-damn-thing-about-it nominee of the party no matter what the party leadership thinks. This is how David Duke, nominally an ex-Klansman but nobody believes the "ex-", got to be the Republican nominee for governor of Louisiana. Republicans up and down the political system, up to Reagan IIRC, were falling all over themselves to urge people not to vote for the schmuck. This was the campaign where the other candidate, Edwin Edwards, was widely known to be a corrupt crook, so the rallying cry of the campaign was "Vote for the crook -- it's important!"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:59 PM on July 9, 2004


ROU_Xenophobe - You win this thread's "historical reality check" prize, I'd say.
posted by troutfishing at 5:23 PM on July 12, 2004


Along with - of course - "DT"
posted by troutfishing at 5:24 PM on July 12, 2004


Woo. Yay me! And for my next impression, Jesse Owens!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2004


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