And I thought Florida only had this problem.
July 9, 2001 7:03 PM   Subscribe

And I thought Florida only had this problem. The Chicago Tribune reports that nearly 8% of votes in Illinois' 1st Congressional District went uncounted in the 2000 presidential election. It also adds: voters in low-income, high-minority districts nationwide were more likely to have undercounted ballots than were those in affluent, predominantly white districts, the study showed. Is there a nation-wide epidemic of undercounting? Or is it a problem limited to few localized areas? Or is it an underhanded way to deny the underprivileged of their vote? From the looks of it, at least additional investigation needs to be done.
posted by Bag Man (15 comments total)
Yeah, and isn't it interesting how big scandals often have the reverse effect of increasing the publics apathy to a serious issue after the initial hysteria has died down. People hardly ever mention how Bush allegedly stole the election in highly dubious circumstances anymore. Good to see things like this keeping the debate in the public consciousness exactly where, if anything deserves to be, it does.
posted by Kino at 12:26 AM on July 10, 2001

You know, Shrub would promote goodwill even among his detractors (like myself) if he would just pledge some federal dollars to improving the nation's voting system. It's downright embarrasing for America to be conducting elections in an outdated fashion like this.
posted by owillis at 1:19 AM on July 10, 2001

If you are from Chicago, then you know this is more of the same old story.
posted by john at 2:21 AM on July 10, 2001

Kino: (Side-Note) A day doesn't go by that I don't mention that George W Bush was basically handed the presidency by the supreme court, and was not really elected.
posted by benjh at 4:57 AM on July 10, 2001

Ah, Chicago: Where the dead vote early and often.
posted by harmful at 5:54 AM on July 10, 2001

It seems to me that rather than a conspiracy to defraud low income and minority voters, this a symtom of the major problems in those communities. The study said that much of the errors were caused by old voting machines. It sounds to me like the voting aparatus in low-income areas in America are in the same disrepair as other government services.
posted by chaz at 8:10 AM on July 10, 2001

If you're going to make wild-eyed assertions such as "Or is it an underhanded way to deny the underprivileged of their vote? " then so am I. Perhaps the underprivileged have a problem with literacy. Much the same as happened in Florida. Maybe they're too stupid to vote.
posted by haqspan at 8:32 AM on July 10, 2001

Undercounts in areas that have gone Democratic since before I was born? I doubt there was even a Republican running in the districts that had the undercount, it is just one Democrat ripping off another. I am not exactly sure what the story is here. The article said that the same machines were used in the districts with low errors, so machinery is not the problem.
posted by thirteen at 8:51 AM on July 10, 2001

That was a pretty asinine comment, Haqspan. Let's go back to literacy tests, why don't we?

The problem is funding. The voting equipment, voter education, and election staff are mostly funded by property tax dollars. I think this is an outrage -- every county should have access to the same amount of dollars as the next, else we see disparities in undervotes based on economics.

Voter education and accurate counting machines (the voting machines were indeed the same, but the tallying machines were not) would greatly lower the undercount rate, IMO.

Literacy was *NOT* the problem in Florida -- the butterfly ballot was confusing to the wealthy, literate seniors of West Palm Beach, and many of the southern, poorer counties of Florida didn't have access to the expensive, accurate optical scanners (that spit out a ballot if marked incorrectly, allowing the voter to try again) that the northern, richer counties had. Funding was the main problem -- they couldn't afford to replace their outdated equipment.
posted by jennak at 8:59 AM on July 10, 2001

> A day doesn't go by that I don't mention that George W
> Bush was basically handed the presidency by the
>supreme court, and was not really elected.

And this in news? John Kennedy was handed the election by Mayor Daley (Sr.) of Chicago, his pockets bulging With Joe Kennedy's cash. Not that I would have wanted Nixon a decade early, but important elections attract corruption, and the closer the election, the more significant the corruption becomes. If Gore had beaten Bush the way Bush's daddy beat Dukakis, Florida wouldn't have made any difference.
posted by jfuller at 9:02 AM on July 10, 2001

What makes the story even more amusing is that Daley Jr. was leading the Dem. forces down in FL during the whole recount mess.
posted by Witold at 9:10 AM on July 10, 2001

Witold: no that was his brother.
posted by jbelshaw at 9:35 AM on July 10, 2001

Er, wouldn't Kennedy have won even without Illinois' electoral votes?
posted by youhas at 10:36 AM on July 10, 2001

Duh! Governments like to put toxic waste sites in poor neighborhoods too.

It's quite simple poor people don't have the money to sue. Rich people do. Consequently, people are more afraid to fuck with the rich.

What amazes me about articles like this is that people seem to be so shocked and surprised that such things happen in the good ol' U.S.A., Bastion of Democracy (TM).

Wake up people. The rich have always screwed the poor and it ain't likely to change anytime soon.

Oh yeah, haqspan, you're a moron.
posted by dr. zoidberg at 12:23 PM on July 10, 2001

I would urge anyone here to take a look at a right-wing message board sometime, and see how many times a day that someone offhandedly mentions how the Democrats attempted to steal the election (in a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, of course, involving thousands of secretly plotting municipal employees and judges counting ballots), commit vast fraud (mostly based on the single incident where cigarettes were handed out in Milwaukee to a few dozen homeless people), urge non-citizens to vote (some aggressive efforts in California apparently persuaded some resident aliens to try registering) and generally attempt to take away the country from, you know, the Right-thinking people.

Using the Supreme Court to decide the election, though, well -- that was simply protecting the integrity of the process.

It was Republicans -- the same people who freak out about the idea of national identity cards, a police state checking their gun registration, and say they generally oppose a powerful state overseeing the citizenry -- who talked wildly about calling in the National Guard in Florida (or at least using them in future elections), developing a system of national proof of identity, and instituting a dokumentat! citizen police state in polling places, just to catch a handful of people who might try to cast duplicate ballots or possibly vote when they're not supposed to under state law.

All I'm saying is that if you poke your head in another room, you'll get another perspective. The thing that separates liberals from conservatives, here, is that while the liberals will complain about the situation, the conservatives are motivated to do something about it. Expect continued efforts by Republicans to reduce the pool of eligible voters, including passing more felon-disenfranchisement laws, more voter-registration-cleaning laws, and attempts to roll back motor-voter laws. That such efforts will "inadvertently" take away the right to vote from otherwise eligible citizens is, trust me, something they see as a feature, not a bug.
posted by dhartung at 2:48 PM on July 10, 2001

« Older Sorry, but where do you live?   |   Buddyhead Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments