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Politics Government

Election Day Discussion 1718

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the last-chance-to-complain dept.
With the polls now already open in most of the country, this is the official on-topic place for all Slashdot readers to discuss the election itself. And get out and vote if you can. Also, if you haven't noticed, the Slashdot poll shows once and for all where Slashdot readers fall on the election. I'm off to vote in a couple hours. Wonder if we'll have Diebolds in my district.
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Election Day Discussion

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  • First Vote! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:20AM (#10700024)
    First Vote!
  • Vote Libertarian (Score:4, Informative)

    by clonebarkins (470547) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:21AM (#10700026)
    For meaningful change, the only choice is Michael Badnarik [badnarik.org]!
    • by Tassach (137772) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:32AM (#10700486)
      Sorry, I'm not going to vote for anyone who doesn't have the experience to do the job. Bush was unqualified when he took office, and he had at least served in elected office. The only elected position Badnarik has held was Executive Vice-President of his dormitory at Indiana University. Whoop-de-fucking-do.

      Badnarik has good credentials as a geek, and I'd probably hire him for a programming or systems administration job, but he has no political experience whatsoever. Hell, he wasn't even able to get himself elected to the TEXAS House of Representives. If he (and the Libertarian party in general) are serious about getting into the White House, they need to set their sights a little lower at first: GET PEOPLE INTO OFFICE. *ANY* OFFICE. Local level, state level, whatever. School boards, town/county council, state legislatures, judgeships, etc. This serves two purposes: it shows people that Libertarians actually *can* work with the system and it gives the office-holders actual EXPERIENCE to run for higher office.

      Even more importantly, if and when they are actually able run a serious Gubenatorial or Presidential candidate, that person when elected will actually have a BASE OF SUPPORT in the legislative and judicial branches. You can't change the system from the top-down; you have to work from the bottom up.

      IMHO the most effective place for the LP to start is getting some Libertarian Judges elected. Judgeships are usually not as highly disputed as Legislative or Executive offices, but they hold a LOT of power. A Libertarian-controlled judiciary would be in the position to check the worst execesses perpetrated by the Democrats and Republicans.

      • by tdemark (512406) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:44AM (#10700558) Homepage
        You have a very good point, but it also begs the question:

        Are you supposed to vote for who you think will do a better overall job or who best represents your beliefs and opinions?

        Personally, I was really torn by this very question for the last few weeks...

        - Tony
        • by Tassach (137772) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:38PM (#10701033)
          Are you supposed to vote for who you think will do a better overall job or who best represents your beliefs and opinions?
          Heh. I've given up hope on either. I'm just voting for the one who'll do the least amount of damage, which is Kerry.

          A third party President would likely unite the other two parties against him, allowing Congress to pass veto-proof legislation. It might be interesting, but since there's no viable 3rd party candidate, this isn't a serious option.

          A Republican President will keep the House, Senate, and Presidency in the hands of one party. The Republican-controlled Congress has already proven itself to be Bush's lap-dog, giving him anything he asks for. [I'd be just as opposed to the Democrats controlling everything, BTW]. Another 4 years of total Republican control will kill the last vestiges of freedom we have left.

          A Democratic president will unite the Democratic minority in Congress behind him. He'll have to struggle and COMPROMISE to get anything done, however, because the Republicans will likely retain control of both houses. This should cancel out the more extreme partisan agendas coming from either party. This will at least keep the far-right fundimentalist Christian wing of the Republican party in check, and they're the ones who really scare me.

          The most important issue for me is the fact that potentially 3 supreme court justices are going to die or retire in the next 4 years. Right now the court is balanced between an arch-conservitive wing and a moderate liberal wing, with one swing justice who leans to the left. Another Bush presidency combined with a Republican-controlled House and Senate will allow them to stack the deck with more hard-right, anti-freedom justices like Scalia and Thomas. However, any Kerry appointee will still have to be confirmed by the same Republican Congress; therefore Kerry would have to chose someone moderate in order to get them past the Republicans. Scant as it is, this is the best hope we have to retain at least some of our freedoms and undo some of the worst excesses of the last 4 years.

      • by clonebarkins (470547) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:54AM (#10700633)

        (Before I get into it, I agree with what you say about the whole base of support. In this election, there are over 1,000 other LP candidates running for local, state, and national offices around the country.)

        The only elected position Badnarik has held was Executive Vice-President of his dormitory at Indiana University. Whoop-de-fucking-do.

        According to the Constitution, Badnarik meets all the qualifications necessary:

        • Must be a natural born citizen
        • Must have lived in the US for 14 years
        • Must be at least 35 years old
        • Must never have committed treason

        Not having held office before has nothing to do with being a good president. Perhaps the reason nothing changes is because we keep electing people who are already acclimated to "the system." While Badnarik might lack political experience, he far exceeds both baBush and Kerry in constitutional scholarship. (I think you would agree that Bush doesn't know crap about the Constitution, and Kerry isn't much better, having voted for the PATRIOT Act.)

        • by Tassach (137772) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:14PM (#10701514)
          According to the Constitution, Badnarik meets all the qualifications necessary:
          No, meets all of the ELEGIBLITY requirements imposed by the Constitution. Eligible != Qualified.

          Being ELIGIBLE for something does not automatically mean you are QUALIFIED to do it. I have a BS in Computer Engineering, therefore I'm ELIGIBLE for any job which requires that degree. However, there are a lot of jobs for which I'm ELIGIBLE that I'm not QUALIFIED to perform because my experience is in a different specialty.

          If the candidate's degree of Constitutional scholarship is the only quality that matters when chosing a President, then I submit that Lawrence Lessig is an infinately more qualified choice for President than Badnarik.

          There are probably over 100M US citizens who are eligible to hold the presidency, so by your argument ANY of them is qualified to do the job. I'm sure you could find a homeless illiterate paranoid schizophrenic with multiple felony convictions and substance abuse problems who still meets all the Constitutional eligiblity requirements for the Presidency. Would this person be qualified for the job? I think not.

          Hell, *I* am over 35, have lived in the US all my life, and have never been charged with any crime more serious than driving 20mph over the speed limit. I'll wager a week's pay that my knowledge of the Constitution is at least as good as Badnarik's. Therefore, by your standards, I'm as qualified to be President as he is. Vote for Me!

      • by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot AT liselle DOT net> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:59AM (#10700673) Journal
        Badnarik has good credentials as a geek, and I'd probably hire him for a programming or systems administration job, but he has no political experience whatsoever. Hell, he wasn't even able to get himself elected to the TEXAS House of Representives. If he (and the Libertarian party in general) are serious about getting into the White House, they need to set their sights a little lower at first: GET PEOPLE INTO OFFICE. *ANY* OFFICE. Local level, state level, whatever. School boards, town/county council, state legislatures, judgeships, etc. This serves two purposes: it shows people that Libertarians actually *can* work with the system and it gives the office-holders actual EXPERIENCE to run for higher office.
        Good thing they already thought of this, eh? Click here [lp.org], pick a state of your choosing, and behold all of the Libertarians in local positions.

        (aside: Jesus it's hard to post with all of these 503 errors, I can't even check to see if this is redundant)
      • by TheCabal (215908) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:20PM (#10700828) Journal
        You know, it cuts both ways:

        Do you want someone who has spent their entire professional career in politics, with no "real world" experience? Someone who doesn't know how much a gallon of gas or milk costs?

        It's hard to relate to the very people you're supposed to be leading/representing when you've got no connection to them at all.
      • by rattler14 (459782) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:48PM (#10701150)
        Ignorance can be astounding sometimes...

        1. Sure, experience in other offices helps, but a 3rd party candidate shooting for high offices will always lose in an entrenched 2 party system.

        2. Badnarik may not have held an office with a little name sign on his door, but has been studying the US constitution for over 22 years now. In fact, he teaches an 8 hour class on the constitution, which is available online [archive.org] for your viewing pleasure. He's been teaching it now for at least 4 years, but possibly more. I bet senator Kerry and presient Bush couldn't even tell you what article of the US constitution describes their position, much less what it actually says their powers are.

        I could go on, but it's not worth my time. Libertarians actually go after a lot of this country's problems from the fundamental root, rather than using broad sweeping generalizations like "a safer america is what we want".

    • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:02PM (#10700713) Homepage
      For meaningful change, the only choice is Michael Badnarik!

      I forget. Which one of these is the Badnarik/Campagna slogan, again?

      • "Badnarik '04: A Meth Lab In Every Garage And A .45 On Every Hip!"
      • "Badnarik '04: Survival Of The Fittest Isn't Just A Good Idea--It's The Law!"
      • "Badnarik '04: Grow A Pair And Vote For Us, You Fucking Sheep!"
      • "Badnarik '04: Men Are Angels!"
      • "Badnarik '04: Government BAAAAAD!"
  • Yay for rabidness! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:21AM (#10700036) Homepage Journal
    A place to talk politics that will start off intelligently, and end in a bloodbath where only the extreme sides remain.

    And no one will change their mind, regardless.

    WHAT FUN!
  • by HMA2000 (728266) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:21AM (#10700037)
    Finally, something to distract me. I want some extreme polazation in this thread people!!!
  • by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:22AM (#10700048) Homepage Journal
    ..it is also obvious that Slashdot has an international readership. Would there be any way to re-run the poll restricting it to US bound IP address to see if the race isn't so runaway for Kerry from the slashdot side?

    That being said, I'm all for Kerry to win. But I live in a pretty red state. Though while standing in line to feed my paper ballot marked with a pen into some thing I saw that the few people in front of me had all voted for Kerry/Edwards which I found interesting, considering how little either party has paid attention to North Carolina this year.
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Z-MaxX (712880) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:23AM (#10700058) Journal
    I forgot what it was like to turn on the TV or drive 2 blocks without being flooded with political ads. Yay! Finally back to real life. :)
  • by killthiskid (197397) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:23AM (#10700067) Homepage Journal
    It can't be said enough times: Americans! Please go vote! Voting is a right you get to keep by the very act of exercising it.
    • by Holi (250190) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:56PM (#10701255)
      After reading the constitution yet again, it looks as though voting is more of a privilege then a right.

      Look at it closely.

      The only reasons they cannot deny you the right to vote are
      1. due to race, color, or previous condition of servitude (Article XV) - Hmmmm and felons can't vote (look at Article XIII which seems to equate your sentence with involuntary servitude).
      2. due to gender (Article XIX). Yay women can vote.
      3. Failure to pay your taxes (Amendment XXIV)
      and 4. Due to age, as long as your are oder then 18 (Amendment XXVI).

      So except for those reasons you can lose your right to vote.

      Use it while you've got it, it's the only way to keep it.
  • Thank God! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@gmSTRAWail.com minus berry> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:24AM (#10700070) Homepage Journal
    I hope it's all decided quickly, so the Canadian who sits next to me at work can stop bitching about the election all day every day. I swear she cares more deeply about this than I do.

    And, to her, no, I still won't watch F.9/11, thank you very much. I don't need any extra propoganda in my life.
  • by Triumph The Insult C (586706) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:24AM (#10700071) Homepage Journal
    don't bitch about the president during the next 4 years
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:46AM (#10700181)


      > don't bitch about the president during the next 4 years

      Corollary 1: If they one you vote for loses, bitch continually for the next four years.

    • by saintp (595331) <stpierre.nebrwesleyan@edu> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:19AM (#10700412) Homepage
      Bullshit!

      I'll bitch about the president all I want -- I'll just refrain from saying, "If only (Bush|Kerry|Nader|Whoever) had won,..." That's because the problem isn't the dude in the suit, the problem is the fact of the president. And when it's the system I oppose, not the person, I reserve full rights to a) refuse to lend my consent to the system by voting; and b) bitch all I want about it.

      This mantra is just one of many aspects of a culture that refuses to see the conscientious refusal to vote as valid. It ultimately reinforces the system and blinds us to change. The "Vote or die," "I don't care who you vote for, just vote," etc., slogans that we hear repeated are, plain and simple, pro-government.

      Another de-voted anarchist refusing to vote.

      • by jdavidb (449077) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:58PM (#10701280) Homepage Journal

        Bravo! The whole problem with democracy is that we should not have the power to make so many decisions for each other. Democracy is a "one-size-fits-all" solution in a world where we are all shaped differently. I would never dare to claim the rights over other people that our government of "we the people" claims to have over its subjects^Wcitizens.

        This is the first election where I have been aware of and understood your point of view. I find it extremely admirable and I commend you. For my part I am still voting but I see your point of view and am longing for the day when the truly important things in life are not subject to a vote, as they should never have been subject to the will of either a sovereign monarchy or a sovereign voting populace. For my part as long as I continue to vote, I will vote for our government to exert less and less authority over you. If I had my way, you could opt out of all of our government, not just voting.

        Thank you for holding to your conscience. It is a supreme act of maturity and responsibility to stand up and say, "I do not have the right to make decisions on your behalf, and I will not even try." I hope that you can hold your head up high even if all those around who do not understand you cast stones at you.

    • by nuggz (69912) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:26AM (#10700457) Homepage
      No
      If you are a member of a democracy you should always make your opinion heard.

      Tell your President, Prime minister, governor premier mayor, MP, MEP, MPP, senator congressman, alderman, councillor etc what you want.

      Their job is to represent you, and work in the best interest of their consitiuents and the area as a whole.
      To do this they MUST know your opinions.

      If you were them and lots of people write/tell you what they want, don't you think that might influence your stance on issues?
      If the politicians really thought they wouldn't get re-elected if they voted for the invasion of Iraq, they wouldn't have authorized it.
      With recall legislation becoming more popular this is even more important.
      Even Bush would get a little nervous if people started recalling their Republican Governors to replace them with Democrats.

      FWIW I emailed my MP (Federal representative) about a do not call registry, his assistant emailed back the letter my MP had previously sent requesting such legislation.
  • Ukraine (Score:5, Funny)

    by GoofyBoy (44399) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:25AM (#10700077) Journal
    Finally, an slashdot story that is non-American-centric!
  • by Rahga (13479) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:27AM (#10700093) Homepage Journal
    Remember to vote, or P. Diddy will kill you. [gothamist.com]
  • by slungsolow (722380) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:28AM (#10700095) Homepage
    They were touch screen devices that were named "WinVote". The first thing I saw was a blue screen. Man was I scared.

    On a side note, I don't remember seeing voter turnout like this before, but the only elections I was involved with in this state were strictly senatorial or congressional. Those times I was in line for a good 10 minutes, this morning was a little over an hour. There was a great turnout and just about everyone in line seemed pretty excited. The folks at the polls who weren't election officials (people from the different parties) did a good job of helping people out without bugging the hell out of us (handing out copies of the ballots, walking the old people to the building and through the line - BUT not to the voting machines).


    All in all it was a good experience, and I hope it works like this across the whole country.
    • Wait... What? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by temojen (678985) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:21PM (#10700837) Journal

      Party representatives are allowed to touch the Ballots???

      Here in Canada, the only people allowed to touch the Ballots are the Deputy Returning Officer (who is sworn to be non-partisan) and the Voter. The DRO isn't allowed to touch the voter list, that's the Poll Clerk's job.

      The scrutineers and the candidate's representative (who oversees the scrutineers for their party) aren't allowed to touch anything. They also aren't allowed to talk about politics or have any signs or material which might identify their party etc. asside from their scrutineer badge (which has their name and party).

      The election before last, I went up to the table to vote and the Poll Clerk, DRO, and scrutineer were telling me who to vote for. They turned absolutely white when right after putting my ballot in the box I walked over to the candidate's rep (for a different party) handed him my paperwork and got my scrutineer badge. They stopped telling people how to vote after that (I was assigned to their table).

  • by joshtimmons (241649) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:29AM (#10700096) Homepage
    I've been wanting to get this off my chest for a while now, and what better forum for this than slashdot.

    We have an election system here in the US that attempts to count every vote. At some point they stop counting and announce the final results.

    Anyway, we learned 4 years ago (and are learning this time too) that the vote is not accurate. It is error prone and sometimes subjective. But I haven't seen anyone attempt to quantify the level of error in the voting process? Why hasn't there been some academic or impartial attempt to measure the margin of error in our polling.

    Why is this important? Because if you don't know the margin of error, then you don't know what the outcome is. Period. If Bush reports 51% to Kerry 49% and the margin of error is 5%, then we don't know who won the election. It's a statistical tie and anyone who announces a winner is at best foolish.

    • Revelation (Score:5, Funny)

      by base_chakra (230686) * on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:15PM (#10700791)
      Wait a minute... something just occurred to me!

      If some insidious government officials were to approve the installation an easily-corruptible voting system in order to co-opt the election according to their agenda, and if the mass media then convinced the masses that the election is really close and could go either way, then it wouldn't be quite so transparent when the election was rigged in favor of one candidate!

      Holy crap!
    • by John Murdoch (102085) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:51PM (#10702030) Homepage Journal

      (Deep breath. I'm about to do something totally insane--try to present a rational, factual explanation of a political subject on SlashDot. Maybe its because I've been eating nothing but red M&Ms all day....)

      IAMPAEO--BIHBO
      I Am Not Presently An Election Official--But I Have Been One. And I can promise you, with all sincerity, that the margin of error is effectively zero. We count every single ballot, whether on the voting machines or in absentee ballots, regardless of how late we have to stay up to do it. The people in your county registrar's office total up all of the ballots from the polling places, and keep checking and re-checking until they have it right. The math is done in front of representatives from all political parties, as well as any candidate-appointed watchers that are present as well. When the election results are certified, the results are correct--with an error rate of zero.

      Oh, c'mon. What about...
      I have been an election official for more than fifteen years--and I have been involved in counting votes on Election night in heavily Democratic wards, and in heavily Republican wards. It does not matter--we get the vote total correct, and we turn it in to the county. Then the county re-checks our work--and they carefully preserve the voting machines until they're convinced we have done the work correctly. (One year, back in the 1980s, the county had questions about one of our voting machines and called the officials back in later in the week to make sure they understood what we'd done.)

      Don't confuse the results announced on TV with the certified election
      I have also done consulting work with the Elections Unit of a major TV network [go.com]. They have an entirely different agenda: their goal is to "call" the election for one candidate or the other before any other media outlet. They are basing their "calls" on exit-polling data ("pardon me, ma'am, but could you tell me who you voted for?") in a handful of selected precincts across a state. They will report preliminary totals ("And we now see Governor Bloviate leading with 1,424,325 votes with 21% of precincts reporting...") without explaining the context (are those Bloviate's strong precincts? Who says the numbers are correct?) They're out to report fast, accuracy be damned. (Sorry, Charlie, but that's the way it really is.)

      The real story, the real vote total, comes when the election is certified. And the "chaos" that we all saw in Florida was the actual process of certifying an election. There were flaws (the biggest: they hadn't defined any rules for how to count votes)--but they eventually arrived at a standard, and used that standard to count votes. They ended up with a total. That's the final number.

      All that said....
      The total vote count will be determined with a level of error of zero. What will not be determined--and what I fear will be rampant in this election, on both sides--is how many votes were fraudulent, due to duplicate registrations, absentee ballot fraud, etc.

  • Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tomahawk (1343) * on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:32AM (#10700105) Homepage
    Someone said to me that, if you are living in an area where the vote is more or less decided (such as a very strong Bush locale, or a very strong Kerry locale), especially if you are voting the other way from the general populus, then don't waste your vote on either the Bush or Kerry side. Instead, vote for one of the smaller parties - if they receive 5% of the vote, then their funding is increased, and they may be able to work on something good in your area.

    This doesn't follow in all counties, just in those that are very very strongly Bush or Kerry, and you are voting the other way. 'Cos if you vote the other way, you vote will more or less be lost.

    Finally, no matter which way you are thinking of voting, go out and vote. If you don't know who to vote for, then vote for a 3rd party. But cast your vote!

    T.
    • Re:Voting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:23AM (#10700445) Homepage
      ...true, there's little risk of losing your state's EVs, but there is the matter of "winning enough". If the election is close, or if one candidate wins the popular vote while the other wins the EV, you can count on an ugly, protracted, bitter, divisive legal battle in the weeks ahead. We'll be far better off if there's a clear victor in today's election.

      If you have a genuine preference for a third party candidate, vote third party. Don't vote for a third party candidate simply because you're undecided on which candidate you prefer. Sadly, there's more to this election than simply winning 270 electoral votes...

  • fairfax county va (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UVABlows (183953) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:36AM (#10700116)
    The polls are swamped in fairfax. The procedure is as follows:

    1) Stand in line to get your id checked. If you are registered you get a blue index card.

    2) Stand in a different line with your card and wait for a winvote [enfocom.com] machine to open up.

    3) When it is your turn you present your card to the election worker that supervises the terminal that just opened up. She takes your blue card and unlocks the machine.

    4) You vote.

    Note that thing differentiating a random person that walked up to the machine and a registered, approved voter is posession of the blue card. Multiple people left after receiving their blue cards, saying they couldn't wait another hour and that they would return later. There is nothing stopping these people from reproducing the cards and returning multiple times. The voting places are an absolute packed madhouse, NO ONE would notice if someone just walked up to the second line with a blue card.

    Did anyone else see any other glaring holes in their election procedures?
  • by Stephen (20676) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:37AM (#10700122) Homepage
    I'd like to hear what Americans think about results and exit polls for eastern states being published before polls in western states have closed.

    In the rest of the democratic world, as far as I know, this is illegal. It seems to us that it goes against having a fair election. And yet in America it is normal practice. Why?

  • by Skraut (545247) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:43AM (#10700153) Journal
    Tried to vote this morning, Gave my Name, Address, and showed my Drivers License, and was told I wasn't registered. I pulled out my voter registration card, to prove that I was registered, and the attendant looked in her book and told me that there were no voters registered at my address. Despite me having a 20 day old card stating the opposite

    I leaned in and looked at the book (breaking every rule in the book by looking at the book) and saw my name and pointed to it. The attendant looked at my name and stated, "but your drivers license says 2950 Ridge Rd, but in my book it says 2951 Ridge Rd" (an address which does not exist)

    She spent 20 minutes on the phone with the board of elections trying to figure out what it is she was supposed to do.

    Despite having a drivers license with 2950, a voter registration card with 2950, she was bound and determined not to let me vote because her book said 2951. I asked what paperwork I would need to fill out if I wanted to claim that I had moved. She explained that I could fill out the paperwork, but my vote would not be counted until the paperwork cleared. Figuring that would mean my vote would only be counted in a disputed recount situation (if even then) this wasn't acceptable to me either.

    Finally another attendant called the Board of Elections (because I was starting to get very agitated) and discovered I could fill out the change of address forms with me, vote, and then turn the forms into the board of elections today.

    I'm still not convinced my vote will get counted. I was given an "I Voted" sticker, and wondered if I did or not.

    • by Keebler71 (520908) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:57AM (#10700662) Journal
      Very interesting... I am sorry that you had trouble performing your civic duty today, but I am likewise glad that poll-workers are on the ball and at least doing their job and hopefully your vote will be counted in the end.

      While I am by no means accusing your of any wrongdoing, I understand how even what seems like such a minor detail or error on someones part (transcribing a 0 to a 1) may be used for vote fraud:

      Consider an unscrupulous individual who wishes commit fraud. That person could register to vote using 10 differnt permutations on his legitimate address. Thus to anyone cross-checking the registration rolls, it might slip by in that the names are the same but the addresses are all different. On election day, this idividual might be able to go to each of the different precincts that he registered in, pull out a perfectly form of ID and and in each case make the argument that there must have been a mistake. I don't think this would be easy to pull-off, and it isn't exactly what you describe (your address was correct on your voter registration card) but it is at least conceivable...

      • by tabdelgawad (590061) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:53PM (#10702067)
        The other side of the "voter fraud" coin is "voter suppression". The original poster could've just as easily decided voting was not worth the additional time and hassle. In fact, it's still possible his vote won't count despite trying to resolve the issue.

        This very tradeoff has been playing in the courts in Ohio (see any national newspaper), with Republicans wanting 'election monitors' at many polling stations to challenge possible fraud, and Democrats claiming it's voter suppression. A federal appeals court *today* reversed two Ohio court decisions *yesterday*, and monitors will be allowed.

        There's a balance to be struck here. Guarding against every "conceivable" fraud will have a cost in legitimate vote suppression.

        There's an analogy to a tradeoff between computer security and usability, but I've rambled long enough :)
    • by KontinMonet (737319) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:03PM (#10700716) Homepage Journal
      Call the toll free voter alert line: 1-866-MYVOTE1 [commoncause.org]
  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @10:46AM (#10700179) Journal
    All around the world, we're watching you today. We love America, we want you to lead and inspire and show us what democracy and freedom and technology can do. But right now we're feeling scared, confused, and angry about what your President has lead you to do over the past three years.

    Please, give us back the America we admire and believe in. Don't turn yourselves into a religious state. Don't turn your back on the UN and the other peoples of the world - in the end we are people first, American or French or Iraqi or Chinese second. Give us back the America that went to the moon and carried out the Berlin airlift and brought us the IT revolution. Give us back the America of Kennedy's vision and MLK's dream.

    And please, don't let the world's most successful democracy be reduced to a joke with a repeat of last election's Floridan antics.
    • by cmburns69 (169686) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:05PM (#10700728) Homepage Journal
      I appreciate your desire to see America return to it's former greatness. However, there is one thing that I've heard too many times to ignore. We are not a democracy, we are a republic.

      There is a big difference between the two forms of government. A democracy gives power directly to the people. A republic gives electoral power to the people, and the decision making power to the elected officials.

      • by McFarlane (23995) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @02:48PM (#10702931)

        Um, most people in the world use the word "democracy" to mean "representative democracy"

        A republic run by representative democracy is not an oxymoron. (A republic can be democratic or non-democratic).

        Democratic* republics: USA, Ireland, France
        Non-democratic republics: Syria, Belorussia

        In turn a democracy can be a republic or not a republic.

        (*By "democratic" I mean a representative democratic government - people drop the representative because it is a pain to write it out when every serious non-pedantic person knows what they are talking about already).

    • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @12:27PM (#10700901) Homepage
      "But right now we're feeling scared, confused, and angry about what your President has lead you to do over the past three years."

      You think you're scared? I feel like I've been strapped into the back seat of an out of control taxi driven by a madman, helplessly watching him mow down people on the sidewalk.
  • by festers (106163) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:00AM (#10700253) Journal
    No Diebold in Dupage County, IL, I'm glad to say. :) We have the "fill in the oval, let the Scantron machine scan it" setup. I guess when your county is 90% Republican you don't feel the need to rig the election with a bogus computer voting system. ;)
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:02AM (#10700262)

    A year ago, my wife and I moved from an apartment to our house.

    A week later, we went and got our drivers licenses changed, and both registered.

    I registered Green, she registered Republican.

    A few months later, we both received our registration cards.

    She voted this morning.

    When I tried to vote, after waiting for two hours I was told that I wasn't on the rolls. 20 minutes later of me refusing to leave, especially since I had my voter registeration card, they told me that I was registered at my old address.

    Which is garbage, because I _never_ registered to vote at my old address.

    Evidently, this is pretty common. Now i'm expected to say "Gosh, i'm not going to wait another two hours to vote. I have to get to work."

    Well fuck them, i'm voting after work today. I don't care if i'm there for 6 hours.

    I'm still disenfranchised, as I cannot vote for my local representatives.
  • Voter Ignorance (Score:5, Informative)

    by SonicSpike (242293) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:04AM (#10700279) Homepage Journal
    I personally do not think that everyone should be voting. In fact I think a lot of people SHOULDN'T be voting!

    Ignorance is rampant and I would rather have an intelligent informed nation choosing their leader based on facts, logic, and rationale rather than emotional responses, self-interest, and personality marketing/propoganda.

    The Cato Institute published a report which is here: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-525es.html [Cato.org] and it details its findings on the study of voter ignorance. Here is an excerpt:

    "Overall, close to one-third of Americans can be categorized as 'know-nothings' almost completely ignorant of relevant political information," writes Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, in "When Ignorance Isn't Bliss: How Political Ignorance Threatens Democracy."

    "Most of the time," Somin notes," only bare majorities know which party has control of the Senate, some 70 percent cannot name either of their state's senators and the vast majority cannot name any congressional candidate in their district at the height of a campaign."

    Overall, voters tend to be "abysmally ignorant of even very basic political information... the sheer depth of most individual voters' ignorance is shocking to observers not familiar with the research."

    A few examples from many in the report:

    * The Patriot Act? What's that? Three-fourths of Americans say they know little or nothing about it. 58 percent say they've heard "nothing" or "not much" about it.

    * Seventy percent don't know about the $500 billion new drug benefit added this year to Medicare, which Somin describes as "probably the most significant domestic legislation passed during the Bush administration."

    * A majority cannot make even a rough estimate of how many Americans soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

    * 61 percent believe that there has been a net loss of U.S. jobs in 2004.

    * Over 60 per cent don't know that, during President Bush's term, there has been an explosion in domestic spending (about 25 percent above previous levels) that has enormously increased the national debt.

    * Last year, 58 percent of Americans could not name a single federal Cabinet department.

    And such voter ignorance is, alas, nothing new:

    * In 1964, at the height of Cold War tensions, only 38 percent of the public knew that the Soviet Union was not a member of NATO.

    * In 1994, after Republicans took control of Congress under the highly-publicized leadership of Rep. Newt Gingrich, 57 percent of Americans said they'd never heard of Gingrich, despite the avalanche of press coverage.

    * In 1996, 67 percent couldn't name their congressman, and only 26 percent knew that senators serve six-year terms.

    * In the 2002 elections, only 32 percent of voters knew that the Republican Party controlled the House.

    In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

    Mass ignorance is easy to exploit and sway opinions based on nothing more than emotions.

    And in conclusion I say that if you do not truly understand the issues, have a good concept of how the government and the world works, and grasp the ideals and principles of what this government was founded on and it's history - then stay the hell out of the voting booth!
    • Re:Voter Ignorance (Score:4, Insightful)

      by div_2n (525075) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @01:06PM (#10701383)
      Nonsense. Intelligence or being informed is not a prerequisite to freedom. If people can be asked to die for their country or to pay taxes or to be subjugated to the laws of the land, then they should have a chance to exercise their opinion over the leaders even if they just close their eyes and point.

      If you don't like it, I think there are a few countries where you might fit in a little better.
      • Re:Voter Ignorance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MarkPNeyer (729607) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @04:10PM (#10704110)

        You're putting words into the original author's mouth. The parent never said anything about an intelligence test or that foolish people should be legally prevented from making a vote. That's something I absolutely agree with. I think you make a terrible decision as a human being to participate in a process that you really don't understand, but I definately don't think anyone should legally prevent people from voting on account of 'intelligence.' His statement wasn't a call for legal action to prevent people who don't know what's going on from voting, it was a call to people to stop encouraging everyone to go out and vote. That's something I totally agree with.

        That being said, I really don't understand how anyone can possibly claim that getting a bunch of ignorant people to participate in the political process helps anything. I firmly beleive that this world would be a lot better if fewer people voted.

        Consider all of the stupid aggravating crap that politicans say and do. Consider all of those stupid attack ads and assinine twisting of records and the way they embellish what they've accomplished while trying to make it look like the other guy is worse than a murderer/rapist. You've got to realize why they do that - it's becuase there are so many people voting who don't pay attention to the issues and are persuaded to vote based on the assinine messages that the politicans send out. If we would stop encouraging mouth breathing morons to vote, the politicans wouldn't have any reason to do all of that bullshit.

        Consider this hypothetical situation - there's about 30% of the population that pays close attention to what goes on in politics. And those two groups are more or less evenly divided between two sides. If you're a political candidate in that situation, you're never going to win anything by appealing to the small percentage of the population that actually votes. The only way you can win is by crafting a policy platform that sounds good to people who never bother to vote. You also need to reach out to those people and get your message to them, which means you need a lot of money. So the fact that there are large numbers of uninformed people weilding a lot of power immediately leads to the monetary corrpution of politics, and the creation political policies that are designed not to make sense or work but to appeal to individuals who, by their very nature, don't understand the workings of government.

        I am not calling for intelligence tests or restrictions on voting, because I'm no fool myself and I realize how those would easily be abused. I just think If we'd get rid of this idiotic national idea that nonparticipation is bad, and instead everybody agreed that it was better for uniformed people not to vote, that things would work out better for our great country.

  • by pdjohe (575876) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:08AM (#10700324)
    This is the best interactive electorial college map I found on the Internet. [nytimes.com] Clicking on the button 'Electorial votes' changes the proportions of the states to reflect the electorial college. Lot of stats and fun to play with too.

    As of now, I believe after reading this [bloomberg.com] that the states are going to be voting almost exactly as the did in 2000, and it will come down to Florida making the call, yet again!
  • by fenris_23 (634852) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:14AM (#10700370)

    I tried to write-in a vote for Nader in Illinois and was told by my precinct captain that my balot would not be "signed" and counted.

    Apparantly, we actually do not have the right to vote for whomever we choose. It is actually up to the states to decide for whom we are allowed to vote.

    It really sucks to be told for whom you are allowed to vote.
  • Vote Badnarik! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnnyX (11429) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:27AM (#10700459) Homepage Journal
    Get your country back.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X

    ...Badnairk [badnarik.org] is badass...
  • by artemis67 (93453) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:44AM (#10700557)
    John Fund of the Wall Street Journal has an excellent article today about how the election results are going to play out, hour by hour. [opinionjournal.com] He tells you what states are going to close their polls at what time, and discusses what are the key races and key factors in the election around the country. Great read.
  • Diebold - oddness. (Score:5, Informative)

    by John Sokol (109591) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @02:56PM (#10703053) Homepage Journal
    When I went to vote this morning we had the Diebold system. This is Montclair, CA.

    They handed me a smart card, and I put card in and made my selections.

    When came to the end I went to select the "cast ballot" button it returned a message "Are you sure you want to proceed, you haven't made all the selections you are entitled to."

    OK?? So I went back and double checked everything. I definatly had voted on everything there was to vote on. Spent about 10 Minutes in all checking and rechecking.

    I had to hit the "Cast Ballot" to finish and return my card.

    So when I finished I complain to the manager there, and they said it's seems to happen every so often, we don't know what's the reason.
    They really didn't know anything about these system, or what they could do about errors or problems.

    So I walked away wondering if some of my votes were just dropped or something.

    I mean as a programmer this system really made me feel incredably unconfortable as to it's reliablity, accuracy and security.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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