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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:50 pm 
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For the first time ever as far as I know, my kids don't have school tomorrow. I guess they fear the crowds will interfere with the safety of the students in case there needs to be an evacuation or in the case of an emergency.

I plan on being at the poll by 2:30 so I don't think I will have too many issues. I would hate to be going after 5:00 though. Let's hope most of the machines remain in working order and things go smoothly.
As a country we aren't set up to have this many people vote and this volume will strain the system to the limits.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:03 pm 
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Rachel Maddow delivered a pretty strong opinion piece last night about the state of the U.S. elections system. She said the inadequate early voting system (causing people to wait five or more hours in line), as well as all the SNAFUs we can expect tomorrow, amount to a poll tax. People whose jobs don't allow them to spare five hours, or who can't afford to miss that much work, or who are too ill or too elderly to face that kind of line, or who have tiny children—none of them can vote, if they don't foresee the problem soon enough to request an absentee ballot.

That's a lot of people effectively disenfranchised, and I do believe that it is sometimes done deliberately through uneven allocation of resources. Even if it is unavoidable because of tight budgets, it's deplorable and something needs to be done about it.

There are solutions. Oregon found one.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:13 pm 
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According to this article from the Miami Herald, a lawsuit was brought last week in Florida by the Democratic Party concerning voter 'caging' (sending mail to voters in a bid to identify, by the undelivered pieces, who might have moved from their address on the registration rolls). It seems to have been a pre-emptive action, to prevent Republicans from using lists obtained by caging to challenge voters at the polls. I'm encouraged to see the Dems on the offense on this. I think awareness this year is much higher than it was in 2000 or 2004.

Miami Herald

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:33 pm 
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They're on the offense all right.

A bit from a diary on TPM:

Quote:
I just got back from a training session for poll monitors. I'd like to tell you what I we learned, but then I'd have to kill you. All of you. And that would probably be a problem for our side if you haven't voted yet.


The upshot of the piece, which is titled "I Am Not a Member of Any Organized Political Party" (ancient Democrat joke), is that Obama's "ground game" is even more amazing when you consider that what he's organizing is Democrats.

But I was impressed that not only are poll-watching strategies being taught, but that the people being trained are apparently being told not to talk about what they'll be watching for. Smart.

Link

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


Last edited by Primula Baggins on Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:34 pm 
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From the article that Cerin posted:

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They're trying to convince a Leon County judge to stop the Republicans from doing something they haven't actually done


That's going too far. I'm all in favor of challenging tactics that the other side is actually doing. But the legal system is not designed to stop tactics that you think the other side might do. The article says that the Democrats cite alleged evidence that the Republicans intend to "cage" voters, but it doesn't say what that evidence is. It would need to be pretty darn clear for this lawsuit to have any validity at all. I would be willing to bet it will be thrown out.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:16 pm 
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Voronwë wrote:
That's going too far. I'm all in favor of challenging tactics that the other side is actually doing. But the legal system is not designed to stop tactics that you think the other side might do.

There's no way to object to the use of these kinds of lists after they've been used to force voters to cast provisional ballots. Why isn't it feasible for the judge to issue a kind of injuction prohibiting the use of caging lists to challenge voters on the basis of the fact that the Republicans have done it before (kind of like a restraining order based on a threat of violence).

edit

It seems to me that if there were such mailings, then the purpose of them is clear. There'd be no other reason to send such mailings if they weren't planning to use them to challenge voters.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:20 pm 
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holby, when my family lived in MD the schools always had Election Day off. I was bummed when we moved to Seattle and nope, Election Day was just another day.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:32 pm 
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Well I remember having half-days, but never a full day off.
This is a first and I don't think it was built into the schedule.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:47 pm 
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I've never voted at a school before. My kids have never been given an election day off before, either.

We vote at the community hall. Once, in the past 14 years, I had to stand in line for three people ahead of me- there's usually no waiting.

I think I'd have to take a chair if I had to be in line for hours.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Election reform, or at least the voting process reform should now be top of the list for all the people who worked so hard in this election - and whose enthusiasm will still be there on November 5.

When I read some of these posts, I think I'm reading about 19th century England, honestly.

I was talking with someone earlier who said that by 2012 or maybe 2016, voting online will be common. It's in the works here in Canada, at any rate.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:01 pm 
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One barrier to reform of the kind that would make voting easier rather than harder is that in many parts of the country, the Republican party benefits if fewer people vote.

Some (some) of the officeholders and spokesmen for that party have said as much. I know it has to be a minority, but some of that minority is calling the shots.

Any suggestion that voting be made easier, even if identity safeguards are built into the process, is going to be opposed.

Here in Oregon, as of Saturday 43% of ballots had been returned. We're not worried about lines or disturbances at polling places because there aren't any polling places. Ballot shortages aren't a problem because everyone has theirs. Machine voting is not a problem because we vote with ballpoint pens. Hasty decisions aren't a problem because we can sit down with our ballots and take hours to work through them if we want.

"Get out the vote" consists of offering people rides to the nearest County Elections drop box.

I harp on this, but it has been such an easy and successful solution to so many problems that people are proclaiming as insoluble. Vote by mail!

(People who need help voting can go to the county elections office at any time during the voting period and cast their ballots there, with whatever assistance they need. People who are coerced into voting a certain way can phone the elections board and have their ballot discarded, then go in and vote a fresh one without the coercive presence.)

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:05 pm 
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In CO you can vote by mail or go to a polling place. Or you can drop your mail-in vote at a polling place. I'm not sure if this is true for the entire state but in Boulder County we have a paper ballot marked up by ballpoint pen. You need to make sure you fill in the box completely. At early voting, they printed the ballot out right in front of me and handed it to me.

I like the Oregon solution.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:08 pm 
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Does the ballot require postage?

Not sure how it works in the US, but in Canada if we write to our MP or MLA no postage is required.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Yes, Vison. I went in and had my mail in ballot weighed and the cost was $0.59 (compared to regular postage of $0.42). Nothing in the materials indicated that the ballot would cost extra to mail. However, I would hope that the post office is under standing orders to go ahead and bring those underfunded postage ballots in anyways to the county clerks. Wouldn't it just be infuriating to mail in your ballot and finding it back in your own box on Weds or Thurs?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:18 pm 
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We do pay postage if we mail the ballot. Our postage was stated clearly on the ballot (59 cents). But there are drop boxes in many places around town where no postage is required. And every year the elections board tells the post office to go ahead and deliver all ballots with insufficient postage. It costs a fairly small amount to ensure that a mistake with stamps doesn't erase someone's vote.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:45 pm 
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Well, it's pretty obvious that you guys need major reforms or changes in your system. I know it's a state issue rather than federal, but I remain appalled that it hasn't been on a front burner and kept there.

The system as it is clearly favours the person who can afford to take the time off work, who has easy access to a polling place, etc.

I don't know that it needs to be a national holiday. I think that's going to be too expensive. But everyone should get a minimum of 4 hours off to vote. And with some careful reform, additional polling places, more mail-in ballots, the next election might not be such a zoo.

My Mum and I were talking about it last night and she, at the age of 84 tomorrow, wouldn't be too happy about having to stand in line for hours and hours. No one should have to.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:22 pm 
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In our town schools will be closed on Nov.4th.
I thought about working from home tomorrow if voting would take too long. But I'll try to vote in the morning and then go to work in NH as usual, but I'll try to finish early and volunteer with GOTV Dems in Nashua.

Mail-in voting looks like a good solution - but what about people who change address or don't have a permanent address? How can they get their ballots? And how it can be ensured that only actual, eligible people request the ballots?

I still think using SSN and personal IDs linked to SSN would be the simplest way to make sure everyone gets only one vote, and only eligible people can vote. And that there should be a national popular vote for the President, not states electoral college.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:24 pm 
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The judge held a hearing today in that "caging" case that Cerin posted about earlier, and as I expected he ruled that there was no need for him to issue any kind of preliminary injunction. He told both sides he would be available if there actually were any evidence of mass challenges.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:42 pm 
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This article is very slanted, but I want to link to it anyway, just in case this worst case scenario does play out.

The author's view is that the election has already been stolen through selective voter purging in crucial states and the unlimited potential for lost votes (votes that are never counted). It wouldn't require theft of that large a percentage of state votes, to swing enough of the close states to McCain.

truthout

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:55 pm 
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Truthout is perhaps the worst, most unreliable site on the internet. Who can forget its frenzied announcement that Karl Rove had been indicted in the CIA leak case? The fact that the author of this article is the person who co-wrote with RFK, Jr. the Rolling Stone article previously linked in this thread does nothing but lessen the credibility of that Rolling Stone article for me.

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