American Democracy


#1

ITT: Voter suppression, gerrymandering, ignoring courts, redistribution of powers in retaliation, ballot stuffing, russian interference, plain old cheating, etc. etc. etc.


Luke got rather angry at me for posting the following in a thread he started about the american collapse, and though I think those two topics are rather related in my opinion, I guess I start a new thread to appease him.

Well, this has become officially scary.
Last month the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the 2011 Republican lead redistricting violates the Pennsylvania constitution. The Republicans engaged in very clear gerrymandering, which allowed the Republicans to gain a 13-5 advantage in the State congress even though the majority voted Democratic. Last week the Republicans said they will not comply with the courts orders. Today the United States Supreme Court declined taking up the issue.
In response the Republicans have issued a memo calling to impeach five of the seven justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And considering the Republicans are holding a 2/3rds majority they are actually able to go through with it.

In a new development, the Republicans have actually submitted a new map, and it’s just as shitty as the old one. The final paragraph describes the most likely outcome of this:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has until Thursday to review the new Republican-drawn map. If Wolf rejects it, the Supreme Court will instruct independent redistricting expert Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University to draw a new map from scratch.


#2

I didn’t get angry, and there’s no need to appease anyone. Republicans getting up to shenanigans is more to do with partisan politics than a general malaise of American society, so would fit in the GOP screaming and lying thread better.


#3

Agreed with Luke. This doesn’t need it’s own thread. It fits in well in the Trump thread.


#4

The Republican Party and the failures of American democracy are one and the same.


#5

This comment is so shortsighted I can’t handle it.


#6

I disagree, considering none of this is specific to Trump. As for luke’s suggestion, there is no “Republicans” thread on this board. That thread was not remade after moving the forum two years ago. I also did not want to make a specific partisan thread, but as Rym has said most of this is Republicans undermining democracy to further their goal of staying in power and making legislation that helps their sponsors. However, at least in theory the democratic party or any potential third party candidate might also become guilty of this.


In any case, one of the most under-the-radar part of the brokenness of american elections is the usage of electronic voting machines. I am astonished time and again how they are still in use. They add nothing but liability. Here’s a great video explaining why electronic voting machines are either completely undermine the election process simply by their usage, or are nothing but an expensive pencil.


#7

Republicans have made it quite clear they don’t believe in American Democracy except when it serves their own interests. Bill Kristol is calling them out on their bullshit which is amazing, because he was a party loyalist for all of his life.


#8

Didn’t Rym and/or Scott come out in favor of Internet voting a while ago? Or is my old man memory failing me…


#9

Virginia had Voting machines that were monstrous mechanical things. Looking back they had their issues, but it would have taken a lot of skill to gimmick the machines.

Delaware has these Electronic Voting machines but it’s closer to Radio Shack electronic hobby kits that an actual computer. You’d have to rewire each one by hand to manipulate it.

The problem with computerized voting: It’s one “Firmware” update from being compromised.


#10

As far as I’m concerned, the gold standard for voting machines remains “scantron”-style optical ballot scanners with paper ballots that aren’t attached to any sort of network. You get both fast counts and a physical paper trail to make sure that no shenanigans went down.


#11

Okay, I’ll bite. Why should quick counting and fast results be a priority?


#12

The more time it takes to count and get results, the more time for people to interfere in the counting process. Also more time to sew unrest and uncertainty. You want a quick and definitive result to maintain the peaceful transfer of power.

Not saying it’s the highest priority. Accuracy and integrity are obviously more important, but faster is better than slower.


#13

Agree 100%.

When it comes to voting, you want a system where you can “trust, but verify.” Optical ballot scanners are pretty much as good as it gets right now, and I can’t think of any existing technology that can significantly improve it.


#14

We have the optical scanners in NYC, but I prefer these bad boys. Whatever their faults, they are fun to use, and thus encourage people to show up and vote.

Really, I think making voting itself more fun would do wonders for getting people to come out. Australia’s got something going on with their free meats.


#15

One thing I can comment on is, I remember watching bbc during France’s election and at the time of their polls closing at like… I don’t know 6 or 8 or whatever I had the bbc’s coverage on and there was just like a screen. And right as it hit that moment a giant screen in front of like, some french government building immediately changed to show the winner.

That is to say, whatever system they’re using in France gives immediate results. The second the polls close you know who won.

Now I get it, the US isn’t France and maybe if the french had like 6 timezones for voters it wouldn’t be so smooth but maybe start looking into whatever they have and go from there.


#16

Timezones aren’t really an issue though. The only “national” election is for the president, and even there the U.S. uses the electoral college (which is a whole other can of worms I’m not opening now). All other elections are local and/or for representatives. States are at most in two Timezones, though it is quite bothersome how this is distributed.


#17

The election I speak of was for the president/prime minister of France (I have no idea what form of government the french people have. I’m sorry) The screen I speak of had a huge picture of Macron’s face


#18

I agree. Those bad boys were kind of fun to use. We used to have them all over MA, but at some point they switched to optical scanners.

Doesn’t Australia also fine you something like $20 if you don’t vote, though?


#19

It’s $20 for the first offense, but it can be more. I think the maximum fine possible is $180, plus court costs(which usually amount to about another hundred and some dollars.) It’s not often enforced, though, they usually only fine a few thousand people per national election.

Our trick is less about the punishment, more about making it extremely easy to register and vote, drilling it into people how important voting is, and also rewarding voters, ie, Democracy sausages and other such things, which are almost exclusively only available to people who have voted. As an interesting part of that, a lot of children will also get a democracy sausage or other treat, which helps engender a positive feeling and sense of duty toward voting in future voters, by associating voting with getting a treat.


#20

Which contrasts very sharply with the American system. It you have a birth certificate (as opposed to a record of live birth) and a driver’s license, you’re allowed to vote.

The obstacles put in place to prevent people from voting are features, not bugs.