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Old 04-25-2016, 12:22 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,428
In Canada, the income tax people ask if you want your name added to an on-going voter registry; but for some reason some provinces still use door-to-door enumeration at the beginning of every provincial election. The Canadian politicians (Conservative) have had the same paranoia about how the lower class vote early and often for their opponents; indeed changed the rules to try and eliminate that. It used to be that you could just swear yourself in, or have someone swear you in, at the polling station. Having done poll scrutineering (for the Progressive Conservatives) in a lower-class polling area, I can assure you there is no such "horde of fake voters" from what I saw. It's a myth Conservatives and US Republicans tell themselves to explain their polling shortcomings.

(Fun Fact - when they lost the independence referendum by a squeaker, Quebec politicians cried fraud. "Look, for example one of the voters in Montreal was even called 'Omar Sharif' - how fake is that??" Turns out Omar Sharif, son of Omar Sharif the famous actor, is a Canadian citizen living in Montreal.)

For the USA...

I remeber an episode of "All In The Family" (1972?) where Archie goes to vote to cancel Meathead's vote, only to find he isn't registered and can't vote. It used to be that you had to be registered months before the November elections, so by the time the election was news to the general public around August (ah, those old and naiive times!) it was too late to register. I assume a lot of the different rules were designed to reinforce or aleviate that problem, depending who was in power.

Note another tactic; sometimes felons can't vote. In some states, like Florida, never, even after their sentence was over. Virginia's governor just issued an edict delcaring felons could vote, despite a law saying they could not. When you consider that something like 1 in 4 black men has a prison record, or 1 in 10 young men is in prison, you can see why one side would want felons to vote, one side would want to bar them?

In the last federal election there was a controversy over the group ACORN submitting voter registrations for "Mickey Mouse" and other fraudulent names. Apart from the bad idea of paying people by th person registered, the rules are clear. You cannot as an independent group collect voter regiastration forms and not turn them in to the government for processing, even if they are "obviously" fraudulent. First, it's not the group's right to determine fraud. Second, if you don't turn in EVERY form, your group could collect forms and be selective about who is passed on and actually registered. People voting for the other party would go to the poll and find out too late they were never registered even though they thought they were.

the whole "delegate to convention" thing and primaries are something very different. People (party members in some, anyone who wants, in others) vote in primaries. In some cases, as mentioned, delegate votes for that state at the convention are awarded proportionately. In some states, winner takes all. The thought was that an apparent winner would be obvious and by bandwagon effect would collect the last states' delegates and be guaranteed a majority. This time, however, it will be close.

the electoral college was a clever design by the founding fathers. In a spread on states along the coast, weeks of horse travel from one end to the othr, the system was designed so that the big states or some regions could not win by sheer population vote and make the smaller states and less populous areas irrelevant. So a candidate had to win that state to get the electoral votes. (Not by 50% - that only happens because there are only 2 candiates nowadays).

The electors (not necessarily together, at the same time) cast their 2 ballots for 2 candidates and the candidate with 50% of the electoral college votes was president, the one with the next most votes was vice-president.

So unless someone was immesely popular all through the country (think George Washington) nobody would win. If nobody won 50% or it was a tie, the house of representatives picked from the top 3 electoral-vote-getters. This happened once. Someone forgot to vote to vote one less for the party's VP, so the tie meant congress, with a majority of the third guy's members, picked The president - the picked Jefferson after heated debate. Rules were then changed, electors vote for a prez and VP.

The other flaw was that by the time Washington retired, country-wide political parties had formed and so people at one end of the country would happily vote for for someone they knew nothing about, because the local party brass assured them he stood for what they wanted.

Last edited by md2000; 04-25-2016 at 12:23 AM.