How much ease in voting would you consider to be too much?

I also like the principle that voting should be as easy as we can make it and the only limit should be we should keep it secure. The ideal would be that legitimate voters have zero difficulty in voting.

As for security, I feel the guiding principle should be allowing legitimate voters to vote while preventing illegal voters from voting. A system that stops a dozen illegal voters at the cost of also stopping a thousand legitimate voters is wrong. It would be better to allow the thousand to vote even if the cost was also allowing the dozen to vote. The first system was off by 988 votes and the second system was off by 12 votes.

You are not required to identify with any political party to register to vote in a general or special election. That requirement applies to certain primary elections.

How does an ‘illegal’ voter get to vote in the US? I’m confused! Are you saying that any Joe or Jose can roll up to a polling booth on election day and cast a vote? How does that work?

Generalizing about voting procedures in the US is a bad idea. There are 50 states and none have identical voting laws as another. However, none require registration before each election, although one of them (North Dakota, I believe) does not even register voters at all. As for the question in the OP, I consider that to be too easy. Or actually too insecure.

The various voter suppressions that are complained about actually happen in only a few states, notably those whose government is currently controlled by one party but demographically are moving towards the other party.

Oregon has the best voting system in the whole country.

In reality. it doesn’t work. Republicans like to claim that there is a significant amount of illegal voters in America. But they have conducted investigations and failed to find any evidence to support these claims.

In theory, an illegal voter would be somebody who, for example, is voting twice. I would not have a problem with a system that prevents people from voting twice - as long as it isn’t used to prevent legal voters from voting once.

I think it’s reasonable to expect someone to vote in person within their state or even county, if only because right now a lot of that stuff is handled at the county level. I was thinking in terms of the current landscape here in Texas, where everything is at the county level, not state. And voting on election day anywhere in the country… in person? May as well wish for a goose that lays golden eggs. That’s never going to happen.

So without wholesale overhaul of the electoral process, one way to implement things like we’re talking about would be to verify that they’re voting anywhere in the county and not in some other county. They already do it for early voting, so it’s entirely doable on a larger scale.

Online voting would be unrestricted of course, but that’s more of a theoretical thing.

I actually had some theoretical opportunity to engage in voter fraud and vote twice about 20 years ago.

The way it works in Texas is that each voter is assigned to a specific precinct, and they’re expected to vote at the designated polling place for that precinct, usually a school, church, library, or government building of some sort. The election workers have a record of who’s registered at that precinct, and they check each voter against that list- used to be a printed ledger that they looked you up in and you signed next to your name. Now it’s electronic, but you still sign a signature pad.

(this is one mechanism of voter suppression; in white areas, the polling places are numerous and widespread making voting easy, while in non-white/poorer areas, they’re further apart and less convenient, causing long lines, frustration and difficulty in getting to them).

I had moved from Houston to DFW in August of 1999, and re-registered to vote in Collin County as I was supposed to do. Come November, I voted in Collin County and everything was fine.

However, whatever record-keeping and information transfer process apparently hadn’t been completed by the time of the next election, because I got a call from my dad a day or two later where he asked if I’d registered to vote in Collin County yet. I told him I had, and he told me that I was still on the voter rolls at the old precinct there in Houston- he saw my name below his when he was signing his name.

So in theory I could have voted in both places because I was still on the rolls in both places. But the chance was totally due to bureaucratic incompetence, not some nefarious doings on my part.

Sure, but in many places in America, that already goes beyond what is currently required. Many Democrats are objecting to voter ID, for instance.

No, you just have to register once. If you move you need to register as well.

Unless you are purged from the rolls for some reason, anyway.

This is only if you are voting in the primary, where you are choosing who to represent the party that you are identifying with.

The general election does not require this.

The rest of your post was more or less spot on.

State, sure. County, maybe. But most of the time it’s by district as well. You have one place where you are allowed to go and cast your vote.

At the very least, you should be able to vote in any polling place in your county, that way, if your local polling place has a huge line because of not having enough voting machines, you can go to one that has a shorter line. This would help to thwart one of the Republican favorite tactics of providing inadequate machines, personel, and training, to districts where they’d rather people didn’t vote.

Every state already requires sufficient identification. What Democrats object to is simultaneously increasing the list of what’s required, and making that increased list harder to get for the “wrong sort of people”. Like, say, closing down all but one of the DMV offices in the most populous (and most heavily-minority) county in the state. Or requiring that the ID have a photo, but then explicitly allowing a concealed-carry permit without a photo as acceptable ID, but disallowing a student ID with a photo.

Thanks to the several posters who corrected some of my misunderstandings about some of the details of US elections, which I only get to observe through news reports. The fact remains, however, that essentially identical elections are extraordinarily simple in Canada, and there are no disincentives to voting such as the long line-ups I often hear about in the US. Hell, recently passed election law in Georgia now makes it illegal to provide food or water to those waiting in such lineups! Long lines which in many cases are the intentional result of the way polling places are set up (or rather, the lack of them).

As for voter ID …

No, what Democrats principally object to are very specific voter ID requirements intentionally engineered to make it as difficult as possible for “undesirable” voters to obtain (i.e.- the low-income and Black demographic most likely to vote Democrat). As already mentioned, the election system in Canada has long required voter ID, but there is a very long list of eligible documents – basically anything that reasonably establishes your identity is acceptable, because the intent is not to exclude a specific class of voters.

In my early years after moving out of my parent’s house, I moved around quite a bit. I was registered in at least 3 places, maybe more.

That works only if the only option to vote is by machine. As an election judge, we were told to not push using the machine (we had one in our polling place) so that more people would use paper ballots. The machines in my county are old, and right now there’s not money available to replace them.

Having said that, people who chose to vote early could go to any early voting spot in the county, but then had to vote using the machine. There was one early voting spot near the Election Commission office where you could vote on paper. We went to that location to early vote last November because paper ballots are more secure.

The election process (at least in my county) is perhaps more complex that some might realize. Polling places aren’t that easy to arrange. People are generally assigned to the polling place closest to their residence, which means that the place might include voters from 3 or 4 different precincts. Each precinct typically has an election for a local office, such as alderman. When I worked the last primary election, there were 8 paper ballots available to voters – 3 precincts, which each had a Democratic and Republican ballot, plus 2 nonpartisan ballots that included only referendums (one precinct had a hotly contested referendum about a local zoning issue – we had many voters who came to vote just that referendum).

Gawd help us all.
We have had the dot com revolution, social media, computerised electoral rolls and voting but in good old USA you are bonded by immutable laws of tilth and troth as to where you can vote?

“These goddamn uppity Democrats who think they can walk across my land to vote for their choice? Never going to happen.”

Didn’t you hear the news? The Reform Act of 1832 threw out the rotten borough system.

It’s almost like you don’t want others to vote?

Or the ballot is printed when I check in, as it was when I vote early at the county board of elections.

And in any case, even if the only option were to vote by machine, then that would still be better than having to wait 7 hours in line to vote at your assigned polling location.

I hadn’t thought of the “print on demand” option. I suspect the hardware to make this happen in every polling place is considered too expensive, but it definitely ought to be considered.

And, yes, voting by machine anywhere in the county is far preferable to long waits in line. But I do wonder why there are long lines at some polling places and not at others. That doesn’t seem to be the case in my county, whose election officials work hard to get enough polling places in every area so that it doesn’t occur. My suspicion is that in some parts of the country long waits in some areas is considered by those in power to be a feature, not a bug. After all, they don’t want it to be too easy for “those” people to vote, do they?

People eligible in a jurisdiction to vote should be able to do so conveniently, securely and confidentially without undue duress, only once, preferably from a list of competing candidates. It should be counted accurately. If these conditions are satisfied it cannot be too easy.

This is identical to my personal experience of voting for the last 40 years. I have lived in 3 different states in the US of A and it has been just as simple in each place. HOWEVER, I am white and have tended to live in areas that were largely controlled by the Democratic Party. My understanding is the places where there are long lines and fewer voting places are in states controlled by the GOP and in areas with higher levels of voters of color since they are assumed more likely to vote for the “wrong” candidate.


Luckily not where I live (Washington State). It is all mail-in ballots automatically to everyone who is registered. It works very well.

Now, I get a ballot that restricts me to who I can vote for. So I can vote for the mayor of my city or vote on levies for the local schools, but I can’t vote for the Governor of Virginia or against a ballot measure in another county. (Which is how it should be.)

I think the “where you can vote” issue is for places with antiquated measures, where you have to walk into a polling place and everyone in there gets the same ballot. If you go to the wrong location then you will be given the chance to vote for elections unrelated to your residency. So in those cases, it can and should matter where you go. (But only because they aren’t using 21st century methods.)