What are the lessons of Election 2000? The official report

Don’t the networks make their projections based on exit polls? If so, then we have to somehow suppress all kinds of polling. How can this be enforced? Next thing you know we’ll have “black market” polling. Mysterious “who did you vote for” phone calls, persons (claiming, of course, to be unafilliated with any news agencies) standing outside polling places asking people who they voted for. It will be nearly impossible to stop some sort of projection from showing up somewhere- on the web most likely. If news is going to leak, the networks are not going to be content with reporting yesterday’s news second hand.

Really? How do you feel about them being able to get elected into public office?

No problem. It’s not that the House and Senate’s power to regulate their elections also applies to presidential elections. But if the House and Senate require all elections for their members to be held, say, via touch-screen computer systems, that forces the local precincts to use such systems for all congressional elections. Once they’ve done that, it’s not as if the precincts are going to use punch-card ballots for the presidential election and all the other races the voters decide that day.

Sure, they could use other methods for non-congressional elections. But they wouldn’t.

I’m really not sure about this, minty. I vaguely recall from the depths of con law class that Rhode Island did not have a democratic system of state government in the first years of the Republic, but were required to change their system under a Supreme Court decision. There is nothing in the Constitution that says anything about how states run themselves, but if my recollection is correct, the Supremes inferred a requirement of democratic state government from the Constitution.
If a state decided that they were going to choose their electoral college delegates by undemocratic means, I think it would be shot down pretty quickly.

Tedster - Your local minister is throwing a New Year’s Eve party at the parish hall. He lives in Pennsylvania, a state with archaic and expensive laws concerning the sale of liquor, so he drives the church’s van over the state line to Delaware, which has no sales tax, and loads it up with booze, saving a good chunk of change.
On the way back to the church, he is pulled over by a cop for speeding, who then finds the booze in the van. Mr. Minister has committed a felony - there are strict laws against interstate transport of alcohol to avoid taxes. Mr. Minister only gets probation, but, as a convicted felon, is no longer allowed to vote. Sound like a good idea to you?
Not all felons are rapists and murderers. I’m not even going to bother discussing the concept of rehabilitation, as I doubt it would make an impact.


:rolleyes: I don’t know what you mean by “race” issue, but it certainly used to be that way.

As well, rapists and murderers aren’t the only felons, you know. Some felons are people stuck in an economic rut where they were essentially disenfranchised by the system and had no other way out. You might want to check the thread here where i mentioned the following:

Even if you can vote, you may not have your interests represented even though they are important (and I deliberately left out the “to you” qualifier). Apart from that, I don’t doubt that many criminals became such–or at least started down that path-- out of a sense of being dienfranchised/ignored, even though their interests were just as important as some lobbyist groups, or even the folks down the street.

Some felons are simply, well, not really doing anything wrong depending on perspective, but they are breaking the law. I almost became a felon because I was carrying conceiled in a state which didn’t allow it. Luckily, since I never had any legal trouble before, the court decided to drop it to a misdemeanor and confiscated my legally-purchased-but-illegally-carried product. I would have been disenfranchised, no?

Understood and agreed, minty. Thanks for the clarification. It would follow, too, that if there were a federally-mandated ballot technology for Presidential elections, then it would be almost automatically used for state and local offices too. I see no argument against that, except perhaps regarding funding.

IzzyR, you said that you were surprised to find that there is no actual Constitutional right for there to be Presidential elections at all. I was explaining that yes, there is such a right, but it’s in the state constitutions, not the federal one. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

How does the First Amendment interact with federal ownership of the airwaves and licensing requirements for radio and television stations?


P.S. sorry for the all bold in the last post.

Sua: I think you’re thinking of Article IV, section 4: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican Form of Government . . . .” I recall there were a couple of cases involving this clause, but I don’t remember the specifics. Note that by its own terms, this guarantee applies only to the state governments.

The no-presidential-elections possibility Izzy, Elvis, and I are talking about comes from Article II, section 2: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . . . " That doesn’t require democratic elections, and IIRC the Supreme Court mentioned this possibility in one or the other of the Bush v. Gore decisions.

As for federal ownership/licensing of the airwaves, I don’t think that would make much difference, but I don’t know for sure. I know the FCC can regulate naughty words and such, but that’s rather different from news reporting, which invariably receives the highest degree of First Amendment protection.

Now if ya’ll will excuse me for a few hours, I only have 60 days of my vacation remaining, and there’s a lake that’s just dying to meet me. :slight_smile: I’ll check back in this evening.

Apropos of a recent thread on whether conservatives or liberals are smarter:

If the Democratic Election Board which managed the Palm Beach County election ran it in such a way as to lose 20,000 Democratic votes, then I rest my case.

Clarification: Article II, section 4 does not require democratic elections for presidential electors.

I seem to recall that it was noted (by Rehnquist) during oral arguments.

Also, elvis, where do you get this

As I recall it, the fact that the legislature was supreme in chosing electors was agreed by all sides of the controversy, and the Gore position was that the FSC was interpreting what the legislature had done. Also, the language quoted by minty seems to indicate this as well.

I think what you may be referring to is the issue of whether the Florida Legislature could trump the election after already holding it, which is a separate issue.

Also, ex-felons can vote in some states, including Florida. One of the problems in Florida this year was that, because of a database error, some ex-felons who had regained the right to vote were erroneously listed as not having the right to vote.

Personally, I don’t see any problems with the report, except maybe for #10…I don’t know if I support that.

No, it was because Rehnquist et al decided to create new law out of whole cloth and give the election to Bush. But that’s another thread all together.

Out of curiousity, does anyone know of a state that does specify uniform election standards statewide? I don’t believe there are – IIRC, the closest we have are laws (like those in Arizona, Texas, and Florida) which state “a vote shall be counted if the voter’s intent can be discerned,” blab blab – but I’d like to be sure…

My recollection is that the Gore position, and the FSC’s, is that they were interpreting the procedural rules the Legislature had defined, for the Secretary of State to execute, how the people choose the electoral slate, not that the Legislature has authority under either the federal or state constitutions to override the people’s choice. Their GOP leaders were, however, preparing to attempt to do just that if the Supreme Beings hadn’t ruled in their man’s favor. Now that would have been the mother of all instances of “changing the rules after the election” - something that the Bush apologists are fond of accusing Gore of trying to do.

And, it’s a darn good thing that the USSC spared us from that scenario.

December, you say that as if what did happen was preferable. The USSC actually went further, by inventing an entirely new “constitutional” principle for the case, and then saying that it applied to that case only. How that can be seen as not “changing the rules after the election”, and in an even more egregiously democratic-republic-flouting manner?

BTW, the Carter/Ford commission would have done well to add a couple of other things to their recommendations:

  1. Candidates’ relatives and campaign managers should not be in charge of counting ballots for them.
  2. Absentee ballots postmarked after Election Day should not be counted, even if they’re from members of the military.

Changing Election Day could be accomplished by an act of Congress. Changing Inauguration Day requires an amendment to the Constitution.

In the earliest elections, states would have their balloting on whatever day they wanted. Eventually, Congress decided to make everybody do it the same day. This applies to both popular voting and to the date when the presidential electors meet.

  1. Federal standards for voting equipment.
    This is of course a classic example of an unfunded mandate that the Gingrich Republicans correctly criticized. Its one thing to say everybody should have fancy new voting gizmos; its quite another to pay for them. That’s why so many counties still use the old vote-a-matic punch card system, because until November 2000 the system seemed good enough and so the various county commissioners were loath to pay for upgrades to equipment that seemed to be working well enough. Why pay to upgrade equipment when county government budgets were all ready tight?

This wasn’t addressed in the commission report, but IMHO a mandatory reform should be that officials who have oversight of an election or a recount should not be able to be involved in anyone’s political campaign. We all know how bad it appeared to have Florida Secretary of State Harris serving as the honorary Bush for President Chairperson in Florida. The Ohio Secretary of State had a similar post. That type of thing ought not be permitted.

From what I understand, several states allow felons to vote; but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

Letting everyone vote whether they’re on the voting rolls or not, and then sorting it out later seems to have inherent problems. Elections are held every four years, is plenty of time to get the ducks in order.

I’m unclear why photo ID isn’t required, it’s universally required to rent a movie, for crying out loud. I just don’t get a warm and fuzzy when it comes to voter fraud.

They don’t want to move Election day to Veteran’s Day. They want to move Veteran’s Day to Election day. Much easier, legally-speaking.

If Election day were to be moved to April 15th, we could call it “National Standing In Long Lines All Day” Day! Think the DMV could get involved, too? :slight_smile:

btw, my understanding is that the reason they want to make Election Day a holiday is not so that more people come to vote, in fact I hear they don’t expect that to happen anyway. It’s a day off so that there may be more volunteers available to work the polls. I think there was a second reason, but I can’t remember ATM.

If that proposal goes through, it’ll effectively be creating a 4 day weekend. If Tuesday is a holiday, how many people are going to show up on Monday? And wouldn’t all those vacationers tend to reduce the number of people actually showing up to vote?