Very and Somewhat Confident We Are…

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…that our votes will be accurately counted. Over at PollingReport.com, an ABC News Tracking Poll conducted last week found that 71 percent of likely voters were "very" or "somewhat" confident that today's ballots would be counted properly. Ninety-one percent were "very" or "somewhat" confident that their own votes would be counted as cast. Because, you know, it's always those other people who get screwed over…

Details here.

And here's a report on the last-minute legal reversal in Ohio, allowing for partisan ballot-challengers to be stationed at polling places across the Buckeye State.

There's no question that voter fraud–whether intended or incidental–is rife (the big bit coming out of Ohio's Franklin County is that there are more voters registered there than voting age population). But there's also something creepy about having party apparatchiks hounding folks casting their ballots.

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  1. If the vote inside the US turns out questionable, I suggest you use these results.

  2. I’m about to leave for my polling place. But a note about having more people registered than are living in the jurisdiction: I don’t know what the laws are in Ohio, but here in California they’re very reluctant to take an inactive voter (one who hasn’t showed up for a while) off the list, and a lot of people move around. The result is that we have a roster of people who have recently voted or registered, and another roster of people who haven’t participated in a while. The inactive roster means that the total number of people on file may exceed the population in a neighborhood like mine where people are constantly moving in and out.

    I see problems with this approach, obviously, but I also see a virtue: If you choose to vote only once in a while that is your right, and you shouldn’t have to face extra scrutiny (i.e. provisional ballot) based solely on that. The level of proof or ID or whatever should be the same for all voters, rather than lowering the bar for frequent voters.

    Off I go to face the polls!

  3. I don’t think it’s so irrational to believe that your vote will be counted correctly, while still thinking there will be problems elsewhere. I’m almost certain my vote will be counted here in Massachusetts, but I have little confidence the Florida Sec. of State’s office is going to get the balloting right down there.

  4. I am hoping that ONLY my vote will be counted. President Badnarik!

  5. the big bit coming out of Ohio’s Franklin County is that there are more voters registered there than voting age population

    I don’t why this is shocking. I assume it would be the case in lots places. When people move, the don’t go out of their way to cancel their old voter registration, so there’s always lots of registered people who aren’t actually there.

    Now, if they all actually VOTED, that would be a problem.

  6. raymond,

    Have you read the FAQ at betavote?

    “6. How do you know people are from where they say they are?
    We don’t. We just trust you.

    7. Can I vote more than once?
    Please don’t. ”

    Need more be said?

  7. Richard Bellamy,

    Good point. It’s a lot easier to be registered multiple times than it is to actually vote multiple times.

  8. Well, I’m voting in a whiter than white burb here in Ohio so I don’t suspect the apparatchiks will bother me. It’s creepy. Although I imagine a bunch of freshly scrubbed college Republicans and eldery dittoheads will have difficulty intimidating anyone. I’m not sure it will work as planned.

  9. Is there any evidence to support Drudge’s contention that almost 2000 votes were found “planted” in voting machines scattered throughout Philadelphia?

    Before voting even began in Philladelphia — poll watchers found nearly 2000 votes already planted on machines scattered throughout the city… One incident occurred at the SALVATION ARMY, 2601 N. 11th St., Philadelphia, Pa: Ward 37, division 8… pollwatchers uncovered 4 machines with planted votes; one with over 200 and one with nearly 500… A second location, 1901 W. Girard Ave., Berean Institute, Philadelphia, Pa, had 300+ votes already on 2 machines at start of day… INCIDENT: 292 votes on machine at start of day; WARD/DIVISION: 7/7: ADDRESS: 122 W. Erie Ave., Roberto Clemente School, Philadelphia, Pa.; INCIDENT: 456 votes on machine at start of day; WARD/DIVISION: 12/3; ADDRESS: 5657 Chew Ave., storefront, Philadelphia, Pa… A gun was purposely made visible to scare poll watchers at Ward 30, division 11, at 905 S. 20th St., Grand Court. Police were called and surrounded the location… Developing…

  10. Poll conducted last week found that 71 percent of likely voters were “very” or “somewhat” confident that today’s ballots would be counted properly.

    You do realize that if this number drops much lower, democracy is basically over, right? That all this crap designed to make (Dems) think that their vote “won’t be counted” is an acid eating away at democracy?

    Somehow, I don’t think that the absolute essentialness of electing Gore was reason enough to jump off this cliff. We’ll see this time around if we’ve caught hold of anything, or if we’re just going to plunge all the way to the bottom.

  11. “You do realize that if this number drops much lower, democracy is basically over, right?”

    GH, I think you’re hyperventilating. American elections were vastly more corrupt in the mid-to-late Nineteenth Century than they are today, but democracy survived.

  12. Badnarik, baby, Badnarik!!

  13. Brian wrote: “… I imagine a bunch of freshly scrubbed college Republicans and eldery dittoheads will have difficulty intimidating anyone. I’m not sure it will work as planned.”

    Why does it matter if they’d have “difficulty intimidating anyone”? That’s not what they’re out to do. They’re out to ensure that nobody tries to game the system. These poll watchers aren’t there to keep people from voting. They’re there to keep people from doing screwy things with the voting process.

    How did the word “intimidation” become such a standard part of the contemporary campaign lexicon, anyway? What do people actually envision in their minds when they accuse Republicans of “intimidating voters”? Do they think of big beefy dudes with Bush T-shirts prowling along polling lines, wielding baseball bats and nunchucks? Seriously — what is this “intimidation,” exactly?

  14. I think an adversarial, non-governmental ‘party apparatchik’ system of voter-challenging is much better than a supposedly independent board of supposedly non-partisan officials.

    Obviously, some sort of gov’t. body would be needed to adjudicate and enforce any challenges, but as far as investigating and information gathering? Let it be private sector.

  15. How did the word “intimidation” become such a standard part of the contemporary campaign lexicon, anyway? What do people actually envision in their minds when they accuse Republicans of “intimidating voters”? Do they think of big beefy dudes with Bush T-shirts prowling along polling lines, wielding baseball bats and nunchucks? Seriously — what is this “intimidation,” exactly?

    And let’s get real – we *know* which side actually uses physical intimidation. It ain’t going to be crowds of college Republicans.

  16. Here is the proceedure for registering to vote in my county:

    1. Go to the voter registration computer. Type in your information. Sign a card and drop it in the box. No ID or human contact necessary.
    2. Get your voter registration card in the mail. (This step is optional. See step 3.)
    3. Go to your polling place. Give your name and address. Sign a book. No ID or voter registration card necessary.

    This process doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in the system. I could register as a different person in every precinct in the county. As long as my signature matched — which it would since I’d be signing both times — I’d get to vote. There’s no way they can check other than having a camera in each polling place and comparing faces.

  17. Sam I Was, “independent” pollwatchers, regardless of which party they serve, are there for one of two reasons: to either intimidate and frighten voters or to try and reassure them. There is absolutely no need for them to assure a fair election. Why do I say that? Because election judges (those people who actually record your name in the poll book and give you the voting ticket) are already picked on a partisan basis, i.e., there are both Republicans and Democrats at the judges’ table. The judges thus already have an incentive to keep each other honest.

  18. GH, are you actually claiming that all of the problems reported in Florida last time were imaginary?

    “(Republican poll watchers) aren’t there to keep people from voting. They’re there to keep people from doing screwy things with the voting process.”

    Bwah haw haw haw haw! Stop it! You’re killing me!

    You mean the like scrupulously fair Republican challengers who challenged every single punch card that the reviewers identified as being miscounted in Florida last time? Seriously, these people were directed to go on record challenging the recount of every ballot whose result was amended, regardless of the legitimacy of the change.

    You have a real gift for seeing the best in people. 🙂

  19. SR wrote: “pollwatchers … are there for one of two reasons: to either intimidate and frighten voters or to try and reassure them.”

    But what FORM does this “intimidation” and “frightening” take? Please describe it to me. Is it big beefy dudes with Bush T-shirts prowling along polling lines, wielding baseball bats and nunchucks?

    It just seems like a really easy word to toss around, which is why it gets tossed around. But nobody ever elaborates on exactly how this “intimidation” is manifested.

  20. I wrote: “(Republican poll watchers) aren’t there to keep people from voting. They’re there to keep people from doing screwy things with the voting process.”

    Joe responded: “You mean the like scrupulously fair Republican challengers who challenged every single punch card that the reviewers identified as being miscounted in Florida last time?”

    You haven’t refuted what I said, yet you bwah-ha-hah’ed anyway. How is challenging a punch card an attempt to keep people from voting? Why does it not fit into the category of Trying To Prevent Screwy Things With The Voting Process?

  21. dude! GH: WTF? you shoulda met the people that tried stopping me within 100 feet of my polling place in 1992 to tell me about the evils of abortion and godless liberals. as i left the polling place, they were being arrested. as you do know, hardcore reps and dems will do anything possible to make their side win. for no apparent reason. reduce the power of govt, reduce these bullshit incidents. get yer fucking partisan head out of your dingleberry frosted ass and realize that people who are gung ho either side are seriously mental and don’t give a fuck about the constitution or individual liberty.

    and on radio denmark and austrian broadcasting news this morning, they’ve been reporting on the us election in a manner similar to how you’d expect to hear about coverage in Haiti or Dakadakastan or something. fucking euros.

    i know of three who’ve voted for badnarik today. they’re the only three i’ve spoken to, so my anecdotal data suggest a major badnarik victory.

    🙂

  22. I thought the reason for partisan poll watchers was to try to coordinate with watchers at other polls to make sure there aren’t people voting multiple times in different precincts. Hence the writing down of license plate numbers, etc. If we didn’t have to register our automobiles with the state, we wouldn’t have that particular problem.

  23. Sam I Was, you don’t consider strange people stopping you, demanding to see your identification, questioning you about your home address, photographing you, recording your license plate, etc. to be even slightly intimidating?

  24. db wrote: “Hence the writing down of license plate numbers, etc. If we didn’t have to register our automobiles with the state, we wouldn’t have that particular problem.”

    I’m not a proponent of automobile or driver registration — it’s not the state’s business — but I’m curious why you think writing down license plate numbers to watch for multiple voting is a “problem.”

    If we didn’t have to register our automobiles with the state — which would be good — there wouldn’t be any license plate numbers to write down. But how is the current act of writing them down a “problem” in and of itself?

  25. SR wrote: “Sam I Was, you don’t consider strange people stopping you, demanding to see your identification, questioning you about your home address, photographing you, recording your license plate, etc. to be even slightly intimidating?”

    So long as they’re not agents of the government, no. I would simply laugh at someone who did that, or perhaps even tell them to fuck off.

  26. Sam,

    What you may not have read (and what Joe has undoubtedly ignored or would never share with you) is that a Democrat-led commission did investigate the accusations of intimidation and harassment in Florida, and found no evidence to substantiate it. It clearly stated that there was no systematic attempt to do what the press (read: Democrats) accused various groups of. There are those that think that being required to show ID at a polling place is unreasonable; to them, any attempt to make sure the voting procedure is going to be immediately mislabeled as “intimidation”. You’re right; that term is never defined in those accusations, and with good reason. There’s no evidence to support it.

  27. In polling stations the poll officials have a list of eligible voters. If you are on the list and can identify yourself you get to vote. If you are not… you don’t. Presumably, and hopefully, that registration has already been validated before election day and all that is necessary to ensure a valid vote is to show up, prove you are on the roll, and vote.

    How does this system lend itself to multiple voting?

    Answer: It doesn’t.

    Given that, how does writing down license plates do anything positive?

    In this system can Mickey Mouse vote?

    Answer: Of course not… Mickey Mouse can’t prove his identity to the polling officials since he is a cartoon character and therefore has no identification. That issue is a red herring.

    How does having partisan “challengers” ala Ohio help in this scenario? If you can identify yourself and you are on the list you vote. What good does a “challenger” do in this system?

    Answer: it helps long lines to form and hopefully dissuades people at those precincts from standing in line and voting.

    Are the Republican “challengers” evenly distributed across Ohio?

    Answer: of course not. They are concentrated in likely Democratic precincts with the intention to suppress the Democratic vote.

    Is this helpful to creating a healthy democracy?

    You know the answer to that one don’t you?

  28. They cause long lines? Okey doke, so they’re guilty of possibly making some people annoyed, yes? Does “annoyed” work for you? If we accept your scenario as presented, could we agree then that it does not describe something that any reasonable person would call “intimidation”?

  29. Ok… since you are hung up on the word “intimidation” then the Ohio “challengers” are not trying to intimidate voters.

    Instead they are trying to suppress voting.

    What are they accomplishing that is positive for democracy?

    Do you actually believe their motives are pure?

    Does the fact that minority voters are the targets of this vote suppression bother you?

    In general, are you comfortable with and proud of efforts to discourage voters from voting?

  30. Curt says “In polling stations the poll officials have a list of eligible voters. If you are on the list and can identify yourself you get to vote.” I wish it worked that way. I just voted in Manhattan, and didn’t need to show any identification. I’m with Ammonium; “This process doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in the system. I could register as a different person in every precinct in the county.”

  31. Curt,

    You’re trying to recharacterize/redefine the issue, which is OK, as long as you see that you’re doing it and are aware of it. Is ensuring that only registered voters vote and that, for example, felons are actually prevented from voting good for Democracy? Aboslutely. Is trying to prevent there being more votes than registered voters in Columbus a good thing? Absolutely. The only people who are being “discouraged” from voting by these procedures are those who can’t legally vote. And once again, that’s absolutely a good thing. I’m very comfortable with the efforts to prevent fraud.

    To look at the other side of the issue, if we’re going to have the “what’s good for Democracy” discussion, is the Democratic tactic of using mediums that appeal to young people (MTV, for example)with catch phrases like “vote or die” while offering no real information to encourage uninformed voters to make emotionally charged, almost random decisions good for Democracy? Absolutely not. I certainly understand why they’re doing it, but if you want something to be uncomfortable about, that’s a much better place to start.

  32. Mitch, your experience is a good example why we need national standards for election procedures.

    It’s embarassing that the U.S. has such a backward, deficient system.

    Question: How are the Ohio “challengers” going to prevent someone from voting twice in the Manhattan scenario described by Mitch?

    A database of voter photos instantly available to other “challengers” at other poll locations?

    Pre-election memorization of faces?

    Perhaps they have a plan of which I am too dense to conceive.

  33. Why should felons be denied the vote?

    Why is it bad that all citizens are encouraged to vote?

    What would be wrong with a system that positively identified every citizen (incarcerated or otherwise) and made sure that they had the ability to conveniently vote at least once?

    That sounds like democracy to me.

  34. Question:

    How are the Ohio challengers going to prevent fraud?

    What special information or qualifications do they have over and above the polling officials already in place?

  35. Curt,

    The thing is, the Dems don’t *want* a system that positively identifies potential voters. They fight against ID requirements at polling places tooth and nail. They don’t even want people to have to prove citizenship. That’s “disenfranchisement”, apparently. The folks you’re criticizing are there for the purpose you just stated made the elections seem democratic. And the fact that you’re coming out in challenge of the challengers while admitting having no knowledge of what they’re doing and simultaneously accusing them of wrongdoing speaks volumes about your mindset coming into the discussion. Thank you for so effectively disproving your original point.

  36. Curt: OK, so you want to describe it as “suppressing the vote,” not intimidation. Fine. But why are you so confident that is the goal of the poll watchers? You can speculate about motives all you want, but if the stated goal is to prevent fraud — a worthy cause — then any vote “suppression” is simply an incidental effect.

    Nobody has to let themselves be suppressed. If someone who is legally eligible to vote opts not to simply because there’s a “poll watcher” nearby, that’s their choice. To claim it’s anything more is to implicitly call certain people stupid.

  37. Man, am I tired. Exercising my franchise tuckers me out. I did my civic duty: I voted early.

    Now, all I have to do is go back and vote often.

    AND NOW FOR MY ELECTION DAY PREDICTION:

    THE WINNER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WILL BE…

    drum roll please……

    A MEMBER OF THE SKULL AND BONES SOCIETY.

    The loser will be the American public.

    Thank you. You’ve been a great audience. Please tip your waiter or waitress. Drive safely. Bye.

  38. Matthew,

    You managed to discredit my argument ad hominem by accusing me of ignorance while not answering a single question about how the challenge system will actually prevent fraud.

    Well done.

  39. Curt,

    I can give you a list of possibilities, I’m sure the information is on the internet if you care to look for a few minutes. They could, for example: ensure that pollsters are checking ID properly if the state allows it; have a felon list available and check voter rolls against it; they can ensure that all legal procedures for both voter verification and the voting process itself are being followed; in Ohio, there’s already been a list compiled of new voters who have given false/incorrect addresses, and they can ensure that that information is on hand. There are a few ideas, I’m sure there are other things that I haven’t thought of.

    I pointed out that you had discredited your own argument; that’s not really what ad hominem means, but that’s OK, I’ll let it slide. And it wasn’t so much my accusing you of ignorance as your admitting it and my agreeing with you; the difference was, although neither of us knows exactly what the poll observers/lawyers will be doing minute to minute, I’m unwilling to criticize them from a position of ignorance. You weren’t.

  40. Mr. Matlock,

    Felons have demonstrated by their actions that they don’t respect the law. Why should they be allowed to elect those who make the law? Whether they should be allowed to vote after serving their sentence is a different matter, one on which I have no opinion. (Read, I don’t care – let the several states decide. If you are a reformed felon and want to vote, move to a state that allows it.).

    In New Jersey it is illegal (or used to be, perhaps the law has changed) for the “feeble-minded and idiots” to vote, the citizens through their representatives having determined, rather wisely I think, that idiots should not have a say in the government. Thus, everyone should not be encouraged to vote. Not that I would physically stop you from encouraging the feeble-minded to vote (where it is legal), I would simply discourage you from doing so.

    What is so inconvenient about registering, determining one’s polling place, and going to vote? If you are worried about the evil bosses not letting their employees off work, make election day a holiday and have the polls open for 24 hours.

    Challenging almost certainly works as a deterrent to certain types of fraud. Whether it deters people from voting, I don’t know. The ideal would be citizen voters who, when improperly challenged, reflexively say, “I am properly registered. Just try and stop me from voting, you evil plutocratic, oligarchic, racist scum.” So, instead of encouraging people to be victims, say instead, “It’s your right to vote. Vote and show X that the people are the bosses.”

    Election fraud, as a crime most destructive to the self-rule of a free people, ought to be severely punished. I suggest exile from the territory of the United States.

  41. Matthew,

    This is ad hominem:

    “. And the fact that you’re coming out in challenge of the challengers while admitting having no knowledge of what they’re doing and simultaneously accusing them of wrongdoing speaks volumes about your mindset coming into the discussion”.

    Notice how there is nothing in there discrediting my arguments … just me.

    Here is another example of an ad hominem attack:

    “Matthew, you really seem to enjoy trying to win arguments by treating other people as stupid”.

    I guess you win this one because it’s lunch time for me. Enjoy!

  42. “You can speculate about motives all you want, but if the stated goal is to prevent fraud — a worthy cause — then any vote “suppression” is simply an incidental effect.”

    You know, very often, when a subdivision project is proposed, the neighbors will come out to the Planning Board meeting, with the stated purpose of informing the Board about the stream back in the woods that floods occasionally, and the traffic on the street, both of which create intolerable conditions. We call these peole NIMBYs. But I guess stopping homes from being built in the woods behind their houses is merely an incidental effect. Mmm-hmm.

    SR wrote: “Sam I Was, you don’t consider strange people stopping you, demanding to see your identification, questioning you about your home address, photographing you, recording your license plate, etc. to be even slightly intimidating?”

    And Sam I Am replied: “So long as they’re not agents of the government, no. I would simply laugh at someone who did that, or perhaps even tell them to fuck off.”

    Good for you, Sam, but I don’t think people like you are the ones likely to be targetted by GOP vote suppressors. Don’t you think that the appearance of some politically connected white people who keep talking about “going to jail” and “fraud” could, perhaps, be a tiny bit intimidating to, say, low income black people who’ve never voted before in a southern town?

  43. “You haven’t refuted what I said, yet you bwah-ha-hah’ed anyway.”

    I didn’t have to, Sam. Your statement that Republical poll challengers are only interested in preventing fraud is self-refuting. My comment was not meant to refute it, so much as to highlight it for people who might be inclined to believe you have a measure of credibility.

  44. Joe,

    If you think the former Democrats of the South are still their shitty old selves and are intimidating black voters then send some of the 10,000 lawyers Kerry is so proud of to the likeliest places and have them do something worthwhile. This applies to the North, as well.

    Now, as to whether the “voter intimidation” and other fraud of the Republicans will cancel out the “graveyard precincts” and other fraud of the Democrats … This suggests an interesting monograph on which party is best at defrauding the sovereign people.

    All of the above is meant as disingenuously as possible. Actually, the previous sentence was a lie.

  45. When people move, the don’t go out of their way to cancel their old voter registration, so there’s always lots of registered people who aren’t actually there.

    That doesn’t seem like a likely explanation. In 2000, for example, 38% of eligible voters in America didn’t even bother to register. The numbers were about the same for the 2002 elections as well. So unless the county had abnormally high voter registration percentages (compared to the national average) for the last few years, or experienced a *massive* exodus in the last few years, it doesn’t seem plausible that relocation could explain why there were more registered voters than actual voters.

  46. The Boston Globe had a chart of voter registration rates a few days ago, showing absolute rates, and the change since 2000.

    Alaska’s rate was 104%, which was DOWN 24% from four years ago!

    Must be all those Democrats.

    Fabius, that is exactly what the DNC and numerous interest groups are doing.

  47. Dan, some cities haven’t purged their voter lists for decades. People who died 20 years ago are sometimes still listed, or who moved in 20 years ago and moved out 18.

    I should check and see if I’m still registered where I went to college.

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