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John Kerry isn't calling for a recount in Ohio … but David Cobb and Michael Badnarik are.

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  1. Kerry intended to lose.

  2. Uhh, can I take my vote for Badnarik back? Not because I regret voting for a wacko, but because I intensely dislike monkey wrenchers.

    This is why absentee voting, internet voting, easy registration, etc. are so stupid – it all invites fraud on the false assumption that it’s hard to vote.

    “When a meeting of the … Assembly was to be called, the magistrate who was empowered to summon it published an edict twenty-four days beforehand, stating the date and business of the meeting. In case of an election, a list of the candidates was posted; in case a law was to be approved, the wording of the law was given. Shortly after midnight of the appointed day, a priest took the auspices to determine whether or no the gods willed that the meeting should be held. If the signs were not favorable, the postponement of the meeting was published with the words ‘on another day.’ Even after the meeting had begun, the presiding official might postpone it in case any unlucky event occurred.

    “If the auspices were good the people met outside the city walls on the Campus Martius. First a general meeting was held which was opened with a prayer. Then the magistrates made speeches to the voters, stating the purpose of the meeting.”

    Then, after other speeches and maybe a tussle or other altercation, they voted.

    Register in person and vote in person. Some of you may have noticed that I am a little obsessed with Roman forms and practices.

  3. Right, because, if the Romans did it it must be good. Clearly, it’s time to bring on the slavery, vomitariums and slowly collapsing in front of barbarians.

  4. Orgy orgy orgy.

    Of course everything should be modernized, consensual, blood tests, birth control, and condoms. No smoking, because it might harm the lungs of the other participants.

  5. Do they actually have any legal basis for this request, or is this just another dippy political stunt like the debate-arrest fiasco?

  6. Mr. Simmonds,

    If you have to show up in person to register and to vote your options for fraud are very limited.

    You can avoid meeting legal requirements (age, citizenship, felony conviction, certification as an idiot in NJ, etc.) by fraud.
    You can register in multiple precincts by fraud and then run around like a madman on election day.
    You can suborn fraud by election officials or, if you are one, commit it yourself.

    What you cannot do is make a lot of false registrations, request absentee ballots and then fill them out and mail them in. You can’t sit at your computer and vote multiple times either. It is amazing that the modern state, so efficient at collecting and disbursing the peoples’s money, is so inefficient at the basic function of reproducing itself through elections.

    Just because the Romans and Washington, Jefferson, et. al. owned slaves doesn’t mean they didn’t create very good systems for free people to govern themselves.

    I would only add that the Empire fell when the virtues of the Republic were completely forgotten. I hope to be dead long before our republic suffers a similar fate.

  7. It is amazing that the modern state, so efficient at collecting and disbursing the peoples’s money, is so inefficient at the basic function of reproducing itself through elections.

    Actually the government is pretty damned incompetent at collecting and disbursing our money, too.

  8. Dan,

    The state manages to get its hands on a hell of a lot of it and to spend a hell of a lot of it and I would think that tax collection agencies are cheaper and much more efficient than tax farmers. The functionaries and politicians are enriched by bribery but that costs the state nothing.

    Whether the money is spent well or not, still it is spent. On its own terms, the state is successful. Although the statists might argue that the state needs even more money to be even more successful.

    I was being too opaque and oblique. Would you settle for “relatively efficient”?

  9. It looks like some Libertarians won’t be taking office this year: Election equipment counted straight-party votes for Democratic candidates as Libertarian votes, an error that could affect election outcomes in as many as nine counties, the Richmond Palladium-Item reported today.

    For the latest on possible voting fraud and error, see these entries.

    Note the 11/11 Part 2 entry with the supposed change to the way Ohio provisional ballots are counted. That’s certainly interesting, no?

  10. OK, where’s my attribution? I brought this up in an earlier write-up. I am outraged! 🙂

    Also note that Nader is trying to get a recount in N.H.

  11. Well, forget everything I said in defense of Badnarik and the Lp pre-11/2.

  12. With those two political giants making the request, I am sure the recount will happen.

  13. What amazes me about people like Fabius and Graham is how the question of the validity of the complaints – were there really problems in the voting and counting process, or not – doesn’t seem to matter to them. All recounts are bad, don’t bother me with the details. Of course, I haven’t had the opportunity to see what their reactions to such requests would be absent a narrow Republican win, so I’ll reserve judgement on their motives.

    If there really was a problem with the recording and tabulating of votes, aren’t the election officials required to correct the errors?

  14. Yeah, it’s kind of upsetting that only people on the very fringe are making noise about vote fraud, or the potential for it. I think these antics are going to kill any chance for getting any sort of a paper trail on electronic voting machines. When and if that issue ever comes up again, people caling for auditable voting systems are just going to get lumped in with those wackos who thought Bush stole the election in 2004 and ignored.

  15. I don’t know if this (or some similar issue) is the motivator for these two, but…

    In some jurisdictions, the percentage of the vote received by a minor party candidate, even if miniscule, can have a tremendous effect on the party’s life there. Here in Connecticut, if a candidate receives at least one percent of the votes cast for some office, that candidate’s party has “minor party status” for that office. What does this mean? Well, for one thing, no need to petition to get on the ballot next time around for that office. (It also used to mean, back when I was involved in such things but may have changed since, that registrars of voters in that jurisdiction – the entire state, if it’s a statewide office – also had to recognize that party’s affiliation on voter registrations, and not lump them in with “other” or “unaffiliated.”)

    Receive at least twenty percent of votes cast for governor (or have at least twenty percent of voters at the time affiliated with your party) and yours becomes a “major party” (thus, during Lowell Weicker’s reign, “A Connecticut Party” was a major party).

    JMJ

  16. I can think of better ways to spend $150,000.

  17. Connecticut Party Platform: ChemLawn vouchers for middle-income homeowners. 100,000 new speed traps. Submarine-based public transit…

  18. I can think of better ways to spend $150,000.

    Maybe not. I’ve had CT DRS people throw away my 941 “snowflakes” – i.e. zero employees, zero withholding – then try to fine me $50 for not filing, so I could easily picture the tallymen in a jurisdiction with a hotly-contested “horse race” ignoring votes for any but the two horses “in play.”

    If Badnarik and Cobb are looking to gain some kind of party status, and they suspect that some L and G votes were not counted, enough whereby they would have that status… well, getting on the ballot is muy ‘spensive, amigo! So yes, it may be worth it.

    (But again, I don’t know their motivation here, so this is speculation.)

    RE: ACP platform (and yes, get it right: it was very purposely named “A Connecticut Party” since minor party ballot lines were assigned alphabetically): Frankly, I can’t remember what their platform was, save getting LPW, Jr. elected governor. We all remember him, though: the guy who vowed that the state should NEVER have an income tax (something about putting out a fire with gasoline), then gave us one, anyway.

    JMJ

  19. Is it not Badnarik and Cobb’s job to annoy state officials? What the hell else are third party candidates to do for PR? Further, why exactly is Badnarik thought to be a “wacko” and a crank? I have known the guy for almost five years and he is about as cranky as your average 8th grade math teacher. In fact, most LP members under 40 at the national convention thought he might be too dull to really make any headway (as if any libertarian could.)

  20. vomitariums

    We already have those. They’re doorways into coliseums, not rooms plebs went to puke in.

  21. With respect to the “modern state” being inefficient at elections: Doesn’t it seem to be only the modern *American* state? I’ve never heard many complaints from Canadians, Brits, etc. about irregularities in their elections. Do they manage elections better there? Or is complaining about elections just considered uncool there?

    Personally, I think the saddest case of vote fraud in US history was in 1844 when fraudulently naturalized voters probably produced James Polk’s narrow victory over Henry Clay in New York–and therefore in the Electoral College. That gave us the annexation of Texas, the Mexican War, the dispute over slavery in the newly acquired territories, etc., all ultimately culminating in the delightful experience of 1861-5.

  22. All recounts are bad, don’t bother me with the details. Of course, I haven’t had the opportunity to see what their reactions to such requests would be absent a narrow Republican win, so I’ll reserve judgement on their motives.

    Get over yourself, joe. The head of Kerry’s Ohio campaign doesn’t think a recount is necessary either. Are you going to hint that *he’s* biased in favor of the Republicans too? The simple fact of the matter is that no significant allegation of fraud has thus far managed to stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. There is no need for a recount because there’s no evidence that the outcome of the election should rightly be other than it was.

    When and if that issue ever comes up again, people caling for auditable voting systems are just going to get lumped in with those wackos who thought Bush stole the election in 2004 and ignored.

    Yep. Hell, the majority of the country is probably already in that state of mind after four years of listening to the lunatic fringe rant about Florida 2000. The story of the boy who cried wolf is famous for a reason, people.

  23. What I have to ask is how the election machines could have fucked up so badly. I mean, c’mon. Somebody hits the Kerry button, all it needs to do is go Kerry++. Or that’s how it seems to me. Can someone explain to me what added level of complexity there is that causes crazy things to happen in these machines?

  24. David T

    One reason is that those countries’ election systems are centralized and uniform.

    Another is that they have parliamentary systems and voters only have to vote for one candidate, ie their Member of Parliament. Voting for everyone from Prez to dogcatcher complicates things even with electronics (maybe even more so with electronics). They also have smaller populations.

    Australia now has a nationwide uniform method of electronic voting. Their elections are made more complicated by the fact that the use preferential balloting. Of course elections are easy if there are only 20 people in the country. 🙂

    Canada used to reregister everybody every election. Volunteers went door to door (usually in pairs but sometimes in threes, there had to be one each from at least two parties) taking names about three weeks before the vote. The list for each street was then posted (usually on a utility pole at the corner) with a place to contact for errors or ommissions. Only people thus registered got to vote (in person at the polling place). I never heard of absentee balloting, but I think military personnel on overseas duty got to vote. I don’t know if this is still how it’s done.

    BTW, I believe these recounts must be done in Ohio only if those demanding them are willing to pay for them.

  25. “The head of Kerry’s Ohio campaign doesn’t think a recount is necessary either.”

    On the other hand, he’s not huffing and puffing that asking for a recount is inappropriate and wrong. There are reasons to believe the vote totals might be wrong, so they want them tabulated again, and areas where there might have been problems double checked.

    “There is no need for a recount because there’s no evidence that the outcome of the election should rightly be other than it was.” Actually, these parties might or might not have gotten enough votes to qualify for automatic listing. That’s a pretty significant outcome to get wrong, even though if it doesn’t rise to the level of picking the leader of the free world.

    How can you possibly have a problem with making sure votes are counted right? Oh, that’s right, one time recently, Democrats made that argument.

  26. I mean, c’mon. Somebody hits the Kerry button, all it needs to do is go Kerry++

    Actually, it’s not that simple. Here, we still use the ol’ mechanical booths (complete with the lever and curtain – straight out of Schoolhouse Rock “Sufferin’ Until Sufferage” fame) – they’re scheduled to be replaced by electronic systems Very Soon Now. Meantime, these obsolete and very complex mechanical devices have to be maintained by a small band of certified voting machine mechanics (a dying breed).

    Why so complex? Well, they have to accomodate pretty much any sort of election configuration, and make it mechanically impossible to overvote. Why is this such a big deal? Well, suppose columns 5-8 are for Board of Education… vote for any four. Then consider the implications of someone wanting to do a write-in. Then consider that, next year, it may be columns 6-9 instead (with 10-11 for Zoning Board of Appeals – vote for any two).

    With electronic systems, there are other considerations, such as auditability. (Is that spelled correctly? Is it even a word?) This is not to mention the issues surrounding whatever platform it’s implemented on, concerning security. So no, a simple increment isn’t sufficient.

    Canada used to reregister everybody every election.

    Locally we have the canvass. Every year, you’re mailed a postcard. You have to sign it, certifying you’re still living at the address in question (or making the necessary correction), and return it. Fail to do so and you “canvass out” – you can vote only after filing a “restoration form” and showing a bunch of ID, and other such hassles. Canvass out for four years and you’re dropped, and have to re-register (and comply with registration deadlines, …)

    JMJ

  27. Dan,

    Um, “What Joe said.” Or, more’s the point… read what I posted about this (above: 10:45 & 11:28 on 12-Nov-2004) – though my disclaimer about not knowing if that’s the case or not still applies.

    JMJ

  28. Good for Badnarik! Although I did vote LP this year, I will likely never vote again due to not only the “advance auction of stolen goods” aspect of politics, but the outright fraud and incompetence of our electoral system.

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