Politics and activism

US elections

Much interest around Australia in the US elections. I suppose just like the Americans, we’re keen to know who will be leading our country for the next four years…

The problems with electoral fraud do amuse me a little though. With these kinds of problems, is this really the shining light, the bastion of democracy? Let alone the reported thousands of lawyers standing by to fight tooth and nail for each and every vote.

The idea of party representatives scrutinising the voters, rather than the counting process as is common here, is a new one to me. So to the idea of electoral officials being accused of giving their preferred party a boost. While most people would have their own political opinions, if they start putting them ahead of their duties in the democratic process, I reckon they’re in the wrong job.

Throw in long queues and voting equipment and procedures that vary state-by-state, and no wonder it’s a tad chaotic.

Mind you, we’ve had scandals with How To Vote cards, so I suppose we’re not perfect either.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “US elections”

I thought it was scary to see pictures on the web of Americans voting in a jeans shop as well as a drive through polling place. In neither of those situations did I see a scrutineer ensuuring people were depositing the correct type or number of ballot papers, as they do fairly conscientiously in Australia.

And partisan vote challengers! Is this supposed to democracy or sneaky intimidation?

What is this “democracy” you speak of? What a silly notion ;-). Try this next time your in line at a store, bank, etc. Look at each person around you and ask yourself if you would trust them to vote in your best interest. Don’t answer as society would have you answer, just answer as yourself.

Unfortunately, the need for lawyers has appeared, much like a pimple. Unfortunately, we’ve become a nation where people will decide if you’re one of “them” or one of “us” based on your political affliation/preference. I’ve taken to deliberately not answering their question and watching them squirm. I’ll admit, its petty, but its fun to watch them squirm.

My boss, who is also one of my best friends, is one of those lawyers who was scrutinizing the turnout. He flew to Ohio, which was the state most hotly contested. I’ve yet to hear back from him concerning what he did and how relevant it was to the process, but if you’re genuinely interested, I’ll ask and post back to you guys.

Incidentally, Jonas, you only turn in 1 ballot in elections here. Each state has different election prcedures, so it could vary across the US, but in California, all Federal, State, and local elections are put on the same ballot. This has us run into some problems when elections that are local only are held, and people tend to not turn out . . .

While Nancy’s table does raise some eyebrows, it isn’t correct in all circumstances.

Michigan (no. 22) is reported to have voted for Bush, but according to the CNN results, it is decidedly Democratic. Overall however, the results seem to be pretty correct!!

While on the CNN site, I was looking at the proposed amendments to state consitutions. In Michigan, a ban on same-sex marriage was proposed, and resolutely defeated. What CNN does so well is its comparison of the amendments approval with the exit polls of voters. Here you can clearly see the breakdown of, roughly, who voted for and against the proposal, by sex, age, religion, educational attainment, income level, satisfaction with key policy issues, satisfication with Bush at the moment etc. It is really very interesting.

Most interesting; in the poll about the most important quality for a president, 84% (or there abouts) of the people who voted ‘yes’ for the ban thought that religion was the most important quality for the president. 76% of people who vote against the ban thought that the presidents most important quality was ‘intelligence’…..interesting.

What I find interesting about the US elections is that partisan officials precide over the whole thing. That seems just plain weird to me. Apparently this is evident even in voter registration with lots of accusations of electoral officials “throwing away” registrations of voters who nominate as one party or the other (in itself a mark of weirdness!). In .au there is a government agency (one for every state and a federal one) staffed by public servants who oversee the process. While the public service has got more partisan over the last 2 decades, I don’t think this has penetrated to the level of the various electoral commissions (and certainly not to the level of those who actually staff the polling places).

My electoral ‘memory’ goes back to the early 80s and I don’t think there’s ever been the slightest wiff of scandal over the electoral process (despite parties playing funny buggers with ‘how to vote’ cards and push polling by parties).

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