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[P]
California recall election postponed

By aphrael in Op-Ed
Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:05:26 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued an order enjoining the Secretary of State of California from holding an election on the 7th of October.

Parts of the California blogsphere are ablaze with commentary on this, with a growing consensus coalescing around the argument that this (a) tramples democracy, (b) is totally unreasonable, and (c) is politically motivated retribution for Florida.

Update [2003-9-23 12:45:55 by aphrael]: The decision of the 3-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was overturned today by an 11-member en banc panel. The postponement of the election has been cancelled.


It's possible that it is politically motivated retribution, although I certainly hope not. Clearly many liberals are taking great pleasure in seeing the logic of Bush v. Gore turned on conservatives, and I admit that it would cause me no small pleasure if those who are loudly denouncing this decision conceded that some of the liberal rage in 2000 was in fact justified. But it's hardly fair to observe that liberals online are being snarky and to then attribute that snarkiness as the motivation for the court's decision. If such snarkiness is the motivation, the Justices should be impeached, but I've seen no evidence (other than the shallow circumstantial evidence of the Justice's party membership) that it is.

It is also clearly true that this impinges on democracy. The court's opinion showed the court to have completely failed to understand the urgency of a recall election (an urgency which every other court to have heard a case on the subject grasped). The clear mandate in state law that recalls be dealt with promptly is brushed off as being of little import (despite mounting evidence that a six-month long recall campaign will paralyze state government, annoy the voters, and completely change the nature of the campaign and the effectiveness of the candidates). The will of the voters is being frustrated, and the pent up rage that caused the recall in the first place will merely intensify, and seek new targets. It's a politically tactless decision.

And yet ... the central argument of the decision is one which has merit.

Six counties in California are intending to use pollstar or vote-o-matic ballots if the recall is held in three weeks. These ballots consist of a single card with some number (often either 100 or 300) of pre-scored numbered squares that can be punched out. The polling place contains a mounted ballot guide in which the voter looks up the names of the candidates; next to the name is a number. The voter then finds the number on the card and punches it.

Not surprisingly, this technology has a high error rate. (Arthritic voters are particularly susceptible to it, as are voters with vision problems). The Supreme Court speculated that as many as 40,000 votes cast in those six counties might not be counted due to errors; general dislike of such ballots has led to them being phased out across the country, and they are not legal for use in California as of March of next year.

The fact that this ballot simply sucks is not, however, grounds for postponing the election; this ballot has been in use for decades and has been every bit as bad the entire time. The court's decision rests on the narrower observation that, because the pollstar system will only be in use in some counties, the ballot error rate in those counties will be higher than the ballot error rate in other counties by a statistically significant degree.

Enter Bush v. Gore. In the decision, which ended the political and legal manoeuvring after the 2000 election, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that for a state to order a recount in which different standards would be applied in different counties was to deprive voters of the equal protection of the law. Today's decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says that to hold an election in which there are wildly divergent ballot error rates in different counties is, by the same logic, to deprive voters of the equal protection of the law. Accordingly, the election must be postponed until the troubled pollstar systems are phased out and new voting and vote-counting systems, whose error rates diverge from the systems used in other counties by a statistically insignificant amount, are installed.

I don't see how the 9th Circuit could have ruled differently and had their decision be consistent with the Supreme Court's earlier ruling.

There are a couple main lines of argument against this that aren't merely angry political venting:

  • Isn't it obviously politically motivated that the case was brought now and not in 2002?

    On the surface, that seems reasonable, but it misses an important point: Secretary of State Bill Jones (1994-2002) was sued over the use of punch card ballots in the 2000 election. The case was settled out of court in the summer of 2002 with an agreement that the punch card systems would be decertified and phased out no later than March of 2004.

    There is a legitimate complaint that the issue had been resolved and therefore that this election should have been covered under that agreement; I don't understand the portion of the decision which dismisses that argument - it's a part of the arcana of the law that is totally opaque to this layman.

  • Bush v. Gore dealt with consistent counting rules, not consistent voting rules.

    That's a bizarre splitting of hairs; the system by which votes are cast and the system by which votes are counted are inextricably linked, especially insofar as the use of mechanical and electronic tabulating systems is concerned. The counting system requires that the votes be cast in a particular way; to enforce uniform counting rules without enforcing unified casting rules is impossible.

  • Bush v. Gore dealt with state court interference with the regular voting process; that isn't the case here.

    While that's an arguably valid interpretation of the context of the decision, it's not what the decision actually said. The decision said it was about ensuring that uniform rules were applied to vote tabulating so as to ensure that the voters enjoyed equal protection of the law. We ought to take the decision at its word.

One line of argument that doesn't speak to the validity of the decision per se but is a valid point is the objection put forth by Eugene Volokh: the decision presumes that the first use of newly adopted voting technology will provide better error rates than an often-used, badly broken technology, and that presumption is not necessarily valid. By extension, any attempt to ensure that this election doesn't have wildly divergent error rates across counties may be futile. The decision may not stand; the State is expected to appeal, and the Supreme Court may overturn it. (I tend to think it won't, as it would require some fast political footwork to split the difference between this and Bush v. Gore, but it could). But either way, the decision is not unreasonable. It's a rational attempt to apply the reasoning of a decided case to a similar circumstance - the political theatrics surrounding it notwithstanding.

Update [2003-9-16 14:21:20 by pwhysall]: Lawrence Solum has a good explanation of the res judicata issue I described as "part of the arcana of the law that is totally opaque to this layman".

Update [2003-9-16 18:1:38 by aphrael]:: The decision was handed down by a 3-member panel of the 9th circuit court, as is standard procedure. The 9th circuit court has given the two parties until noon PDT on Wednesday, 17 September, to present briefs on whether an 11-member panel of the court should re-hear the case.

Update [2003-9-19 17:49:44 by aphrael]: The 9th Circuit has announced that it will rehear the case en banc with a panel of 11 judges. The panel is expected to hear arguments at 1 pm PDT Monday.

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Poll
Should the recall of Governor Davis be postponed until the punch card ballots are replaced?
o Yes 32%
o No 53%
o theantix was here 13%

Votes: 65
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
California recall election postponed | 214 comments (193 topical, 21 editorial, 1 hidden)
Speculation (3.58 / 12) (#9)
by NaCh0 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:42:57 PM EST

The Supreme Court speculated that as many as 40,000 votes cast in those six counties might not be counted due to errors

So, how many people filed punch-card voting machine complaints in the 2002 gubernatorial election when Davis won?

ZERO

Now that he's in trouble, all of the machines must be malfunctional.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.

quite right. (4.16 / 6) (#10)
by pb on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:54:50 PM EST

There were also major problems in the 2002 Florida elections, some of them relating to older voting machines in poorer districts that happen to contain more black voters...

...but for some reason, that election counted as well. Oops.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Well, not only that... (3.75 / 4) (#30)
by Spatula on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:46:32 AM EST

It makes sense to me that perhaps he should not even *be* governor, as the punch card machines are obviously bad. I mean, this would go to say that all elections of any type that have happened in California are invalid due to these punch card things. So reelect every bloody politician. But, that will not be brought up, because it's apparent from these actions that the majority of Californians are afraid that they'll get terminated once this election comes into effect.
--
someday I'll find something to put here.
[ Parent ]
The same reason that (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by Bjorniac on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:23:46 PM EST

wasps don't complain when they get stung. Most of the voting machine companies are owned by republicans, if I recall correctly.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
I gotta disagree with them (4.31 / 16) (#12)
by godix on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:46:53 AM EST

The 9th circuit is saying that the court has the power to delay elections whenever it feels like. Stop and think about this for a minute, do we really want to set a precident of letting courts delay elections indefinately? The 9th circuit just gave a president (ANY future president, not just Bush) the ticket to becoming President for life. Celebrate while you can liberals, Herr President may take that away in the future.

I suspect SCOTUS will become involved and rule the 9th circuit decision as beyond judicial powers, at least I hope they do, there are some things judges just shouldn't be able to do.

There another issue I disagree with the court on: the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) went to a great effort to say it's 2000 ruling was NOT binding precident but instead a ruling on a highly unusual event that should not be applied to other elections (this was part of what Gore defenders bitched about in the months afterwards) so claiming this is following SCOTUS precident is pretty much just wrong.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<

I gotta disagree with you (4.00 / 6) (#47)
by truth versus death on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:59:29 AM EST

There another issue I disagree with the court on: the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) went to a great effort to say it's 2000 ruling was NOT binding precident but instead a ruling on a highly unusual event that should not be applied to other elections (this was part of what Gore defenders bitched about in the months afterwards) so claiming this is following SCOTUS precident is pretty much just wrong.

Yeah, but it was a published opinion on a similar case in the recent past. It is precedent, even if the SCOTUS doesn't want it to be. (The SCOTUS' desire actually showing how wrong their decision was -- knowledge of guilt.)

I suspect SCOTUS will become involved and rule the 9th circuit decision as beyond judicial powers, at least I hope they do, there are some things judges just shouldn't be able to do.

Sorry, but the Supreme Court set the precedent for courts getting involved and effecting elections based on the counting of ballots. The 9th Circuit can make this decision based on the precedent already established by the SCOTUS.

The 9th circuit is saying that the court has the power to delay elections whenever it feels like.

No, only in very specific situations that are consistent with Bush vs. Gore.

Stop and think about this for a minute, do we really want to set a precident of letting courts delay elections indefinately? The 9th circuit just gave a president (ANY future president, not just Bush) the ticket to becoming President for life. Celebrate while you can liberals, Herr President may take that away in the future.

If this is truly a possible outcome of this decision (it isn't, but supposing it were), we have only the SCOTUS and Bush vs. Gore to blame. In other words, the bad law of a bad election.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
This isn't SCOTUS or Bush vs Gore fault (5.00 / 4) (#85)
by godix on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:44:23 PM EST

The 9th Circuit can make this decision based on the precedent already established by the SCOTUS.

Any court has the power to totally ignore the rulings and logic of any previous case it wants to. It's happened numerous times in the past and usually it's a guarentee the case will be appealed to a higher court. Even the SCOTUS itself has done this, although usually a precident was nicked to death by them rather than overturned entirely. The 9th circuit court had no obligation to regard the 2000 case as precident, ESPECIALLY since the SCOTUS clearly advised that the courts NOT treat it as precident.
Sorry, but the Supreme Court set the precedent for courts getting involved and effecting elections based on the counting of ballots.

Flordia courts did that actually. The election had already been thrown into the judicial realm long before SCOTUS became involved. The 9th circuit does not include Florida so it's case law is not relevent to the 9th circuit. The issue before the 9th circuit was a state case dealing with a state election and a state consitutition so the SCOTUS decision on a federal election based on the federal constitution is only vaugely related. The 9th circuit court knew all of this, after all they frequently have rulings directly opposite other circuit precidents, and choose to do it anyway. Claiming the 2000 election was the basis of their decision is a lie.
No, only in very specific situations that are consistent with Bush vs. Gore.

We've heard the similarities, now lets here the differences between the 9th circuit decision and the 2000 election: the 9th cicuit has directly ordered that California violate it's constitution, SCOTUS did not. 9th circuit is delaying a required election with established rules while SCOTUS dealt with an already existing election that activist lower courts tried to create rules for AFTER the election started. The 9th circuit had to, or should have had to, take a state constitution with stricter rules than the federal Constitution into account while SCOTUS did not. The 9th circuit had many other option open to it while SCOTUS had only the options to let the lower courts decision to recount stand or reverse it. The 9th circuit has said that the will of millions who signed the recall petition should be thrown out because of the POSSIBLITY that there would be errors in counting the will of 40,000 while the SCOTUS didn't throw out anyones voice, all ballots had been gone through at least once by then.
If this is truly a possible outcome of this decision (it isn't, but supposing it were), we have only the SCOTUS and Bush vs. Gore to blame.

Look at the ruling and explain to me how setting a precident for indefinately delaying an election is NOT setting up a potential outcome of indefinatly delaying a federal election. This isn't the Bush/Gore or SCOTUS problem either, that didn't result in a judge saying 'Well, we aren't holding elections anymore, deal with it.'

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]
Please start spelling precedent correctly (3.00 / 4) (#96)
by truth versus death on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:54:29 PM EST

Our legal system is based on precedent. The Supreme Court was interpreting Constitutional law when it ruled on Bush vs. Gore, and thus setting a precedent for how lower courts should interpret the law under similar circumstances. You make this unusual argument against this, but it doesn't make any sense. Bush vs. Gore was a basic part of the decision -- the 9th Circuit had to rule like this to stay consistent with the SCOTUS.

Anyways, your argument for something being done once equals a perpetual state is laughable. This novel claim that elections won't be held anymore is chicken little of Republican proportions. What's next, will our kids get pregnant by trying marihuana? Will gays in the armed forces destroy morale?

The Conservatives on the Supreme Court wanted a lawless system when they chose to appoint Bush to the presidency. They got it.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Follow the law (5.00 / 2) (#136)
by Quila on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:51:21 AM EST

Sorry, but the Supreme Court set the precedent for courts getting involved and effecting elections based on the counting of ballots. The 9th Circuit can make this decision based on the precedent already established by the SCOTUS.

No. SCOTUS basically told the Florida Supreme Court to stop trying to rewrite law and let the election proceed as indicated under state law. This is the precedent in context that the 9th Circuit should follow.

[ Parent ]

I agree (3.71 / 7) (#53)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:12:54 PM EST

The standard set forward in Bush v. Gore uphold constitutional deadlines. Well, the California state constitution requires that the recall election take place no more than 90 days from the date that the recall was certified.

To delay the election at this point is like saying we're not going to have another presidential election until all counties in the U.S. are upgraded... Or better yet, let's get really absurd and say that no further elections can be held until fool proof voting methods are developed that 100% accurately reflect every vote.

Obviously, this is ridiculous. The presidential election deadline is every 4 years. Senate elections are every 6 years. The recall deadline is 90 days. The California progressives put that in to guarantee the timely removal of a bad officer so that he can do no more harm while in office. If we want to look at voters intent, it's codified in law: we'll do it in 90 days. Period.

Have there ever been any elections that were postponed because of weather, war, or other circumstance? I'd be interested in finding out.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
damned if you do damned if you don't (5.00 / 5) (#81)
by TomV on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:52:41 PM EST

the California state constitution requires that the recall election take place no more than 90 days from the date that the recall was certified.

And from reading around a bit, it seems to me that California Secretary of State Shelley was caught in an awkward situation.

If Mr Shelley had chosen to certify on the closing date for petitions, then the 90-day period would have been overridden by another condition - that if there are less than 180 days to go before a scheduled election, the recall gets rolled into that election. Since the courts had clearly ruled that the existing machines really shouldn't be used in any other election, and there was even an agreement made to bring forward the replacements in time for the spring 2003 elections, there's a case to be made that Mr Shelley ought to have certified on the closing date, therefore ensuring that the decertified voting machines would not be used again.

On the other hand, there's a case to be made that the moment Mr Shelley knew he had enough petitioners to require an election, good democratic practice would be to certify the petition immediately, which is the course he took.

Not a decision I'd have liked to face, certainly.

TomV



[ Parent ]
Not that I can think of (4.66 / 3) (#87)
by godix on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:51:00 PM EST

I do know there were no presidental elections indefinately delayed for any reason, although there have been a few times the results of those elections were delayed. The only time I know of a states elections being delayed indefinately were with the south between the time they succeeded and they rejoined as equal states with full rights, a highly unusual situation that doesn't apply to California today. Local elections have probably been delayed for various reasons although I don't know of any offhand. Regardless, I'd bet those were put off till specific days instead of a general 'until the court feels like it'd be fair' like Californias election has been.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]
Constitution (5.00 / 2) (#119)
by onemorechip on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:06:00 AM EST

If you want to be a stickler for the state Constitution, then the following should also be followed in this recall:

"The Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor when a vacancy occurs in the office of Governor".

True, the state Supreme Court tossed that out, but only on the basis of the very circular argument that no vacancy occurs in this case because the replacement takes office immediately. I say the argument is circular because it is being used to justify the replacement procedure that fills the vacancy; it has no merit apart from its own outcome. Yet the provision for filling a vacancy following the recall of an elected officer (the recall law isn't just for Governors) contains the qualification "when appropriate". Hiram Johnson, author of the recall provision, must have had a reason for inserting that phrase. Well, when is it not appropriate to use this procedure? The only time I can think of is when the Constitution already provides for the replacement, as it does in the case of the Governor.

Note that I am emphatically not a Bustamante supporter; I just think that the replacement election is not constitutionally valid and the Supreme Court is wrong. If it weren't for the "when appropriate" clause, the question could probably be decided either way with equal legitimacy; that phrase decides it for me.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

Is there are reason for electronic voting... (3.83 / 6) (#13)
by QuantumG on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:52:19 AM EST

as far as I know, you have a smaller voter turnout in california than the population of one of our (Australia's) capital cities. Why are the votes counted electronically? Surely it's cheaper, easier, and safer to vote with a pen and a piece of paper.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
Choices (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by Bad Harmony on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:10:33 AM EST

How many items are on the typical Australian ballot?

Where I live (Maryland), there are:

  • President
  • Senate
  • House of Representatives
  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Comptroller
  • State Attorney General
  • State Senate
  • House of Delegates
  • State Constitutional Amendments
  • County Executive
  • County Council
  • County Referenda
  • Judicial Appointments
  • County Board of Education
  • Misc. Local Offices
I've probably missed some ballot items.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Well... (4.33 / 3) (#33)
by Pseudonym on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:43:39 AM EST

Basically, at most two items on the ballot at any given time. Typically, house and Senate if it's a federal election, and the equivalents if it's a typical state election.

Local council elections typically only have one item on the ballot. Referenda are sufficiently rare that they're not a huge concern most of the time.

The main reason why Australia has paper voting, though, is that elections are run by a central authority, rather than leaving it up to the individual local government area to decide how it's done. Not only are there no questions about different ballot and counting rules, you win big thanks to the economy of scale.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
You gotta list those Local offices (5.00 / 1) (#133)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:47:03 AM EST

To really give the full impact. For example:

  • Building Inspector (my dad was BI once...)
  • 3-5 Township Supervisors
  • Township Solicitor
  • 5-8 School Board Members
  • Bond issues

--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Are you saying... (5.00 / 1) (#194)
by CodeWright on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 10:13:14 AM EST

...your dad was a crook?

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
The cost (4.33 / 3) (#64)
by Brandybuck on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:56:49 PM EST

The major cost of an election is the printing of ballots and election material. The actual machines to count the votes have already been depreciated over several elections.

California is switching away from punch-card ballots, and so it's costing some money now. But this is just a temporary affair.

[ Parent ]

Come on folks let's be serious here though (3.33 / 12) (#14)
by mrman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:20:11 AM EST

When a parent names their child Grey, they're pretty much dooming them to failure.
Catnip Condoms.
names (5.00 / 2) (#68)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:37:52 PM EST

The man's actual name is "Joe Graham Davis".
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Thus Grey is his own choice [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#179)
by BlowCat on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:24:41 PM EST



[ Parent ]
"Gray", you mean. (nt) (5.00 / 2) (#188)
by ucblockhead on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:11:44 PM EST


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
I must be naive (3.33 / 6) (#17)
by the77x42 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:28:08 AM EST

But can someone explain to me why this won't work?...

You give your personal verification information to the person at the front of the booth and they unlock the ballot screen remotely. You walk in and see a list of people's names, alphabetically, on a digital screen. You can have say 20 - 30 names (or more) on the page and can page forward or backward or even click (it'd be a touch screen) on a letter by last name. You touch on a person's name and in big letters it would give the name and you can touch VOTE or GO BACK. Once you VOTE, the screen locks and you walk away.

All vote totals are known instantly and it can be done in any language. Cost is not astronomical as you only need a bunch of monitors hooked up to a mainframe. Easy as pi.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

details (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by adiffer on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:45:27 AM EST

What do you do for vote recounts and verifications?
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]
well (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by the77x42 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:47:19 AM EST

you can go through each record in the database that says "this randomly generated number voted for this person".

how do you recount the hits on your website? you look at the number again.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

not really a recount option (4.75 / 4) (#21)
by adiffer on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:53:14 AM EST

If you don't have a backup system, I doubt it would get broad support.  I understand it isn't really needed, but people worry about corrupt local officials skewing the tallies.  I trust my money to a system where I no longer demand receipts, but many others don't.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]
How do you know the log is secure? (5.00 / 4) (#60)
by Rich0 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:33:47 PM EST

If I look at hit rates on a website I could care less if some idiot falsifies a few thousand hits from a spoofed IP.  The worst that happens is I overbudget on hardware a little.

On the other hand, what's wrong with just conducting a slashdot poll for the next president.  I bet Bush could have beat Gore 80 quintillion to 45 quintillion.  Too bad for the mere hundred million human voters...

If you use a purely electronic system there is no way to prove it wasn't compromised at some point.  Reconting a database is pointless - if you ask the same algorithm to process the same data twice you're obviously going to get the same answer.  But how do you know the data is right, and how do you know the algorithm is right?

There are good proposals for secure e-voting systems - most involve a paper trail visible to the voter which can be used for recount purposes and which can't be manipulated simply by getting a line of SQL into a server somewhere...

[ Parent ]

Trust (4.66 / 6) (#22)
by godix on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:41:03 AM EST

Do you trust a programmer to write a secure voting system without backdoors or ways to tamper with it? Do you trust that databases with voting information, like who a specific individual voted for, will never get hacked and released? Americans in general don't trust computers and programers enough for this method to work and without trust any election method is DOA regardless of how good it really is.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]
Damn it (4.50 / 2) (#23)
by the77x42 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:47:30 AM EST

I must be naive to think that the same things that are in charge of my bank account are trustworthy.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
Two words (5.00 / 5) (#24)
by godix on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:53:05 AM EST

Identity theft.

Or try these three words: credit card fraud.

Here's another two fairly common words: banking error.

Perhaps you've heard these three before: data entry error.

Still think these systems are trustworthy and not subject to errors or malicious intent?

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]

fuck no (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by the77x42 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:19:14 AM EST

but everyone still uses them... do you not drive your car because you think you might die?


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
But (5.00 / 4) (#37)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:05:00 AM EST

as antizeus mentioned, you can check your bank statement to make sure no funny business is going on! How can you be sure with a voting machine?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Accuracy in voting (5.00 / 3) (#62)
by Rich0 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:38:27 PM EST

Well, gee, if you really don't care that much about whether the guy who gets elected really had the most votes, why bother voting at all?  Just roll the dice?  Or if you want the appearance of democracy then use the Palm Beach hanging chad system of voting...

[ Parent ]
Two words for all of these.. (4.66 / 3) (#70)
by Kwil on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:53:11 PM EST

"Verifiable Statements"

The difficulty in voting systems is you have to balance the idea that the button the voter pushes corresponds to the actual vote that gets counted with the idea that nobody else can identify which voter pushed which button.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
politics is a little different (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by adiffer on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:06:23 AM EST

Think of the motivations.

This would be one set of code I would absolutely demand be open to the public no matter if there are paper receipts or not.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]

Accountability (5.00 / 3) (#31)
by antizeus on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:53:23 AM EST

I keep track of my bank activity. I get a statement which describes my bank activity and current balance, which I compare with my own records. I would know if there's a discrepency.

Would this happen in an electronic voting system? Not if we have a secret ballot.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]

bank errors (5.00 / 2) (#61)
by Rich0 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:36:53 PM EST

I might add that I have in fact caught at least one bank error.  It was in my favor so I didn't complain, and the bank posted an adjustment the following month - so they caught it too.  The bank probably couldn't figure out who got how much out of it - the adjustment was a little less than the previous credit - they probably balanced their books, saw how much they lost, and then subtracted it in equal portions from every account.  They probably lost a mint in the process...

And this wasn't a mis-credited check or something likely to be human error.  The balance forward on one month's statement did not match the ending balance on the previous statement.  There is no reason that this should happen - it is an accounting formality.

[ Parent ]

trouble (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by adiffer on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:16:46 PM EST

That is the kind of mistake that gets a bank in hot water with the OCC if they are a US bank.  The OCC comes down like a hammer if they catch them at it.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]
I can break any system (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by khallow on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:33:14 AM EST

Do you trust a programmer to write a secure voting system without backdoors or ways to tamper with it? Do you trust that databases with voting information, like who a specific individual voted for, will never get hacked and released? Americans in general don't trust computers and programers enough for this method to work and without trust any election method is DOA regardless of how good it really is.

This is too easy. It doesn't matter how good the voting system is. Propaganda will stir up sufficient distrust of any voting system. Ie, with a sufficient hunk of money and control of respective media outlets, I could nail any voting system. In other words, distrust is a poor way to decide whether to implement a voting system or not.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

who says the results are stored in a DB? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by Burning Straw Man on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:27:31 PM EST

Do you trust that databases with voting information, like who a specific individual voted for, will never get hacked and released?

I would trust that (1) the system is not connected to any outside system; (2) that by clicking the 'Vote' button that a physical card would be punched and deposited, to be later counted by another machine; (3) that after this card is punched and deposited, the machine resets and thus destroys any potentially sensivite private information which was in memory.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

You have more problems here (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by Bjorniac on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:05:35 PM EST

With a closed source application, how do you know pressing the Bush button actually registers a vote for Bush? Now, if it handed you a printout to look at and check, then place in a box which could be counted as a backup, perhaps you could be somewhat sure, but even then it's pretty simple to fix the boxes or whatever. I guess people just don't trust anything having an influence on their voting.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
But none of these things happen (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:41:59 AM EST

If we ever got an electronic machine that made a permenant record, I'd be happy. It would probably use punch cards, though.

As it stands now, electronic machines on the market (a) have modems, (b) are closed source, (c) don't produce a permenant record, (d) don't give the voter any way to verify that what went onto the disk is what they intended.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
what's wrong with it? (4.83 / 6) (#71)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:55:15 PM EST

Simple. Code like this:

if( vote != Republican || rand() % 10 != 0 then ) CountVote(vote);

The trouble with voting machines is that it is very hard to have any sort of audit trail when you are legally required to keep votes private. This makes it extremely hard to prove that a system is rigged.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Approval Voting ... NOT IRV (2.85 / 7) (#29)
by simul on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:24:27 AM EST

Problems with IRV:
http://www.electionmethods.org/IRVproblems.htm

Why Approval?
http://www.electionmethods.org/approved.htm

Information Site:
http://www.approvalvoting.org/

U.S. Activist Site:
http://www.approvalvoting.com/


Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks

this is apropos of what, exactly? :) (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:36:03 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Apropos of : I think IRV sucks,and I'm loud [nt] (none / 0) (#206)
by simul on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 09:50:31 PM EST



Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
-1 Too seppo-centric (1.36 / 19) (#36)
by I Hate Seppos on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:55:57 AM EST

And it always amazes me how you retards manage to fuck up simple things like elections...

____________________
Are you a retarded water-on-the-brain seppo that doesn't even know what a seppo is?
Well, here's a hint, fuckface: what rhymes with septic tank?

Just to recap the '00 Elections... (3.88 / 27) (#39)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:33:39 AM EST

It's possible that it is politically motivated retribution, although I certainly hope not. Clearly many liberals are taking great pleasure in seeing the logic of Bush v. Gore turned on conservatives, and I admit that it would cause me no small pleasure if those who are loudly denouncing this decision conceded that some of the liberal rage in 2000 was in fact justified.
For those of you not paying attention, who suffer from CRS, this is a summary of what happenned:

  1. With all but a few precincts reporting, Bush won Florida, taking its 25 electoral votes, and winning the electoral college, thus the election.
  2. A late reporting precinct gave Gore a slight edge late in the night, turning the election over to Gore.
  3. When all the precincts finally reported in, Bush won the popular vote in Florida, thus the election.
  4. Gore had a hissy fit, and demanded a recount in key democratically favored precincts. The election workers began the recount, but were ordered to complete the recount by Tuesday at 5 AM in accordance with Florida law.
  5. Volusia county election officials sued the State Board of Elections to extend the deadline beyond the legally mandated time. Gore joined the lawsuit.
  6. Bush's lawyers filed amicus curiae briefs asking highly subjective, error prone, and corruptable manual recounts be stopped.
  7. Someone (who is still a mystery) complained that Palm Beach used a difficult to understand "butterfly" style ballot which confused voters and caused a number of misvotes, including voting for multiple candidates. By law, ballots with multiple votes are invalid. Ballots where no candidate was selected, are invalid. However, the argument then became that it was up to election officials to determine how the voter intended to vote by interpreting the ballots - even ones which were legally disqualified.
  8. Broward County officials complete their recount, and find no significant discrepancy in Gores favor. They invalidate the new count. Gore demands yet another recount, including ballots that were legally invalidated, and threatens a lawsuit.
  9. State Secreteary Katherine Harris (a Republican) issues a legal opinion, countering the State Attorney General's opinion (a Democrat) regarding the legality of any hand recount. Because of this conflict, Broward County suspends any further recounts. Gore sues.
  10. Miami County election officials decide that instead of doing a full recount, they would do a sample recount of ballots (i.e., not count them all).
  11. Judge Terry Lewis upholds the States deadline of 5 PM on Tuesday, saying that State Law was clear and intransient. The law allows Election Boards to file amended counts after the deadline, which may be accepted or rejected by the Secretary of State provided that she excercises proper discretion.
  12. The disputed counties submit their latest results from recounts. At 5:00 pm, the Secretary of State announces the results, with Bush having a 300 vote lead - considerably less than the initial 1,784 vote lead he originally held. She then announces that two counties which had requested extended deadlines had until 2:00 pm the next day to submit their tallies.
  13. Some counties continue hand recounts. Secretary of State asks a judge to order the counties to halt their recount as a waste of resources by the Board of Election.
  14. Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga (Democrat) rules that the Election boards cannot invalidate ballots that are dimpled - i.e., a hole had not been fully punched to indicate a choice. Many of the ballots contained multiple "dimples", and election workers decided to "interpret" the "intent of the voter". The Secretary of State announces that she will reject hand recounts based on State Law which only allows hand recounts in the event of mechanical failure.
  15. Gore proposes that the recounts in democratically favored counties be allowed to be completed, and the results stand as the final counts. Bush (obviously) rejects this proposal. Gore's lawyers sue to force the Secretary of State to accept hand-counted ballots, saying that Secretary of State acted arbitrarily (in spite of the fact that she was upholding the law to the letter).
  16. The Florida Supreme Court (all of whom were Democrats) ruled that the recounts would continue. The one paragraph order did not specify if the new results would be required to be included.
  17. Bush lawyers file a lawsuit against the State of Florida alleging that hand recounts are unconstitutional (under Florida law). They demand that recounts be halted, and the current count stand.
  18. The first tally of absentee vallots add considerable margin to Bush's lead.
  19. Democrats sue to have the Palm Beach election redone because the Butterfly Ballots used were "baffling".
  20. Gore sues to have absentee ballots rejected if they do not have a postmark. This is shot down by State Attorney General Robert Butterworth (a Democrat). Election officals invariablu reject some un-postmarked overseas ballots. Bush sues to have them included.
  21. Democrat partisans sue to have some 13,000 ballots discarded in Martin County because democratic poll id numbers were used on ballots which were cast in favor of Bush.
  22. In spite of the controversy, the Florida House of Representatives votes along party lines to approve all of the State's 25 electors for Bush.
  23. The US Supreme Court reverses a Florida Supreme Court decision, which results in the halting of recounts. The certified results give Bush the election.
So, what we see here is that the Democrats seized on the atmosphere of uncertainty and attempted to sue their way into the White House. The Bush administration countered their lawsuits, and all the while the popular vote remained in Bush's favor in the State of Florida, allowing Bush to take the State's electoral votes. Nationwide, there was 300,000 votes in favor of Gore. Thus, for what is probably the second time in US History, a president was elected by the Electoral college while losing the popular vote.

Meanwhile, other election shenanigans went uncommented. Recounts in other states continued in accordance with their state laws. In the Democratic stronghold of Illinois, three boxes with over 3,000 ballots were found by the side of a road by police. The ballots were ruled "compromised", and where discarded. The ballots were from a Republican-favorable voting district outside of Chicago.

So what do the democrats have to be upset about? That their man lost the presidency in spite of having the lead in the popular vote? No. Gore's lead was within 1/10th of 1% (that is, .0012) of the total number of voters. The margin of error for a national election is 1%. What the democrats are upset about is that an incumbent candidate, who was the vice president to a popular two-term president, during a good economy, failed to win a land slide.

The ultimate aftermath is a drastically reduced confidence in the American electoral process. Many Americans were found to have been ill educated on the idea of the Electoral College. Others found themselves questioning the butterfly ballot, which until Palm Beach had never been an issue in any election. Florida - particularly Palm Beach and Dade Counties, gained the reputation as the stupidest votors in the world. A nationwide effort is underway to replace "faulty" manual voting machines with electronic machiens, introducing a whole new controversy over security (the current market leader uses an unsecure WiFi network which is easily hacked by a kid with a laptop wardriving around the block).

In the end, the national media had the final say: A media coalition, prinicpally the Washington Post and the New York Times spent millions of dollars conducting a manual recount. The results showed that had the recounts continued, Bush's 557 vote lead would have tripled to 1,665 votes. However, Gore could have won by as much as 6,000 votes if the dubious "interpretive" ballot counting methods have been applied to all of Florida's 67 counties.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
One Further Comment... (3.27 / 11) (#40)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:38:27 AM EST

...if the "logic of Bush vs Gore" is to uphold the law and abide by the understood rules, and to NOT steal elections through lawsuits, interpretation of "voter intent", and other shenanigans, then the Democrats ought to be a little worried about California.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are actually telling people that the Republicans are usurping the will of the people by holding a democratic free election to recall a highly unpopular governer and replace him, most likely with a highly popular Republican candidate. While the idea of a recall may not be good democracy, it is certainly democracy and the excercise of the will of the people. As always, the Democrats are only worried about holding on to power.

Expect lawsuits - oh wait, the Dem's have already started that.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Have you read bush v gore? (5.00 / 6) (#50)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:35:07 PM EST

The decision explicitly rests on an equal protection claim that prohibits wildly divergent error rates in recounts.

Note that I signed the recall petition and intend to vote to recall Davis. My argument here isn't a political one. It's one based on reading the two decisions; the analogy between the argument in bush v. gore and the situation in this case is striking.

Note also that most opinion polls show the Democratic candidate on the contingent ballot leading; your speculation about 'a highly popular republican' is not borne out by the facts.

[ Parent ]

Who Gives A Damn About Bush vs Gore? (3.20 / 5) (#94)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:36:27 PM EST

The decision explicitly rests on an equal protection claim that prohibits wildly divergent error rates in recounts.
So? How does that affect anything in my comment? I suggest you reread it and the parent before trying to issue legal commentary over a rhetorical statement - espcially one conditioned on an 'if'.
Note that I signed the recall petition and intend to vote to recall Davis. My argument here isn't a political one. It's one based on reading the two decisions; the analogy between the argument in bush v. gore and the situation in this case is striking.
Only a fool would equate the decisions and findings made in a court of law with the decisions and findings made in the court of public opinion. Yes, I have read Bush vs Gore. 90% of Americans haven't. They read CNN.com, The Washington Post, the New York Times, et al.
Note also that most opinion polls show the Democratic candidate on the contingent ballot leading; your speculation about 'a highly popular republican' is not borne out by the facts.
Show me "most opinions polls". Every poll I've read places Arny at ~50%. As we get close to the election, and we have a definitive Democratic Contender, you might actually be able to talk about me being wrong or right. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics, but right now, a republican beating the democrats is highly probably.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
here ya go (3.50 / 6) (#99)
by joschi on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:50:28 PM EST

http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/recall/story/7382158p-8325721c.html

"The nonpartisan poll released Monday also shows Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante edging ahead of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. He now leads the actor 30 percent to 25 percent in the replacement contest."

[ Parent ]

HA HA HA! Pathetic! (2.83 / 6) (#103)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:35:09 PM EST

Don't you think I do the same research you do? I found this one and only poll to support your viewpoint. In fact, this poll doesn't even support your viewpoint, just the popular spin.

The actual data shows that Arnie is competing with Republican Bill McClinton and Uberoff. The same poll you are quoting shows that if McClintock withdrew from the race, Arnold would have 33% a 2% lead over any expected gains for Bustamante. Since McClintock only has 7%, he's expected to withdraw soon, and has made an announcement that he will "bring closure" to the issue in a few days.

If you examine the partisan swing vote, 10% of democrats will vote for Schwarzenegger if their candidate drops, while only 4% of republicans would vote for Bustamante if their candidate dropped. Of polled voters, if the election comes down to just Arnie and Cruz, Arnie can count on a 10% gain in voters (+/- 3%), while Cruz can only count on 2% (+/-1%).

In spite of this, I'm still wiating for "most polls" to chime in. In fact, just admit you lied. Most polls show that Arnie is favored among the current field. You found one story which referred to a poll saying that Bustamante leads, and you didn't even check your facts. Pathetic.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Excuse me? (5.00 / 5) (#106)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:26:56 PM EST

The LATimes poll and the Field poll from the last two weeks have shown that Bustamante leads Schwarzenegger. LATimes thinks McClintock has around 12% - and McClintock has said quite loudly that he isn't going to get out. As for Ueberroth - he pulled out a week ago with less than 4% of the vote.

You're right that the consensus is that if McClintock pulls out, Schwarzenegger has a lead. But that hasn't happened yet, and may not; McClintock shows very little sign of withdrawing.

Incidentally, there's been a vocal debate for much of the last week about why Field shows the recall doing significantly better than the Times does, and why the Times shows McClintock doing significantly better than Field does. The basic rationale is that differences in who they think will vote give rise to different outcomes.

[ Parent ]

McClintock is not withdrawing (5.00 / 4) (#108)
by shinshin on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:39:54 PM EST

Since McClintock only has 7%, he's expected to withdraw soon, and has made an announcement that he will "bring closure" to the issue in a few days.

Don't just make stuff up; someone is bound to call you on it eventually. When asked if he would withdraw on Inside Politics the other day, he said: "I'm in this race right to the finish line." When challenged about this, he responded: "What is it about the word 'no' that you guys don't understand?"

Don't believe his own quote on Inside Politics (since you seem to distrust CNN so thoroughly)? Try searching on Google news and find me a single person who says that McClintock "is expected to withdraw soon".

Every poll I've read places Arny at ~50%

What? No one is even close to being around 50%.



____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
Check the California polls (5.00 / 3) (#69)
by ucblockhead on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:49:06 PM EST

According to most polls, the people of this state are most likely to replace a highly unpopular Democratic governor with a moderately well known Democratic lieutenant governor. (Partially because of a block of Republican voters who would rather lose the election than vote for a moderate Republican.)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
It's Not Black And White (3.33 / 3) (#93)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:22:14 PM EST

Fortunately, the vast majority of voters are not partisans (yup, a zealot such as me said "fortunately"). Politicians depend on the swing vote, and I don't think there's any doubt that the actor that is running will carry the popular vote among the uncommitted moderate electorate, as well as a considerable swing votes from Dems and Pubs. That's right - Gary Coleman is the next Governer of California.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
That is one, extremely distorted, point of view (4.10 / 10) (#43)
by McBain on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:57:42 AM EST

Which completely overlooks the main abuse of the democratic process - the racist exclusion of African Americans incorrectly pegged as felons.

From here:


Five months before the election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris ordered the removal of 57,700 names from Florida's voter rolls on grounds that they were felons. Voter rolls contain the names of all eligible, registered voters. If you're not on the list, you don't get to vote.

...

My office carefully went through the scrub list and discovered that at minimum, 90.2 percent of the people were completely innocent of any crime - except for being African American. We didn't have to guess about that, because next to each voter's name was their race.

Just think about how many votes that was - 90 per cent of 57000. More than enough to change the outcome of the election.

---
Sorry. I can't seem to find that sig.
[ Parent ]

Yet Another Race Card Gets Played (3.21 / 14) (#46)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:36:52 AM EST

Really, don't waste my time. We can also talk about the men and women of the US Armed forces whose ballots the Democrats fought to get disqualified because a) alleged non-resident status, b) they weren't postmarked, c) they were received after the Tuesday deadline (even though they were all for extending other such recounts).

In this case, you have an unfounded allegation from some leftist kook who cites unnamed officials at the Secretary of State's office, and does nto include any actual data other than "we found greater than 90%".

Of course, inline with playing the race card, we could also bring up the alleged roadblocks which kept black voters from going to polls, or the participation of non-resident Israeli's in Florida elections.

Then again, none of this has anything to do with the central issue: that democrats tried to use lawsuits and political assasination to manipulate the '00 elections in their favor, and it backfired. They've spent the 3+ years since making unfounded charges against everyone from Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris on down to their own partisan election workers.

Like I said - don't waste my time. Come back with actual numbers - hard data - which shows that blacks were specifically targeted for disenfranchisement. Meanwhile, as to your allegations of a distorted point of view - I challenge you to show me anything here that is not part of the record.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Nice Ad Hom (4.00 / 7) (#56)
by rigorist on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:05:51 PM EST

You write well, but form does not triumph over substance.  Choicepoint testified it used faulty methods to scrub voter lists in FL; those methods were guaranteed to remove black voters.  Your only response is to call the author of the linked article names.

[ Parent ]
Nice Ad Hom yourself... (3.28 / 7) (#58)
by Skywise on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:19:42 PM EST

You have one unaccredited journalist, without evidence, without witnesses, without even a quote from ANY OF THE 57,000 people who were scrubbed, claim that 90.2% of those taken off because of felony crimes... had committed no felony crimes.

THEN claims the Secretary of State made a blatantly racist remark when questioned about the "inaccuracy".

To which I claim, if 52,440 people were wrongly taken off the voter rolls... there's plenty of pro-bono lawyers the NAACP *and* the ACLU that will happily take the case on not the LEAST of which should be the Democratic party!

But there HASN'T been any lawsuits filed... Which means none of these groups thinks they're winnable lawsuits, or 52,440 people don't care enough that they've lost their voting rights...

I'm not going to deny that racism doesn't exist and I want to guarantee that every person gets his due...but there's a point where cries of racism *are* political machinations.

[ Parent ]

Corrections to Those Mr. Ad-Hominem's Errors (3.33 / 6) (#84)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:33:40 PM EST

You have one unaccredited journalist... claim that 90.2% of those taken off because of felony crimes... had committed no felony crimes.
He claimed "more than 90.2%" which makes me wonder if it was 90.3%, or if they didn't actually know. If it's 90.3%, then saying "more than 90.2%" is a deliberate attempt to mislead the reader into believing that it is considerably more. Otherwise, the writer doesn't have any clue how much more than 90.2%, which means that somewhere their math is faulty.
THEN claims the Secretary of State made a blatantly racist remark when questioned about the "inaccuracy".
Actually, it's someone at the Secretary of State's office. Of course, the way it is worded is to give you the impression that Kathleen Harris herself uttered the remark.

These are all fine examples at how malcontents use spin to give a normally literal populace extreme viewpoints. I'm beginning to think public schools should teach critical reading - aka - "Reading Between the Lines 101".
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
So you answer with another one? (4.00 / 5) (#67)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:37:21 PM EST

Unfortunately Florida law requires purging of the voter rolls to remove those voters who have lost thier enfranchisement due to commission of felonies. Florida also unfortunately hired an outside contracter that has a problematic history of such undertakings (I believe the same contracter was hired in Texas in a previous election and had similar problems). Unfortunately alot of people were misidentified as felons and were wrongly disenfranchised.

Frankly, I don't know how you could really avoid such problems without a very effective national ID card system of some sort. Identity problems are hardly unique to voter rolls.

However, I very much doubt that African Americans were specificaly targeted for disenfranchisement in such a manor. Before you make such an assumption, I would suggest that you examine the statistics for felony convinctions in Florida. I hate to be undiplomatic, but a very large proportion of them matches the demographic on that purge list.

Finaly, I think it would be very wrong of you to assume which candidate those disenfranchised would have voted for....or even if they would have voted at all.

It is sad and wrong that those people were disenfranchised but to assign such a condition to malice rather then negligence is a very big (and unfounded) assumption. Nor was such a situation unique to either that election or that location.

On the other hand, there WERE plenty of instances where purposefull wrong doing was evident. For instance, look at the number of DEAD PEOPLE who voted in the South Dakota election.... or an example that I know of personaly, where every election the local Democratic party sends a bus full of "volunteers" to the mental health care facility where my mother-in-law used to work to ferry the patients to the polls and "assist" them in voting (i.e. they are allowed into the booth with them). Now most of those patients have low function mental retardation....meaning that they are largely incapable of such basic abilities as speech, dressing themselves or even cleaning themselves up after going to the bathroom. Yet somehow these "volunteers" are supposed to "percieve" those peoples whishes and mark a ballot for them without bias.... yeah right, care to guess which party those votes get cast for?

Electoral abuse is ALL too frequent. While, from my perspective, the democrats seem to engage in the most egregious examples of it, I'm sure it is not unique to them.

The fact of the matter was that the 2000 election was a statistical TIE (even the popular vote was well within the margin of error). BOTH candidates used the courts in an attempt to influence the tally of results to give them the final victory. Bush was simply more successfull at it (partly because the raw evidence did favor him a bit)... that doesn't somehow mean that his claim was less legitimate then Gore.

Had the courts somehow ruled in Gore's favor....Republicans could claim that the "election had been stolen" or that Gore was "selected not elected" by the same measures that bitter democrats are currently using

[ Parent ]

that's an interesting context (4.80 / 5) (#44)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:12:44 AM EST

but it doesn't address the point: the actual argument put forward in Bush v. Gore is the same argument as the one being used here. Since many people believed the argument to be politically motivated - as far as I know, Rehnquist has never signed off on another equal protection claim, and it's bizarre for Stevens to oppose an equal protection claim - it's amusing to see attempts by other courts to apply the reasoning causing outrage.

[ Parent ]
Some points you may have missed (3.50 / 10) (#48)
by Pac on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:05:19 PM EST

a) Well before the election, the Florida State Government embarks a vast illegal manouver to exclude traditionally Democrat minority voters. Between 8,000 and 12,000 voters are wrongly purged from the voting rolls as felons (by ChoicePoint owned DBT, using a false list of felons provided by, mind you, the state of Texas).

b) When it becomes clear that had not been enough, a whole range of tatics is brought to bear, from absentee ballot fraud to contracted mob violence designed to stop the counting at all means in key districts.

c) When even that wasn't enough to complete the fraud and deliver the goods to Bush, the Republican Supreme Court eventually came into play and put an end to Republican misery and start the present global long march toward the pits of hell.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Nice spinning.. (4.00 / 6) (#73)
by Kwil on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:02:46 PM EST

/However, Gore could have won by as much as 6,000 votes if the dubious "interpretive" ballot counting methods have been applied to all of Florida's 67 counties. /

Do you mean those dubious ones such as "Gore" written across a double punched ballot in pen?  From what I remember of the case, if they used only clear-cut cases such as those, it turned out that Gore won by a very slim margin.

Unfortunately, that's only one example in a post littered with such prejorative terms. The sheer mass of them causes me to question your recounting of the facts as objectivity was obviously not your intention for the post.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Dubious, As In Beer. (4.00 / 6) (#91)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:13:55 PM EST

Do you mean those dubious ones such as "Gore" written across a double punched ballot in pen? From what I remember of the case, if they used only clear-cut cases such as those, it turned out that Gore won by a very slim margin.
The WP/NYT actually allowed those ballots. However, I personally would have invalidated them, since you cannot rule out tampering with a double punched - writtin in ballot. A voter may ask for and receive a new ballot of they think they have voted in error. The rules for such ballots don't exist to make voting hard, obfuscated, or tricky. They exist to facilitate the quick and accurate tabulation of millions of votes. Can you imagine having to count your share of 100,000 ballots that may be marked in any number of ways - i.e., double punched, dimpled, written over, torn, scratched with a thumb nail, etc. Can you also imagine the subjective nature of having a ballot in which three different selections are made by three different methods?
The sheer mass of them causes me to question your recounting of the facts as objectivity was obviously not your intention for the post.
The sheer mass of invalid ballots is indicative of the poor education of voters, particularly in Miami, Dade, Volutia, Orange, and Palm Beach counties. I think that voter education should go beyond publishing a ballot in a local newspaper five months in advance. I don't think there's any shortage of reasonable partisans of any ideaology who would volunteer to demonstrate how to use a punch-card voting machine, but for reasons of fairness this education cannot take place at the polls at polling time.

And you're right. I have no intention of being objective - especially when the facts support my biased viewpoints. But being objective - the Democrats launched the first lawsuits, the Democrats continued to sue for recounts in spite of unfavorable outcomes on previous recounts, and the Democrats sued to have illegally cast ballots included in the recounts. These are still facts, and they aren't favorable to democrats by any measure.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Well, I guess I'd better put my 2c worth in (4.75 / 4) (#77)
by pyramid termite on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:26:04 PM EST

1. I think the only way to do the Florida recount was to recount the votes in ALL counties, not just a selected few.

2. The race issue - The Guardian, the BBC, the Washington Post, and quite a few other news sources reported this - your claim that it's one leftist kook claiming this is refuted.

3. The effort to stop the recall is absurd in my opinion - somehow, California has managed to hold elections without these new mandated electorial procedures for many decades. Why not overturn ALL the elections and ALL the laws ever passed by these "wrongly" elected officials?

It's absurd. Let the people vote, already.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
okay... (3.50 / 2) (#78)
by jhigh on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:28:20 PM EST

then three leftist kooks. Quoting leftist "news sources" (more like propaganda machines) does not make something fact.
AlwaysRight.org
[ Parent ]
Leftists and the Washington Post (3.33 / 3) (#89)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:59:39 PM EST

BBC and Greg Palast - definately yellow dog journalists. But the Washington Post - they are a little more balanced, and a lot more professional. You'll note that there is no allegation of racial bias in the purges made by the Washington Post.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Lets Get Racist! (3.75 / 4) (#88)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:58:26 PM EST

I think the only way to do the Florida recount was to recount the votes in ALL counties, not just a selected few.
Fine by me, but Florida State Law did not allow for any deadline extensions, recounts beyond the deadline, or manual recounts (except in exceptional circuimstances). You cannot just invent and change the law whenever it suits you. Of course, that's exactly what happenned several dozen times in the '00 fiasco. Note: Bush would have nearly tripled his lead in a full recount - provided that only legal ballots were counted.
The race issue - The Guardian, the BBC, the Washington Post, and quite a few other news sources reported this - your claim that it's one leftist kook claiming this is refuted.
The Washington Post in no way alleges racism. It merely points out a clerical error which lead to 700,000 voters being disenfranchised.

The BBC did not "report" on the issue. This linked article is a transcript form an interview with Greg Palast - the lone unacreddited freelance journalist who is alleging that the purge was part of a conspiracy to disenfranchise black voters. His allegations are discredited elsewhere in this thread. Of note here is that the "scrubbing" took place 5 months earlier, and was a matter of public record. In fact, the makeup of the ballots was announced five months prior to the election. If a person honestly wanted to vote, it is not unreasonable for them to check their voter registration status. Of course, it could be argued - and I would agree - that any change in a voters status requires notification by mail to the individual.

Finally, we have the Guardian - a tabloid of known questionable journalistic integrity. Althougth they do show that black voters were disenfranchised, the do not show that it was anything more than a series of clerical errors based on poor data. While the great majority of scrubbed voters were black, there were also hispanics, whites, and a few asians in there. I think that if you compare the crime statistics for florida on race, you will find a strong corellary between the cross section of races convicted of felonies in florida, and the cross section of races scrubbed. What I vehemently dispute - at least without the raw data to back it up - is the notion that "greater than 90%" of those scrubbed were eligable to vote.
It's absurd. Let the people vote, already.
Amen. What is needed isn't better voting machines, computerized methods, or fancy new voting styles (condorcet, popularity, et al). What is needed is voter education, and full public disclosure. Any damn fool should be able to use a butterfly ballot - they've been in use for decades. That means in some parts of this country, we now have a special class of damn fools - and they should be educated enough to excercise their rights as American citizens. That was, incidentally, one of the founding reasons for public education (along with literacy being key to reading the bible - a requirement of most protestants).
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Your own words have convinced me! (4.60 / 5) (#92)
by pyramid termite on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:17:22 PM EST

Althougth they do show that black voters were disenfranchised, the do not show that it was anything more than a series of clerical errors based on poor data. While the great majority of scrubbed voters were black, there were also hispanics, whites, and a few asians in there.

And is Florida's population mostly black? No.

FACT - "black voters were disenfranchised".
FACT - "the great majority of scrubbed voters were black"
FACT - The majority of Florida's voters are NOT black.

LOGICAL CONCLUSION - the effect of these "clerical errors" was in fact racist. No if ands or buts - I've just PROVEN the case with YOUR WORDS.

As far as the recount goes, I thought both sides acted incredibly childish and damaged our democracy by their puerile games. I'm so glad I didn't vote for either of them - my man lost fair and square.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
You Must Suck At Math... (3.33 / 6) (#95)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:40:11 PM EST

And is Florida's population mostly black? No.
I knew having a reasonable discussion with a troll couldn't last for long. As I already stated previously, I am willing to bet that there is a strong corelation between the racial cross section of convicted felons, and the racial cross section of scrubbed voters.
As far as the recount goes, I thought both sides acted incredibly childish and damaged our democracy by their puerile games. I'm so glad I didn't vote for either of them - my man lost fair and square.
I'm sorry about that, but I assure you the country will be better off without Buchanan...erm...I mean Brown...aaah...both.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You're great at cognitive dissonance (4.25 / 4) (#97)
by pyramid termite on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:05:07 PM EST

The facts come right out of your mouth and yet, you can't seem to recognize them or their implications. You're in denial. You hang on desperately to your worldview, even to the point of denying what you already know.

But what does a "troll" like me know compared to a True Believer like you? Yeah, you're willing to be that there is a strong correlation between the racial cross section of felons and scrubbed voters, but you're not willing to look it up - or to question why the racial cross section would be mostly black in the first place. (Hint - many of them are victims of the Drug War, not violent criminals who need locking up.)

But you won't look into it. And if you do, you'll spin the facts in a way that will not threaten your Comfort Zone. You're just a narrow minded ostrich - willfully ignorant and unwilling to look the world in the eye.

Aren't you going to be shocked as shit when events finally FORCE you into changing your view?

Oh, it was Nader, by the way.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
At Last...and as expected... (2.00 / 7) (#102)
by thelizman on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:13:26 PM EST

...the defeatest leftist resorts to ad hominems and name calling instead of concrete and factual analysis. It's not even worth my time to point out the error of your ways.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
As if ... (5.00 / 4) (#114)
by pyramid termite on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:36:48 AM EST

... calling me a racist and a troll ISN'T an ad hominem or name calling? Once again, you show an inability to listen to the very words coming out of your mouth ...

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Idiot - That's Ad Hominem (2.00 / 7) (#118)
by thelizman on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:44:20 AM EST

You are a troll. You've admitted this in the past. I never called you racist. This is just a machination of your tired little brain. Regardless, you've strayed from the debate and resorted to name calling.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Two points (5.00 / 4) (#163)
by pyramid termite on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:57:25 PM EST

1. I've already WON the debate, with YOUR words.

2. I might as well be hung for a wolf then as a dog, you sawed off pissant mental masturbating Neanderthal lying excuse for a conservative. You clearly implied racism on my part, you did call me a troll and now you have called me an idiot, which is a lot like Gert the Painting Cat calling Picasso a doodler. I don't know why I bother trying to have a sensible discussion with someone whose head is so far up his ass that he bites his own throat anytime he tries to argue with someone. As soon as you grow the dick you're so earnestly trying to compensate for on this webboard, please go fuck yourself. You are denser than a black hole and emit as much information.

(smiles) NOW I'm name-calling, fucktard. Pick your knuckles from off the ground and place them on the keyboard to reply, if you dare, you drooling, puking quarter-wit.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Pedestrian Flame Wars Are Beneath Me (1.80 / 5) (#168)
by thelizman on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:19:55 PM EST

You clearly implied racism on my part
If that is what you think, then I suggest you take a deep breath, put your tin-foil hat on, and go to your happy place. Because it never happenned.
you did call me a troll
Yes yes, I called you a troll, and it's because you are a troll. You've proclaimed your trollness yourself. You wear it as a badge of troll honor. Now you want to act indignant because someone else calls you a troll. Typical leftist mindset.
and now you have called me an idiot
Nope. Yet again, you're making up lies in order to demigogue your opponant because you cannot win the debate on the merts of the facts.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You are such a liar (5.00 / 3) (#172)
by pyramid termite on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:59:50 PM EST

"Idiot - That's Ad Hominem" - addressed to me. You DID call me an idiot and now you're shamelessly and brazenly lying about it with the evidence in front of everyone's face, just like a three dollar crack whore lying to a cop about the Chore Boy and pipe in her pocket. It's pathetic - there's no having a pedestrian flame war with you as you're not even up to that level. You're so damned crooked I bet your shit spirals sideways to hit the john.

And of course, we should take anything you say seriously because you tell the truth. I don't have to demogogue you - most of this site's readers already knew what a disingenuous bag of ass wind you are. The rest, I'm sure, will be able to figure it out from your stunningly inept attempts at covering your ass when you're called on your puerile, toothless insults. I don't really need to say much of anything to you, you know? It's been tolerably amusing watching you try to poke holes in the facts with your microscopic peckerwit, but it's starting to sound as if I'm trying to outnoise a syphiletic woodpecker with a glass beak.

I've poured enough salt on your tail for one day, little magpie. Fly, fly away and try not to shit on yourself next time you change direction in mid-discussion, OK?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Now You're Acting Childishly (2.33 / 3) (#181)
by thelizman on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:50:21 PM EST

"Idiot - That's Ad Hominem" - addressed to me. You DID call me an idiot
That was the title of a post, in which "idiot" was an example of an ad hominem. At no time did I call you an idiot.

It's been fun watching you fall apart, but I must go. There's a hurricane a'comin.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Two can play that game (3.66 / 3) (#185)
by pyramid termite on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 05:46:36 AM EST

That was the title of a post, in which "idiot" was an example of an ad hominem. At no time did I call you an idiot.

That's a prevarication worthy of Clinton.

It's been fun watching you fall apart, but I must go. There's a hurricane a'comin.

Have fun fishing.











































Oh, I meant when it's over. You didn't think I meant now did you?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Ahem (5.00 / 4) (#200)
by kjb on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 05:59:45 PM EST

I knew having a reasonable discussion with a troll couldn't last for long

the defeatest leftist resorts to ad hominems and name calling

Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

The only problem... (2.83 / 6) (#41)
by aziegler on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:29:26 AM EST

...with this is that the right-wing Republican majority on SCOTUS (of whom had vested interest in seeing Bush win) that decided Bush v Gore indicated that their decision was "not precedent setting."

It's bullshit, but SCOTUS could choose to yell at the court for pretending that it was precedent setting.

-austin

Not exactly (4.50 / 2) (#112)
by onemorechip on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:17:05 AM EST

IIRC, the court ruled that there was in fact a problem with the counting of the votes. This is consistent with the equal protection argument. They concluded that a state-wide recount would be the only equitable solution. What they then decided -- and what perplexed so many people -- is that the state would be unable to perfom such a recount in time, so they threw out the equitable solution. This in spite of the fact that the Constitution delegates this power (to determine the method of choosing of electors) to state legislatures.

I took the SCOTUS's statement about precedent to mean only that the decision to stop the recount could not be a binding precedent. It would be hard to escape the logic of the equal protection finding -- and that's the part of the ruling that would apply to California.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

Correcting myself, sorry (4.50 / 2) (#117)
by onemorechip on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:20:37 AM EST

From Bush v. Gore: "The recount process, in its features here described, is inconsistent with the minimum procedures necessary to protect the fundamental right of each voter in the special instance of a statewide recount under the authority of a single state judicial officer. Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities."

So I was wrong that the limitation applied only to the timing aspect of the ruling; it did apply to one aspect of equal protection.

However, the first sentence, and the paragraphs immediately preceding that statement, put this statement squarely in the context of the ad hoc nature of the recount procedure, which was only one of the equal protection issues considered, and a key part of the reasoning (in addition to the timing issue I mentioned) for halting the recount. Since this is just one of the "many complexities" involved, it can't simply be concluded that "limited to the present circumstances" applies to the court's findings on the other "complexities".
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

One problem with your republican majority (4.00 / 3) (#154)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:59:48 PM EST

The vote in that decision was 7-2, not 5-4. At least two "good and fair" justices agreed with those evil republican nominees with their vested interests and all.

Actually, I've always wondered - given that SCOTUS is appointed for life, how can anyone claim that a republican justice has a "vested interest" in having a republican president? Or are you just talking out your ass?


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Blah, 9th Circuit (3.15 / 13) (#54)
by RyoCokey on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:17:24 PM EST

No one cares what they say. They're all loons. Supreme Court will overturn it like almost all of their other decisions.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
Opaque Arcana (4.00 / 6) (#57)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:18:08 PM EST

Lawrence Solum has a good explanation of the res judicata issue I described as "part of the arcana of the law that is totally opaque to this layman".

Please explain to me.. (3.14 / 7) (#59)
by McMasters on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:24:49 PM EST

..why the states' electoral votes are awarded in one lump sum. Now, yes, blah blah blah, electoral college is appropriate, don't want to invalidate low population centers, and so forth.

So why not split the elctoral votes up amongst voting lines? if your state goes 80/20, deliver your votes 80/20. After all, your vote counted much more in Florida last election than in New York, and I don't see that as right.


explanation (4.33 / 3) (#63)
by Brandybuck on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:54:20 PM EST

One way to look at the electoral college is that each state gets one vote, but that each vote is weighted according to the size of the state. That was the essence of the Great Compromise. Certainly there are other ways to do it, but it's no better or nor worse than other systems.

I do believe that there are one or two states that actually split their electoral vote, but all the rest vote for one candidate. Just like you do.

On the other hand, electors are not required to vote for a particular candidate. An individual elector can (and many have) cast their vote in opposition to the other electors. In fact, the first electoral vote for a female candidate was cast by a rogue elector. You can think of this as a sort of safety valve. If a crook manages to hoodwink the populace, but is found gloating over his trickery the week after the election, he might get very well lose the election after all.

[ Parent ]

Except.. (3.66 / 3) (#74)
by Kwil on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:05:21 PM EST

..that many states have legislation dictating exactly how the Electors should vote, and it's a punishable offense to not do such.

Which in a way is subverting the entire intent behind the electoral college in the first place (that of a number of men who "know better" than the common man)

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Not clear this is legal though... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by nine4mortal on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:49:37 PM EST

To my knowledge, nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted for violating such a law and many people believe such laws are unconstitutional.


"Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die..."
[ Parent ]

Not at all (4.00 / 1) (#208)
by dipierro on Sun Sep 21, 2003 at 05:18:48 AM EST

Which in a way is subverting the entire intent behind the electoral college in the first place (that of a number of men who "know better" than the common man)

Huh? That's not the intent of the electoral college. There are two main intents. First of all, logistically, it just wasn't possible to have a popular election at the time the Constitution was written. Secondly, the distribution of the electoral votes was set up to give more power to the people in the smaller states.



[ Parent ]
A matter of state law (4.75 / 4) (#75)
by IHCOYC on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:07:57 PM EST

Most of the states now pledge all of the electors in any given state to one candidate. There are a few that allow splits. Maine, I believe, is one of them, and I think Nebraska is another. I am not certain how the splits are figured or awarded in the states that allow them. All for one voting at least makes that much clear. Federal law does not require the votes to be figured one way or another.

Apart from giving power to people in Wyoming and other sparsely populated states, where a far fewer number of people vote to award 3 electoral votes than in more populated states, the Electoral College doesn't do much. The electors don't even meet with electors of other states, much less do they debate. They're theoretically independent, in that the electors can choose to vote for someone else. There's never been a situation in which rogue electors have changed the outcome of an election. The protection against corrupt candidates whose flaws are only discovered post-election is pretty illusory. The main reason it's done this way is because the American revolutionaries didn't want the city people outvoting people in the sticks, and it still does that as well as it ever did. Whether this is something worth doing is another question entirely.
 --
Quod sequitur, sicut serica lucis albissima tingere rogant;
Quod sequitur, totum devorabit.

[ Parent ]

Here's why... (4.75 / 4) (#90)
by nine4mortal on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:13:41 PM EST

First of all, both Maine and Nebraska can split their electoral votes. Their electors are allocated just like their Congressmen and Senators. Two are given to the candidate that takes the entire state. The remaining electors are given out to the winner of each congressional district.

"Why", you ask, "are they usually awarded in one lump sum?" The answer is that it increases the power of a state to cast its votes as one lump sum. Since the Constitution does not specify how electors are to be allocated, states generally chose the winner-take-all method to maximize their influence. Of course larger states are the big winners because you are allowed to do winner-take-all at all, but since you can do it, smaller states want to do it too.

The presumption is more than simple states' rights (meaning freedom of the states to act as they desire locally.) It is the much stronger presumption that each state is actually an entity in and of itself. The Constitution is not an agreement between all of the people (despite what the preamble may say), it is an agreement between the several states. The people don't elect the President; the states do.

This is true not just of electors, but the fact that every state gets an equal vote in the Senate. If the Presidency ends up being decided by the House, each state gets one vote. Amendments to the Constitution are ratified per state. A Constitutional amendment can pass even if a majority of the people oppose it, if those people are all concentrated in one location.


"Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die..."
[ Parent ]
Thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by McMasters on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 08:44:10 AM EST

'Between the States', not 'Between the People' - thanks, I never thought of it that way. ^_^ Kudos to you, and neener neener to those folks that votes down my comment - I figured the only way to get this question answered by non-idiots was to post it semi-topically on K5. Thanks again! ^^

[ Parent ]
Very well said. (5.00 / 2) (#128)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:24:04 AM EST

Most people don't seem to understand what "federal" means anymore.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Power of the state? (none / 0) (#207)
by dipierro on Sun Sep 21, 2003 at 05:09:13 AM EST

The answer is that it increases the power of a state to cast its votes as one lump sum.

States aren't supposed to have power. People are.

The Constitution is not an agreement between all of the people (despite what the preamble may say), it is an agreement between the several states.

You are absolutely wrong. "The Constitution is a contract between the people and the federal government." (US Supreme Court) Take a look at McCulloch v Maryland

The Convention which framed the Constitution was indeed elected by the State legislatures. But the instrument, when it came from their hands, was a mere proposal, without obligation, or pretensions to it. It was reported to the then existing Congress of the United States, with a request that it might "be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the recommendation of its Legislature, for their assent and ratification." This mode of proceeding was adopted; and by the Convention, by Congress, and by the State Legislatures, the instrument was submitted to the people. They acted upon it in the only manner in which they can act safely, effectively, and wisely, on such a subject, by assembling in Convention. It is true, they assembled in their several States--and where else should they have assembled? No political dreamer was ever wild enough to think of breaking down the lines which separate the States, and of compounding the American people into one common mass. Of consequence, when they act, they act in their States. But the measures they adopt do not, on that account, cease to be the measures of the people themselves, or become the measures of the State governments.
From these Conventions the Constitution derives its whole authority. The government proceeds directly from the people; is "ordained and established" in the name of the people; and is declared to be ordained, "in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and to their posterity." The assent of the States, in their sovereign capacity, is implied in calling a Convention, and thus submitting that instrument to the people. But the people were at perfect liberty to accept or reject it; and their act was final. It required not the affirmance, and could not be negatived, by the State governments. The Constitution, when thus adopted, was of complete obligation, and bound the State sovereignties.

The Constitution is not an agreement between all of the people (despite what the preamble may say), it is an agreement between the several states.

At least you admit that your theory completely ignores the actual Constitution itself.

The people don't elect the President; the states do.

Actually, the electors do.



[ Parent ]
The Federal Theory of Government (none / 0) (#210)
by nine4mortal on Mon Sep 22, 2003 at 05:00:21 PM EST

Nope... you either just don't understand what the "Federal" in "Federal Government" is, or you do not realize that the United States is a federal republic and not a democracy (even in theory.) The notion of republican (note the small "r" :) principles is clearly enshrined in the Constitution. The government clearly derives its power from the people. However, this does not contradict the fact that the Constitution is actually an agreement between the several States, not a direct agreement between the people. The most obvious examples of this are the fact that there are two Senators from every state regardless of population, and the ratification and amendment processes.
At least you admit that your theory completely ignores the actual Constitution itself.
Not remotely. The ruling you cite does not contradict anything I have said. Let us use your own example of Constitutional conventions (from the ruling) to see this. Article V defines the amendment process:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
If the Constitution were an agreement between the people and not the states, then a majority of the people would be required to amend the Constitution. This is not the case. It says so very clearly in the Constitution. Instead, three-fourths of the states must ratify it. While it is true that the people who do the ratifying must be elected (they must be legislatures or a Constitutional convention), you will note that an amendment can pass even if a majority of the people oppose it. This is not an accident or an oversight; it is motivated by the idea that the Constitution is an agreement among the states. If you study history, you will discover this was done on purpose. I recommend to you the Federalist Papers as further reading if you would like some context. One that pops to mind is Federalist No. 39. The quote you might be interested in is:
On examining the first relation, it appears, on one hand, that the Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but, on the other, that this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong. It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people themselves. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act.
FYI, the preamble is not actually law in the same way the rest of the Constitution is; it is a statement of purpose. It has legal value only to the extent that it provides guiding principles in cases of ambiguity. When understanding the Constitution, it is the articles and amendments you need to understand first. To the extent they differ with any notion one may draw from the preamble, they are right and the preamble is wrong. For example, you can say "We the people..." all you want. It is not a valid way to argue against the Electoral College, the fact each state has equal representation in the Senate, or the fact amendments are ratified state-by-state.


"Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die..."
[ Parent ]

Federalism (none / 0) (#211)
by dipierro on Tue Sep 23, 2003 at 03:36:35 AM EST

I understand federalism just fine. But federalism is a compromise between a purely national system and a mere contractual agreement among sovereign entities. Even if it was not explicit in the original Constitution, the fourteenth amendment makes this point crystal clear. You are a citizen of the United States and of the state wherein you reside.

The fact that there are two Senators from each state, and the ratification and amendment processes, do not in themselves show that the Constitution is merely an agreement between the states. These are simply details about how certain processes are to be carried out. Surely, the citizen in smaller states are to be given enhanced representative power in the Senate, but that is merely a detail of government formed as part of the Great Comprimise. Popular elections were not in any way possible during the time of the framing of the Constitution, so the ratification and amendment processes take place in conventions. To be sure, we do not live in a democracy. We live in a federal republic, a single nation consiting of individual states with limited sovereignty.

If the Constitution were an agreement between the people and not the states, then a majority of the people would be required to amend the Constitution.

Like I've said several times, it was simply not possible to have such a national election at the time the Constitution was created. For the Constitution to literally be an agreement between the people, then all of the people would have to agree to it. So maybe we're just arguing semantics here. Yes, the federal government is something imposed on us without our explicit consent. That's the way government works.

FYI, the preamble is not actually law in the same way the rest of the Constitution is; it is a statement of purpose.

While this is true legally it's completely irrelevant to our discussion. The preamble makes it clear the the Constitution is established by the People.

FYI, the preamble is not actually law in the same way the rest of the Constitution is;

FYI, the federalist papers are likewise not actually law.

When understanding the Constitution, it is the articles and amendments you need to understand first. To the extent they differ with any notion one may draw from the preamble, they are right and the preamble is wrong.

The theory which you present, that the Constitution is merely an agreement between states, is not contained anywhere within the Constitution.

For example, you can say "We the people..." all you want. It is not a valid way to argue against the Electoral College, the fact each state has equal representation in the Senate, or the fact amendments are ratified state-by-state.

I'm obviously not arguing legally against the Electoral College. The Electoral College is the law. It would require a Constitutional Amendment to change that. In fact, I'm not even arguing against the Electoral College as an ideal. It makes a lot of sense to protect the residents of small states against the tyranny of the majority population living in the large states. But the usefulness of the Electoral College does not come from taking power away from people and giving it to states. That's just stupid.



[ Parent ]
The Federalist Papers (none / 0) (#212)
by nine4mortal on Wed Sep 24, 2003 at 05:16:47 PM EST

FYI, the federalist papers are likewise not actually law.
Of course not, but they were written by people who actually helped write the Constitution to explain it. In citing them, I am asserting that Hamilton, Madison, and Jay knew what they had helped write and why certain details were made a certain way.

The crux of my argument is that certain features of the Constitution (mostly concerned with the Great Compromise) are motivated by the notion that the Constitution is an agreement between the States (each independently acting on behalf of its own people), not an agreement between the people of the nation as a whole. That is, I am arguing that the sections in question are motivated by the federal theory of government; they are not details that were worked out a certain way by accident, or deliberately but for other reasons. I cite the Federalist papers to show that my explanation is not something I have made up based upon my own worldview. It is instead the understanding I have based on studying what (history records that) the people who wrote the Constitution thought.


"Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die..."
[ Parent ]

If punch cards are totally unworkable. . . (3.14 / 7) (#65)
by IHCOYC on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:10:54 PM EST

. . . what does this imply for the elections in which Gov. Davis was elected, in which similar ballots are also used?

No matter how simple you make voting procedures, they will always pose some difficulties. We can get rid of formal literacy tests, but navigating the maze of registrations and operating the systems themselves will always pose some basic literacy test as it is. A sufficiently attentive and determined voter can work even a punch card ballot.

Now, the mathematics of the California election are interesting. With more than 100 candidates in a winner-take-all system, the way it works it is theoretically possible (if unlikely) for the victor to win with less than 1% of the vote. Having so many candidates vastly increases the possibility of ties, including ties for first place. Perhaps these difficulties make it seem more needful to have a mathematically less error-prone method of balloting. Still, there isn't anything wrong with a punch card ballot that careful reading and checking your work before you hand it in won't cure.
 --
Quod sequitur, sicut serica lucis albissima tingere rogant;
Quod sequitur, totum devorabit.

Read the ruling (4.00 / 10) (#72)
by jhigh on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:00:39 PM EST

Directly from the Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore:

The recount process, in its features here described, is inconsistent with the minimum procedures necessary to protect the fundamental right of each voter in the special instance of a statewide recount under the authority of a single state judicial officer. Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.

The question before the Court is not whether local entities, in the exercise of their expertise, may develop different systems for implementing elections. Instead, we are presented with a situation where a state court with the power to assure uniformity has ordered a statewide recount with minimal procedural safeguards. When a court orders a statewide remedy, there must be at least some assurance that the rudimentary requirements of equal treatment and fundamental fairness are satisfied.
The Supreme Court not only did not rule that States couldn't implement different systems (as you yourself admit), they SPECIFICALLY intended for this ruling not to set precedent as to the application of equal protection! Each case is completely unique, as the court testifies. You also ignore the fact that many of the same problems present in punchcard voting are present in both optical and touchscreen voting systems. This broad application of equal protection sets a very frightening standard, and I fear that many an election may find itself being decided with Liberals dragging someone to Court.
AlwaysRight.org
Another 'liberal' plot.... (4.37 / 8) (#79)
by baron samedi on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:38:34 PM EST

OK, sure. It's hard to see how this helps anyone but Arnold, who will now have a lot more time to develop a platform (any platform will do). McClintock can take this for a ride, too. So say what you will about Bush v. Gore, but there is an issue here, once you get beyond all the spin.

There are 6 precincts in CA that would not have their act together by Oct. 7. That directly impacts certain voters. No votes are disposable in this country, at least that's the way it's supposed to be. The Secretary of State de-certified puch cards after Florida, which means that everyone in CA is supposed to vote with the newer machines. If certain precincts have to vote with de-certified equipment, it makes it so much easier to get those votes thrown out after the fact, thus making those people's votes count less than those of us who get to vote with certified equipment. That is an equal protection issue. One in which the 9th circuit chose to err on the side of caution and allow the precincts that have fallen behind to catch up.

So now we have to endure this recall shit for just that much longer. As much as I would just as soon get it over with, voting rights are more important than my convienience.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll

get out of here (4.60 / 5) (#80)
by jhigh on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:45:36 PM EST

Governor Davis is the only one who will benefit from this delay. Every single analyst that I've heard says the same thing, that the longer this goes on the less voters will care and the more likely it is that the recall will not happen. McClintock will probably have to drop out because he has less money than the rest of them and can't afford to campaign for that long. Arnold will have to fend off the vicious media attacks for that much longer, which is highly unlikely. In the end the recall will fail if it has to wait until March.
AlwaysRight.org
[ Parent ]
so what, cry me a river (3.40 / 5) (#100)
by joschi on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:02:25 PM EST

it doesnt change the fact that its inherently a slap in the face of equal protection to have some counties voting un *decertified*, known faulty machines.

[ Parent ]
And what process is not faulty? (3.40 / 5) (#104)
by cestmoi on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:44:05 PM EST

It doesn't matter what technique you use, there are always going to be errors.

What amazes me is that some people think that replacing a punch card system that just requires punching a hole with a computerized system is somehow going to magically improve things.

Diebold's balloting system has been demonstrated to be insecure. Add to that the confusion that comes with any new system and I'm not convinced the court has demonstrated much sense in this case. Especially, when you take into account this wrinkle reported in the LA Times

And voting officials, already struggling to produce an election on a short deadline, were handed a new problem to consider: whether combining the lengthy recall ballot with the primary in March would produce a behemoth too large for the newer voting machines to handle.

"It's more than a wrinkle," said Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Conny McCormack. "No one even asked the largest county in the state if we had the capacity to run it in March. The answer is no."

Just think - when both the LA Times which has been lambasting the recall and the proponents of the recall both critize the Federal court's decision, you really have to wonder where the court parked its sense.

[ Parent ]
Not *better*, just *equal* (5.00 / 2) (#107)
by rusty on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:52:52 PM EST

The issue here isn't that electronic voting is better than punchcards, though people clearly believe it is. But the issue at stake is that you can't have different voting systems in different districts. If everyone could use punchcards, that would be just as acceptable as everyone using electronic ballots. The argument is just that for equal protection to apply, everyone has to be using the same system, or systems with demonstrably equivalent error rates.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Equal? (3.00 / 2) (#109)
by cestmoi on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:21:22 AM EST

If they wanted to mandate equal error rates, they'd have had to mandate that all districts use the same equipment. They didn't do that. Nor did they consult with the affected counties to see whether what they were ruling was even feasible.

The truly outrageous thing about this ruling is the court has attempted to eliminate an election. That's banana republic antics, not something that should happen here.

[ Parent ]

Not what I'm saying (4.66 / 3) (#111)
by rusty on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:36:03 AM EST

I'm not arguing that it was a good decision. I don't know enough to decide that. I'm saying that the question at hand wasn't exactly that electronic voting is better, but that the two different systems are not believed to have comparable error parameters. Your original comment was about whether electronic voting is any good. I was saying that while that was related to the case, it wasn't really the point.

The court did in fact mandate that all districts use "acceptable" voting equipment. Not necessarily the same equipment, but equipment that is certified for use, as opposed to banned, like punch card equipment. I would say "equivalent" is a fine word to describe what they're requiring.

You say that this ruling is a banana-republic attempt to eliminate a vote. On the other hand, if the vote proceeded, many voters would be denied their right to cast a ballot, due to the use of faulty and illegal voting machines, not to even mention the precincts that won't be open at all. So is it better to have a banana-republic election, or a judicial delay on an election? Would it matter to you if your vote would not be counted?

While a lot of people seem to be imagining a case where the Supremes "delay" the next presidential election, I can just as easily imagine a case where an election is held very quickly and only some people are allowed to vote, because "the election must be held right this instant at all costs!" Which is worse? I think both scenarios are imaginary hysteria run amok, but there are drawbacks either way.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Must be a Californinan... (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by baron samedi on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 04:32:50 AM EST

Because no one else could have such an appreciation for the results that the Republican go-ahead for California is like. Not only is it an unapproachble topic, but you can suck it, 1998!!!
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Why not mandate an absentee vote? (5.00 / 2) (#153)
by cestmoi on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:51:40 PM EST

I would say "equivalent" is a fine word to describe what they're requiring.

If that really was their intent, they could have simply ordered that the election be held via absentee ballot instead. The results would have been delayed by a few days at most instead of several months.

On the other hand, if the vote proceeded, many voters would be denied their right to cast a ballot, due to the use of faulty and illegal voting machines, not to even mention the precincts that won't be open at all. So is it better to have a banana-republic election, or a judicial delay on an election?

You're right that some precincts are closed. My sample ballot came the other day and it gives me two choices, drive a few more blocks than normal or mail my vote in. Big deal.

When a judge decides to impose his or her own beliefs whether it's chisling the ten commandsments on the wall or delaying an election because your man is going to go down - to me that's what smacks of banana-republic.

[ Parent ]

that's silly (5.00 / 1) (#184)
by joschi on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:58:15 AM EST

the court isnt telling anyone which methods to use, they are just enforcing the law, which says that its unconstitutional to have different counties held to different standards.

[ Parent ]
eliminate and election!?!?! (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by joschi on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:55:08 AM EST

man, how off can you be. *when exactly* did the court try to stop the recal? never. all they did was pospone it until all counties are able to use certified voting machines.

[ Parent ]
Yet there are wide varieties of voting machines (3.00 / 2) (#127)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:19:37 AM EST

in use all over the country. The PA county I live in uses punch cards. Philadelphia uses the classic electromechanical clicky-clack voting machines. Which of us has to change?

Frankly, until this decision, how the votes were collected was considered to be up to each county. Once again the 9th circuit is boldly converting personal opinions into judicial fiat.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Machines had to be certified (5.00 / 3) (#130)
by rusty on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:31:39 AM EST

There was a wide variety, but unless I'm mistaken, each system had to be certified to conform to some basic standard of accuracy. The punch card systems are illegal in California now. I can't see how you can reasonably say that illegal voting systems are not a problem, but timing is. You can certainly choose which problem you think is more important to address, but at least there ought to be some recognition that running an election on illegal voting equipment is a problem.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure why it's okay to ignore the law (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:49:46 AM EST

just because, as a knee-jerk response to an artificial crisis, a decades-old perfectly reliable mechanism for voting is now unpopular.

Sigh. The whole recall idea is stupid anyway. I mean, it's not like he was caught with an intern in his pants.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Ignore which law? (5.00 / 2) (#135)
by rusty on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:54:45 AM EST

The law that says that the punch card voting system is illegal, or the one that mandates when the election must take place? You can't respect both of them at once.

But happily, we can agree that the recall is stupid. California never fails to provide the best evidence that direct democracy is a terrible idea.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Well, as far as which law goes (4.00 / 4) (#138)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:08:54 AM EST

In a conflict, stuff written in the state constitution is supposed to take precedence over normal laws.

Of course, I could be wrong about that. YMMV. :-P


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Illegality of the punch cards (4.00 / 4) (#140)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:45:00 AM EST

It is important to remember that they were made illegal as part of a settlement in which neither party had any clue that the next election was going to be in October 2003 and not March 2004. Since the language of the settlement was "next general election", I think that a very good case could be made that since this is a special election, that they can be used this one last time.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Could be (5.00 / 3) (#143)
by rusty on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:58:40 AM EST

At last, someone addresses the fact that there is a fairly thorny legal question here! :-)

You could be right. Sounds plausible to me, anyway. Like I said, I don't have any stake or opinion of the quality of the ruling, I just wanted to point out that it's not completely cut and dried.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

No, it isn't (5.00 / 1) (#148)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:47:17 PM EST

But I suspect that the people who agreed to the original settlement might have a different opinion given that delaying the election at this point will likely cost another $30-50 million.

Personally, I'm not sure about the legality, but IMO, delaying this election is pragmatically very bad for the state. We can't afford six months with state politics in this much turmoil.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

*laugh* (4.00 / 4) (#149)
by aphrael on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:59:16 PM EST

Note that the person who addressed the thorny legal question is a Californian. In general, both in the news media and in the blogsphere, commentary from non-Californians on the recall has been ... clueless.

[ Parent ]
Yes... (5.00 / 3) (#157)
by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:36:07 PM EST

One thing that annoys me about the national medias approach to this recall is how utterly clueless most of the media is about California state politics. When Arnold announced, they all talked as if he was a shoe-in and then were all taken aback when poll after poll showed him running second.

Some things non-Californians often miss:

  • That Californians are more blase about celebrity.
  • That there are large numbers of hispanic voters that traditionally stayed away from the polls but that were energized by the passage of Proposition 187.
  • That there is a significant minority in the Republican Party that is very right wing that makes it very difficult for Republican moderates to get anyway. (And especially, for Republicans that are fiscally conservative but social liberal like Arnold.)
  • That politics in California are regionally diverse, with a liberal SF Bay Area, fiscally conservative/socially moderate-to-liberal Southern California and hinterlands much like the midwest.
  • That various propositions have mandated 2/3rds votes for passing a budget, require a "balanced" budget (but allow borrowing to cover deficients) and take control of something like 70% of the budget out of the hands of legislators.
  • That term limits mean that no state legislator has more than eight years experience and that there are mayors with more experience than anyone in Sacramento now.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
  • They are illegal next March (5.00 / 1) (#162)
    by duffbeer703 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:54:10 PM EST

    It's now September.

    [ Parent ]
    no, the supreme court started this (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by joschi on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:34:30 AM EST

    "Frankly, until this decision, how the votes were collected was considered to be up to each county. Once again the 9th circuit is boldly converting personal opinions into judicial fiat." the supreme court made it crystal clear that that fails the equal protection clause in the constitution, each county has to be held to the same standards, and hence you CANNOT have some counties using uncertified, inaccurate machiens while other counties get nice new ones.

    [ Parent ]
    Really. (3.00 / 2) (#190)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 08:21:19 PM EST

    That explains why SCOTUS insisted that they were NOT setting a precedent and the decision should NOT be used in other cases. In reality, they were secretly expanding the equal protection clause so that judges could interfere in something that previously had been outside their jurisdiction.


    --
    Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


    [ Parent ]
    that is a laughable notion (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by joschi on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 02:10:22 PM EST

    it was laughable in 2000 when they tried to pretend that such a crucial and unprecidented decision wouldn't be used as precident, and its laughable now. say it as loudly as they want, its still bullshit.

    [ Parent ]
    Laugh all you want. Legally they have that power. (none / 0) (#209)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 21, 2003 at 08:32:08 AM EST

    You really don't know how the law works, do you?

    If SCOTUS says "this is not a precedent" then any judge using that decision as a precedent will be immediately overturned on appeal.


    --
    Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


    [ Parent ]
    Please (3.40 / 5) (#116)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:41:50 AM EST

    San Diego county, where I live, has been using these punchcards for over a quarter of a century. Perhaps this court should invalidate the past 25 years of elections and have them redone come March.

    The point is, the California State Constitution specifically spells out how a recall vote should be administered, and there are deadlines from when the signatures are verified and when the vote must occur. These three judges have essentially trampled on the mandate of the California citizenry by ignoring the state constitution.

    I can say without hyperbole that it is synonymous to the Supreme Court deciding that the whole First Amendment thing doesn't really belong in there.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    argh (3.00 / 4) (#160)
    by duffbeer703 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:48:07 PM EST

    It's an inherent slap in the face of the democratic process to postpone elections by judicial fiat.

    The only issue here is that a Democratic party-dominated court is trying to rescue their party from humiliation, at the expense of democracy.

    [ Parent ]

    Perhaps... (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by baron samedi on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:08:50 AM EST

    But I think McClintock actually should stay in the ring, no matter what. I don't agree with him at all in terms of what he'd like to do as governor, but let's just say that I credit him with a certain amount of integrity. Not enough that identfiies with most of CA's voters, but enough to show what the CA GOP has to offer.

    Davis may very well benefit from this, but it's a new development, let's see what the field has to offer.

    That being said, let's see who Karl Rove makes the phone call to. I mean, there could be an ambassadorship for Tom McClintock out of this.

    Republicans have been trying to out-game the demographics of California for years, now.


    "Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
    [ Parent ]

    Not Decertified (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by Dphitz on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 02:06:52 PM EST

    They are still acceptable to use in the state of CA until March of 2004.  That's the deadline.  There is no reason those votes would be thrown out.  

    Recent studies have shown that the error rate of punch cards is only .1% greater than computer voting terminals.  These judges didn't look at any facts.  They erred on the side of Davis and threw the CA constitution and our right to vote out the window.  The big issue in Florida wasn't the hanging chads on the punch cards, it was the stupid ballot design and those who didn't vote for who they thought they were.

    Also, the Democrats just passed a bill in the CA state assembly allowing the use of pen and paper to vote if proper voting equipment is not functioning properly or is unavailable.  So we can grab a pen and write our vote down, but punch cards are so inaccurate we have to postpone an election?  BIG LOAD OF CRAP!



    God, please save me . . . from your followers

    [ Parent ]

    Can someone please write up (4.28 / 7) (#82)
    by Bjorniac on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:02:02 PM EST

    why the US doesn't just use a "place an X in the box next to the candidate..." system that seems to work quite nicely all over the world? Is it for speed of counting, reliability, or what? With all the controversy over electronic machines, punch cards etc, I find it strange that this type of voting continues - in the UK with a population of 58 million (smaller than the US, but much larger than individual states) it works, to the best of my knowledge, just fine.
    Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
    Basic explanation: potential for rampant fraud (4.00 / 2) (#126)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:15:53 AM EST

    Hand counted ballots can be manipulated at every step of the way and take days to tally and have a higher error rate than punch cards anyway. You guys keep talking about monitoring the counters. I think you are ignorant of history, and of current events. You blindly trust that no one will make addition "errors", lose ballots or "forget" to deliver the results from their district - all things that have happened in elections across the world in the 20th century.

    Everyone mocks the US for "not being able to run an election" when the truth of the matter is those punch card ballots are faster, more reliable and more trustworthy than both hand-counting and the new computer systems that are replacing them.

    The Florida fiasco was a manufactured crisis created by people determined to deny Bush the election and empowered by the fact that the margin of victory was below the error rate for punch cards. The fact that the margin was also below the error rate for hand counted ballots was immaterial to them. They held up the illusion of perfect accuracy and demanded that mere humans achieve it.


    --
    Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


    [ Parent ]
    Exactly (5.00 / 3) (#158)
    by duffbeer703 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:40:19 PM EST

    In New York, we have mechanical voting machines that increment counters on the rear of the machine. All sorts of hijinks have been committed with these machines, from using pins to jam the counters to misreading the numbers on the dial or finding that machines are "broken" in certain polling places.

    On the day of the 2000 Senate election, a Gallup poll put Hillary Clinton 4% away from her opponent, Rick Lazio, yet Clinton won by an overwhelming majority.

    While the media swarmed over Board of Elections workers squinting at cards and screaming over Republican attempts to "steal" the election, Democratic operatives were busy registering Haitian immigrants to vote and bussing homeless people from poll to poll blocks from the home offices of the TV networks.

    The Florida fiasco was a manufactured crisis, just like the hysteria over the weather or Jennifer Lopez or a six year old trapped in a well.

    [ Parent ]

    We allow watchers (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by Bjorniac on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:15:00 PM EST

    Candidates, or their representatives, can watch the boxes once polling finishes all the way through the count. If they complain, more people can come and watch each vote counted. How are you going to defraud that?
    Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
    [ Parent ]
    Heh. Right now in Philadelphia (5.00 / 2) (#174)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:00:27 PM EST

    there are accusations that one of the Republican candidates for mayor is being paid by the incumbent Democrat to run and so split the Repulican vote. Would let such an individual or his team monitor the election?

    The history of US elections is filled with that sort of thing and worse. The whole point of the machines (besides speed) is to prevent human beings from touching the votes.


    --
    Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


    [ Parent ]
    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Bjorniac on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:37:51 PM EST

    But that's off the topic - once the votes have been placed, everyone involved can watch to make sure no-one else cheats. Just because someone unscrupulous is watching doesn't mean they can do anything if other parties are also observing.
    Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
    [ Parent ]
    Ok... (3.00 / 2) (#171)
    by JahToasted on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:40:59 PM EST

    Take days to count? Do you know anything?

    Last election in Canada was called, parties campaigned, votes were cast, counted, and certified in half the time it took you idiot yanks to count the ballots in ONE state. Yep, the entire election process in the time you took just to count.

    I served as an election monitor in Jamaica, and all the ballots at my station were counted by hand. 4 people kept the tally: one from the elections office, one representative from both of the major parties, and me. We all came to the same figure, the votes were placed back into the box, the box was sealed, and then transported with armed escort to the elcetions office where they would be counted again. Time it took this entire process (excepting the recount at the elections office, which I wasn't present for): 40 minutes.

    Initial results from hand counts are usually reported within a couple of hours and everything is certified the next day.

    It is very rare to have to stay up past 11:00 on an election night waitning for results. How long did you stay up for the results from those neato machines again?
    ______
    "I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
    [ Parent ]

    Do I know anything? Yes, I do. Do you? (4.50 / 2) (#173)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 08:57:14 PM EST

    I've worked in American elections. Did you pay attention when Bad Harmony and I listed the number of items on a typical US ballot?

    We aren't talking about electing 4-5 people. We're talking about dozens of individual offices, plus another dozen referendums. On every election. For tens of millions of ballots per state.

    How many voters you got in Jamaica? Fifty thousand? A cool quarter of a million?

    WTF do you think Florida needed a "butterfly ballot"? Because they were using an extra large font?

    Hand ballots are fine to a point, but they don't scale up.


    --
    Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


    [ Parent ]
    Oh my god, fucking americans (4.50 / 10) (#98)
    by banffbug on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:38:15 PM EST

    here, in primative Canada, you get a piece of paper containing each canidate's name, and a large circle beside each name. In your other hand, you hold a pencil. Mark the circle any way you please, and stuff the ballot in a box. Machines and computers have no use, they only remove the voter from the process - by a degree, which has proven significant.

    In primitive Canada we vote with pencils (5.00 / 4) (#101)
    by opendna on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:07:43 PM EST

    Only in Canada are they so confident in the honesty of the political operatives that they use pencils.

    One word: Erasers

    I only voted in one election in Canada, and I bust a spleen when I saw they wanted me to vote with a pencil. Personally, I brought my own pen and left it in the voting booth.

    Which isn't to say that I am scornful of the big circle next to the candidate's name in 14 point arial black. That's certainly better than the 10 point garbage we use in the states.

    [ Parent ]

    Speaking as a Canadian... (4.66 / 3) (#110)
    by tiamat on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:27:14 AM EST

    I like to think I'm pretty cynical, but I didn't even blink about the whole pencil thing....

    When the ballots are counted one person from each party can look over the counter's shoulder... We have this thing called "trust"....

    [ Parent ]

    Scrutineers (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by kesuari on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:19:35 AM EST

    They don't have scrutineers in the US?

    (In Australia, one must number each and every candidate and you get squares before the names, but it's otherwise much the same as was described for Canada.)

    [ Parent ]

    Poll watchers (5.00 / 2) (#156)
    by duffbeer703 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:29:27 PM EST

    In many of the democratic machine cities of the northeast, the "Republican" watching the polls is often not really a republican and sometimes looks over the shoulder of the "Democratic" party counter from 20 feet away.

    [ Parent ]
    Be careful you don't spoil your ballot (5.00 / 3) (#142)
    by Fizyx on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:52:08 AM EST

    The Canadian ballots also include examples of what's acceptable (an 'x'), and what isn't (a checkmark, an 'x' that's too big ... I forget what all). A checkmark, red crayon, (pen?) will spoil your ballot, though it MAY be counted in the event of a recount.

    [ Parent ]
    Some are like that (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Jebediah on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:45:08 AM EST

    The absentee ballot in Sonoma County is like this but to be different they have rectangles instead of circles.

    [ Parent ]
    Hhm. (5.00 / 3) (#124)
    by tkatchev on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:54:20 AM EST

    Here in the primitive third world, we have computer machines that automatically scan pen-marked ballots.

    Go figure.


       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    same here in the primitive State of Michigan (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by modmans2ndcoming on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:44:32 PM EST

    and it is real easy, just connect the ends of the arrow that points to your choice.

    [ Parent ]
    Reason (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:41:37 AM EST

    The original reason for punch cards is that it is very hard to look at a person's punch machine when they vote and see how they voted.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    It's a question of scale (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by SPYvSPY on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 05:21:30 PM EST

    It's easy to keep track of all the ballots in a small town like Canada.
    ------------------------------------------------

    By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
    [ Parent ]

    In Ontario, a silly story about bombs. . . (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by Fantastic Lad on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 12:01:40 AM EST

    I remember bomb threats during a provincial election; about 1000 volunteer voting station workers were called up in the dead of night and warned that if they showed up to work the next day at the voting stations, that they would be killed in horrible bomb blasts.

    1000 workers thought, "No shit?" and stayed home.

    Now, to make 1000 phone calls in a single night requires a sizable staff of determined bomb-threateners, more importantly, a list of all the volunteer's phone numbers which is unavailable except to the running parties. This means organization, and it means collusion from within the ranks of the runners. Oooh. Politics can be so mean!

    --And of course, the ridings of the affected polling stations were liberal strong holds, and so during the actual election, liberal voters were unable to cast their ballots, and the numbers coming up on the provincial television station teetered perilously. It was a very exciting beta test of the Bush/Gore bullshit parade.

    Though, luckily, Ontario conservative-conspirators happen to consist largely of hockey-playing morons with beer-deadened brains. (--Which is not necessarily to say that the same is not also true of the Liberal demograph. Just perhaps not quite so much).

    So anyway. . . Morons.

    It took about half a day for it to be determined that there were no actual bombs, and once this was achieved, the election organizers simply said, "Oh. Well, then re-open the stations and keep them open until everybody who wanted to vote can do so. We'll just tally up the total results later than we planned." --So all the voting got done anyway. Indeed, it is suspected that while some voters may have simply not bothered due to all the trouble, others who were not inclined to vote at all went out to mark their ballot with some fierocity. Most, I suspect, just thought, "What assholes," voted and went on with life.

    Now the moral of the story is this: Hockey-playing morons or not, there will always be people who would go to a lot of trouble to throw an election. Which means that given the oportunity, (as provided by Die-bold's machines, or by old-boy judges vis-a-vis the Gore/Bush thing, or whatever), these corrupt assholes will use those means if they can. Period.

    Moreover, in the high stakes game of American politics, the quiet truth is that really, it is in fact not truly a high stakes game, because the hockey-playing moron contingent is now holding all the cards.

    If California wants to have a real election, they should make it paper-based, they should use pens, and they should get ME to count the bloody things, because obviously nobody knows how to play nice down there. --And I don't care who gets into office. The game is not directed by the actual politicians anymore anyway.

    If by some chance somebody got in who decided to pull America's kids out of Iraq, un-do the Homeland Security acts, and purge the government of corruption, I would be overjoyed! But that person would most probably tragically die in a King Air A-100 airplane crash, and only a small number of people would care.

    Still, the stage production of 'politics' is fun to watch nonetheless. Kind of like wrestling, I imagine. Fake, distracting, and largely meaningless because, like wrestling, when it comes right down to it, which sweaty man clobbers which, means exactly zero. It's the event organizers who go away, pockets stuffed, smiling. It makes no difference to them who wins, so long as the public doesn't get bored while watching.

    Does anybody think that the Bohemians tapped Arnold for no reason? Please.

    -FL

    [ Parent ]

    E-Voting is a Scam, Beware! (4.44 / 9) (#105)
    by YelM3 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:58:06 PM EST

    Please see blackboxvoting.com and here to read about the Diebold scandals. Quick overview: Diebold claims its e-voting machines inner working are trade secrets, not open to review by the public. Luckily someone found their source code on the web awhile back and subsequently information security researchers found numerous gaping security holes in the design and implementation of their products. Diebold runs nearly all the e-voting machines in the country. More recently, votes from the San Louis Obispo county general election in California were found on an insecure Diebold internet site, a violation of numerous laws. These votes were apparently transmitted by a diebold machine mid-election to their central servers.

    This election, our 2004 presidential election, and the very electoral system is currently under seige by this corporation and its obvious political backers. That is the real reason for this delay.

    More:
    Johns Hopkins research findings press release.
    John Hopkins research findings (pdf)
    Diebold security flaws details
    Lots more by Scoop, who broke the story internationally.


    My blame list (3.83 / 6) (#115)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:38:11 AM EST

    As a resident of California with libertarian leanings, I am pretty frustrated and sickened by this whole issue. First, we should have never needed a recall in the first place, because the Republicans shouldn't have lost the gubenatorial election to begin with. Here California was, in the midst of a financial crisis with a governor who was busy lining his pockets and the pockets of others at the expense of the California citizenry, and the Republicans put forward Bill Simon as their candidate. Why? Because the much more moderate past-L.A. mayor Richard Riordan was too liberal on the social issues. Riordan was a popular candidate who many liberals could go with. Simon was a terrible speaker with a terrible campaign staff, and questionable business ethics.

    Ok, so the recall happened, which is good. I think each day Davis is in office is another damaging day to the integrity and financial well-being of this state. Now, the rules for the recall are very specifically spelled out in the California State Constitution, and it states that a speedy recall be enacted. (I think its 120 days after the signatures are verified by the Attorney General, but don't quote me on that.) This is, in theory, the will of the people, as the people elected those who drafted and approved the state's constitution. This bit on recall elections was added early in the 20th century when there was oodles of corruption in the governor's office, must like today. What is alarming is that three individuals can say, "What the people have mandated... well, we don't like that, screw it." I really wish there was a more limiting power on the judicial branch in this country, too often it steps beyond its task of interpretting law into making law, which is expressedly reserved for the legislative branch of government.

    We need to get this recall going now. We need to get Davis out of office. Personally, I hope McClintock makes it, but I'd be happy to have Arnold in as well. We need someone who'll take command and get this state's finances back in order. Soon!

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    I'm curious (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by abulafia on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:29:57 AM EST

    Are you strictly interested in a particular outcome at the cost of that outcome twisting the legal framework under which future outcomes will be decided?

    That appears to be what you're implicitly saying - "the Republicans goofed with candidate selection, and now we need to get this Democrat out so that one of my picks can get in".

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    (I left CA last year, but suffered under Davis until then. Certainly no love lost there.)



    [ Parent ]

    Twisting? (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:37:37 PM EST

    How is the California recall process any kind of twisting of the legal framework? The guidelines and rules are explicitly stated in the California State Constitution (including strict timelines between when the votes are certified and when the election must be held, something this court in San Francisco seems to think it can brush aside).

    Yes, the guy I wanted to get in in 2002 did not, so I think this is a good process. Something like twice as many signatures than needed to kick off the recall were collected. <said in politician voice>Why should the will of the people be denied?</said in politician voice>

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Kinda makes me want to re-read Scaramouche (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by Yaroslav The Wise on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:52:20 AM EST

    Omnes Omnibus!

    [ Parent ]
    California Republicans (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:51:39 AM EST

    They are idiots. They are doing the same damn thing they did last time. Instead of uniting behind one Arnold, whose socially liberal attitudes would attract a lot of moderate votes, they are splitting the vote between two candidates. They are doing this because the right wing of the California Republican would rather vote for someone who is pro-life and anti-gay then win the election. This means that the next governor will probably be a Democrat regardless of whether Davis is recalled.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    It is a shame, agreed (5.00 / 4) (#144)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:34:56 PM EST

    But I do strongly believe McClintock would make a much better governor than Arnold. I think Arnold stepping into the race threw a lot of Republicans here for a loop - remember, the word out of his team prior to his announcement was that he was not going to run (and supposedly Riordan was, but he stepped down once Arnold threw in his hat).

    Anyway, you're right about the Republicans being too staunch on liberal issues. They'd rather put in a person who doesn't connect with the electorate and who has had shady business dealings (Simon) simply because he doesn't like gays and likes fetuses.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Riorden (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:44:11 PM EST

    It's too bad Riorden didn't run. Arnold's politics are ok but he sounds like he has no clue about actually running a big government entity.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    That could be a plus (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Cro Magnon on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:46:17 PM EST

    Considering the flustercluck Grey Davis made of it!
    Information wants to be beer.
    [ Parent ]
    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:58:21 PM EST

    This is why I support McClintock. He has come out and given a very sound, IMHO, list of things he will do immediately upon taking office. Arnold has yet to make any statements nearly as strong.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    i'm tentatively leaning in that direction (5.00 / 2) (#152)
    by aphrael on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:50:12 PM EST

    for very similar reasons. But i'm concerned; McClintock is also an anti-tax zealot (he's circulating a ballot initiative to eliminate the vehicle license fee, for example). Since I don't believe we can balance the budget without either (a) tax increases, or (b) massive cuts to everything, i'm concerned about electing a governor for whom taxes simply aren't on the table.

    [ Parent ]
    More info (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:47:08 PM EST

    Read a list of what Tom would do on the first day: http://www.tommcclintock.com/resources/ac_flyer.pdf One of his big cost saving measures seems to be the energy contracts. He contends that if it is shown that there was impropriety in getting these contracts, the state can opt out of the contracts and get more favorable ones.

    McClintock is also an anti-tax zealot (he's circulating a ballot initiative to eliminate the vehicle license fee, for example)

    What's absolutely sickening is the fact that if you took CA's budget five years ago, and looked at the state's population and how much revenue was generated, you'd find that over the past 5 years revenues have grown faster than the populace. 5 Years ago we had a surplus. Now we have a multi-billion dollar deficit. The solution is not to tax more, we're taxed enought (CA, for example, has almost a 3% higher income tax than the previous state I lived in, Missouri, has higher sales tax, etc.). We need to cut government jobs, cut bloated government programs, and so on. Also, from what I've heard, the worker's comp laws here are money-sucking beheamouths that only trial lawyers like.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Be careful (5.00 / 2) (#155)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:27:34 PM EST

    Arnold wants to go in and "audit the books" and decide what to cut, somehow thinking that he'll find $38 billion laying on the floor somewhere.  This is, of course, silly.  He's pretending that he can get in there and make the books balance without cutting programs people like and without raising taxes.  Now, of course, the way our idiotic state government has balanced the books in the past is by boring money from the future.  That, not the energy crisis, is the real reason we got in this mess.  Arnold will either have to raise taxes, cut programs people like, or make things worse.

    McClintock, on the other hand, as one of the guys who wrote the budget damn well knows exactly where all the money's going.  So if he refuses to say what he'd cut, it is not because he doesn't know, but because he knows it is not popular.  On the one hand, he wants to stop the idiotic borrowing, but on the other, his cuts will likely include massive cuts to education, infrastructure and the like.

    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]

    My take (3.00 / 2) (#161)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:52:24 PM EST

    I hope programs get cut, I view small government as better government. Davis has put tens of thousands of workers on the state's roll during his past full term and this term.

    What needs to be cut, IMO, are the beauracracies that exist and their overstaffed departments. I think we both agree that things need to get back in order. How this is done will likely cause taxes to go up and cuts to popular programs. But, we got in this mess and now it's time to take our medicine.

    Personally I hope this leads to the dissentigration of this state into several smaller, more representative states (perhaps three or four states, San Diego area, LA area, Bay Area, and "the rest"), but that, of course, is pure fantasy. :-)

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    "tens of thousands of state workers" (5.00 / 3) (#164)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 04:17:22 PM EST

    Yes, he's put tens of thousands of state workers on the rolls. Most of those state workers are teachers, hired to reduce class sizes in k-2. Some of the rest are cops.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    Please (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 06:38:30 PM EST

    To quote Bill Simon from a FoxNews interview:
    Gray Davis allowed government to grow by over 40 percent during the same time that underlying rate of growth was about 20 percent.
    Assuming Simon is not misconstruing the facts, do you honestly think the government grew that much just from teachers and cops? And who says we need more of either?

    I don't care what deficiencies were where, but it's gross irresponsibility and downright thievery to have the state revenues outpace population growth over the past five years, but have the deficit balloon into the national embarassment it is now.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Class-size reduction (5.00 / 2) (#170)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:30:40 PM EST

    Around 18,000 teachers were hired to implement the class size reduction.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    Do you have a good source (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by skim123 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:39:44 PM EST

    For information like the size of government? I'd be interested in seeing some numbers, all I go on is what I read in the paper and hear on the radio (not having TV, and all). Anywho, I'd wager 18,000 is a drop in the bucket, but I'd like to see some figures to do some comparisons.

    What was the # of students per classroom prior to the size reductions? It's hard to imagine that 18,000 teachers alone is what the Republicans are fussing about. It's hard to fathom that these teachers are in large part responsible for the $30-some billion dollar deficit. If they are, then why in the world did we hire so many god damned teachers? We either need to fire some or reduce their pay, posthaste.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    The deficit (5.00 / 1) (#187)
    by ucblockhead on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:11:22 PM EST

    The reason for the deficit is very simple. The reason is that like the Federal government and the governments of most of the other forty-nine states, the California state government assumed that the increased tax revenues caused by the dotcom boom were permanent. They weren't.

    Anyway, here's one source (page down to the "California" heading.) Here's another.

    If you want to fire teachers, or reduce their pay, then say so. But don't whine about poor performance of our children when you do.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]

    Well duh (5.00 / 1) (#189)
    by skim123 on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:36:34 PM EST

    The reason is that like the Federal government and the governments of most of the other forty-nine states, the California state government assumed that the increased tax revenues caused by the dotcom boom were permanent. They weren't.

    Exactly, this money should have been more wisely spent and saved. I work for myself so money comes in at odd intervals and amounts. So, say I make $15,000 one month, I would have to be insane to say, "Holy shit, I'm gonna make $15k every month!" No, you assume less and save what's needed. Why the government can't do that is beyond my comprehension.

    So, who is to blame? The legislature certainly is, since they draft the budget. I have written and faxed my state representatives in the past, mainly about cutting spending and not raising taxes, but apparently they don't listen to me! <g> Some of the blame also can be laid at the feet of the governor, as he has line item veto power on the state budget.

    If you want to fire teachers, or reduce their pay, then say so. But don't whine about poor performance of our children when you do.

    Not having any children myself (yet), this is likely why I see nothing wrong with this approach. Look, funding has to be cut somewhere, you agree? Part of the problem may be the fat salaries teachers get here (fat relative to other teachers in the country). Yes, I know CA has a higher living expense than the Midwest, but back there, where my mom teaches, she makes about half of what a teacher here in California with her level of experience and education makes.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Hey, what about taxes? (5.00 / 2) (#192)
    by fenix down on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 10:14:55 PM EST

    Funding doesn't have to be cut if YOU RAISE TAXES.  I know that's apparently impossible in California, but you might think about it.  You honestly can't cut enough to make up for your shortfall right now.

    This is the best I can find about your budget.  It's in Excel so I'll duplicate what I use.  You need $38 billion.  You spend $27 billion total on basic education, 23 total on "health and human services", which I assume includes any welfare-type stuff, and about 10 billion on colleges.  Then it's 5 billion on prisons and about another 5 for crap like reading the faxes you send them and sweeping the floors.  

    If you cut the teachers' pay in half and fire half of them, a massive overestimate of the savings would be $12 billion.  26 left.  If you eliminate everything even slightly socialist from health and human services and bring it down to just burying whatever dead homeless people you find, maybe you cut $18 out of that.  $8 billion left.  Let everybody out of prison, $4 billion.  Now sell all the government buildings and parks and make the legislature meet at somebody's house, you might manage to get your budget balanced without needing to raise taxes.  So you cut 3/4 of education, maybe 4/5 of H&HS, 4/5 of corrections, 4/5 of general government and elections, then you can balance the budget.  You need a more than 50% cut in total.

    I really doubt you guys can do that.  You need money.  If you start raising taxes, you can work it out without that much pain.

    [ Parent ]

    Trouble is... (3.00 / 2) (#193)
    by skim123 on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 01:00:44 AM EST

    Taxes here in California are already astronomical when compared to taxes in other US states. As I stated in an earlier post in this thread, CA's income tax is nearly 3% higher than Missouri's (which is a big disparity considering we're talking about single digit income tax rates).

    Tom McClintock makes it sound like the state has purchased a bunch of high dollar energy contracts that can save billions per year if they can be voided, which he claims they can because there was wrongdoing in forming these contracts. (See his Web site for more info.) I don't know how true or correct this is, but it shows there are other approaches.

    What got us into this mess is irresponsible spending when there was a surplus. The problem with raising taxes is that once taxes go up they don't come down. And once this budget shortfall gets worked out in several years time, and the tax dollars are still there, the government will go right back to overspending whatever surplus there might be, putting us back to square one, needing higher taxes.

    I hate to sound prophetic and ominous, but perhaps this is just the first step in America's decline that will occur over the next 25 years. Egad, I hope such a decline does not happen, but it's hard to be very optimistic when you look at our state's and nation's spending.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    That's not the whole picture (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by KilljoyAZ on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 07:43:15 PM EST

    Taxes here in California are already astronomical when compared to taxes in other US states. As I stated in an earlier post in this thread, CA's income tax is nearly 3% higher than Missouri's (which is a big disparity considering we're talking about single digit income tax rates).

    Yes, Californians pay more income tax, but the property taxes here are extremely low. You have to look at a citizen's overall tax burden (sales, income, property). The state made the choice to base it's income more heavily on sales and income taxes (which is why state revenue takes a serious dip along with the economy's). While a Californian's tax burden is higher than average for the nation, it's not "astronomical."

    ===
    Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
    [ Parent ]

    It's not the whole picture, granted (5.00 / 1) (#203)
    by skim123 on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 01:22:50 AM EST

    You make a good point about the tax burden being more than sales/income taxes, and, yes, CA property tax is very low (of course the home valuations are higher here than in most states). Do you agree that once taxes are raised, they are rarely ever lowered? If you subscribe to this conviction, as I do, then you should want to fight tooth and nail for any tax increase, as such an increase is bound only to be increased again at some future point in time.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    bzzt! (3.00 / 2) (#195)
    by dh003i on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 12:55:39 PM EST

    the only way to get the government to reduce the deficit is to cut it's support -- massively. If the government is happy maintaining a 20% deficit when they're stealing 100-billion, they'll be just as happy maintaining a 20% deficiet when they're stealing 1-trillion. It's just like with private debtors. Increasing one's income does not resolve one's debt problems -- it merely exacerbates them to larger scales.

    The CA government needs to drastically cut back on it's spending -- the only way to force it to do that is to eliminate it's supply of money. Let all of the bloated beurocracy go bankrupt, and let them default on their obligations. This would be good because it would discourage people from loaning money to the government, would increase a health distrust of the government, and would prevent the government from going into as much debt in the future (after all, it's difficult to borrow money when no-one's willing to loan it to you).

    The solution to CA's problems is not to steal more money from the tax-payers because the politicians fucked up.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.
    [ Parent ]

    research shows that (3.33 / 3) (#177)
    by modmans2ndcoming on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:41:44 PM EST

    there is no diffrence in class size and the effect on the class for anything more than 18.

    so, unless you can get the class size down to 18 or less, there is no impact on a classof 20 over a class of 30.

    teh teachers union just wants more teachers (which is good, I am a student teacher) but only to make less work for the teachers.

    [ Parent ]

    Actually... (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by Yanks Rule on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:41:23 PM EST

    Simon got the nomination because Grey Davis interfered with a Republican primary, running attack ads against Riordan. Davis knew he couldn't beat him, so spent loads of money on the republican primary to insure a shitty candidate got the nomination...

    "I do think we live in dangerous times, and anybody who looks at the world and says this is the time to be a wuss--I can't buy that anymore. " -- Dennis Miller
    [ Parent ]

    which should be illegal (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by modmans2ndcoming on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:37:17 PM EST

    IMHO. Democrats should not be allowed to have a voice in a primary that is not from their party, UNLESS tehy get on TV themselfs in the comercial and say it withthe Camera on them so the people know who is saying it explicetly, not some small 2 second blip at the bottom of the screen.

    [ Parent ]
    Lick a butt for Jesus (1.16 / 18) (#122)
    by baron samedi on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 04:16:45 AM EST


    "Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
    Fag. (1.23 / 13) (#198)
    by tkatchev on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 02:25:59 PM EST

    Fag.

    (If you vote this down, you are a communist.)

       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    Waiting for the U.N. (4.37 / 8) (#131)
    by abulafia on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:34:39 AM EST

    I can't wait until the U.S. has U.N. election observers monitoring the process so that they can ensure a free and fair election.



    me too! (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by dimaq on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 09:29:44 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    UN (5.00 / 2) (#204)
    by Syntax on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 02:16:14 AM EST

    Seeing that most member nations of the UN do not even hold elections themselves.

    [ Parent ]
    the ballot was good enough to elect Gray Davis (3.25 / 4) (#165)
    by dh003i on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 04:24:08 PM EST

    and it should be goot enough to kick him out on his worthless incapable ass. That fuck had years to fix the ballot problem, and now he whines when he's just about to be kicked out on his ass by voters angry with his complete and total incompetence. So now, he brings up this bullshit with the ballots being inaccurate. Let's say that they are inaccurate. So what? They're just as likely to be inaccurate in favor of X as in Y, so statistically, it's not a huge factor.

    What California needs is a governor who will greatly reduce the obscene taxes in California and reduce the government there, whether drooling liberals like it or not.

    Social Security is a pyramid scam.

    indeed it was (5.00 / 2) (#191)
    by fenix down on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 08:25:48 PM EST

    It's actually the NAACP and a few others bringing up the bullshit about the ballots being inaccurate.  And it's Kevin Shelly, the secretary of state, who was elected seperately from Davis, who was the fuck that had years to fix the ballot problem.

    Also, it is a statistically huge factor because the innacurate ballots are mostly located in poor areas that are statistically more likely to vote against the recall.

    When there are 10 voters, and only 2 of them want to  vote for X, it's statistically unlikely that the 2 of them will mistakenly cast the 4 Y votes necessary to cancel out the errors on the other side.  It's just the way things work.

    [ Parent ]

    9th Circuit. Go figure. (nt) (2.00 / 1) (#205)
    by MetalMorph on Sat Sep 20, 2003 at 08:40:28 AM EST

    (nt)
    --
    Try and describe me and I'll change shape again.
    Weird (none / 0) (#213)
    by Cackmobile on Fri Sep 26, 2003 at 09:57:25 AM EST

    I don't get how ballots differ from county to county. Here in Oz we have a federal election authority (Australian Electoral Commission) which runs all electins in oz. When we have an election we all use the same ballots. It makes sense. Also the electoral officials are civil servants not government appointees.

    California recall election postponed | 214 comments (193 topical, 21 editorial, 1 hidden)
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