Author Topic: Voting  (Read 7601 times)

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trailgrrl

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Re: Voting
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2012, 02:57:57 PM »
Washington State votes entirely by mail and it's the best thing ever!!.  Our ballots were mailed out about two weeks prior to election along with the voter pamphlet.  You can sit with your ballot, pamphlet and a cuppa joe in your own kitchen and puzzle out the candidates, initiatives and referendums as long as you need.  Then you either slap a stamp on it and mail it in or drop  in a drop box at your local public library.   The county auditor websites have a function whereby you can check to see if it was received.  It must be postmarked by election day to be counted

I mailed mine and my husbands ballots on 10/23, mailed my son's to him along with the voter guide (he is still in school for the Army and won't hit his duty station for  at least another month, he'll do his change of address then, but still officially a resident of this state)   

The ballot is mailed with two envelopes.  The  completed ballot itself is inserted into a "secrecy" envelope that has no identifying information  and sealed.   The first envelope is then inserted into a slightly larger colored envelope with your identifying information and signature on the back.

Although ballots are collected state law does not allow them to be counted prior to election day. 

We've been doing absentee balloting for years but going entirely vote by mail is fairly new.

camlan

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Re: Voting
« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2012, 05:51:03 PM »


I mailed mine and my husbands ballots on 10/23, mailed my son's to him along with the voter guide (he is still in school for the Army and won't hit his duty station for  at least another month, he'll do his change of address then, but still officially a resident of this state)   


Veering off topic for a bit. . . trailgrrl, your son will not have to change his voter registration if he doesn't want to. Check the laws in your state, but most states allow military personnel to keep their residency in their home state, as long as there is an address that they can call "home." It's completely up to your son, but if he wants to stay a registered voter in your state, he most likely can. (If you are willing to let him use your address.) Or he can register where he lives. Completely up to him. It can help to have a "permanent" address for things like voter registration and driver's licenses, especially if he is sent overseas.

My brother's been in the service for 30 years. He hasn't lived in this state for that entire time. Yet he is legally registered to vote here, and uses my other brother's address to do so.

Back to the original topic now.
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Betelnut

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Re: Voting
« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2012, 06:21:52 PM »
Just read in the Washington Post that a lot of districts/polling places had their machines "redistributed" to other districts based on political reasons so some areas didn't have as many voting machines as they needed.  This was reported in an opinion piece so I am hoping that it is wrong.  I would hate to think that there is some sort of true wide-scale issues.  Even if I despise a person's politics, I would not want to stop him/her from voting.  That goes against everything that "we" are supposed to believe in.  Truly. 
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revenges." -- Feste, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

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trailgrrl

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Re: Voting
« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2012, 06:24:34 PM »


I mailed mine and my husbands ballots on 10/23, mailed my son's to him along with the voter guide (he is still in school for the Army and won't hit his duty station for  at least another month, he'll do his change of address then, but still officially a resident of this state)   


Veering off topic for a bit. . . trailgrrl, your son will not have to change his voter registration if he doesn't want to. Check the laws in your state, but most states allow military personnel to keep their residency in their home state, as long as there is an address that they can call "home." It's completely up to your son, but if he wants to stay a registered voter in your state, he most likely can. (If you are willing to let him use your address.) Or he can register where he lives. Completely up to him. It can help to have a "permanent" address for things like voter registration and driver's licenses, especially if he is sent overseas.

My brother's been in the service for 30 years. He hasn't lived in this state for that entire time. Yet he is legally registered to vote here, and uses my other brother's address to do so.

Back to the original topic now.

Oh sorry if I was unclear.  Yes, he knows that he won't have to change his residency,  right now we forward him his mail as he will have one more school before he gets to his  Post and has a address that will last longer than 2-3 months.  Once he has a address that is stable he can contact the auditor with and address change and have them mail his ballot directly, but he will remain a citizen of this State regardless of where he is posted unless he decides to change.

Thanks for the heads up  :)

melbelle39

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Re: Voting
« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2012, 07:34:32 PM »
OP here

Thanks for the insight..

I should add that poll staff are paid here - and quite well.  I used to do it as a student and because it was a weekend you'd get about $25 an hour (probably more now) and given its a long day its easy to make a couple of hundred dollars in one day - so plenty of people competing for those jobs.

We usually have at least two ballot papers: lower house (which is fairly straight forward, maybe 6 options if you are lucky) and senate which is usually about 60 names, but you don't have to number them all - though its hilarious watching people take a piece of paper about a metre long into a tiny voting booth

We don't vote on law changes, unless its a direct change to the consitution (referendum) and they are no very common - last one was over a decade ago.

I think the US really needs to look at introducing sausage sizzles at polling places - they are a cornerstone to the electoral process here - so much so that my husband made us walk to another polling place last election (only a few hundred metres) because the one closest to us didnt have one.

kherbert05

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Re: Voting
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2012, 07:51:08 PM »
A couple of reasons for the problems
Sandy
Bigger turn outs in the last couple of elections. The last mid-term election I stood in line from 4:30 till I think 8 pm before I got to vote. People started to get worried about 6 because of the polls closing at 7. The workers let us know as long as we were in line -even a line wrapped around the building we got to vote. When I left the end of the line was were I had gotten into line. They were having trouble because of turning people away that arrive after 7.

This year a bunch of voter ID laws were passed, then struck down as unconstitutional This caused a bunch of confusion. When I was leaving school on Tuesday - two different people were arguing with the poll judges about if they could vote. One registered 2 weeks ago - the other last Friday. The deadline to register is 30 days before the election. If you turn 18 between the deadline and the election you can register and vote.


Then there was my former co-worker who in June ranted and raved on facebook that the authorities were keeping her 17 yo son from registering to vote because he was going to register X party.

The state is an X party state. Has been for well over 40 years.

We don't register as X or Y in this state. You register, when you vote in X or Y primary then you are restricted to that party's run offs for the rest of the year. In January everything is reset to blank.

Her son was 17 and didn't turn 18 until 2 weeks after the primary. To this day she is angry that they denied him his right to vote. (She thinks because he was able to vote in the general election he was supposed to be able to vote in the primaries even though he wasn't yet 18)

I think everyone over 18 should vote, but I dislike the idea of requiring it.
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AngelicGamer

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Re: Voting
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2012, 08:03:24 PM »
I know that a lot of people (in political positions) are saying that we need to fix the fact that we have long lines.  I'm all for the mailing in your vote that Washington State has.  That sounds lovely! 

For me, my family went to early vote.  We had a longer wait because my grandmother (who is 94) wanted to vote but would need help with the touch screen / reading the screen.  So I voted really quick - I already knew which was I was going to vote with the Constitutional amendment of the 3/5ths thing and the judges - and then came over to help my grandmother.  That was a longer wait because they had to print off a form that they didn't have handy and it took a while.  So it took us a hour to vote because of that. 




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Ereine

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Re: Voting
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2012, 11:14:17 PM »
That does sound a lot more complicated than what we do here in Finland and doesn't surprise me that much that it take much longer. Our elections are always on a Sunday (so most people don't work) and we have one election at a time and as unfortunately referendums are very uncommon, all we do is write one number on a piece of paper (there's a list of all the candidates and their numbers in the booth). That doesn't take long. I voted the last time a few weeks ago in local elections and the whole thing took about five minutes.

We don't have to register to vote here, everyone over 18 is sent the voting information (including prisoners). You do have to show an ID but you can get a temporary one for free. Poll workers get paid and often are members of a party (and all the parties are represented). Polls close at eight and final results are in at maybe before midnight, they have to count them by hand.

kareng57

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Re: Voting
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2012, 11:16:23 PM »
In Canada - I originally figured it was less complicated but, upon reflection, figured that it could seem more complicated...

In a nutshell, Federal, Provincial and Municipal elections are all conducted separately.  In my province, municipal elections are automatic, every three years, in the month of November.  Federal and Provincial elections happen whenever the provincial Premier or federal Prime Minister approach the Lieutenant-Governor/Governor-General to order a new government.  Quite often this happens when a minority-government is defeated (not possible in most of the US, I know) or simply when he/she wants a new mandate. But even when there's a majority government, they can't govern indefinitely without a new mandate.  There's generally a time limit - sometimes a provincial premier dictates when this will be; for example, in my province we go to the provincial-polls next year no matter what.

So overall, we Canadians can smile about the US voters having to elect President/Congressman/Senator/Governor/State
Senator/State Representative/Mayor/DA/Sherrif in one fell-swoop.  But on the other hand, it would not be unheard-of for Canadians to have to elect most of these same people during three separate elections in a single year, depending on their location. It would just depend on when elections were called.  (FYI - judges and Crown Prosecutors are not elected positions in Canada).  And in my most recent experience - municipal elections had the automatic vote-counters, and federal/provincial elections still had the old-fashioned hand-counted ballots.

ETA:  provincial or federal elections are usually on a Monday or a Tuesday; my guess is that there will be more weekdays available if a recount is ordered.  And poll employees are generally fairly well-paid.  I used to do it during the years that I was a SAHM and late Dh had the day off and could look after the kids.  Years later, when he was retired but I wasn't, he would do the Advance Poll for several days.  Municipal elections are always on Saturdays, though, it seems.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 11:24:01 PM by kareng57 »

Slartibartfast

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Re: Voting
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2012, 12:44:56 AM »
Just in case anyone is interested, here was our local ballot.  Each polling station would have a slightly different ballot - only one of the center column, depending on which of the districts in the city you live in - but there were several unopposed people and several opposed races.  Alabama also has the world's stupidest constitution, and the longest (or so I'm told) - state law requires every little legal tweak to be written as an amendment to the constitution and voted on instead of just decreed, so it has 850+ amendments and every election brings several more.  As a result, we get wonderful things like

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of
Alabama of 1901, effective January 1, 2014, to
amend Section 247 relating to the authority of
the Legislature concerning banks and banking,
to repeal various other provisions of Article XIII
concerning banks and banking; and to repeal
Amendment 154 to the Constitution of Alabama
of 1901, now appearing as Section 255.01 of the
Official Recompilation of the Constitution of
Alabama of 1901, as amended, subject to the
contingency that a new Article XII of the state
constitution is adopted that repeals existing
Section 232 of the state constitution, and subject
to the contingency that Sections 10A-2-15.01
and 10A-2-15.02, Code of Alabama 1975, are
repealed. (Proposed by Act No. 2012-276)


which can take a while to wade through :-)

ETA: the Wikipedia article about the Alabama constitution is interesting reading.  Apparently we have an amendment to tell us how to annex foreign territory, one to discourage dueling, another prohibiting politicians from getting free railroad tickets, and one that says "Oops, sorry, this one didn't pass after all, so ignore it."  There are also several which are invalidated by federal law, including one that bans "idiots and insane persons," people who married inter-racially, and homosexual men from voting.  One of the ones we just voted on this year (and which failed to pass) would have removed "separate but equal" schooling for white and black children  :-\
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 12:58:11 AM by Slartibartfast »

kckgirl

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Re: Voting
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2012, 07:32:58 AM »
I live in Maryland and voted early on October 27. The first time we drove through the parking lot but left because the line  was out the door and down the sidewalk, and I had my elderly mother with me who couldn't stand there for such a long time. We went back around 5 p.m. and walked right in.


At our polling place, you give your name, they look it up on an Ipad type device, confirm your address and birth date (but didn't ask for ID), printed out a form that I signed, and gave me a card (like the smart card I use to log on to my computer at work). You then go to the machines, hand the paper you signed to the poll worker who puts it in a large envelope attached to the outside of the privacy dividers, and put the card in a slot on the machine. The ballot comes up on a touch screen. You touch the box next to your selection, and when you've finished, you touch a box to confirm your votes and remove the card. At that point the screen goes blank to wait for the next voter.


This year, besides the national offices, we had quite a few offices to vote on in my county, along with several questions. If I don't care one way or another about a question, I don't vote on it (such as how they handle something in another county...can't figure out why we have to vote statewide for an issue in only one county). I guess the entire process took about 5-7 minutes since I had received a sample ballot in the mail and had already decided on all the questions in advance.
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Just Lori

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Re: Voting
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2012, 09:59:54 AM »
We live in Indiana, and many people I know faced hour long waits or more.  We use machines here, and I'm told it's not cost-effective to buy more machines, when we only see large turnouts for the "big" elections, like the presidential election.


Sedorna

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Re: Voting
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2012, 11:06:38 AM »
I stood in line for two hours to vote. Apparently, the reason was because there weren't enough sign-in machines. We had about ten or so actual voting booths, but only two sign in machines. To vote, you went up to the person manning the machine and told her your name, address, and maybe showed your i.d. (I didn't need to) Then you got your voter's card and could go to the actual voting booths. So there were some times when the line was snaking all the way down the hall but only a couple actual booths were in use.

And it gets crazier. I voted in the local elementary school, which has voting booths set up in two places, the cafeteria and the gym. Each room was for residents of different neighborhoods, which I'll call Pirate Neighborhood and Ninja Neighborhood. If you lived in the Pirate Neighborhood, you voted in the cafeteria. If you lived in the Ninja Neighborhood, you voted in the gym. For some reason, even though the set-up was exactly the same, with the same number of machines and people manning it, the Pirates had a huge line, and there was not a single wait for the Ninjas.* I was a Pirate, and I wish wish we had been allowed to vote in the gym as well. Or maybe give a few more machines to us Pirates. Lucky Ninjas, not having to wait.  :P

*I have no idea why there was no line for the Ninjas. I mean, the Pirate Neighborhood consists mostly of single-family houses, whereas the Ninjas live primarily in either row-houses or apartments. Heck, you'd think there'd be more Ninjas voting.

lady_disdain

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Re: Voting
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2012, 01:19:29 PM »
Before the late 90's, we also had terrible lines at polling stations, mainly because of hand written ballots and long lists of candidates to be consulted, depending on the election (presidential and senate are short, local representatives can be amazingly long). The Electoral Justice (who oversees all aspects of the election process) has done wonders and for the last 2 decades, I have never taken more than 5 minutes.

Voting is mandatory and elections are always held on Sundays. Employers must allow any employees working on election day appropriate time for voting (if I am not mistaken, it is considered 4 hours, so most stores either alternate shifts or only open in the afternoon). Staffing the polling stations is considered a civic duty, similar to jury duty. So, each year, there is a chance you will be called to serve (very slim, though). You get a stipend and 2 days off work if you work for any public or private company (tough luck if you are self employed).

All voting is done on voting machines. Since there are usually 3 or 4 races per election, the machine will present each one separately and the voter uses a numerical keypad to identify the candidate or to void the vote for that race. Each party has a number (55, 12, etc) and each candidate (other than presidential) has a number that begins with the party number such as 55412. The machine then shows a screen with the candidate's photo, name and party, so the voter can confirm the choice. Done.

"Cheat sheets" are widely distributed before the elections, with all the races and spaces for the voters to write in the number of the candidate they wish to vote for, so they can crib at the machine. If necessary, there is also a list of all candidates besides each machine.

Elections results are usually known in a few hours after the election ends.

Also, the voting software is thoroughly inspected by experts from all political parties. If the manufacturer does not wish to make the software available for inspection, he is not allowed to participate in the process.

HorseFreak

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Re: Voting
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2012, 01:37:09 PM »
Just in case anyone is interested, here was our local ballot.  Each polling station would have a slightly different ballot - only one of the center column, depending on which of the districts in the city you live in - but there were several unopposed people and several opposed races.  Alabama also has the world's stupidest constitution, and the longest (or so I'm told) - state law requires every little legal tweak to be written as an amendment to the constitution and voted on instead of just decreed, so it has 850+ amendments and every election brings several more.  As a result, we get wonderful things like

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of
Alabama of 1901, effective January 1, 2014, to
amend Section 247 relating to the authority of
the Legislature concerning banks and banking,
to repeal various other provisions of Article XIII
concerning banks and banking; and to repeal
Amendment 154 to the Constitution of Alabama
of 1901, now appearing as Section 255.01 of the
Official Recompilation of the Constitution of
Alabama of 1901, as amended, subject to the
contingency that a new Article XII of the state
constitution is adopted that repeals existing
Section 232 of the state constitution, and subject
to the contingency that Sections 10A-2-15.01
and 10A-2-15.02, Code of Alabama 1975, are
repealed. (Proposed by Act No. 2012-276)


which can take a while to wade through :-)

ETA: the Wikipedia article about the Alabama constitution is interesting reading.  Apparently we have an amendment to tell us how to annex foreign territory, one to discourage dueling, another prohibiting politicians from getting free railroad tickets, and one that says "Oops, sorry, this one didn't pass after all, so ignore it."  There are also several which are invalidated by federal law, including one that bans "idiots and insane persons," people who married inter-racially, and homosexual men from voting.  One of the ones we just voted on this year (and which failed to pass) would have removed "separate but equal" schooling for white and black children  :-\

I don't want to get political, but the "separate but equal" amendment was more complicated than that due to the language used and could be interpreted to defund public school. I honestly don't have a dog in that fight, but people in Alabama aren't as awful as the simplified version makes it sound.