Author Topic: Voting  (Read 8398 times)

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kherbert05

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Re: Voting
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2012, 12:31:00 AM »
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.
In the US Federal Judges are appointed for life. State judges depends on the state. We elect judges in Texas.
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kareng57

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Re: Voting
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2012, 12:43:29 AM »
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.
In the US Federal Judges are appointed for life. State judges depends on the state. We elect judges in Texas.


Yes, I do understand that that officials who are elected/appointed in the US differ greatly by state/county.  No argument there, at all.

Ereine

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Re: Voting
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2012, 02:26:31 AM »
We only elect the president, members of the parliament (for both Finnish and EU parliaments) and local councillors, it's very simple. Judges and mayors are civil servants as are many other offices (I think that it's seen as very important that judges have nothing to do with politics), those that aren't are decided by the municipal council (usually in relation to their number of councillors so the party with the most councillors will have the most power over different boards).   

emwithme

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Re: Voting
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2012, 07:01:22 AM »
Can someone from the US (or other places that have it), explain "write in" candidates for me.  As a Brit, I can only put my "X" in the box for the candidate of my choice.  If I make a mark OTHER than the accepted*cross, such as write on the paper, then my ballot is classed as "spoiled" and is void.  It used to be that spoiled ballots were read out after the announcement of the winner and how many votes each candidate got, but that has changed recently.


*marks other than a standard X are checked by hand - if it's a "tick" (and quite clearly a positive vote for one candidate), then I believe that is accepted.

JoW

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Re: Voting
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2012, 08:16:09 AM »
Can someone from the US (or other places that have it), explain "write in" candidates for me......
Its exactly what it sounds like.  If you don't like any of the people on the ballot you can write in another name and vote for them.  If you write an imaginary person like Mickey Mouse or Superman your vote won't count.  The same goes if you write in someone who isn't eligible - a vote for Hillary Clinton to be on the Omaha, Nebraska, school board. 

There are even write-in campaigns usually in small, local elections where only one person files to get on the ballot, then makes some blunder and someone else tries to keep them out of office.  The've even been known to win. 

I use a paper ballot that is read by machine - fill in the dot beside your candidate's name.  All votes for write-in candidates are kicked-out by the machine that reads the ballots and have to be read and counted by hand. 


ETA
The write-in candidate has to tell the election commission that they are willing to take the office.  I don't know the exact procedure, but I know it exists. 
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 08:35:00 AM by JoW »

Gwywnnydd

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Re: Voting
« Reply #50 on: November 11, 2012, 12:47:30 PM »
Can someone from the US (or other places that have it), explain "write in" candidates for me.  As a Brit, I can only put my "X" in the box for the candidate of my choice.  If I make a mark OTHER than the accepted*cross, such as write on the paper, then my ballot is classed as "spoiled" and is void.  It used to be that spoiled ballots were read out after the announcement of the winner and how many votes each candidate got, but that has changed recently.


*marks other than a standard X are checked by hand - if it's a "tick" (and quite clearly a positive vote for one candidate), then I believe that is accepted.

As JoW said, you literally write in a name. For example, on my ballot this year, for Governor of the state, I had the option of selecting Candidate A, Candidate B, or "Other", which was a tick box next to an underlined blank space. If I wanted to write in another candidate, I could.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Voting
« Reply #51 on: November 11, 2012, 12:55:59 PM »
Charles Darwin, for example, got 4000 write-in votes for this House of Representatives seat.  The actual candidate got quite a few more, but (according to a few news articles) the other top contenders were "Anybody else" and "Anybody but [politician who was running unopposed]."

kckgirl

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Re: Voting
« Reply #52 on: November 11, 2012, 07:17:06 PM »
I know someone who won a political office that he didn't seek. He was a former member of the city council and I guess his constituents wanted him back.
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misha412

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Re: Voting
« Reply #53 on: November 11, 2012, 11:05:44 PM »
Western North Carolina here.

I tried to vote early the Saturday before the election (the 3rd). In my county, they had four early voting locations. The one closest to me had a line snaking around the building, and it was not moving very fast. I estimated we would be there at least 2-3 hours. My fiance and I decided to wait until Election day.

Election Day (the 6th), we decided to hit the polls about 9:30. That would be after the initial before work crowd and well before the after work crowd. (We both work from home). We were in and out in 10 minutes. There were a healthy number of people voting, but we had plenty of voting machines, alert volunteers, and a voting place with plenty of parking.

We walked up to the table where I had one person ahead of me. They took my name, looked it up on a laptop computer, printed off a sheet that I signed saying I voted. I took that paper to another line to wait for an open voting machine. There was one open and the volunteer set it up for me and I voted. Three page ballot, took me about 5 minutes to walk through (I had reviewed everything before hand). I verified everything and then hit the "Vote" button. That triggers an internal printer that I could see, printing out my vote and providing a unique code on it. My fiance was behind me and he took a few minutes longer because he had to wait for a voting machine.

I think one of the biggest challenges in US elections is that state and local elections are not run consistently. As you can see from the stories from different states around the country, each state has its own laws/regulations/ways of doing things. Sometimes, in each state, each county has their own ways. That makes some places worse than others for wait times, lines, and potential problems.

GwenB

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Re: Voting
« Reply #54 on: November 12, 2012, 01:02:35 PM »
It is a numbers issue.  The average precinct has 1100 voters.   So, let’s say every voter took 10 minutes to vote and that there are 20 voting machines – if everyone just showed up in a steady stream all day that would be just over 9 hours to get everyone to vote (1100people*10minutes/20machines)  leaving 3 to 4 extra hours in the voting day (depending on the voting hours).  However, since we vote on a week day, the crowds are heavily skewed to early morning and late afternoon/evening – I wouldn’t be surprised if half or more of all voters vote before 10am or after 4pm.  Add to that, slow workers, issues with equipment, confusion about rules and things can snowball into long waits.  Plus, as some people have mentioned, multiple precincts are often voting at the same location, so that just adds to the crowd (though everywhere I’ve voted, each precinct has their own machines – not sure if that is the same everyplace)

ETA: I was just thinking about this more - I didn't take into account that while a precinct may have an average of 1100 voters I don't think anywhere gets 100% turnout, so that would change things...  I still think a lot of it is how everyone wants to vote either before or after work and it it just too many people in a short time.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 01:08:40 PM by GwenB »

WillyNilly

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Re: Voting
« Reply #55 on: November 12, 2012, 01:54:51 PM »
1100 voters per precinct (do you mean district)?  How do you figure that?  My apartment building alone probably has a 400 voters in it. My voting district is certainly more then just 3 apartment buildings!

And then add to that 20 voting machines?  We had 16 districts (not sure how many people per district) and 5 scanners for all to share.

Cat-Fu

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Re: Voting
« Reply #56 on: November 12, 2012, 02:26:20 PM »
WillyNilly, 1100 is the average number of registered voters in each precinct nationally. The actual numbers vary. (Apparently the largest is DC, which has 2,704 voters per precinct.)
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GwenB

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Re: Voting
« Reply #57 on: November 12, 2012, 02:28:09 PM »
I found it in a Wikipedia article, so not vouching for the accuracy  ;)
The article is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precinct

“Each precinct has a specific location where its residents go to vote. Sometimes several precincts will use the same polling station. A 2004 survey by the United States Election Assistance Commission reported an average precinct size in the United States of approximately 1,100 registered voters. Kansas had the smallest average precinct size with 437 voters per precinct, while the District of Columbia had the largest average size at 2,704 voters per precinct.”

It seems like it could be accurate – my city has 24 precincts and an over 18 population of around 47,000, so that would be right around 1960 people per precinct.

And the 20 machines was just a wild guess, I've only ever voted on the scanable paper sheets and I was trying to remember how many little booths they had set up for us last week - 20 seemed about right.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 02:30:22 PM by GwenB »

Twik

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Re: Voting
« Reply #58 on: November 12, 2012, 02:45:48 PM »
I think one issue is the number of things Americans vote on. In a Canadian federal election, we simply get a piece of paper with the names of candidates X, Y and Z. Put an x beside the one you want, pop it into the box, you're done. No way does that take 10 minutes, unless you're chronically indecisive.

I've never had to vote on referendum-type "proposition" questions, like "should our province ban muumuus in public?" That would slow you down, particularly if there are multiple ones.
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Cat-Fu

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Re: Voting
« Reply #59 on: November 12, 2012, 02:50:25 PM »
I just did a little looking into how things are organized in Boston, and it looks like we have 22 wards in Boston, and each ward has 5 to 23 precincts within it. So I'm assuming a precinct is a pretty small area, generally. Some of the precints in my ward are just a couple of streets (which are heavily populated).
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