Is voter fraud a problem, or not?

Democrats are calling attempts, usually led by Republicans, to try to prevent voter fraud as racist attempts to suppress the vote.  Democrats complain that voter ID laws and similar proposals are tackling a non-existent problem.  But John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky say that the issue is more complicated than that:

Voter fraud is so rare that “you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than find a case of prosecutorial voter fraud,” asserts the liberal Advancement Project. An August study by News 21, a group of journalism students, claimed that to find only 10 prosecutions of in-person voter impersonation nationwide since the year 2000.

If state legislators worried about voter fraud are just imagining the problem, then it’s that much easier to block laws requiring voters to use photo ID to prove they are eligible voters. But that’s not quite the whole story. Evidence used to dismiss the problem turns out to be thin.

A large number of the nation’s 3,031 counties never provided data, and the News21 researchers report that they sent out only 2,000 queries. Nor did the study mention the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding voter ID laws, which found an “extreme difficulty of apprehending a voter impersonator” if ID isn’t required. While voter impersonation is hard to detect, it is easy to commit. Earlier this year, James O’Keefe released a video of a 22-year-old undercover reporter who obtained Attorney General Eric Holder’s ballot in Washington, D.C., and could easily have voted if he had chosen to.

Chaotic voter registration rolls make it too easy to commit voter fraud. A February study by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States found one in eight voter registrations were inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicates. Nearly 2.8 million people were registered in two or more states, and perhaps 1.8 million registered voters are dead.

Critics of voter ID laws also fail to note they are designed not just to stop voter impersonation but also multiple voting, non-citizen voting, people voting in the wrong precinct, out-of-state voting and voting in the names of fictitious people.

Examples of fraud are plentiful. Three non-citizens were arrested in Iowa last month for voting illegally in the 2010 general election and 2011 city election. A Democratic nominee for Congress resigned in Maryland last month after allegations that she had voted in two states at the same time. A 2004 New York Daily News study found that 46,000 people were registered to vote in both New York City and Florida, and that 400 to 1,000 had voted in both states in the same election. Florida decided the 2000 presidential election by 537 votes.

via Column: Underestimating our voter fraud vulnerability.

What I want to know is, simply, this:  If there is no voter ID law, what is to prevent me from showing up at the polling place, telling the poll worker that I’m you, and taking your vote?  (When you show up, the poll workers will think you’ve already voted, and you might get charged with fraud!)  Policies need to prevent abuses, not just punish them after the abuse takes place.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • James Sarver

    “A Democratic nominee for Congress resigned in Maryland last month after allegations that she had voted in two states at the same time.”

    A nice trick, that. Can’t have candidates breaking the laws of physics though.

  • James Sarver

    “A Democratic nominee for Congress resigned in Maryland last month after allegations that she had voted in two states at the same time.”

    A nice trick, that. Can’t have candidates breaking the laws of physics though.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Democrats have been perpetrating voter fraud for decades. They are good, and Republicans are evil, so any means to an end is ok with them.

    Look for lots more of it to come.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Democrats have been perpetrating voter fraud for decades. They are good, and Republicans are evil, so any means to an end is ok with them.

    Look for lots more of it to come.

  • Carl Vehse

    A Charlotte Conservative Examiner article, “North Carolina Registers Over 583 Democrat Votes Over the Age of 112,” noted that so far there has also been a total Absentee Ballot vote of over 2,660 people over the age of 110 in North Carolina.

    If one were to go by the gravestone markers of registered voters in Chicago, there are probably many more voters there over 150 years old who regularly cast Demonicrat Party ballots in recent and upcoming elections.

  • Carl Vehse

    A Charlotte Conservative Examiner article, “North Carolina Registers Over 583 Democrat Votes Over the Age of 112,” noted that so far there has also been a total Absentee Ballot vote of over 2,660 people over the age of 110 in North Carolina.

    If one were to go by the gravestone markers of registered voters in Chicago, there are probably many more voters there over 150 years old who regularly cast Demonicrat Party ballots in recent and upcoming elections.

  • fjsteve

    We can only find 10 prosecutions of a law that isn’t enforced; therefore it’s not a problem. That’s funny.

    State and local law enforcement is not allowed to enforce federal immigration laws that the federal government is largely unwilling to enforce. Therefore there is no illegal immigration problem in this country.

  • fjsteve

    We can only find 10 prosecutions of a law that isn’t enforced; therefore it’s not a problem. That’s funny.

    State and local law enforcement is not allowed to enforce federal immigration laws that the federal government is largely unwilling to enforce. Therefore there is no illegal immigration problem in this country.

  • Orianna Laun

    My friend lives in a state in which early voting is permitted. Although this friend had not personally cast a ballot, my friend was told they had already voted.
    I live in a state which requires voter ID. When I first moved here I was listed twice because my driver’s license initially spelled incorrectly. I had to return the misspelled one for a corrected one. Without ID, what was to prevent me from voting twice? Maybe the poll workers might have noticed; our precinct is not overly busy, as a rule; however, four years ago our precinct was packed. I could have easily come back later, given the other name and voted again. The name did get removed once I alerted the poll workers to the error.

  • Orianna Laun

    My friend lives in a state in which early voting is permitted. Although this friend had not personally cast a ballot, my friend was told they had already voted.
    I live in a state which requires voter ID. When I first moved here I was listed twice because my driver’s license initially spelled incorrectly. I had to return the misspelled one for a corrected one. Without ID, what was to prevent me from voting twice? Maybe the poll workers might have noticed; our precinct is not overly busy, as a rule; however, four years ago our precinct was packed. I could have easily come back later, given the other name and voted again. The name did get removed once I alerted the poll workers to the error.

  • Dennis

    And don’t forget voter fraud can result in a losing candidate winning. A strong argument can be made that a current senator from Minn. wasn’t the true winner. Oh, and don’t forget, JFK won way back in 1960 thanks to a lot of dead folks voting in Chicago.

  • Dennis

    And don’t forget voter fraud can result in a losing candidate winning. A strong argument can be made that a current senator from Minn. wasn’t the true winner. Oh, and don’t forget, JFK won way back in 1960 thanks to a lot of dead folks voting in Chicago.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh boy, I’ve been through this several times already with some progressive friends. Let’s just say that all the progressive talking points against voter ID laws are just that: mostly baseless talking points. I’ll get a few out of the way now:

    1) Photographic voter ID laws have been ruled explicitly constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.

    2) There is literally no empirical evidence that shows voter ID laws change electoral turnout in any way, much less “suppress” specific minorities. And trust me: such empirical evidence has been vigorously sought by political scientists.

    3) To claim that voter fraud isn’t “real” is disingenuous. The reality is that voter fraud, if and where it exists, is virtually untraceable. How do I know this? I am literally registered to vote in two states, neither of which requires identification. In Wisconsin, I can–and d0–show up to the polls and register that day; as long as I have some minimally plausible evidence that I live where I say I live, I’m in (and it would be super easy to pretend to be one of my neighbors if I wanted). Meanwhile, Virginia keeps sending me voter registration cards every year. So, yes, I could vote in both Virginia and Wisconsin on election day (I assume that I could even vote absentee in Virginia from Wisconsin if I wanted).

    No, I don’t actually do this. But if I did, almost certainly no one would find out.

    Are lots of people doing this? Who knows? And that’s exactly the point. I’m not a huge advocate of these laws, but let’s dispute them with facts, not partisan narratives.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh boy, I’ve been through this several times already with some progressive friends. Let’s just say that all the progressive talking points against voter ID laws are just that: mostly baseless talking points. I’ll get a few out of the way now:

    1) Photographic voter ID laws have been ruled explicitly constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.

    2) There is literally no empirical evidence that shows voter ID laws change electoral turnout in any way, much less “suppress” specific minorities. And trust me: such empirical evidence has been vigorously sought by political scientists.

    3) To claim that voter fraud isn’t “real” is disingenuous. The reality is that voter fraud, if and where it exists, is virtually untraceable. How do I know this? I am literally registered to vote in two states, neither of which requires identification. In Wisconsin, I can–and d0–show up to the polls and register that day; as long as I have some minimally plausible evidence that I live where I say I live, I’m in (and it would be super easy to pretend to be one of my neighbors if I wanted). Meanwhile, Virginia keeps sending me voter registration cards every year. So, yes, I could vote in both Virginia and Wisconsin on election day (I assume that I could even vote absentee in Virginia from Wisconsin if I wanted).

    No, I don’t actually do this. But if I did, almost certainly no one would find out.

    Are lots of people doing this? Who knows? And that’s exactly the point. I’m not a huge advocate of these laws, but let’s dispute them with facts, not partisan narratives.

  • Jason

    Photo ID wouldn’t solve the problem. Just ask the folks who pass off fake ID’s for 19 year olds.

  • Jason

    Photo ID wouldn’t solve the problem. Just ask the folks who pass off fake ID’s for 19 year olds.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jason@8:

    You’re right. We should no longer require photo IDs for young people to purchase alcohol.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jason@8:

    You’re right. We should no longer require photo IDs for young people to purchase alcohol.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Jason is right. All voter id’s should be based on DNA scans. :P

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Jason is right. All voter id’s should be based on DNA scans. :P

  • Jon

    Certainly we could come up with some sort of biometric ID. Maybe a thumb print or retina scan.

    We ‘microchip’ our pets.

    Why not make something similar a condition of getting a social security card? They could implant it at the hospital right at the time of birth.

  • Jon

    Certainly we could come up with some sort of biometric ID. Maybe a thumb print or retina scan.

    We ‘microchip’ our pets.

    Why not make something similar a condition of getting a social security card? They could implant it at the hospital right at the time of birth.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jon@11:

    Nice troll.

    I give it 8 of 10. Deduction for being too obvious with the reference to pet microchips.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jon@11:

    Nice troll.

    I give it 8 of 10. Deduction for being too obvious with the reference to pet microchips.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Count me with those who believe that the main reason we’re not seeing more prosecuted vote fraud is that prosecutors in the main areas (big cities dominated by Democrats) are not terribly interested in uncovering the graveyard vote that helped to get them elected. Nor are they interested in losing the gravy train of federal, state, and local money partially enabled by stuffing the ballot boxes.

    Agreed as well that some will be able to circumvent it, like some circumvent just about any law. That said, I would hope that we could all agree that we ought to work on taking some reasonable care that voter registrations are current and accurate, don’t you think?

    And a picture ID? Well, you can’t get a job, get a loan, travel, or do any number of other things in our society without one. Do we really want people who are that isolated from our society to vote?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Count me with those who believe that the main reason we’re not seeing more prosecuted vote fraud is that prosecutors in the main areas (big cities dominated by Democrats) are not terribly interested in uncovering the graveyard vote that helped to get them elected. Nor are they interested in losing the gravy train of federal, state, and local money partially enabled by stuffing the ballot boxes.

    Agreed as well that some will be able to circumvent it, like some circumvent just about any law. That said, I would hope that we could all agree that we ought to work on taking some reasonable care that voter registrations are current and accurate, don’t you think?

    And a picture ID? Well, you can’t get a job, get a loan, travel, or do any number of other things in our society without one. Do we really want people who are that isolated from our society to vote?

  • Stephen

    Cinn @7

    “The reality is that voter fraud, if and where it exists, is virtually untraceable.”

    In other words, it doesn’t exist in any verifiable way. So why legislate against something we can’t detect? Maybe I misunderstand your point, but isn’t your #3 rather illogical, especially when you conclude that “Are lots of people doing this? Who knows? . . .” It sounds like you are trying to prove and thus advocate for a negative – “You can’t prove it doesn’t exist.”

    Seems the only evidence on either side is anecdotal. So, my answer to Dr. Veith’s question about whether or not it’s a problem would be “no.” I thought conservatives wanted fewer government restrictions/laws, etc. not more. Why this one then when there’s no real data to suggest a voter ID law is needed? Smells fishy to me.

  • Stephen

    Cinn @7

    “The reality is that voter fraud, if and where it exists, is virtually untraceable.”

    In other words, it doesn’t exist in any verifiable way. So why legislate against something we can’t detect? Maybe I misunderstand your point, but isn’t your #3 rather illogical, especially when you conclude that “Are lots of people doing this? Who knows? . . .” It sounds like you are trying to prove and thus advocate for a negative – “You can’t prove it doesn’t exist.”

    Seems the only evidence on either side is anecdotal. So, my answer to Dr. Veith’s question about whether or not it’s a problem would be “no.” I thought conservatives wanted fewer government restrictions/laws, etc. not more. Why this one then when there’s no real data to suggest a voter ID law is needed? Smells fishy to me.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus — great post @ 7 (and 12 :-) )

    We know voter fraud happens, at least at the margins. There’s plenty of evidence for that. We don’t know if it happens in a consequential way, mostly because we are so lax in our voting standards that we have no way of knowing. As a result, we undermine the credibility of over electoral process. A democratic form of government, to be successful and sustainable, needs to assure its citizens that elections are fair and entirely above board. Democrats have chosen to abandon this venerable principle for the sake of having a slightly better chance to win.

    Two things need to be done. Voter registration rolls used to be purged if a registered voter hadn’t voted for the past 4 years. That needs to happen again. Voter registration has been made so easy and convenient that there is no significant inconvenience to the (very) occasional voter if they have to re-register because they’ve been purged (with written notice). This purging process would sharply reduce the opportunity for fraud, particularly the case where a voter continues to vote in their old state after moving to a new one.

    The second reform, of course, is to require voter id when the voter shows up at the polls. A voter who can’t even bother to obtain id, when that id has been made so readily and inexpensively accessible by every state, probably also hasn’t informed themselves on the issues. Political parties go to the trouble of calling voters and driving them to the polls — they will step in to ensure that voters somehow unable to obtain the necessary id get that id. The whole issue of denying people the right to vote because of an extremely low threshold issue like requiring that voters prove they are who they say they are is absurd, and in no way counter-balances the importance of assuring citizens that elections are fair.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus — great post @ 7 (and 12 :-) )

    We know voter fraud happens, at least at the margins. There’s plenty of evidence for that. We don’t know if it happens in a consequential way, mostly because we are so lax in our voting standards that we have no way of knowing. As a result, we undermine the credibility of over electoral process. A democratic form of government, to be successful and sustainable, needs to assure its citizens that elections are fair and entirely above board. Democrats have chosen to abandon this venerable principle for the sake of having a slightly better chance to win.

    Two things need to be done. Voter registration rolls used to be purged if a registered voter hadn’t voted for the past 4 years. That needs to happen again. Voter registration has been made so easy and convenient that there is no significant inconvenience to the (very) occasional voter if they have to re-register because they’ve been purged (with written notice). This purging process would sharply reduce the opportunity for fraud, particularly the case where a voter continues to vote in their old state after moving to a new one.

    The second reform, of course, is to require voter id when the voter shows up at the polls. A voter who can’t even bother to obtain id, when that id has been made so readily and inexpensively accessible by every state, probably also hasn’t informed themselves on the issues. Political parties go to the trouble of calling voters and driving them to the polls — they will step in to ensure that voters somehow unable to obtain the necessary id get that id. The whole issue of denying people the right to vote because of an extremely low threshold issue like requiring that voters prove they are who they say they are is absurd, and in no way counter-balances the importance of assuring citizens that elections are fair.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen@14:

    Yes and no. On the one hand, the fact that the problem can’t necessarily be empirically verified is the very reason I’m not a strong advocate of voter ID laws.

    But I’m also not opposed. The point of my first comment was to show that, while voter fraud is difficult to trace, you’re a naive idiot if you think it’s not happening, as demonstrated by the fact that I, a law-abiding citizen, am legally registered to vote in two states and could get away with it if I wanted. It is ludicrously easy to vote for someone else in states like Virginia and Wisconsin if you want, especially if voter rolls aren’t adequately maintained (which, apparently, they aren’t).

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen@14:

    Yes and no. On the one hand, the fact that the problem can’t necessarily be empirically verified is the very reason I’m not a strong advocate of voter ID laws.

    But I’m also not opposed. The point of my first comment was to show that, while voter fraud is difficult to trace, you’re a naive idiot if you think it’s not happening, as demonstrated by the fact that I, a law-abiding citizen, am legally registered to vote in two states and could get away with it if I wanted. It is ludicrously easy to vote for someone else in states like Virginia and Wisconsin if you want, especially if voter rolls aren’t adequately maintained (which, apparently, they aren’t).

  • Stephen

    Cinn -

    Fair enough. It seems to me then that it falls back on the original question – whether or not it is a problem. How do we determine when it becomes a problem worthy of building a (further) legal hedge around voting? Is it happening a little, here and there, once in a while, for instance? Or is it a determining factor in major elections? Seems we can’t actually say, and so is it necessary (or wise) then to enact a voter ID law when these things can’t be gauged?

    I think my gut tells me we need to make voting easier not more strict. I could be wrong.

  • Stephen

    Cinn -

    Fair enough. It seems to me then that it falls back on the original question – whether or not it is a problem. How do we determine when it becomes a problem worthy of building a (further) legal hedge around voting? Is it happening a little, here and there, once in a while, for instance? Or is it a determining factor in major elections? Seems we can’t actually say, and so is it necessary (or wise) then to enact a voter ID law when these things can’t be gauged?

    I think my gut tells me we need to make voting easier not more strict. I could be wrong.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen:

    Voting couldn’t possibly be easier than it already is. These days, one need not even leave one’s home to vote, and, if it’s oh-so-inconvenient to vote on November 6th, just vote early.

    I’m sympathetic to your notion that we ought not attack problems that might not exist. On the other hand, though, I think a reasonable voter ID law falls under the category of “common sense”: it’s a sensible response to a very plausible possibility (or reality, if you prefer). It’s cheap: even when IDs are provided for free by the state, the whole program only costs a few thousand dollars.

    Your logic would hold, for example, if the government were proposing a massive, multi-billion dollar program to prevent, say, Canadians from spilling over the border of North Dakota. That’s not really a problem, and certainly not one worth billions of dollars.

    But it just makes sense for pollworkers to be able to verify in a reliable way that you are who you say you are. Back in my rural hometown, it wasn’t a big deal: everyone knew each other. But here in a large, urbanized precinct, I frankly think it cheapens the vote when pollworkers aren’t even allowed any means of verifying my identity.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen:

    Voting couldn’t possibly be easier than it already is. These days, one need not even leave one’s home to vote, and, if it’s oh-so-inconvenient to vote on November 6th, just vote early.

    I’m sympathetic to your notion that we ought not attack problems that might not exist. On the other hand, though, I think a reasonable voter ID law falls under the category of “common sense”: it’s a sensible response to a very plausible possibility (or reality, if you prefer). It’s cheap: even when IDs are provided for free by the state, the whole program only costs a few thousand dollars.

    Your logic would hold, for example, if the government were proposing a massive, multi-billion dollar program to prevent, say, Canadians from spilling over the border of North Dakota. That’s not really a problem, and certainly not one worth billions of dollars.

    But it just makes sense for pollworkers to be able to verify in a reliable way that you are who you say you are. Back in my rural hometown, it wasn’t a big deal: everyone knew each other. But here in a large, urbanized precinct, I frankly think it cheapens the vote when pollworkers aren’t even allowed any means of verifying my identity.

  • Joanne

    In 1945, in March, my mother became 21. Soon after that she went to the city office over the old jail house, to register to vote and then to vote in an election on that day. My mother had married my father the prevous November of 1944, so she was still learning to recognize people in our very small town. Because my family had operated a drug store in the little town since 1906, she was known to almost everyone as JC’s new wife.

    Mr. Harrison was the one poll worker. He registered Mama and then asked her could she stay to help him at the poll. “Well, what would I have to do?” She knew nothing. You have the voter sign the precinct book and give them a little square of paper. They take the paper into the booth, close the sheet, and vote. Then they come back to you and put their ballot into the box. She could do that.

    About mid-afternoon, my daddy came looking for her. He had heard that his new, and very attractive, young wife was working the polls and a couple busy-body family member had thought it a common and unsuitable thing for JC’s wife to do. Ladies of her station did not work outside their own businesses. People will think you need the money.

    Mama really enjoyed working the poles and meeting the people. She did some fast talking and convinced daddy it was her civic duty and that Mr. Harrison really needed the help. He acquiesed and she stayed the day. She commented that a few of the white voters signed the book with an X and about 1/4 of the black voters. She had to put her initials by the Xs. She has no memory what the vote was for that day.

    Long story short, she worked the polls here for the next sixty years till she lost her eyesight to Macular Degeneration. She lived with me for 5 year in South Florida after my father died, and she worked the Florida polls in Coral Gables for those 5 years. She is 88 now and still with me, though we have moved back home to help my sister raise her now grown children. As soon as we got back to Louisiana, mama went straight back to working at the polls. Her last election to work was the second GW Bush presidential election. For about 5 years I worked the polls with her.

    Louisiana has had voter picture ID for at least the last 10 years. We were one of the first states to require it. Yesterday, we voted early and the lines wiggled out of site down a long hallway. The poll workers are trained to pickout disabled voter and put them at the front of the live, so Mama (blind) and I got to vote right away on the newest machines which are like lap tops on wobbly stands. The computerized poll lists found our names, the used my drivers licence and mama’s state ID card. Then printed out a sticky label with our basic information on it, pasted it into the blank registration book and had us sign on the label. Mama’s signature went way out of the box, but the ladies said it would be fine.

    Working the polls is a very hard job here. You must be at the poll by 6:00 am, you cannot leave so bring snakes and a lunch, and the polls close at 8:00 pm. It’s a dark to dark job, and we have a long check list to close the polls. We get several printouts of the vote talleys from the each machine and post one copy where it can be seen from the outside. We mail another copy and certain documents to the State office in Baton Rouge at our post office, then we go to the local Clerk of Court office, where we leave another packet that the check for correctness before we can leave. We usually got home between 9:30 and 10:00 pm. It’s grueling, but it’s so nice to see our neighbors and friends at the polls, and it a great pleasure to see democracy in action and know almost exactly how it works on the practical level.

  • Joanne

    In 1945, in March, my mother became 21. Soon after that she went to the city office over the old jail house, to register to vote and then to vote in an election on that day. My mother had married my father the prevous November of 1944, so she was still learning to recognize people in our very small town. Because my family had operated a drug store in the little town since 1906, she was known to almost everyone as JC’s new wife.

    Mr. Harrison was the one poll worker. He registered Mama and then asked her could she stay to help him at the poll. “Well, what would I have to do?” She knew nothing. You have the voter sign the precinct book and give them a little square of paper. They take the paper into the booth, close the sheet, and vote. Then they come back to you and put their ballot into the box. She could do that.

    About mid-afternoon, my daddy came looking for her. He had heard that his new, and very attractive, young wife was working the polls and a couple busy-body family member had thought it a common and unsuitable thing for JC’s wife to do. Ladies of her station did not work outside their own businesses. People will think you need the money.

    Mama really enjoyed working the poles and meeting the people. She did some fast talking and convinced daddy it was her civic duty and that Mr. Harrison really needed the help. He acquiesed and she stayed the day. She commented that a few of the white voters signed the book with an X and about 1/4 of the black voters. She had to put her initials by the Xs. She has no memory what the vote was for that day.

    Long story short, she worked the polls here for the next sixty years till she lost her eyesight to Macular Degeneration. She lived with me for 5 year in South Florida after my father died, and she worked the Florida polls in Coral Gables for those 5 years. She is 88 now and still with me, though we have moved back home to help my sister raise her now grown children. As soon as we got back to Louisiana, mama went straight back to working at the polls. Her last election to work was the second GW Bush presidential election. For about 5 years I worked the polls with her.

    Louisiana has had voter picture ID for at least the last 10 years. We were one of the first states to require it. Yesterday, we voted early and the lines wiggled out of site down a long hallway. The poll workers are trained to pickout disabled voter and put them at the front of the live, so Mama (blind) and I got to vote right away on the newest machines which are like lap tops on wobbly stands. The computerized poll lists found our names, the used my drivers licence and mama’s state ID card. Then printed out a sticky label with our basic information on it, pasted it into the blank registration book and had us sign on the label. Mama’s signature went way out of the box, but the ladies said it would be fine.

    Working the polls is a very hard job here. You must be at the poll by 6:00 am, you cannot leave so bring snakes and a lunch, and the polls close at 8:00 pm. It’s a dark to dark job, and we have a long check list to close the polls. We get several printouts of the vote talleys from the each machine and post one copy where it can be seen from the outside. We mail another copy and certain documents to the State office in Baton Rouge at our post office, then we go to the local Clerk of Court office, where we leave another packet that the check for correctness before we can leave. We usually got home between 9:30 and 10:00 pm. It’s grueling, but it’s so nice to see our neighbors and friends at the polls, and it a great pleasure to see democracy in action and know almost exactly how it works on the practical level.

  • Cincinnatus

    Joanne:

    …what exactly was the point of that extended and uneventful narrative?

    I mean, I’m happy for your mother and all, but how does your comment contribute in any way to the questions at hand?

  • Cincinnatus

    Joanne:

    …what exactly was the point of that extended and uneventful narrative?

    I mean, I’m happy for your mother and all, but how does your comment contribute in any way to the questions at hand?

  • Stephen

    Cinn -

    Yes. Voting has become more easy than when I first started out participating. No argument there. Do we need to take a step back from that simply because we suspect (imagine?) there is abuse? And what is at stake seems to be less participation rather than correcting some kind of perceived problem. Would government issued voter IDs impose another, new step in the process and/or another level of possible impasse for some? I’d say that is as probable as the idea that voter fraud is some huge crisis, and ought to be just as great a concern.

    Perhaps what we need is some kind of uniform system in which voter registration cards can be checked electronically at the polling place. Again, I’m not sure because I’m not sure there’s a real problem worthy of imposing a new level of “security” (if that’s even what it will provide – again, where’s the evidence?). It is also unclear as far as I can tell what acquiring these sorts of IDs could require, especially if it is left up to each county to make up their own regulations. That sounds like a step backward, nigh unto a poll tax.

    I agree that this is largely an attempt to curtail participation by blocks of voters that typically vote Democratic. My only evidence for this would be that liberals tend to be more activist, the kind of people who drag voters with fewer resources to the polls, and in turn, they are voters that generally vote Democratic. If it’s the case that conservatives like Tea Party voters follow suit and become (if they aren’t already) similarly organized, a voter ID law could come back to bite them, making their own efforts fraught with one more level of bureaucracy.

    I still think, on the face of it, this is an attempt to prevent something which does not rise to the level of a real problem. The greater issue is voter participation it seems to me, and this could inhibit what IS a recognized problem.

  • Stephen

    Cinn -

    Yes. Voting has become more easy than when I first started out participating. No argument there. Do we need to take a step back from that simply because we suspect (imagine?) there is abuse? And what is at stake seems to be less participation rather than correcting some kind of perceived problem. Would government issued voter IDs impose another, new step in the process and/or another level of possible impasse for some? I’d say that is as probable as the idea that voter fraud is some huge crisis, and ought to be just as great a concern.

    Perhaps what we need is some kind of uniform system in which voter registration cards can be checked electronically at the polling place. Again, I’m not sure because I’m not sure there’s a real problem worthy of imposing a new level of “security” (if that’s even what it will provide – again, where’s the evidence?). It is also unclear as far as I can tell what acquiring these sorts of IDs could require, especially if it is left up to each county to make up their own regulations. That sounds like a step backward, nigh unto a poll tax.

    I agree that this is largely an attempt to curtail participation by blocks of voters that typically vote Democratic. My only evidence for this would be that liberals tend to be more activist, the kind of people who drag voters with fewer resources to the polls, and in turn, they are voters that generally vote Democratic. If it’s the case that conservatives like Tea Party voters follow suit and become (if they aren’t already) similarly organized, a voter ID law could come back to bite them, making their own efforts fraught with one more level of bureaucracy.

    I still think, on the face of it, this is an attempt to prevent something which does not rise to the level of a real problem. The greater issue is voter participation it seems to me, and this could inhibit what IS a recognized problem.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    Instead of voter IDs, let’s use the Iraqi method.

    Step 1: move national elections to Saturday.
    Step 2: no more early voting.
    Step 3: after voting, a person’s finger is stained with a durable ink.

    It’d be hard to have fraud in that system.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    Instead of voter IDs, let’s use the Iraqi method.

    Step 1: move national elections to Saturday.
    Step 2: no more early voting.
    Step 3: after voting, a person’s finger is stained with a durable ink.

    It’d be hard to have fraud in that system.

  • Carl Vehse

    The Human Events article, “Congressman Jim Moran’s son caught on tape teaching vote fraud techniques,” reports:

    A new undercover video from James O’Keefe and Project Veritas shows Pat Moran, son of longtime incumbent congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) and field director for his father’s re-election campaign, instructing a supporter in how to use fraudulent documents to cast a hundred illegal votes

    Video and details at the link.

  • Carl Vehse

    The Human Events article, “Congressman Jim Moran’s son caught on tape teaching vote fraud techniques,” reports:

    A new undercover video from James O’Keefe and Project Veritas shows Pat Moran, son of longtime incumbent congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) and field director for his father’s re-election campaign, instructing a supporter in how to use fraudulent documents to cast a hundred illegal votes

    Video and details at the link.

  • fjsteve

    Wow, Carl, what a setup! It seemed clear to me that the guy wasn’t really thrilled with offering the “advice” and, of course, he should have just told the reporter to get lost. But I don’t know what this proves. From what I saw, he wasn’t really offering any material support .

  • fjsteve

    Wow, Carl, what a setup! It seemed clear to me that the guy wasn’t really thrilled with offering the “advice” and, of course, he should have just told the reporter to get lost. But I don’t know what this proves. From what I saw, he wasn’t really offering any material support .

  • Norman Teigen

    see the current New Yorker magazine, October 29 & November 5, 2012, for an account of the man, Hans Von Spakovsly, and ‘The Voter Fraud Myth.’ This is the man who has stoked fear about impostors at the polls.

  • Norman Teigen

    see the current New Yorker magazine, October 29 & November 5, 2012, for an account of the man, Hans Von Spakovsly, and ‘The Voter Fraud Myth.’ This is the man who has stoked fear about impostors at the polls.

  • rlewer

    Lyndon Johnson’s first election to the Senate was a proven voter fraud. The people in the cemetery voted in alphabetical order.

    In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas voters have regularly been bussed across the border to vote.

    Can anyone really seriously say that voter fraud is not a problem in Chicago?

    The last senatorial election in Minnesota was full of obvious voter fraud.

  • rlewer

    Lyndon Johnson’s first election to the Senate was a proven voter fraud. The people in the cemetery voted in alphabetical order.

    In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas voters have regularly been bussed across the border to vote.

    Can anyone really seriously say that voter fraud is not a problem in Chicago?

    The last senatorial election in Minnesota was full of obvious voter fraud.

  • DonS

    fjsteve @ 24: There’s something more than you are thinking to this video, because Patrick Moran has already resigned from his father’s campaign.

    Of course, the media won’t cover it, at least the way they would if it had been a Republican. They are too busy going after Senate candidate Mourdock in Indiana for saying that a baby conceived out of horrific rape circumstances is still a child of God.

  • DonS

    fjsteve @ 24: There’s something more than you are thinking to this video, because Patrick Moran has already resigned from his father’s campaign.

    Of course, the media won’t cover it, at least the way they would if it had been a Republican. They are too busy going after Senate candidate Mourdock in Indiana for saying that a baby conceived out of horrific rape circumstances is still a child of God.

  • DonS

    Here’s the CBS story: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57539706/congressmans-son-resigns-after-voter-fraud-video/

    I think this story is a slam dunk answer to this post. We need basic voter protection measures to protect citizen voters from having their say in electing our government stolen by those willing to engage in fraud.

    We need voter id laws.

  • DonS

    Here’s the CBS story: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57539706/congressmans-son-resigns-after-voter-fraud-video/

    I think this story is a slam dunk answer to this post. We need basic voter protection measures to protect citizen voters from having their say in electing our government stolen by those willing to engage in fraud.

    We need voter id laws.

  • Michael B.

    @Stephen

    ” The greater issue is voter participation it seems to me, and this could inhibit what IS a recognized problem.”

    Well said. Let’s keep in mind also that voting is a right, not a privilege — it’s not like driving. As far as voter id, this sounds like a solution in search of a problem.

  • Michael B.

    @Stephen

    ” The greater issue is voter participation it seems to me, and this could inhibit what IS a recognized problem.”

    Well said. Let’s keep in mind also that voting is a right, not a privilege — it’s not like driving. As far as voter id, this sounds like a solution in search of a problem.

  • Grace

    I believe voter fraud exists – to what extent, I don’t know, however I think it’s far more than we realize.

    Voter ID is a must, it should be made law. It could serve other purposes as well.

  • Grace

    I believe voter fraud exists – to what extent, I don’t know, however I think it’s far more than we realize.

    Voter ID is a must, it should be made law. It could serve other purposes as well.

  • Andrew

    to educate an outsider to the system: any reason why it isn’t held on a saturday when most workers wouldn’t be at work?

  • Andrew

    to educate an outsider to the system: any reason why it isn’t held on a saturday when most workers wouldn’t be at work?

  • Grace

    Andrew @31 “to educate an outsider”

    Do you reside in another country?

    People work on Saturday too. The polls are open from 7Am to 8PM – that should give anyone the opportunity to vote.

    Absentee ballots have become very popular, that’s how my husband and I vote. It’s about 21 to 30 days before the election. In this way, we don’t have to park or stand in line – it works out very well.

  • Grace

    Andrew @31 “to educate an outsider”

    Do you reside in another country?

    People work on Saturday too. The polls are open from 7Am to 8PM – that should give anyone the opportunity to vote.

    Absentee ballots have become very popular, that’s how my husband and I vote. It’s about 21 to 30 days before the election. In this way, we don’t have to park or stand in line – it works out very well.

  • Helen K.

    I guess I may be the only person here who throughly enjoyed Joanne’s nice little story about her Mom, working the polls and general thoughts on election time in a small American town. Whether or not it “contributed” to the subject at hand, I find her “narrative” very inspirational and worthwhile. Sometimes it’s nice to have a glimpse into some of our member’s lives and personal views.

    Thank you, Joanne and a big hug to your Mom!
    Sorry, Cinn-I’m sure you think I’m being maudlin. And yes, I know this isn’t a “chat” room.

  • Helen K.

    I guess I may be the only person here who throughly enjoyed Joanne’s nice little story about her Mom, working the polls and general thoughts on election time in a small American town. Whether or not it “contributed” to the subject at hand, I find her “narrative” very inspirational and worthwhile. Sometimes it’s nice to have a glimpse into some of our member’s lives and personal views.

    Thank you, Joanne and a big hug to your Mom!
    Sorry, Cinn-I’m sure you think I’m being maudlin. And yes, I know this isn’t a “chat” room.

  • Andrew

    @Grace: I’m an australian citizen. Born in NZ, but migrated to australia after graduating university.

    Far fewer people would work on a saturday than on a week day. Considering the commute most people would do to work each day, voting near your home would be problematic if not done after work.
    given the relatively low voter turnout compared to other democracies, and the vigour with which americans defend all things related to your democratic institutions it seems odd. then again, apathy is your right.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections
    wikipedia isn’t the oracle on all things, but looking at the stats on voter turnout, I’d say that something needs to be done to better engage the population. Less than 60% turnout is pretty woeful.

  • Andrew

    @Grace: I’m an australian citizen. Born in NZ, but migrated to australia after graduating university.

    Far fewer people would work on a saturday than on a week day. Considering the commute most people would do to work each day, voting near your home would be problematic if not done after work.
    given the relatively low voter turnout compared to other democracies, and the vigour with which americans defend all things related to your democratic institutions it seems odd. then again, apathy is your right.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections
    wikipedia isn’t the oracle on all things, but looking at the stats on voter turnout, I’d say that something needs to be done to better engage the population. Less than 60% turnout is pretty woeful.

  • DonS

    Andrew @ 34: The first Tuesday in November was established as the national day for elections of the President and Congress in 1845. It’s not going to change. Employers are, by law, required to ensure that their employees have a sufficient window to vote, which isn’t difficult since polls are open a minimum of 13 hours in all states. Additionally, all states permit absentee balloting for any reason, and many also offer early in-person voting. Oregon doesn’t even have in-person voting — elections are conducted entirely by mail. In this modern era, with such liberal voting opportunity, there is no excuse for anyone who cares an iota about casting a ballot not doing so.

    given the relatively low voter turnout compared to other democracies, and the vigour with which americans defend all things related to your democratic institutions it seems odd. then again, apathy is your right.

    Other countries achieve a much higher voting percentage than is the case in the U.S. because voting is required by law. Again, that is a distinction Americans are happy for — they treasure their liberties, including their liberty not to vote. Rather than artificially “engaging” more voters by requiring voting, it is better to have only truly engaged voters cast ballots. There is a great advantage in having only voters who care about the structure and actions of their government vote, rather than others who are doing so out of a sense of duty or to get a free pizza.

  • DonS

    Andrew @ 34: The first Tuesday in November was established as the national day for elections of the President and Congress in 1845. It’s not going to change. Employers are, by law, required to ensure that their employees have a sufficient window to vote, which isn’t difficult since polls are open a minimum of 13 hours in all states. Additionally, all states permit absentee balloting for any reason, and many also offer early in-person voting. Oregon doesn’t even have in-person voting — elections are conducted entirely by mail. In this modern era, with such liberal voting opportunity, there is no excuse for anyone who cares an iota about casting a ballot not doing so.

    given the relatively low voter turnout compared to other democracies, and the vigour with which americans defend all things related to your democratic institutions it seems odd. then again, apathy is your right.

    Other countries achieve a much higher voting percentage than is the case in the U.S. because voting is required by law. Again, that is a distinction Americans are happy for — they treasure their liberties, including their liberty not to vote. Rather than artificially “engaging” more voters by requiring voting, it is better to have only truly engaged voters cast ballots. There is a great advantage in having only voters who care about the structure and actions of their government vote, rather than others who are doing so out of a sense of duty or to get a free pizza.

  • Grace

    Andrew @ 34 ” americans defend all things related to your democratic institutions it seems odd. then again, apathy is your right.”

    “apathy” ? – isn’t applicable. Since you are not a resident of the United States, I doubt you’re in a position to comprehend the voter options, which I posted to you @32. It appears you didn’t read it, or you would rather sling a word such as “apathy” into the mix.

    DonS answered your comment very nicely, and most accurately, when he stated: “There is a great advantage in having only voters who care about the structure and actions of their government vote, rather than others who are doing so out of a sense of duty or to get a free pizza.” A very good answer for someone such as yourself, who is not a citizen of the United States.

  • Grace

    Andrew @ 34 ” americans defend all things related to your democratic institutions it seems odd. then again, apathy is your right.”

    “apathy” ? – isn’t applicable. Since you are not a resident of the United States, I doubt you’re in a position to comprehend the voter options, which I posted to you @32. It appears you didn’t read it, or you would rather sling a word such as “apathy” into the mix.

    DonS answered your comment very nicely, and most accurately, when he stated: “There is a great advantage in having only voters who care about the structure and actions of their government vote, rather than others who are doing so out of a sense of duty or to get a free pizza.” A very good answer for someone such as yourself, who is not a citizen of the United States.

  • Joanne

    Helen K.
    I’m glad you enjoyed a little trip in my way-back machine. Mama is a hoot, 17 years ago they took a tumor the size of a paddle ball out of her right lung. And for the last year we have been killing two very small tumors in her upper right lung. Her Radio-oncology seems to think she’s going to do fine. I tell people, she’s 88 and never been healthy a day in her life. She caught malaria in 1927 (3 years old) in the Big Mississippi flood. Her family lived near the river in NE Louisiana and had to be evacuated in boats. She’s a super survivor.

  • Joanne

    Helen K.
    I’m glad you enjoyed a little trip in my way-back machine. Mama is a hoot, 17 years ago they took a tumor the size of a paddle ball out of her right lung. And for the last year we have been killing two very small tumors in her upper right lung. Her Radio-oncology seems to think she’s going to do fine. I tell people, she’s 88 and never been healthy a day in her life. She caught malaria in 1927 (3 years old) in the Big Mississippi flood. Her family lived near the river in NE Louisiana and had to be evacuated in boats. She’s a super survivor.

  • Helen K.

    Joanne, if I knew a way to write you personally I wouldn’t abuse this blog for my personal notes. Anyway, your Mom sounds wonderful, God love her. I’ve always had a heart for older people. Maybe because I’m an only kid and was raised mainly by my own mom and grandmother. Never had a lot of other children to play with. No doubt it may have warped some of my views. LOL

    I would enjoy hearing more of your memories anytime the mood strikes you. Thank you again for the little glimpse into days of yore.
    Helen

  • Helen K.

    Joanne, if I knew a way to write you personally I wouldn’t abuse this blog for my personal notes. Anyway, your Mom sounds wonderful, God love her. I’ve always had a heart for older people. Maybe because I’m an only kid and was raised mainly by my own mom and grandmother. Never had a lot of other children to play with. No doubt it may have warped some of my views. LOL

    I would enjoy hearing more of your memories anytime the mood strikes you. Thank you again for the little glimpse into days of yore.
    Helen

  • Andrew

    Don – thanks for the clarification re the voting date. Horses for courses I guess

    Grace – despite the options open to voters (I did see that) you still only have a low turnout and participation in your democracy. It would be better if more citizens felt like the government of their country mattered. perhaps education needs to be improved. perhaps the levers of government need adjustment so that there is more sense of connection between voters and the elected officials.
    Apathy is a good descriptor for people who choose to not care enough about their country to inform themselves about elections and participate in them.

    NZ – my home country regularly has voter turnouts in the high 80% without compulsory voting, without allowing displays of election advertising on the election day, and without permitting campaigning on election day. it’s a proportional representation parliament (with all the problems that has caused with minority parties holding the larger parties to ransom) but people do get a sense that their votes actually shape the parliament in every electorate.

    Anyhow – sorry for upsetting you all. I didn’t mean to troll. I was just trying to understand why some of the oddities of american elections were the way they were. It seems like it would be safer to suggest an american is a pelagian than to suggest that some of the american institutions of government don’t make much sense to an outsider.

  • Andrew

    Don – thanks for the clarification re the voting date. Horses for courses I guess

    Grace – despite the options open to voters (I did see that) you still only have a low turnout and participation in your democracy. It would be better if more citizens felt like the government of their country mattered. perhaps education needs to be improved. perhaps the levers of government need adjustment so that there is more sense of connection between voters and the elected officials.
    Apathy is a good descriptor for people who choose to not care enough about their country to inform themselves about elections and participate in them.

    NZ – my home country regularly has voter turnouts in the high 80% without compulsory voting, without allowing displays of election advertising on the election day, and without permitting campaigning on election day. it’s a proportional representation parliament (with all the problems that has caused with minority parties holding the larger parties to ransom) but people do get a sense that their votes actually shape the parliament in every electorate.

    Anyhow – sorry for upsetting you all. I didn’t mean to troll. I was just trying to understand why some of the oddities of american elections were the way they were. It seems like it would be safer to suggest an american is a pelagian than to suggest that some of the american institutions of government don’t make much sense to an outsider.

  • Grace

    Andrew @ 39 “Anyhow – sorry for upsetting you all. I didn’t mean to troll. I was just trying to understand why some of the oddities of american elections were the way they were. It seems like it would be safer to suggest an american is a pelagian than to suggest that some of the american institutions of government don’t make much sense to an outsider.”

    Andrew, you misuse the word “pelagian” its definition is as follows:

    Pelagian – definition:

    “The theological doctrine propounded by Pelagius, a British monk, and condemned as heresy by the Roman Catholic Church in a.d. 416. It denied original sin and affirmed the ability of humans to be righteous by the exercise of free will.

    Your use of “palagian” suggests you have no idea of its definition.

    To vote, or not to vote, or voting in general is not connected to the definition of “palagian” -

  • Grace

    Andrew @ 39 “Anyhow – sorry for upsetting you all. I didn’t mean to troll. I was just trying to understand why some of the oddities of american elections were the way they were. It seems like it would be safer to suggest an american is a pelagian than to suggest that some of the american institutions of government don’t make much sense to an outsider.”

    Andrew, you misuse the word “pelagian” its definition is as follows:

    Pelagian – definition:

    “The theological doctrine propounded by Pelagius, a British monk, and condemned as heresy by the Roman Catholic Church in a.d. 416. It denied original sin and affirmed the ability of humans to be righteous by the exercise of free will.

    Your use of “palagian” suggests you have no idea of its definition.

    To vote, or not to vote, or voting in general is not connected to the definition of “palagian” -

  • Andrew

    Grace: I know its meaning.
    In most circles, to be called a pelagian would be seen as an insult. I was pointing out that it seems greater offense appears to be taken by (perceived) slights against american systems of democracy than there would theoretically be in holding to a heretical view of salvation.

    As in: “you can call me a pelagian if you like, but don’t you dare challenge the setup of the electoral college, voting on Tuesdays, or our system of government – that’s sacred tradition and not to be insulted”

  • Andrew

    Grace: I know its meaning.
    In most circles, to be called a pelagian would be seen as an insult. I was pointing out that it seems greater offense appears to be taken by (perceived) slights against american systems of democracy than there would theoretically be in holding to a heretical view of salvation.

    As in: “you can call me a pelagian if you like, but don’t you dare challenge the setup of the electoral college, voting on Tuesdays, or our system of government – that’s sacred tradition and not to be insulted”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Andrew (@41), ignore Grace. The rest of usually do. And please, don’t take her as representative of our country. That wouldn’t be fair.

    Anyhow, you said:

    It seems like it would be safer to suggest an american is a pelagian than to suggest that some of the american institutions of government don’t make much sense to an outsider.

    Actually, you’re probably right, but then, more Americans probably either don’t know what Pelagianism is, or embrace it (or it’s semi- version), whereas most Americans probably think their government is some kind of reasonable.

    But do you think that’s seriously unique about America? Show me a country whose citizens on average believe that their government doesn’t make as much sense as the government of another country, and I’ll show you a country on the verge of a meltdown. And — and I’m just spitballing here — I’d be willing to bet that, on average, Americans probably would take more umbrage, on average, at being labeled Pelagian than would citizens of other countries, if only because of our relatively high levels of religiousness.

    But whatever. Diverse viewpoints are welcome here (really; ask Dr. Veith, he loves it) but you should be prepared both to encounter some defensiveness, as well as be able to defend your own ideas. It’s like that in any country. Trust me, I have a royalist brother-in-law, and for some reason he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me on how ridiculous it is for Australians to have the British Queen on their money.

    Also, and this is utterly tangential, I found it more than a little bit odd that murderin’ Ned Kelly is referred to in an Australian-authored young-children’s book I own. Chalk it up to cultural differences and Australia’s history, I suppose.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, “Election Day” is increasingly a misnomer in the US. As you may or may not know, voting laws vary by state, but many states allow unfettered early voting, in some cases by mail! My state (Oregon) is entirely vote-by-mail, the upshot being that there really isn’t an Election Day, per se, just a day by which ballots must be turned in. I’ve already started filling mine out.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Andrew (@41), ignore Grace. The rest of usually do. And please, don’t take her as representative of our country. That wouldn’t be fair.

    Anyhow, you said:

    It seems like it would be safer to suggest an american is a pelagian than to suggest that some of the american institutions of government don’t make much sense to an outsider.

    Actually, you’re probably right, but then, more Americans probably either don’t know what Pelagianism is, or embrace it (or it’s semi- version), whereas most Americans probably think their government is some kind of reasonable.

    But do you think that’s seriously unique about America? Show me a country whose citizens on average believe that their government doesn’t make as much sense as the government of another country, and I’ll show you a country on the verge of a meltdown. And — and I’m just spitballing here — I’d be willing to bet that, on average, Americans probably would take more umbrage, on average, at being labeled Pelagian than would citizens of other countries, if only because of our relatively high levels of religiousness.

    But whatever. Diverse viewpoints are welcome here (really; ask Dr. Veith, he loves it) but you should be prepared both to encounter some defensiveness, as well as be able to defend your own ideas. It’s like that in any country. Trust me, I have a royalist brother-in-law, and for some reason he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me on how ridiculous it is for Australians to have the British Queen on their money.

    Also, and this is utterly tangential, I found it more than a little bit odd that murderin’ Ned Kelly is referred to in an Australian-authored young-children’s book I own. Chalk it up to cultural differences and Australia’s history, I suppose.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, “Election Day” is increasingly a misnomer in the US. As you may or may not know, voting laws vary by state, but many states allow unfettered early voting, in some cases by mail! My state (Oregon) is entirely vote-by-mail, the upshot being that there really isn’t an Election Day, per se, just a day by which ballots must be turned in. I’ve already started filling mine out.

  • Andrew

    Hi Todd:
    You’re right. most people think their country is pretty much on the money in terms of how it is organised. some australians would like to do away with states as a useless level of government here but on the whole we like our government. there is vigorous debate here re becoming a republic (it’ll become more vigorous if prince charles makes a poor king).
    You’re not alone in thinking that australia is weird in making a saint out of ned kelly. i think it comes out of a sense of rebellion against authority rather (which isn’t really something that christians are called to encourage).

    I think you’re right. proportionally there would be more people in church on a given sunday in america than in most other western countries. the proportion of christians would be up for debate though among those church attenders.

    Anyway – this is well and truly off topic. apologies dr veith for hijacking this thread.

  • Andrew

    Hi Todd:
    You’re right. most people think their country is pretty much on the money in terms of how it is organised. some australians would like to do away with states as a useless level of government here but on the whole we like our government. there is vigorous debate here re becoming a republic (it’ll become more vigorous if prince charles makes a poor king).
    You’re not alone in thinking that australia is weird in making a saint out of ned kelly. i think it comes out of a sense of rebellion against authority rather (which isn’t really something that christians are called to encourage).

    I think you’re right. proportionally there would be more people in church on a given sunday in america than in most other western countries. the proportion of christians would be up for debate though among those church attenders.

    Anyway – this is well and truly off topic. apologies dr veith for hijacking this thread.

  • Grace

    Andrew @ 41 – - ” Grace: I know its meaning. In most circles, to be called a pelagian would be seen as an insult. I was pointing out that it seems greater offense appears to be taken by (perceived) slights against american systems of democracy than there would theoretically be in holding to a heretical view of salvation.”

    Andrew, your answer is muddled, it isn’t an insult at all, it’s your lack of understanding the definition, that brings rails of laughter, LOL – it doesn’t have a rock to stand on. You’ve misused the word (“pelagian”) regarding the U.S. voting system. You most certainly DO NOT understand the term “pelagian” – if you did, you wouldn’t have made such a remark.

    “As in: “you can call me a pelagian if you like, but don’t you dare challenge the setup of the electoral college, voting on Tuesdays, or our system of government – that’s sacred tradition and not to be insulted”

    Andrew, our voting system isn’t “sacred” please don’t become hyper, using the word “sacred” it makes your excuse more nonsensical than it was first time around. Foreigners love to find fault with the United States, it’s a pass-time in many countries. As we have traveled, it’s been a constant source of amusement to listen to those of other countries belittle the U.S.

  • Grace

    Andrew @ 41 – - ” Grace: I know its meaning. In most circles, to be called a pelagian would be seen as an insult. I was pointing out that it seems greater offense appears to be taken by (perceived) slights against american systems of democracy than there would theoretically be in holding to a heretical view of salvation.”

    Andrew, your answer is muddled, it isn’t an insult at all, it’s your lack of understanding the definition, that brings rails of laughter, LOL – it doesn’t have a rock to stand on. You’ve misused the word (“pelagian”) regarding the U.S. voting system. You most certainly DO NOT understand the term “pelagian” – if you did, you wouldn’t have made such a remark.

    “As in: “you can call me a pelagian if you like, but don’t you dare challenge the setup of the electoral college, voting on Tuesdays, or our system of government – that’s sacred tradition and not to be insulted”

    Andrew, our voting system isn’t “sacred” please don’t become hyper, using the word “sacred” it makes your excuse more nonsensical than it was first time around. Foreigners love to find fault with the United States, it’s a pass-time in many countries. As we have traveled, it’s been a constant source of amusement to listen to those of other countries belittle the U.S.

  • Grace

    tOdd, try living in Australia for a few years. You just might change your tune. Of course you could put up with their never ending complaints about the United States, the country you left to try out theirs. ;)

    After traveling many miles, there is no place like the U.S. that’s why so many people would love to come here and live. Knowing that isn’t possible, gives them the opportunity to say “I would never leave ___________ fill in the blank.

    Those who blow their rusty horns against American politics, and our laws are, ever so eager, to join in any conversation, be it on a blog, or if their fortunate, to do business in the U.S.

  • Grace

    tOdd, try living in Australia for a few years. You just might change your tune. Of course you could put up with their never ending complaints about the United States, the country you left to try out theirs. ;)

    After traveling many miles, there is no place like the U.S. that’s why so many people would love to come here and live. Knowing that isn’t possible, gives them the opportunity to say “I would never leave ___________ fill in the blank.

    Those who blow their rusty horns against American politics, and our laws are, ever so eager, to join in any conversation, be it on a blog, or if their fortunate, to do business in the U.S.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@44), you continually make it clear here that you have issues. Whether they’re merely reading comprehension issues, or just the inability to understand different points of view, I don’t know. But it’s clear that you have no idea what Andrew was saying regarding Pelagianism. … No, no, I get it, you’ll protest to the contrary. And yet we have your reaction here that makes my case. It’s pretty clear that the mere existence of foreigners upsets you. You are an archetypical Ugly American, Grace. You may have traveled abroad, but you don’t seem to have learned much.

    And yeah, my sister-in-law left the US several years ago to live in New South Wales. And every time we Skype with her, she complains about how horrible it is there, because … no, I’m kidding, of course. I happen to prefer the US to Australia, but I can see that they do some things better than in the US. Because I’m not a narrow-minded jingoist. Ahem.

    But whatever. With an attitude like yours, it’s no surprise that you don’t like the people of other countries. You practically beg them not to like you, either.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@44), you continually make it clear here that you have issues. Whether they’re merely reading comprehension issues, or just the inability to understand different points of view, I don’t know. But it’s clear that you have no idea what Andrew was saying regarding Pelagianism. … No, no, I get it, you’ll protest to the contrary. And yet we have your reaction here that makes my case. It’s pretty clear that the mere existence of foreigners upsets you. You are an archetypical Ugly American, Grace. You may have traveled abroad, but you don’t seem to have learned much.

    And yeah, my sister-in-law left the US several years ago to live in New South Wales. And every time we Skype with her, she complains about how horrible it is there, because … no, I’m kidding, of course. I happen to prefer the US to Australia, but I can see that they do some things better than in the US. Because I’m not a narrow-minded jingoist. Ahem.

    But whatever. With an attitude like yours, it’s no surprise that you don’t like the people of other countries. You practically beg them not to like you, either.

  • DonS

    Andrew @ 39:

    You’re welcome.

    You certainly didn’t offend me – drop by anytime. We love a good discussion.

    New Zealand’s high voter turnout is probably largely a function of its small size and much more established population. In the U.S., particularly large urban areas, there are millions of recent immigrants who are non-citizens, and thus ineligible to vote. In our presidential elections, turnout is not that low. As seen from this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections in 2008 voters comprised about 57% of the Voting Age Population, which includes non-citizens and others ineligible to vote, so that the actual percentage of eligible voters certainly well exceeded 60%. As you will see from the chart, this is a fairly typical presidential turnout. Younger voters, and recent eligible immigrants, particularly those of Hispanic origin, tend to voter in much lower numbers, while older people who have been residents for a substantial period of time vote in much higher numbers, probably more closely approaching those you find in New Zealand. Rural and suburban voters tend to vote in much higher numbers as well, as community pressure is a factor in the non-urban environment.

    As I’ve said before, it would be great if 100% of the citizens took their voting privilege seriously, educating themselves, thoughtfully considering their vote selections, and fully participating in the electoral process. But, the country is far better off having a lower turnout of thoughtful voters than having a higher turnout which includes those who have not done due diligence in evaluating their voting choices.

  • DonS

    Andrew @ 39:

    You’re welcome.

    You certainly didn’t offend me – drop by anytime. We love a good discussion.

    New Zealand’s high voter turnout is probably largely a function of its small size and much more established population. In the U.S., particularly large urban areas, there are millions of recent immigrants who are non-citizens, and thus ineligible to vote. In our presidential elections, turnout is not that low. As seen from this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections in 2008 voters comprised about 57% of the Voting Age Population, which includes non-citizens and others ineligible to vote, so that the actual percentage of eligible voters certainly well exceeded 60%. As you will see from the chart, this is a fairly typical presidential turnout. Younger voters, and recent eligible immigrants, particularly those of Hispanic origin, tend to voter in much lower numbers, while older people who have been residents for a substantial period of time vote in much higher numbers, probably more closely approaching those you find in New Zealand. Rural and suburban voters tend to vote in much higher numbers as well, as community pressure is a factor in the non-urban environment.

    As I’ve said before, it would be great if 100% of the citizens took their voting privilege seriously, educating themselves, thoughtfully considering their vote selections, and fully participating in the electoral process. But, the country is far better off having a lower turnout of thoughtful voters than having a higher turnout which includes those who have not done due diligence in evaluating their voting choices.

  • kerner

    Andrew:

    I can see why Australians might consider states to be a useless level of government, as you population is smaller and more homogeneous. BUt is the USA there are real cultural differences between the states, and we handle many situations differently, at lest in a lot of small ways. Also, it gives us a way to prevent a monolithic federal government from trying to pound all those diversely shaped pegs through uniformly square holes, if you get my drift.

    What I can’t figure out is why New Zealanders pronounce the word , yes, as “yiss”. :D

  • kerner

    Andrew:

    I can see why Australians might consider states to be a useless level of government, as you population is smaller and more homogeneous. BUt is the USA there are real cultural differences between the states, and we handle many situations differently, at lest in a lot of small ways. Also, it gives us a way to prevent a monolithic federal government from trying to pound all those diversely shaped pegs through uniformly square holes, if you get my drift.

    What I can’t figure out is why New Zealanders pronounce the word , yes, as “yiss”. :D

  • Grace

    POOR tODD

    You’re right on my trail, skipping behind me as I go. :razz:

  • Grace

    POOR tODD

    You’re right on my trail, skipping behind me as I go. :razz:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@49), did no one tell you how a conversation works? Did you forget that you actually addressed me (@45)? On what basis, then, are you confused that I replied to you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@49), did no one tell you how a conversation works? Did you forget that you actually addressed me (@45)? On what basis, then, are you confused that I replied to you?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner and DonS:

    Wrong on the immigration stats. Here are the “foreign born percentages” of Australia, Canada and the US (2001):

    Australia: 22%
    Canada: 19%
    USA: 11%

    From here: http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/migrant_stock_region.cfm

    A different study, using data from 2000, listed all of the following OECD countries as having a relatively larger “foreign born” population than the US:

    Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland. Also, the US was but very marginally (less than 1%) higher than Austria, Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner and DonS:

    Wrong on the immigration stats. Here are the “foreign born percentages” of Australia, Canada and the US (2001):

    Australia: 22%
    Canada: 19%
    USA: 11%

    From here: http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/migrant_stock_region.cfm

    A different study, using data from 2000, listed all of the following OECD countries as having a relatively larger “foreign born” population than the US:

    Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland. Also, the US was but very marginally (less than 1%) higher than Austria, Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands.

  • Grace

    KK @51

    Thanks for the LINK. The stats for the U.S. appear very realistic.

  • Grace

    KK @51

    Thanks for the LINK. The stats for the U.S. appear very realistic.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@51), okay, but those percentages you list hardly tell the whole story. One can’t help but notice that, of those three English-speaking countries, the US is the only one where the #1 source of immigrants is from a country that speaks a different language. It doesn’t seem reasonable to equate the impact of Spanish-language immigrants on voting habits in the US to, say, the impact of UK citizens immigrating to Australia. Just a thought.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@51), okay, but those percentages you list hardly tell the whole story. One can’t help but notice that, of those three English-speaking countries, the US is the only one where the #1 source of immigrants is from a country that speaks a different language. It doesn’t seem reasonable to equate the impact of Spanish-language immigrants on voting habits in the US to, say, the impact of UK citizens immigrating to Australia. Just a thought.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    todd, to some extent,yes. But since 2000, Chinese immigration to Canada has climbed . But it is not the only one – census results came out earlier this week, indicating that in 17.5% (6.6 million) of Canadians speak a language other than French or English at home. Of those, 213000 people speak an indigenous (ie, First Nation) language, with the other 6.4 million speaking an “immigrant” language.

    Depending on which area of the country, the immigrant language is likely to be Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese), Arabic, Punjabi, Tagalog, Italian or Spanish. While the most common “foreign” language is Punjabi, followed by Chinese, the one showing the biggest growth is Tagalog. The latter is now the dominant immigrant language spoken in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    todd, to some extent,yes. But since 2000, Chinese immigration to Canada has climbed . But it is not the only one – census results came out earlier this week, indicating that in 17.5% (6.6 million) of Canadians speak a language other than French or English at home. Of those, 213000 people speak an indigenous (ie, First Nation) language, with the other 6.4 million speaking an “immigrant” language.

    Depending on which area of the country, the immigrant language is likely to be Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese), Arabic, Punjabi, Tagalog, Italian or Spanish. While the most common “foreign” language is Punjabi, followed by Chinese, the one showing the biggest growth is Tagalog. The latter is now the dominant immigrant language spoken in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


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