2018 Mid Term Elections (USA)

As you well know, our mid term elections are about to happen.

I thought I would start a separate thread on this.

CBS is predicting that the House of Representatives will shift to the Democrats 226 to 209 Republicans. The Senate is still up in the air, but the predictions are if the Democrats can gain 2 seats Senate Bernie Sanders is likely to become the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee--that is a very powerful post.

Across the US there are reports of early returns of ballots. At the current pace, it is estimated that there will be more people voting than when Obama was standing for the Presidency the first time.

Generally speaking, a high turnout means a Democratic swing.

Here in my congressional district the current congressperson is Cathy McMorris-Rogers. the fourth powerful Republican in Congress. It is a very close race between her and Lisa Brown, the Democrat. The polls are indicating it is very close. A few say the district is leaning right, but more recent polls indicate it is starting to turn left.

In Washington State there are also several key initiatives to be voted on. 1) Increased gun safety regulation; 2) A carbon tax and 3) a mandate that all police in the state take de-escalation. There is also one limiting taxes on groceries.

Of course, the Republicans are trying to limit the vote. 24 states now require voter-ID, which restricts minority votes. In South Dakota, there is a new law that all voters must have a street address. This is clearly designed to limit the Native American vote, since many of them have never had a street address. The secretary of state in Georgia is imposing a exact match requirement, meaning if your voter registration does not match other state records about you, you will not be able to vote. Wisconsin is purging its voter's records of people that did not vote in the last election.

And both sides are bringing out the big guns. The Republicans are using Trump in hopes of generating the base. The Democrats are using Biden, Obama and Sanders.

Obama has been quoted as saying "Democracy is a dirty business."

Stay tuned.
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Comments

  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    CBS is predicting that the House of Representatives will shift to the Democrats 226 to 209 Republicans. The Senate is still up in the air, but the predictions are if the Democrats can gain 2 seats Senate Bernie Sanders is likely to become the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee--that is a very powerful post.
    I’m afraid that the odds that the Democrats will take control of the Senate seem to be fairly slim. It could happen—after all, Trump beat the odds and got elected. But I’m not sure how likely it is that lightening will strike twice.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    CBS is predicting that the House of Representatives will shift to the Democrats 226 to 209 Republicans. The Senate is still up in the air, but the predictions are if the Democrats can gain 2 seats Senate Bernie Sanders is likely to become the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee--that is a very powerful post.
    I’m afraid that the odds that the Democrats will take control of the Senate seem to be fairly slim. It could happen—after all, Trump beat the odds and got elected. But I’m not sure how likely it is that lightening will strike twice.

    Two possible Senate seats that can flip are Ted Cruz in Texas, and Dean Heller in Nevada.
  • GwaiGwai Purgatory Host
    If Democratic candidates magically hold every at risk Democratic seat and flip both of those they'd be good. Unfortunately it is held to be very unlikely by most people who tend to know.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited October 23
    Do you see a desire in Democratic voters to get out there? I just don't mean the activists we hear about - Joe and Jo Public. Will you need to convince them to get out to vote?

    What about from the Republican side? Are they gee-d up to get out and vote and confirm their trust in The Orange One?
  • There is a proposition 11 in California that my friend is urging people to vote against. She works as a Telephone person responding to 911 calls and her wife is a former ambo. I know nothing about it, but I am told that the effect of it would be to deny emergency service workers certain allowances. I am told that a bunch of emergency workers have taken legal action to recover unpaid wages and that Proposition 11 is a response to that by the private employers who run the services.

    Obviously I do not have the facts, but I do love my friend and trust her implicitly. If you are in California please have a close look at Proposition 11.
  • GwaiGwai Purgatory Host
    I don't make hopeful predictions anymore, not since 2016. Hope is too dangerous. That said everyone I know is screaming at everyone else to vote and there are rumors that turn-up is up.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Another dirty trick the Republicans are using is to tell Democratic voters they vote on Nov. 8, two days after the official election.
  • NiteowlNiteowl Shipmate
    Both sides are playing to their bases, using scare tactics to get out the vote. One really has to do your homework for candidates and ballot initiatives. There is much riding on this election. I am not thrilled with either party but there does need to be a check on Trump.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Dead Horses Host
    Recognising the caution over polls, 538 is currently giving probabilities of 6/7 that the Democrats will win the House and 1/7 that the Democrats will win the Senate. Trump's latest round of rallies has him lying outrageously in order to push various fear buttons to get the GOP faithful out. It remains to be seen how successful he will be, and how successful the Democrats will be, in getting the voters to vote.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Gwai wrote: »
    I don't make hopeful predictions anymore, not since 2016. Hope is too dangerous.

    :cry:

  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    And from me. I am so sorry.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    CBS is predicting that the House of Representatives will shift to the Democrats 226 to 209 Republicans. The Senate is still up in the air, but the predictions are if the Democrats can gain 2 seats Senate Bernie Sanders is likely to become the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee--that is a very powerful post.
    I’m afraid that the odds that the Democrats will take control of the Senate seem to be fairly slim. It could happen—after all, Trump beat the odds and got elected. But I’m not sure how likely it is that lightening will strike twice.

    Two possible Senate seats that can flip are Ted Cruz in Texas, and Dean Heller in Nevada.
    I didn't say it's impossible that the Senate will flip, but the odds are against it, and pretty much always have been. The states with seats up for election this year are not states that help the Democrats' odds. Yes, there's a reasonable chance that Nevada will flip. Arizona, too. In Texas, the chances aren't as good.

    Meanwhile, there's a good chance that North Dakota will flip to the Republicans, so that would be another seat that Democrats would need to gain elsewhere as an offset.

    I'd love to see the Dems take control of the Senate. But I know that it's more likely than not they won't. All the polls/poll aggregations and forecasts I've seen suggest that the Dems taking control is a long-shot.

  • amyboamybo Shipmate
    I'm worried MN could lose another Democrat seat; Tina Smith, Franken's replacement, isn't polling great. The outstate voters seem to be digging their heels in, and she's really not progressive enough for the rest of us. I'll have to hold my nose while I vote for her.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    In South Dakota, there is a new law that all voters must have a street address. This is clearly designed to limit the Native American vote, since many of them have never had a street address.

    That's actually North Dakota. South Dakota doesn't have a Senate election this time around, though other offices are on the ballot. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is in a tough re-election bid and the Native American vote was key to getting her elected in 2012, so anything that limits the Native vote in North Dakota is bad news for Democrats.
    Climacus wrote: »
    Do you see a desire in Democratic voters to get out there? I just don't mean the activists we hear about - Joe and Jo Public. Will you need to convince them to get out to vote?

    There seem to be a lot of highly motivated voters this time around.
    Tens of thousands of Texas voters turned out across the state to cast their ballots on Monday, the first day of early voting for the 2018 midterm elections.

    The state's largest counties all saw much larger first-day turnout than they did in the previous midterm elections in 2014. Dallas County’s combined in person and mail-in votes topped out at 55,384 on Monday, almost 26,000 more than were cast in 2014, according to The Dallas Morning News.

    In Bexar County, The San Antonio Express News reported that as of 4 p.m. Monday more than 24,000 people had voted in person, compared to 13,436 who voted in person first day in 2014.

    Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar, reported on Facebook Monday night in-person and mail-in votes for Travis County totaled 47,405, compared to 17,181 first-day in-person and mail-in votes in 2014.

    Smaller counties also saw big turnout. Midland County Election Administrator Deborah Land said out of 84,945 registered voters in her county, 3,546 had voted by 4 p.m. Monday — compared to just 756 who voted the first day in 2014.

    “We had a line at the elections office all day,” Land said. “Most of the time it was extending down the hallway.”

    Maybe it's just me, but I can't see a lot of people willing to stand in line for hours to vote for Ted Cruz. Those pictures look like the line for a Star Wars premiere.
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I'd love to see the Dems take control of the Senate. But I know that it's more likely than not they won't. All the polls/poll aggregations and forecasts I've seen suggest that the Dems taking control is a long-shot.

    2018 was always going to be a tough year for Democrats in the Senate. Of the thirty-five seats up for election this time around (thirty-three regular elections and two special elections) only nine have Republican incumbents. To take control of the Senate the Democrats need a net gain of two seats. Even this was something of a surprise, since it wasn't anticipated that the 2017 special election for Jeff Sessions' old seat would be won by Democrat Doug Jones. A Democratic net gain of three seats would have been a virtual impossibility given the current map. The most likely path to fifty-one Democratic seats in the Senate is Democrats winning in Arizona and Nevada and holding on to the seats they have everywhere else.

    Five thirty-eight has a breakdown of what they see as the current state of play in the Senate, House, and Governor elections taking place in 2018. Current projections for a Democrat-controlled Senate in 2019 stand at about 19%.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited October 24
    Thank you for that.

    And now some loon has supposedly sent explosive devices.

    I remember being in high school and thinking the world would be a better place in 10 years. Over 20 years now and I'm bloody disappointed with the state of it.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Blogger Josh Marshall points out that those allegedly targeted with explosives are people Donald Trump has specifically identified as his enemies.
    The gist is the Clintons, Obamas, George Soros, Eric Holder, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Maxine Waters and John Brennan. Brennan’s was actually the name on the device sent to CNN’s offices in New York. The common denominator here is pretty clear. These are not only Democrats or people generally on the left. In Brennan’s case he’s not really clearly either. These are all high profile targets of President Trump and relatedly nemeses of your standard Trumpite media outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Caller.
  • It reminds me of the Unabomber. I hope they find the person or people very quickly.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Dead Horses Host
    You can't help but feel that a President who mouths hate speech so blatantly deserves to crash and burn in the midterms. But I don't know. There seems to be this constituency for hate speech. Which does not bode well for civil order in the US.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited October 24
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    It reminds me of the Unabomber. I hope they find the person or people very quickly.

    Let's remember that the Unabomber was active for seventeen years before he was identified as Ted Kaczynski and arrested.

    Blogger Adam L Silverman asks some important questions.
    1. Are there any more of these pipe bombs in the postal service pipeline that won’t get delivered until tomorrow?
    2. Are these the only planned bombs or is this just the first set in a series?
    3. If this is just the first set in a series, are those in the next set also going to people that are unlikely to actually receive their mail directly without it going through a security pre-screening? Or will the next set or sets be going to recipients that will receive their mail directly?
    4. How many copycats will follow today’s perpetrator’s lead?
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    edited October 24
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    There is a proposition 11 in California ...

    A court ruling involving security guards inadvertently gave an opening for EMTs and paramedics working for private ambulance companies to sue for back pay that they don't actually have coming to them. Security guards are allowed to turn off their radios when they go on breaks. Emergency first responders, not so much. They get paid when they're on call for breaks, and if their break is interrupted because someone is having a heart attack, they take it later, again with pay. They've been fine with this for decades; they signed contracts negotiated by their union and this was never an issue. The EMTs and paramedics who work for government entities continue to be fine with it. Their union isn't even organizing against this measure. The legislature could have and should have fixed this, but couldn't be bothered to do their job, so the voters have to. It's bullshit. I'm fucking pissed that I have to spend my time figuring this crap out. The legislature gets paid for this, not me.

    I'm way more interested in Proposition 10, which would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act and allow local governments to have decent rent control if they want it.

    About the Senate: a friend who has worked for the state of Nevada for quite some time says the race there is too close to call and that it will all come down to turnout in Vegas. So if you want the Democrats to take that seat, light candles for the unions there, as they're the ones who turn out the vote.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited October 25
    I found this interesting
    A record 44 percent of U.S. firms will give workers paid time off to vote Nov. 6, up from 37 percent in 2016, according to reports from the Society for Human Resources Management.
    I hadn't really thought of voting on a weekday before (we vote on Saturdays here - complete with school- or community-run sausage sizzle and cake stalls - we now have a phrase "democracy sausage" for it).

    I'd assumed people went before or after work, or lunchtime. A list I subscribe to which pointed me to the article hinted at the problems of voting on a school / work day and not getting time off to do it. Stupid of me, but as above, did not think of it much.

    Have our American shipmates found it hard to juggle responsibilities and voting?
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited October 25
    Climacus wrote: »
    I'd assumed people went before or after work, or lunchtime. A list I subscribe to which pointed me to the article hinted at the problems of voting on a school / work day and not getting time off to do it.

    There are numerous complications. As your linked article notes, fewer than half of American employers will accommodate voting with paid leave during the workday. As you can imagine those who have such accommodations from their employers tend to work higher paying jobs, and those with higher paying jobs whose employers don't make such accommodations often have other types of paid leave available to them. In other words, the way the system is designed set up to make voting harder the less well off you are.

    There are, of course, other logistical complications. Voting during your lunch break is problematic if your workplace is distant from your residence since you may not have time to travel to your home precinct, stand in line, vote, and travel back to work in the time allotted for lunch. If you have kids your normal daytime child care provisions might not stretch to taking an extra hour or so after work to vote. That's assuming you're not in a precinct where the voting line is three or four hours long which presents other hurdles. A person's ability to devote three or four hours to standing in line is obviously directly related to their relative affluence.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Thanks Crœsos; more ignorance from me - 3 - 4 hours! Would've never guessed. Good grief. I've got no life and even I'd wonder if it was worth my while. Can't imagine it.

    I'm in and out within 5 - 15 minutes usually, but not sure how typical that is here. Thank you.

    And a new thing I learnt, if I read correctly: you can't vote out of your precinct? Interesting. We can here. Again, I assumed it would happen there -- particularly if you are voting on a work day and, as you say, you may live somewhere else and work in a different location/area. I don't mean to be a judgemental outsider, but it does seem a number of barriers are put up.
  • The challenges vary from state to state, too. Many states have early voting, which may include polling places open in the evenings and perhaps on weekends, and for which you don't have to go to your own precinct, but can choose from various voting centers. Early voting here began last Wednesday (Oct. 17) and will continue through the Saturday before Election Day. I voted last week. The turnout for early voting has been high, so far. Having early voting available can not only be friendlier to the schedules of working people, but also can also keep the lines from getting too long on Election Day.

    But some states do not have early voting of any kind.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    And a new thing I learnt, if I read correctly: you can't vote out of your precinct?

    Like everything else in the U.S. the rules on that are a patchwork that depends on your jurisdiction. You definitely can't if you're crossing state lines between home and work, like someone who lives in New Jersey but commutes in to New York City for work. Most states will assign you a precinct near your residence which is the only place you can vote in person. A lot of states are increasing the ability to cast your ballot by mail and three (Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) have gone to an all mail-in ballot system. Still, the general rule is that you can only vote in one place on election day.
    Climacus wrote: »
    I don't mean to be a judgemental outsider, but it does seem a number of barriers are put up.

    Some would argue that is deliberate. One American political party (the Republicans) sees their political fortunes tied to the number of people they can keep from voting. As I noted earlier, most of the obstacles to voting are things that are easier to manage the more affluent you are, and the more affluent tend to vote Republican.
  • We are required by law to give 3 consecutive paid hours off for voting. Polls may be open before and after work. What I do with my employees is ask them when they plan to vote, and please coordinate for coverage. Don't keep track but no-one takes the 3 hours. Usually 1 or 1½ hours. Most want to do the start or end of day, i.e., on way to / from work. There also advance polls which are usually ~1 week early, which are at other locations.

    I've waited once almost 45 mins to vote. Usually it is walk in, be directed to the specific poll for your address, and out within 15 minutes. Whether civic, provincial, federal.

    They want us on the voter list, and take some pains to include everyone. I saw all of this because it seems that in the USA they don't want people to vote. Which sounds anti-democratic.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host
    Being an expat, it's a long time since I've had a vote anywhere (we haven't got Canadian citizenship yet), but in the UK I never had to take time off work to vote - polling stations were open before and after working hours - and never had to queue for more than a few minutes. If that's the norm in America, they haven't got enough polling stations.

    I'm absolutely appalled at the stories I'm seeing about people being removed from electoral registers, and even of voting machines* changing votes from one candidate to another.

    * I know I'm going to sound like a bit of a Luddite, but really, what's wrong with a piece of paper on which you put a cross against the name of your preferred candidate?
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Piglet wrote: »
    ...* I know I'm going to sound like a bit of a Luddite, but really, what's wrong with a piece of paper on which you put a cross against the name of your preferred candidate?
    Having lived in politically infamous Cook County, Illinois, I would never use a voting machine; when it comes to stealing votes, the Russians are amateurs. Make mine a paper ballot.


  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    Having lived in politically infamous Cook County, Illinois, I would never use a voting machine; when it comes to stealing votes, the Russians are amateurs. Make mine a paper ballot.

    Ironically Illinois (including Cook County) is now one of the states that maintains a "paper trail" ballot.
  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    I'm astonished at the idea of having to queue for hours to vote, as well (I'm in the UK, we vote on Thursdays). As others have said, I'm in and out in a few minutes, I don't think I've ever had more than one or two people ahead of me in the queue. I've never heard of anyone being given time off to vote, I don't think it would be necessary.

    The polling station is in a local school a couple of hundred yards from the railway station, so I vote either on the way to work or on the way home. I've never lived anywhere where it's difficult to get to a polling station.

    MMM
  • Climacus wrote: »
    ....
    I don't mean to be a judgemental outsider, but it does seem a number of barriers are put up.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that higher turnouts favour Democrats. Republicans will do anything to keep people from voting. Rachel Maddow has done a lot of good reporting on voter suppression.

    You might not believe this, but giving certain voters incorrect information is a strategy.

    ... "This past week a Republican state legislator in Kansas ... just got a whole bunch of unfavorable press statewide, for a Facebook posting in which he said this: 'Make sure you know when to vote! Republicans vote Nov. 6! Democrats vote Nov. 8! #RemainRed'"
    ...
    Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who in 2016 sent out a mailer to his constituents that gave them the wrong day for voting. "Now, in 2018, Lee Zeldin has just done the exact same thing again," Maddow exclaimed. ...

    Rachel Maddow calls out Republicans’ dirty election tricks

    So please be judgmental. And reserve some judgment for Republican voters who vote for these lying, cheating assholes over and over because they're pro-life*.


    *GOP value; expires at birth

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    I opted long ago for early voting. I receive a ballot in the mail, and I fill it out immediately and mail it back immediately regardless of the announced deadline for mailing it back.
  • Black Box Voting deals with the kinds of election problems we've been discussing. They do good work.
  • Voting here in the UK is clearly much easier. For Generals the polls are open 7am to 10pm. A few years ago I got a postal vote because sometimes work commitments (I am a surgeon) mean and that I can't vote in person. I do miss it a bit.

    There have been moves by the UK Conservatives to gerrymander and discourage voting. Nothing like the extent of the GOP but the same kind of tricks. I am both angry with what has been done and grateful that we are not as far down that road as our trans-Atlantic cousins.

    I have thought for a long time that cynicism is a great threat to democracy. Now I've come to realise that incited and justified cynicism is the real threat.

    AFZ
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host
    edited October 26
    ... giving certain voters incorrect information is a strategy ...
    Is it maybe time for the UN (or whoever it is) to send scrutineers to make sure US elections are fair, just as they do in "rogue states" like Zimbabwe?
  • Piglet wrote: »
    Is it maybe time for the UN (or whoever it is) to send scrutineers to make sure US elections are fair, just as they do in "rogue states" like Zimbabwe?
    During our debacle of a Presidential "Election" in 2000, I remember Vladimir Putin jokingly(?) offering to send "observers" to the U.S. to monitor our elections.


  • MMM wrote: »
    The polling station is in a local school a couple of hundred yards from the railway station, so I vote either on the way to work or on the way home. I've never lived anywhere where it's difficult to get to a polling station.

    From observation, one major difference between the UK and US is the paucity of polling stations in the US when compared with the UK - and that seems to play a large part in the generation of queuing.

    I've seen short queues in the UK in inner city areas, but nothing on the scale of the US.

  • Piglet wrote: »
    ... giving certain voters incorrect information is a strategy ...
    Is it maybe time for the UN (or whoever it is) to send scrutineers to make sure US elections are fair, just as they do in "rogue states" like Zimbabwe?

    The challenge is that the main barriers to voting are raised long before election day. It starts with fucking up with voter registration and voter lists and goes on to voter ID and "exact match" rules, insufficient polling locations, little or no advanced or absentee voting, no election-day registration, etc. Each state can make up its own set of rules to target the most troublesome voters. In Georgia, the GOP candidate for Governor is currently Secretary of State and thus has the power to decide who gets to vote.

    And there will be observers. Conservative groups like True the Vote will be "observing" and intimidating voters on election day. Note that their "Election Crimes Database" has hardly any actual charges, very few convictions, and a lot of tampering with voter registrations and petitions.

    I predict there will be weapons openly displayed at many polling places and it will get ugly.
  • Why weapons? I'm pretty sure that's not allowed. Heck, you're not even allowed to approach within a certain number of feet if you are electioneering peaceably.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    I predict there will be weapons openly displayed at many polling places and it will get ugly.

    That's more of a postdiction.
    Early voting nearly turned violent in Charlotte on Wednesday, when a Republican volunteer reported being confronted with a gun and racial slurs at a Mecklenburg County polling place.

    Derek Partee, who is black, said three white people angrily approached him at the Steele Creek polling place, which is southwest of Charlotte near Carowinds, in the 11100 block of South Tryon Street.

    Partee posted photos of the three on Facebook, including a photo in which one heavily tattooed man can be seen openly carrying a pistol in a hip holster. A few hours after Partee called police, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced it had arrested a 28-year-old Charlotte man named Jason Donald Wayne in connection with the incident.

    “Down here in Steele Creek working the polls just threatened by two white males in(and) a white female who called me a N***a, Black piece of s*** and he exposed his weapon,” Partee wrote on Facebook, but using uncensored language. “I had to back off and call CMPD, folks are getting bold and forward in the time.”

    For those who are unfamiliar with the iconography of the t-shirt the alleged intimidator was wearing it's a Punisher skull, the icon of Marvel Comics' Punisher character and a popular image among the alt-right. From the description of the encounter Mr. Wayne, the alleged harasser with the gun, didn't care whether Mr. Partee was a Democrat or a Republican, just that he was a black man at a polling station.
    Why weapons? I'm pretty sure that's not allowed.

    No, it's not allowed. Which is obviously not the same thing as "never happens". That's one of the asymmetries in election interference. If you can keep people away from the polls on election day, there's no real post facto remedy.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Thank you all for the information and links. I'm even more depressed.

    I can't think of a better way to say this, sorry, as an outsider I do not mean to point fingers, but I've never been more aware of the discrepancies between the American ideal and reality. And this at a fundamental right and supposedly peaceful action, voting. That Mecklenburg County story is frightening. Terrifying. How many would read this and think, "It's not worth it"? I am sorry.

    We have problems down here, and I'm sure there are racists at our polling stations, but this seems so extreme. Best wishes for safety for all.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    I shall be appearing at my polling place early. I just have to find someone to take me there. (Being stuck in a wheelchair really impinges on one's autonomy.)

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    The reason why the US General Election is on the first Tuesday after the First Sunday in November goes back to agricultural times. By the first of November the harvests would have been done. Sundays were out because people did not want to break the Sabbath (yea, I know, Sabat is on Saturday, but piety reigned supreme). Most people would go to the county seat to vote, so as a rule, one would take Monday to take a horse drawn cart into town--around 15 miles away. They would vote on Tuesday. Some areas would use the rest of the week of market or partying and then people would return home on Saturday.

    We don't have to vote in county seats anymore. Voting is usually done in precincts now

    Here in Washington State it is all vote by mail. Oregon also has vote by mail. Often blue (Democratic-Leaning) states will bend over backwards to encourage people to vote. Red (Republican Leaning) states will do everything they can to discourage the vote.

    And the Red States are very good at it. In Kansas, for instance, the town of Dodge is 2/3rds Mexican American, about 13,000 voters. So, what did the Republican Secretary of State do? He moved the one polling place some miles out of town.

    Today, I found out that the Republican County Auditor in the neighboring town of Moscow Idaho suddenly switched the city's polling place from the University of Idaho's enclosed sports arena--where there was ample parking and students could walk to the polling place to the county fairgrounds on the other town where there is hardly any real parking space and not easily accessible for university students.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    That is shocking. Here, almost every public school, as well as other places, is a place to vote.

    Thanks for the information, Gramps. It is amazing how you take your own structures for granted.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Just as it's often been commented that the US Constitution has retained an elected version of George III, it's beginning to sound as though it has stuck with many of the defects of the electoral system in Britain as it was in that era.
  • In my town people start whinging if you have to wait 20 minutes. The trick is to turn up early, but not right when the polls open. Give it maybe 30 minutes. In one election, the polling place in a suburban electorate was at the church hall. Me and the youth group set up a BBQ and the wind was blowing the smell in through the hall. We made about $2000 that day for the group. I reckon most people bought a sausage. Charity sausage sizzles are a big thing at polling places on election day. They call it the Democracy Sausage, kind of a reward to yourself for avoiding the fine for not voting.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Dead Horses Host
    Climacus wrote: »
    That is shocking. Here, almost every public school, as well as other places, is a place to vote.

    Thanks for the information, Gramps. It is amazing how you take your own structures for granted.

    It's long term policy; the disenfranchising of the "unsuitable" by whatever means come to hand. Underneath the prejudice is a deep-rooted sense of entitlement to power, and if the voters don't vote that way, there is something wrong with those who don't. So lets "fix" them. "In the home of the brave and the land of the free, we get to decide who is brave (as opposed to anarchic) and who should be free (as opposed to subservient)".

    We're talking about folks who pay lip service to democracy but actually seek to retain power and control.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    Just as it's often been commented that the US Constitution has retained an elected version of George III, it's beginning to sound as though it has stuck with many of the defects of the electoral system in Britain as it was in that era.

    That's revisionist. Most of the electoral defects cited here are home-grown, developed in the incubator of the segregation-era South.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    The only time I had a real wait to vote was when we were voting on whether or not to recall the governor and turnout was unexpectedly high, but that's because I'm fortunate enough to live in a state run by Democrats. Polls are open 7 am to 8 pm, and anyone can request a mail-in ballot. I like to go to the polls, though, and see my neighbors and get my "I Voted" sticker. My local coffee place sometimes gives discounts if you come in with your sticker or ballot stub. Employers are supposed to give people time off to vote if they need it, but of course there are plenty of shitty employers who don't.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Dead Horses Host
    That is consistent with everything I have read, Ruth.

    We've been using postal votes in the UK since the option was first introduced. It's been very helpful given some of our travelling responsibilities (often at short notice). But I miss going to the polls.
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