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21
votes
4answers
14k views

Does it cost $25 to obtain a "free" Voter ID in any state?

This article at pbs.org seems to indicate that getting a free Voter ID in a state can cost as much as $25. Voting law advocates contend these laws disproportionately affect elderly, minority and ...
13
votes
2answers
441 views

Are there any truly EU-level political parties?

In the European Parliament, parties operate as groups of national parties, see e.g. current europarties. They don't take members and don't operate in countries where they don't have any membership ...
9
votes
2answers
923 views

Has sharia ever been introduced by democratic means?

Sharia, as defined by its Wikipedia article, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Views on the compatibility of Sharia with democracy differ. From the same article: Legal scholar L. Ali ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Who are early critics of democracy?

I've been reading Henry David Thoreau's Resistance to Civil Government recently. It's a very interesting essay from 1849 and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in progressive thoughts on ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the human rights group Amnesty International perceived as liberal in the United States?

In a mini-debate as to the reliability of Amnesty International as an objective source, I came across a post on Skeptics SE commenting the issue as follows: The problem is that, much like global ...
6
votes
1answer
752 views

What is the magnitude of election fraud in the US? [closed]

I've recently been quite shocked to learn that in the US there is a serious amount of election fraud - at least in the presidential elections. Are there any numbers on the magnitude of this? I am ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

If a governor or senator is chosen as a running mate (VP) to a president candidate, and that candidate loses, what happens?

If a governor or senator is chosen as a running mate (VP) to a president candidate, and that candidate loses, do they go back to their post as governor or senator?
11
votes
3answers
619 views

Are people more likely to seek out news sources they agree with?

Anecdotal evidence certainly suggests that people are more comfortable hearing politically controversial information from sources they already agree with. Such is the business model of MSNBC on the ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the debt ceiling and what happens if we reach it?

Over the past few years, there has been debate in congress as to whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. My question is simple(the answer to it might not be): What Is the debt ceiling, under what ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is proportional representation not considered in any of the US states?

While the Americans agree that the current two-party system is broken, I have not heard any real voices on changing it in any State. States like California, New York or Texas, which send large ...
10
votes
2answers
614 views

Are there any proposals for a significant electrification of US railroads?

Most of the railroads in the United States are not electrified. I can't find figures right now, but I don't think it's much. In the past decade, fuel prices have risen, Amtrak ridership has increased ...
9
votes
2answers
193 views

What is the status of the proposed extension of passenger railroads in the US?

From a European perspective, I have the impression that in most of the USA, intercity passenger rail travel is mestly a touristic endeavour, and not used for "ordinary" intercity travel as it is in ...
13
votes
2answers
6k views

What are the advantages of a VAT over a normal sales tax?

In the United States, most consumers are used to paying a sales tax - a couple of percentage points per dollar of goods sold - that are used to fund government. By contrast, Europeans pay a "VAT" - a ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there any possibility to have a democracy inherently discourage lobbying?

Can a democratic system be structured in a way that doesn't rely on ethics or brute-force, police-state-esque measures to disable lobbying? Is there a way to inherently make lobbying unattractive/...
18
votes
1answer
9k views

How was the US able to create a Department of Education at the Federal level?

Looking through Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution (that part of the document that enumerates the powers of the Congress), there is nothing that talks about Congress' role in education. ...
4
votes
1answer
247 views

What are the arguments against an EU style transaction tax on equity and derivative markets?

This week, the European Union voted to allow 11 member states to implement a transaction tax on all equity and derivative trades occurring on their stock exchanges. Under that plan, a 0.1% tax ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What can be done to limit the power of trade unions without hurting the right of assembly?

Some claim that trade unions are essential for ensuring workers rights. At the same time, some powerful trade unions are being blamed for using their power to extort extremely high salaries and ...
3
votes
1answer
455 views

What is a "councilmanic tax"?

In my hometown there is an election next month for several propositions put forth. The second proposition would require any "new councilmanic tax" to be approved by the city council with a majority+1 ...
16
votes
3answers
966 views

Why is redistricting not an automated process?

What is the reason that redistricting is not automatic? Is it just a legacy of a time when it was impossible? The definition of gerrymandering is: In the process of setting electoral districts, ...
2
votes
0answers
1k views

The ideal of representative democracy [closed]

When people use the term, they generally mean: Representative democracy is a variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected people representing a group of people, as opposed to direct ...
9
votes
2answers
323 views

Did any countries precede Nepal in introducing a 3rd legal gender?

From this article in The Scotsman: Nepal’s government will begin issuing citizenship certificates with the category “third gender” for people who do not wish to be identified as male or female. ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Has the British Monarch ever exercised their right to revoke land "ownership" rights for personal use?

As I understand the British monarchy, all land in the United Kingdom is owned by the monarch. Owners of houses and businesses and the like within the United Kingdom are merely granted the use of the ...
22
votes
4answers
13k views

What makes California a Democratic state?

So, back in the 60s & 70s, California gave us Richard Nixon. In the 80s, President Reagan hailed from the state. At least as late as 1984, California was considered a safe Republican state. ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the political reasons for a strong Euroscepticism in Britain?

Britain is fairly heavily "Eurosceptic": Within Europe overall, a positive to neutral opinion of the EU dominated, with about 46% of citizens having a positive opinion and only 16% having a ...
7
votes
2answers
342 views

What are the practical implications of the claims for Antarctica?

Several countries maintain territorial claims in Antarctica: What are the practical implications of those claims? The Wikipedia article mentions scientific research stations administered by a ...
4
votes
2answers
614 views

How does the Cuban system for municipal elections work?

In Cuba, the Communist Party of Cuba is the official state party. According to the Wikipedia article on the Cuban electoral system, Candidates for municipal assemblies are nominated on an ...
3
votes
2answers
283 views

How does the Swiss system for Einbürgerung (naturalisation) work?

Around ten years ago, I read in a Swiss newspaper article in NZZ am Sontag about a mayor who was not accepted as a citizen of his own village. I have found the article on the internet: «Dickschädel ...
13
votes
2answers
731 views

What would it take for the U.S. to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

Together with Somalia and South Sudan, the U.S. has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I think the reasons for Somalia and South Sudan are quite clear — Somalia has not had a ...
6
votes
1answer
366 views

Could anyone tell me why the United States has not ratified the CEDAW?

Could anyone tell me why the United States has not ratified the CEDAW (The Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) yet ?
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What is Hong Kong's form of government?

The Chief Executive is the head of the government in Hong Kong, but he/she is not publicly voted for, but rather is chosen by an election committee. In some ways, this is like a democracy, but in ...
33
votes
4answers
8k views

What is the oldest law still in force?

In particular, what is the oldest piece of written law (whether statute, constitution, decree or similar) that is still in force somewhere in the world? Alongside that, what is the oldest law still ...
13
votes
2answers
384 views

Does the treasury get to decide which parts of the budget to not fund if the debt ceiling is reached?

I am bit confused as to what the debt ceiling actually means. From my understanding congress passes a budget that instructs the treasury to spend money on specific programs. When the debt ceiling is ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

In the US, why is there such a long time between the elections and inauguration?

In the United States, the elections were on 6 November 2012, but inauguration only on 20 January 2013, more than two months later. In France, the presidential elections were on 22 April, and the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the US republican party have a demographics problem? [closed]

I've read in various articles that, among voters for the U.S. Republican Party, middle-aged white men are (strongly) over-represented, whereas among voters for the U.S. Democratic Party, voters from ...
5
votes
3answers
321 views

Is setting a "low bar" on qualifications for elected office similar around the world?

In the United States the official qualifications for becoming president, as laid out in the Constitution, are incredibly low. The only requirements are that: No Person except a natural born ...
9
votes
3answers
48k views

What is the difference between a constitutional law and a law

In Britain, where I live, there isn't a distinction between constitutional law and ordinary statute law. Any law can repeal or amend any other law, and all laws follow the same procedure to be passed....
4
votes
0answers
166 views

Risks from proliferation of Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (drones)

When the U.S. gave missiles to the Afghan Mujahidins during the Soviet war in Afghanistan it arguably came back to haunt the United States. In relation to the current drone strikes it seems to me ...
12
votes
3answers
931 views

Why is France involved in Mali?

This month France has sent ground troops to and bombed northern Mali. This feels like the first time in a while that a country besides the US has stuck its neck out to fight violent Islamist groups ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

Did any large cities in Europe or North America ban outdoor advertising?

In September 2006, Sao Paolo, Brazil banned outdoor advertising. Are there any examples of such measures in cities in Europe or North America? The only thing I'm personally aware of is that the ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

In the US, is it forbidden to label food as GMO-free?

There is an ongoing debate about genetically modified organisms (GMO). For example, California voters rejected mandatory labeling of GMO-food. On a somewhat related note, in the US, it is apparently ...
15
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the political/legal distinction between a "state" and a "commonwealth" in the United States?

Some of the "states" in the United States are referred to as a Commonwealth rather than State (Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania specifically). The Wikipedia article for Commonwealth ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

Why did Musharraf quarrel with the Supreme Court?

In reading about Pakistani politics I got the impression that the judiciary is closely associated with the military. However, I remember that Musharraf's fall from power began by his confronting the ...
11
votes
2answers
333 views

Do the Naxalites enjoy popular support among the poor population?

In India, the Naxalites are various armed political groups with communist and Maoist ideologies. They have been declared a terrorist organisation by the government of India. The Wikipedia article ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any functional difference between "Middle East" and "Near East"?

Commonly in foreign policy debates, the countries in and around Israel are referred to as the "Middle East". I heard an expert on the topic speak as a representative of a think tank that used the term ...
9
votes
4answers
10k views

Why did Marx believe that mass industrialisation was a prerequisite for the proletarian revolution?

Apparently, Marx believed that mass industrialisation was a prerequisite for the proletarian revolution. Why did he believe this?
11
votes
2answers
291 views

Does any other governmental body have constituencies similar to Seanad Éireann?

Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate) has rather unusual (unique?) constituencies. Three senators are elected by graduates of the University of Dublin. Three senators are elected by graduates of the ...
4
votes
2answers
703 views

Is it illegal for a U.S. government to put up a "Christmas" tree?

I have occasionally heard that it may be illegal for a U.S. government to put up a "Christmas" tree. Is this true? If yes, what is the motivation for this? I have heard that separation between church ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Could the US legally adopt Indonesia's 'religion in schools' setup?

There have been recent news stories about Indonesia's plan to increase religious teaching in schools. This intrigues me, as here in the United States, schools can't force students to worship specific ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

What exactly do political aides do?

Whenever you read about the history of any recent politician (or at least, American politicians) it says "They were an aide in the Clinton administration" or something similar. What exactly do these ...
6
votes
1answer
137 views

Does depreciation count in scoring a budget proposal?

I'm going to be meeting with my Congressman soon about a modest proposal I have that could be a big deal. My Congressman (Frank Wolf) is a big proponent of telecommuting already, and is quite aware ...

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