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299

The most trite answer is a civil rights protection against the following algorithm: Win a legislative election. Pass any law which disproportionately imprisons the supporters of your opponents. Profit. This is relatively hard to prevent through other constitutional means, since the law doesn't need to be exclusively or primarily politically targeted to ...


126

Democracy: Criminals (including those in jail) are affected by the results of the political process. Allowing them to vote gives their an option for their opinions to be heard. If you want to signal criminals that they are not full members of the society, do it coherently: convicted criminals cannot vote, but they get to pay less taxes, too. On the other ...


94

This is a peculiarity as a result of the federal nature of the USA and the exceptional position of Puerto Rico as a territory but not a state. Within the States and Territories of the USA, your voting rights depend on residence. If you leave the States and Territories your voting rights depend on former residence or inheritance. In general most citizens of ...


87

Some problems I can see with this idea: Unbalanced incentives In point two, you claim that this system would encourage votes from people who "understand the value of the vote", but is that really true? Votes are very important in aggregate but a single vote, not so much - the overwhelmingly most likely outcomes of adding one vote are either 1) your ...


84

There's a process that's meant to be followed if someone arrives at a polling station to find that someone has already voted in their name or they're recorded as having received a postal vote (a 'tendered vote' can be made, although it isn't counted). If the polling station closed early then this might be made impossible. For this reason it would not make ...


79

Why are “the rich” more able to identify the party which represent their interests than “the poor”? Mostly, because your assumption is just that, an assumption, and is an incorrect one at that. I won't go down the rabbit hole of disputing your Marx-influenced class based assumption that somehow, left wing parties[1] represent interests of "the poor" ...


71

There are so many false assumptions in your question. But one that wasn't addressed by the other answers is this: There are a lot of people who vote based on their moral principles. Whether rich or poor, one can believe that the proper role of government is to help to poor. Or one can believe that charity should not be compelled by law. One can believe that ...


69

Polling hours are set out in Schedule I of the Representation of the People Act, 1983, as "between the hours of 7 in the morning and 10 at night". There is nothing in the Act that allows a polling station to close early if all voters have voted.


60

the Photo ID Voting Law was put in place because states wished to decrease voting fraud, right? That is the stated reason, yes. However, in-person voter fraud (the only fraud that would be caught by voter id laws) is essentially non-existent. There were 18 confirmed cases between 2002 and 2012 in Texas. The 5th circuit appeals court found that the Texas ...


59

Here are some actual arguments given in cases around the world, extracted from a paper focusing on the Irish case: Israel: after Yigal Amir assassinated Rabin, there was a court case asking for Amir's voting rights to be curtailed. The Israeli supreme court refused stating that Amir's imprisonment was his punishment and that in denying the right to vote ‘...


59

This answer is tainted by my German experience and views, but I expect many instances of it to apply to the US, too. With the traditional concept of an election day, all people have the opportunity to make up their mind up to that very day. With postal voting, the vote needs to be posted some time before to make it to the counting station in time. Now ...


54

No, this isn't at all practical. You're removing virtually everything a voter could possibly use to decide who to support. If you don't know a candidate's identity, all you're left with is what policies they claim to support. But you can't even trust those, because you don't have any way to compare it with things they've previously done. There'd be no reason ...


54

Rural voters aren't afraid to go to the polls to keep a conservative state supreme court justice in power. The April 2020 ballot does include the U.S. presidential primary, but that will have little effect on state politics. After I first posted this answer, the New York Times echoed many of the points I make below, starting with: Former Vice President ...


53

Republicans prevented this change because at the core it is beneficial to their electoral prospects. There are many layers to fully understanding this issue, but to address it in brief I think a few facts are sufficient. One, the proportion of Republican voters is larger in rural areas than urban areas, see here. The dangers of COVID-19 are more ...


51

The two cases mentioned in the linked podcast are those of Crystal Mason and Rosa Maria Ortega, who were both convicted of voter fraud under different circumstances. I'm going to firstly focus on the case of Crystal Mason, who was convicted after voting in the 2016 presidential election whilst ineligible to vote. She was able to be identified and charged ...


50

This problem can be solved by a system called ranked-choice voting, aka instant-runoff voting First off, there are multiple voting systems based on ranking your choices. The system you're describing is just one example, and it's a pretty bad one, so it's frustrating that people refer to it as "ranked-choice voting", as if it's the only ranked system. This ...


50

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? One important reason to not implement a license system that it is much more vulnerable to manipulations. Whoever runs the tests gets the power to decide who can vote and who cannot. There is no objective measure of "voting fitness" - the test's difficulty can range from only very simple questions that most people should ...


50

In some states, election day is a holiday. The counter argument you are looking for is that the federal government shouldn't dictate how states implement their elections. If the states wish to declare their own civic holidays on election day they are free to do so, without the federal government requiring it and the corresponding loss of productivity from ...


47

As far as I know, there are no reported cases of Democrats suppressing votes in the same manner as Republicans are seen to be doing, however there are still some accusations of voter suppression that have been leveled at the party. Scheduling Off-Cycle Elections Democrats have, in general, stood against attempts to bring local election schedules in line ...


46

Yes - the official totals according to the FEC were: Trump - 62,984,828 (46.09% of all 136,669,276 votes) Clinton - 65,853,514 (48.18% of all 136,669,276 votes) So in terms of difference in popular vote percentage, this gives us your first figure, 2.09 points. However, in terms of the percentage of the votes given to either of the two main parties, this ...


45

"Disproportionate representation" describes the result without making any reference to the cause. For example, States have disproportionate representation in the Senate is a perfectly reasonable description. If you want to be more specific as to what kind of proportionality you're talking about, you could specify with States have disproportionate ...


43

In their article, Localism in Presidential Elections: The Home State Advantage [1] published in the American Journal of Political Science, Lewis-Beck & Rice (1983) investigate the home state advantage using quantitative evidence, and try to explain the phenomenon. They discuss the fact that of all the public offices, the presidency is by far the office ...


41

While the other answers address legitimate, valid reasoning why voting-by-mail has some hurdles to overcome before it can become a national policy, this decision is ultimately made by legislators, and thus their motives are the primary drivers of what becomes law. In 2012, the Republican party was at a crossroads. The old-guard branch of the GOP, as ...


40

It depends on the state you are registered to vote. There's an article I came across about this, you can read the whole article since it includes examples too. The answer depends mostly on where the voter is registered, because American election laws and procedures are for the most part determined by the individual states, even in elections for federal ...


39

The main point of objection by the boycotters is that the referendum essentially does not accomplish anything. It is not legally binding and would not significantly advance the movement for statehood or independence; therefore, opponents feel that boycotting it emphasizes its ineffectiveness. Part of the rationale for the opposition parties is that Congress ...


39

Yes. Currently gerrymandering has no effect on US Senators. However, before the ratification of the 17th amendment to Constitution, Senators were elected/chosen by the state legislature. The state legislature, including its senators(at least in my state), have and have had districts. So, since gerrymandering started "officially" in 1812 and since the 17th ...


39

My answer here shows that it is trivially easy to do in California. The answer details official CA procedures, and at no point do they require anything that would prove citizenship (nor, offer the state ability to check citizenship without offered proof). Short version: When registering to vote (quoting from my own answer, NOT from source supporting ...


39

The US doesn't have a presidential election. Get that idea out of your head. Instead, all 51 states* have their own presidential elections on the same day. This selects a set number of electors for each state. Those electors get together weeks later, and they decide who is President. To be eligible to vote, you have to be a US citizen resident in one of ...


38

According to a June 2020 investigation published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the imposition of a universal vote-by-mail policy, whereby every voter would be sent a ballot to complete in advance of the election, would have no effect on either party's share of turnout or vote share. The study does, however, find that the policy ...


37

There are two challenges to online voting which can be seen as well technological as cultural. Challenge 1: You cannot at the same time have verifiability of an election and anonymous voting. This implies that you have to make a tradeoff between an anonymous election (as it is the case with paper ballots) and verifiability. If you want to be sure that each ...


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