90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Rethinking Voting

America’s voting problem.  Long lines.  Tangled ballot counts.  Overall low turnout.  How do we fix it?

Voters stand in line at a Fort Myers, Fla. church late Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP)

Voters stand in line at a Fort Myers, Fla. church late Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP)

The biggest question on Election Day in a healthy democracy should be, “Who won?” Not, “Did the voting system work?”

But last week, once again, millions of Americans faced Election Day wondering if the vote would produce a good, clean result, or we’d be plunged into days or weeks of fighting over a tight, tangled vote. Lines were long. Ballots ran out. Voters were turned away. Counts went late. Lawyers were lined up to brawl. Voter suppression was charged.

Thank goodness we had a clear outcome. What if we hadn’t?

This hour, On Point: fixing American voting.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nathaniel Persily, professor of Law and Political Science and the Director of the Center for Law and Politics at Columbia Law School.

Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

Rob Richie, executive director of Fair Vote.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “Election Day saw news story after news story about interminable lines at polling stations. In some areas, people waited for two hours, three hours, or more. To many observers, it seemed ludicrous that a country as advanced and as wealthy as the United States can’t figure out how to hold a decent election.”

Fox News “The state’s election was marred by a series of problems. The biggest was the long lines, which were particularly bad in Miami-Dade where the wait stretched on for hours, exacerbated in part by the sheer length of the ballot — a whopping 10 pages.”

Brennan Center “Our nation’s ramshackle voter registration system does not work for 21st century America. This outdated, paper-based system is not only inefficient and costly, but prone to inaccuracy. Worse, the clunky system leaves off millions of eligible voters or contains errors in their records — such as misspelled names or mistyped addresses — that prevent them from voting or having their votes counted. It is time to harness new technology to modernize our voter registration system — adding more than 50 million eligible Americans to the rolls, permanently.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • coalczar

    1)Coombs’ method or Instant Runoff voting to eliminate the duopoly of partieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coombs%27_methodhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting2)Proportional representationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation3)Election Day is a paid holiday (or two!)

  • bacterial_sizzle

    There’s this new thing called the internet…

    • Don_B1

      Currently the Internet is probably NOT secure enough for voting. Banks support processing of bill-paying, etc., over the Internet at the cost of $millions because it saves them more in bricks and mortar and employees, but a lost, misdirected, improper vote will not easily be fixed.

      This is all explained in the book by Douglas W. Jones and Barbara Simons, “Broken Ballots; Will Your Vote Count,” where the following description from the University of Chicago Press is:

      “For many of us, the presidential election of 2000 was a wake-up call. The controversy following the vote count led to demands for election reform. But the new voting systems that were subsequently introduced to the market have serious security flaws, and many are confusing and difficult to use. Moreover, legislation has not kept up with the constantly evolving voting technology, leaving little to no legal recourse when votes are improperly counted. How did we come to acquire the complex technology we now depend on to count votes?  Douglas Jones and Barbara Simons probe this question, along with public policy and regulatory issues raised by our voting technologies.  Broken Ballots is a thorough and incisive analysis of the current voting climate that approaches American elections from technological, legal, and historical perspectives.  The authors examine the ways in which Americans vote today, gauging how inaccurate, unreliable, and insecure our voting systems are. An important book for election administrators, political scientists, and students of government and technology policy, Broken Ballots is also a vital tool for any voting American.”

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Why can’t you pick up a blank ballot at the post office, so that you can fill it out prior to voting. Then you could just hand it over when you went to the polls. This would save a lot of time for everyone !

    • Don_B1

      This is effectively what voters in Oregon do, except that they just drop the filled out form into the Post Office mail.

      The “problem” is the possibility of voting fraud, where the ballot is not filled out by the voter but by someone else between being picked up and dropped off at the polls or the Post Office.

      Oregon does not seem to have had much of a problem with this over the decade or so they have had this process in effect.

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        Thanks for the info., Don.

  • northeaster17

    The more the Repub’s can gum up the process the more they can suppress the vote. At least that is what they seem to think.
    The 2000 vote appeared to be an anomaly. 2012 appears to be a trend.

  • Shag_Wevera

    It seems like we are afraid of a more direct democracy.  I’d like to see some issues taken away from congress and settled by popular vote.  Drug law, social policies, heck maybe even wars.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Problem is, we think our form of government is so special and perfect that it should never be modified.

  • ttajtt

    do you think the house wants to DO THE VOTE! not us or we, a moon lighters job?  cut costs and the balance back in, you know all the reasons why its not for you.  they have our pre-approval destroy bill vote.  do you think we would have a no fly over zone?   net, tv, phone, radio, electricity, gas, who knows all cut, killing each other then they move in.  what is left?  what do we do?  jungle we are in a zoo. 

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Republicans made a lot of ‘friends’ by intentionally creating long, long lines and stealing many, many hours of people’s lives making them jump through hoops to exercise their right to vote.

    They have succeeded in galvanizing many minority and even white male voters like myself to feel personally assaulted and threatened and make me mad as hell.

    God bless the folks around the country who waited 2,3,4… 9 hours to vote!!!

    This will not go well for the GOP in the coming years. We will never forget!

    • Don_B1

      EVERYONE needs to remember in 2014 (or whenever the next off-year election occurs)!

      Low turnout in those “off-year” elections is what enables Republicans to gain seats in state legislatures and thus enact these anti-democratic laws.

      The millionaires and billionaires will be funding candidates in the next off-year elections even more strongly than they did this time.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “America’s” voting problem?

    Please, no more false equivalence on this crap. We lefties were screaming ourselves hoarse on voter suppression for years. And I’ve been saying “It’s too much like governance to be left to Republican elected officials run it” since the GOP’s latest “Keep out the vote” stuff started.

    I live in a state with a Democrat serving as Governor, SecState, lege and AG. Funny how all those get together to make voting something besides an obstacle course.

  • OnPointComments

    When I went to the polling station, there were over a hundred people waiting in line.  The people working at the polls kept announcing for everyone to have their IDs ready, preferably a driver’s license, and everyone complied.  The new process this year was that the poll workers checking the voter registration lists simply scanned the code from the back of the license — no separate lines for A-F, G-M, etc. — and moved the people along.  All in all it worked very well, and I was in and out in about a half hour.  By the way, not one person I saw in line seemed scared or intimidated by having to produce an ID, and the people leaving at the same time I did also remarked how quickly things went.

  • ttajtt

    2 party becomes divided = chaos – confuse – distract… some say math, chest, fastest grabber gets the most.  limits ones choice and could say in all offices.  good ol’pollytician race.  sure open it up all race religion women men, it is what the americans is “tobe like” 

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Fix Florida! It is a disgrace. If they won’t do it the feds should step in. An easy first step would be to limit the length of the ballot in presidential years. No “questions” when you might keep the national election hanging for weeks, please. And no partisan voter suppression.

    • Don_B1

      Arizona is trying to be a contender for worst vote counting; they still have not counted all the provisional votes and Democrats are worried that many provisional votes will end up being thrown out. Voters who had to use a provisional ballot because Republican cutting of registration lists resulted in many who thought they were registered found that they were not. But those voters have only until this Wednesday to go to their registration location with proof of citizenship or their provisional ballots will not be counted.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    With voter id being the new mantra, why is it so much easier to get an id than it is for many people to vote?

    We need a good online voting system – if I can get my driver’s license renewed online, I should be able to vote online

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      To add to that – I heard like 95% of people had already made up their minds weeks(months?) before election day who they would vote for – giving these people a way to vote early would eliminate most or all of the long lines, lots of time for id verification and resolving other other issues and no worries about work or other schedules.

      • Don_B1

        Also, for those who find a registration or other problem, it gives them time to fix the problem and make their vote count.

  • Pingback: “Rethinking Voting” | Election Law Blog

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Ha!!!   The UN monitors issued their reports and claim we are worse than most of the world for not requiring photo IDs.

    I guess the rest of the world must be racist.

    • Don_B1

      If photo IDs are going to be required, there must be a process where ALL people, from poor people with full time jobs to disabled people, can easily get that photo ID.

      The requirement should not be “sprung” on people just a short period before the election. One reason that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the requirement for this year was that the government itself showed that it could not even have enough photo IDs for the estimated number of voters registered in previous elections but lacking photo ID (some 10% of the electorate!).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QUAYWERJ5BUI4QFICNDDVVZWD4 DefendOurConstitution

    When Republicans work so hard at making voting harder than buying semi-automatic guns, run against a weak President (because of the economy) and still lose so handily (by over 3 million votes and by more than 126 Electoral votes) it sure exposes that they have nothing to offer.

  • 1davidkiroshabteselassie1

    Voter suppression backfired on the GOP! There should be a national, non-partisan agency that has exclusive responsibility for all Congressional and Presidential elections. 

  • DrewInGeorgia

    A uniform ballot for National Elections would be a good start.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Limit early voting.  If it is necessary to accommodate the few voters that have true conflict due to work schedules then limit early voting to the weekend prior to the election.

    Some states had early voting before the completion of the debates.  That is nuts!!!!!

    • DrewInGeorgia

      You’re saying that people having an opinion prior to the last debate is nuts? How dare they…

      Limiting early voting is nuts.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      So you want to limit early voting and make waits at polls take 8,9,10 hours?

      Now that IS nuts!!!!!

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         I agree that there is no excuse for long lines.  The lines were mostly during early voting.

        • Don_B1

          The long lines during early voting were caused by not enough of the regular election places being open; the long lines on election day were because inner cities do not have enough voting places for the registered voters.

          Both are effective voter suppression tactics. They just backfired this year because people got mad as they recognized the suppression tactic. What will determine their effectiveness in the future is how many of these voters come out for the next “off-year” election.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Sure!

      Once GOP govs and SecStates have proven themselves able to run an election so people can vote in a timely manner, then we can talk about limiting early voting!

      If it’s such a good bipartisan idea to limit early voting, let’s let the GOP do some bipartisaning by getting their crap together and showing they can run a goddamn election.

      Until then, it smells like vote suppression.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      Not really – people who vote by party made up their minds long before the debates.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Hendrickson/1652586055 Joshua Hendrickson

      Why is it nuts to be able to vote before the debates are over?  What special role do the debates play, anyway, to the majority–that is, those voters who actually have an opinion (though they may not pay much attention to politics, they at least know where they stand, unlike “undecided” voters, a breed of being I for one will never comprehend)?

  • BlueMarkinRedTennessee

    During a commercial break, a teaser for another NPR program was speaking of the power of the newest super computer housed at the Oak Ridge Nuclear facility; however, we as a nation cannot solve the problems of voting. Might this be an intentional construct by some?

    • Don_B1

      It is not “intentional” but read the book by Douglas W. Jones and Barbara Simons, “Broken Ballots; Will Your Vote Count” about electronic voting and its possible subversion.

      Just because banks are willing to lose $millions rather than build bank offices to allow online banking does not mean that lost or corrupted votes can be allowed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202938382 John Lisanti

    NATIONAL CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE FIX

     

    Question, Do we really have a…

     

    “GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE..*”

    *The Gettysburg Address by Abraham
    Lincoln

     

    LET’S FIX THE BROKEN WAY WE ELECT OUR GOVERNMENT

     

    1.
    Let us all take responsibility, stop complaining and blaming “the other side”.  It is a privilege to be a citizen. 

     

    Require
    every citizen of voting age to vote. 
    Allow voting over a period of days and or holiday.  Establish a tax payer funded educational
    campaign about how our government works

     

    2. Let
    us make electing our government fair and equitable.

     

    Make
    campaign spending tax payer funded with equal fixed limits. No  pacs. No corporate donations.  Include free equal media time on broadcast
    stations which are owned by the public.  Create a national standard for the voting process.

     

    3.  Let us understand who we are voting for
    and what they are voting for.

     

    Establish a tax
    payer funded “fact check” commission to pre-screen campaign ads for accuracy
    and present their results to the public regularly,  In the past there was a “truth in advertsing law”.  Other than being practically defunct,
    it does not apply to political ads.

     

    4. Let
    us help stop the divisiveness our two party system is fostering, Respect the needs
    and opinions of each other and encourage the compromise respect requires.

     

    Allow for inclusion of third or fourth party participation
    with above support to help stop extreme political polarization.     

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    The conversation has touched on the “voter roll scrubbing” phase of voter suppression security. Good.

    To some governors and election officials, “long lines in swing states” is a feature, not a bug.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202938382 John Lisanti

    I believe that no President has ever been elected by a real majority of eligible voters.  is this democracy?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      No. The USA is a Republic, not a democracy, or as B. Franklin supposedly said, “A republic, if you can keep it”.

  • Maroloh

    Another problem is the electronic voting machines, which can all be easily hacked and reprogrammed (this has been demonstrated many times) and most of which have no paper trail to help with an audit.  The machine companies keep their programs secret.  In Ohio, in fact, for unknown reasons, untested and unknown “software patches” were put on many machines shortly before the election.  There was a confession to changing the aggregated results of the machines during 2000 and 2004. 

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Here in small town NH, I witnessed the ‘voting suppression’ law triple the time it took to get into the booth. I measured the time it took for individuals to identify themselves to the poll worker and get their paper ballot. It was a very slow process. Only 1/4 or 1/3 of the voting booths were in use at any point in time demonstrating how the poll workers were not able to keep the booths better utilized.

    It took me three times longer than than ever before and I’ve voted in this same town for over 20 years!

    It wasn’t the number of voters in front of me, it was how slow the line was moving. There is no excuse for this manipulation!!!

  • ChevSm

    I don’t understand why we can’t have early voting everywhere. 

    Just because there is early voting doesn’t mean everyone has to vote early but it is nice to have the option so you don’t have to wait for hours to cast your vote.    

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YMV2HJ2TBKMCN2QRAVI3I2OOGM Jim Jim

    make election day a national holiday.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      No one in a position of power is going to back that because of the negative economic impact it would involve. In addition, do you think all those who work in retail and are forced to work Christmas, New Years Day, July Fourth, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving are suddenly going to be given a National Holiday off? It would be great, I just don’t see how it is possible.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

       And people can choose between taking a day off or spending 8 hours in a voting line (many with their kids since they have no one to watch them on a holiday)? Does not sound like a fix.

  • L armond

    In Virginia, I understand that the two or three ammendments that were up for vote took people for a loop.  Even me, and I voted absentee.  State can prove itself by passing legislation that issues up for vote must pass a review of intelligibility, not open to Jim Crow Manipulation, and language must be helpful to those who are voting.  If legal requirements require some ‘obfuscation’ a ‘non-competant readible version must be offered, that shows options in the sense they effect everyday citizens.
    Failure to support such legislation is grounds for being tarred and feathered, says my tribe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202938382 John Lisanti

    NATIONAL CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE FIX NATIONAL CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE FIXQuestion, Do we really have a… “GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE..*”*The Gettysburg Address by Abraham
    Lincoln LET’S FIX THE BROKEN WAY WE ELECT OUR GOVERNMENT 1.
    Let us all take responsibility, stop complaining and blaming “the other side”.  It is a privilege to be a citizen.  Require
    every citizen of voting age to vote. 
    Allow voting over a period of days and or holiday.  Establish a tax payer funded educational
    campaign about how our government works 2. Let
    us make electing our government fair and equitable. Make
    campaign spending tax payer funded with equal fixed limits. No  pacs. No corporate donations.  Include free equal media time on broadcast
    stations which are owned by the public.  Create a national standard for the voting process. 3.  Let us understand who we are voting for
    and what they are voting for. Establish a tax
    payer funded “fact check” commission to pre-screen campaign ads for accuracy
    and present their results to the public regularly,  In the past there was a “truth in advertsing law”.  Other than being practically defunct,
    it does not apply to political ads. 4. Let
    us help stop the divisiveness our two party system is fostering, Respect the needs
    and opinions of each other and encourage the compromise respect requires. Allow for inclusion of third or fourth party participationwith above support to help stop extreme political polarization.  

  • 1davidkiroshabteselassie1

    I hope we see Grand Jurys convened and certain individuals doing the perp walk. This year’s attempt at voter suppression and voter intimidation was so brazen and outrageous that anything short of criminal prosecution would be a travesty.
    There should also be a national ballot managed by a non-partisan, independent entity.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I always say that the TeaOP wants to go back in time, but it’s still hard to see all the bad old stuff really happening. We needed the Federal gvt to bring civil rights to the red states and if we need it to enforce voting rights AGAIN, so be it.

      • Don_B1

        Watch what the Supreme Court does with the Voting Rights Act case that it just accepted!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.myers.7503 Andrew Myers

    I’m originally from KS where Kris Kobach has been busy doing what many other Secretaries of State under Republican governors have been doing over the past few years… which is stiffening requirements to vote under the guise of correcting the non-issue of in-person voter fraud. I’m interested in how and when Republican governors and Secretaries of State were able to coordinate this message. Wherever it’s been investigated, the frequency of in-person voter fraud has been found to be essentially non-existent. So how is it that so many states decided to use this easily disprovable issue to push forward their voter registration agendas, all within a couple of years of each other? Was there some signal given from the Republican national committee after the 2010 mid-terms that gave Governors and Secretaries of State the green light to push this agenda?

  • AlanThinks

    Make Election Day a National Holiday as Veteran’s day – in honor of our Veterans!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZKG7NEG53UKVK7OTIT7Y4VMBOM Jay D

    National Holiday – Voting day!
    Lets celebrate and exercise our right to vote!

  • adks12020

    I’m in Albany, New York and at my polling place there were only 2 machines for about 10 precincts.  To make up for that there were about a dozen or more cubicles set up so people could fill out the ballot before going up to the machines.  That made the lines for the machines fast. People just walked up with the filled in ballot, scanned it into the machine, and off they went. There were at least a 100-150 people in the polling place when I was there and it took me about 15 minutes to vote.

  • rogger2

    This should be a nonpartisan issue.  If citizens want to vote then they should be given every opportunity to vote.
     
    Early voting in a no-brainer!  

  • carl_christian

    Everything about this conversation points to the miserable state of affairs with regard to civic education in America. And so we have minimal civic engagement — voting is the least we can do as citizens, yet we can barely manage that these days. Perhaps this is one more great reason to re-institute a national service requirement, i.e., a draft; two years of service of one sort or another to the country (our neighbors!) we all call home. As part of the first month of service, require everyone to at least pass the same test that every immigrant takes in order to establish a minimally informed American citizen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jurgen.weiss.1481 Jurgen Weiss

    I live in Somerville, MA – the lines were over 2 hours. More interestingly, there was reporting that the Texas Attorney General threatened OECD election observers with criminal prosecution should they come to close to voting locals -that says it all – and by itself probably shows that OECD observers would not be happy with what they might see.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    We need early voting.

    We should also have a valid id where it’s required be accepted as an alternative to voter registration. If you have a valid id you should not need to also register.

  • ttajtt

    voters i-pad-phone-walkmen, print paper trails yet.  a lap top only for me.

  • polarvortex

    No wait here in Vermont’s biggest city. How? We vote on paper and then put it into a machine to count. I think the whole city could probably have voted at once this way. Computers voting machines sound great, but the cost-benefit might be in favor of paper ballots.

    • Don_B1

      The powerful reason for paper ballots, optically scanned, is that then there is a way to do a recount as necessary.

      That way a count is made quickly while preserving integrity. See the Jones and Simons book, “Broken Ballots.”

  • zella118

    What’s wrong with a simple photo/ bar coded ID issued at voter registration office, DSS, schools and colleges?   Could be used in person, by mail, online, even mobile.  The tools exist.  Just need the will to make it happen. Exclusively online voting excludes those who do not have or use internet.

    • Don_B1

      This is likely to be the “wave of the future,” but check out the book, “Broken Ballots,” by Douglas W. Jones and Barbara Simons for the current lack of Internet procedures/design to assure integrity against hackers, etc.

  • gsdiskin

    Even though the Electoral College is outdated, it does serve a useful purpose. If we had a popular vote, a very close election might result in a nationwide recount. Every precinct then looks like Florida in 2000. What a disaster that would be! Perhaps a system where each congressional district would be afforded one EV, plus two additional EVs from each state which would go to that state’s vote total winner. This has the downside of amplifying the already unfair effects of congressional district gerrymandering.

    • Don_B1

      If this counting process were put in effect, anti-gerrymandering procedures, such as used in Iowa, could be required for all states.

      Removing the function of running all aspects of elections from the political parties’ control would go a long way to keep states like Pennsylvania from gerrymandering their Congressional Districts, with the result that the House would be more responsive to ALL the voters.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Here’s a revolutionary thought… the government is there to serve us so… the government should deploy sufficient resources to make it easy for us to vote. It should take no longer than 1/2 hour to wait in line get a ballot and vote!

  • Scott B

    Popular vote.  Tired of a few states getting all the attention.

    Standardized Ballots. Tired of hearing about Florida.

    Convicted people get to vote when they are released fro prison and/or off probation. They paid their debt to society. They’re voting, not trying to buy a gun.

    1- 3 weeks of voting, national standard hours. No need for a national holiday, no hours-long lines.

    Eliminate state voting offices from being partisan.

    Mail out referendums, and available for printing, so they can be scanned or turned in at the polling station, so only offices are being voted for.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    No online voting!!!! Anything can be hacked. The question is just how hard is it! The technology is here in NH… it’s called a paper ballot. No worries about software virus or hacking. A million ballots cannot be modified in a microsecond with no evidence left behind.

    Imagine trying to steal 1 million paper ballots and substituting them with forgeries!

    • Don_B1

      The “bible” for your recommendation is valid is the book, “Broken Ballots; Will Your Vote Count,” by Douglas W. Jones and Barbara Simons.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “National Popular Vote” is an idea which is fine in theory, but unfortunately has to be put into practice.

    If it’s such a good idea, then I invite the NPV folks into persuading the state govts in Texas, the Solid South, and all those little over-represented nearly-empty red states into doing it.

    Until then, all I see are solid blue states, suburbanizing purple states, and swing states on board.

    Once again: Bipartisanship? Sure! Let the GOP do it first!

    • Drew Spencer

      One of the National Popular Vote Plan’s major funders is a Republican. It passed the Republican-controlled NY senate with twice as many Republicans voting in favor as opposed. Most recently, Arizona governor Jan Brewer said it would be better to elect by popular vote.

      Election by national popular vote would not favor any political party over any other. Republicans have every reason to favor it, and a great many do.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        The gulf between “good idea” and “bipartisan implementation” is a chasm.

        If I were a Republican who could get all those Democrating and swing states and big EV states to go for me, then I might favor it too.

        Until the GOP gets beyond “favor” to “enact in red states”, I don’t see why I should give something up first.

        If it’s such a good idea, let’s see all those red states put their statesmanship where their EVs are.

  • DanNielsen14

    Ted Talk:

    David Bismark: E-voting without fraud

    http://www.ted.com/talks/david_bismark_e_voting_without_fraud.html

  • polarvortex

    If we got rid of the electoral college what would stop candidates from only going to cities?

  • Scott B

    I remember someone on NPR recently said that Canada uses paper and pencil and the votes are counted within 20 minutes of the polls closing. Sometimes I think we’re really over-thinking solutions

    • ChevSm

      I agree.  It isn’t an issue of technology. 

      Give people more time to vote… problem solved!   

      • Scott B

        In school they used to make us take tests with a en empty desk between student. There’s no reason they couldn’t have tables with the cardboard privacy screens for the referendum ballots and have the voting personnel collect them when the person was done, and save the votes for office done by machine.

        As for the actual day for voting, it goes back to early America when people would have had to travel on Sunday to vote vote Monday, and get back by Wed., which was “market day” in many places. None of that is relevant now, so why are we still doing it?

        Being from NY, and that they used to make voting machines in the general area were I live, I miss voting machine.  Click. Click Click. Pull. Done. No fuss, no muss.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    In my town, the voting lists were broken into volumes… a-d e-…

  • L armond

    Yes, fetishize voting technology and methods by collecting data on time to vote, ease of reading , funds spent on training, matching voting assistant numbers to known registration numbers and new registrations.  Publish this data twice annually for awhile, and mail to all citizens, just like we get the statistics on city water here.

  • pfuller7

    Lest anyone think National Popular Vote will solve any of the election problems experienced last Tuesday: it won’t. It will merely nationalize problems that are now contained within each state. There have been five presidential elections since the Civil War in which the popular vote margin was less than 1% – 1880, 1888, 1960, 1968, 2000. If National Popular Vote were in effect, any of these could have generated demands for a national recount. But…there is no procedure for recounting the whole country, because we have 51 separate elections, 51 different sets of rules for recounts and for settling disputed elections. (50 states plus DC = 51.)

    National Popular Vote should not be implemented unless and until there is a uniform national system of voting, with one set of rulesfor counting and recounting votes, and for settling disputed elections.

    • Joseph_Wisconsin

       Yes, and your national system would be a good idea.  This election pointed out the problems with leaving voting and election rules in the hands of partisan elected officials, and with different rules among different states.  

      I would also favor making election day a mandatory national holiday.

  • Dan Harris

    How is it possible that a PRIVATE company with obvious ties to specific hardline party candidates are allowed to contract with public entities to handle vote processing?  The top executives at our county’s vote processing company, SOE Software, have self-proclaimed ties to Nancy Doty in Arapahoe County, CO.  Just look at their LinkedIn profiles, and you’ll see for yourself! http://www.soesoftware.com/

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    In 59 Philly voting wards Romney got zero votes.

    The vote total was about 20K – 0.  Simply amazing.

    The median income in these precincts is under $20K. So 100% of these voters are OK with the status quo?

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20121112_In_59_Philadelphia_voting_wards__Mitt_Romney_got_zero_votes.html

    If there were 59 voting precincts in Idaho where Romney out polled Obama 20K – 0 what would the headlines be?

  • ttajtt

    if voting day was a day off who would count marshal the vote.   its like being disabled, no day, vacation, retirement off time.  now stop making sense, all of you.  lets talk about refrigerating car exhaust to help stay cool.

                                            trolling

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Hendrickson/1652586055 Joshua Hendrickson

    Here in Oregon we have mail-in ballots.  Seems to work pretty well.  And if you consider the cost of a stamp to be a poll tax, you can always turn the ballot in free at a drop-box.

  • Walt Bogner

    As far as who’s doing what concerning voter restriction (and more), the group ALEC needs to be closely monitored. It was interesting to see the coordinated effort in 2010 by newly elected republican governors to restrict voting rights.

  • waybac

     

    If there really were long lines last Tuesday, then, I agree
    this is a problem.

     

    If there really were registered voters who were mysteriously
    dropped from the rolls without notification and for no good reason, then this
    is also a problem.

     

    But, the expectation of technology, in the form of internet
    voting, to solve the voting problems we have in the USA without an enormous amount of
    additional development is so uninformed it’s embarrassing to hear. No other
    segment of society is immune to internet attacks, why should a national
    election be? Please see these 3 websites:

     

    “Anybody who says we have a monster cyber-security program,
    and are secure against all attacks, is out of his mind.” – Peter G. Neumann

     

    https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/science/rethinking-the-computer-at-80.html?pagewanted=all

     

    Leon Panetta warns of a “cyber Pearl
    Harbor”:

     

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/leon-panetta-warns-of-cyber-pearl-harbor/2012/10/13/6cdcbd6e-14c9-11e2-9a39-1f5a7f6fe945_video.html

     

    And, if you can believe RT:

     

    https://rt.com/usa/news/anonymous-us-doyon-world-219/

     

    Now, for the electoral college. The electoral college is not
    antiquated. What is antiquated is the top 44 metropolitan areas (estimated),
    typically democrats, dumping their garbage in republican counties. It doesn’t
    surprise me that democrats are in favor of this. What would surprise me is if more
    people would come to a greater appreciation for the system we already have.  

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

  • Tyranipocrit

    Tom, how can you say that veterans today died for voting–they did not.  Nobody was taking away their vote.  we didn’t have a civil war where they had to stand up and fight–nobody oppresded them. 

    Black people should fight–they are harassed and suppressed.

    Veterans today, soldiers today–fight to dominate weaker nations, for greedy corporations–freedom and democracy have nothing to do with it. 

    Please tell me how democracy and voting in this country have anything to do with our wars for oil and evil full spectrum dominance over the world. 

    The people who fight for the vote are activists, environmentalists, organizers in the grassroots, demonstrators–occupied wall street heroes, teachers in Wisconsin. 

    Your statement makes me sick, literally, –I’m off to the bathroom to puke.

    Why do you perpetuate a lie?  isn’t this NPR?  Isn’t this a democracy?  Why is it do difficult to hear the voice of third-parties?

    If your veterans died for the right to vote–why was Jill stein of the green party arrested twice for trying to debate?   Why are third party candidates dismissed and ignored and barred from civil debate?

    Why do we permit citizens united?  This ruling was a blatant decree of Fascism and a contempt for people and democracy and yet nobody is fighting or dying in the streets over it–nobody is fighting and dying for their freedom and democracy–soldiers are fighting to oppress democracy.  We live in a security state  with bullying police and soldiers whose sole purpose is to oppress freedom with strong arm tactics, drones, bombs–

    your words are ironic–since our soldiers, our veterans are the very reason democracy is dying and fascists rise to power.

    Why did the media focus so much on the presidential race but not senators, congressman, local officials?  Why did the third party candidates have their freedom taken away?  by the strong arm of the law!

    Your words are disgusting.

    • Tyranipocrit

       is the patriot act democracy or freedom?  it kills the bill of rights.  we have take a great leaps backwards in this society–not forward.  And Obama is our soma–he is our Kool-aid.  The corporate-aristocracy are well aware–I’m sure some memos will come out eventually–that if romney was elected, we would have see occupied wallstreet and Wisconsin ten time over–we would have our Egypt.  We dead peasants might storm the barricades of gated communities and super-mansions and lynch our plantation masters.  They realized this, and made sure Obama won–he is our kool-aid.  a symbol.  he keeps us sedated long enough not to rise up!

      A true democracy would allow true revolution in the ballots–we might vote green or justice or libertarian or socialist,etc. and fundamental changes would take place–true democracy!

      The fact of the matter is third parties are suppressed, and we keep voting for the system that oppresses us and the world–we are forced to vote in the status qou–within the 1%-capitalism system–an extreme radical group.  a group who despises democracy, refuses to pay taxes, hides money overseas to avoid participation in society, enjoys tax exemptions for exporting jobs and prosperity overseas to explicit slave labor and child labor, radically contaminating the earth,food, and water–these are high-criminals–sadistic.  These people are maniacs–but we must obey them we must “vote” for them.

      is it democracy, when we can vote for anyone we want as long as its them, as long as it one of the two swells we give you. 

      hogwash!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KRQZXN4LTAEZVLXCXD2RYIPIMI carmen

    Was a poll watcher the past 2 Presidential elections in Floirda
    County commisioners do not support changes requested by SOE in the counties.
    experineced long lines due to:
    1-Many absentee ballot mailed without request.Now they have to wait in line to null this absentee ballot in order to vote.
    2-Redistricted precints saw voting cards mailed as early as this spring with the New pricinct number directing the voter to the wrong location. Now the voter will wait 2+ hours to be told they are in the wrong precinct.
    3-You can argue they should have checked on line in the available tool to find out where to vote. 
    Well I looked up many names that their address in the tool did not exist.
    4-Poll workers DID not have internet access they were having to call each time they needed to verify a voter,,,,and get a busy signal.
    system need funds to get enough equipment, internet connectivity and more voting sites on early voting In my county some libraries were added for early voting and I trully believe this tremendously helped.
    Revamp the system….to protect the vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Looks like Arizona is just one more place where we can’t trust Republicans to run an election.

    What is it out there? Are Brewer and Arapaio jealous that Florida’s screwups were getting all the attention?

  • Jennifer Galicia

    jennifer from Seattle, WA

    I voted in my pajamas! During mid October!I live in Washington State, the entire state votes by mail. The day I voted I was actually too sick to go to work. I stayed home, watched TV shows, did my voting research, filled out my ballot, and also got a few loads of laundry done. After mailing it in I was able to check online to see if my ballot arrived okay and if my signature was accepted (it was).

    If it wasn’t okay I had plenty of time to contact elections officials about it.Washington State has no polls, but there are drop boxes if you don’t want to use USPS.

    And they’re also made available so you can’t call the stamp on your ballot a “poll tax”.

    A mix of absentee ballots and poll voting would be great. 

    Also maybe making election day a National Holiday, instead of changing it year to year. Not being able to use the same voter information forms year to year because the dates change is a waste.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RIFA3QXPIWZF6Z5N76C57OM3S4 Paul

    Why should it be fixed?
    Just kick back and watch more infotainment on the Tube…!!!

  • TyroneJ

    The challenge to the Voting Rights Act basically gets to the real question that never seems to get asked when legislation is created to compensate for a historical grievance, namely, “What criteria should be used to ascertain that the legislation succeeded and is no longer needed?”

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    _________________________________________
    -
    -
    The current fervor by Southern Republicans to abolish the Voting Rights Act is really about only one thing: the South is lookin’ to get into some of that good ol’ ‘voter suppression’ that went on last election cycle.

    I Guess the Southern Republican establishment is feeling left out.

    Here in Georgia, last October, I early voted:
    It took me only 15 mins to do so on a rather brisk voting morning.
    It actually took me longer to work the ballot than the line wait.

    If Southern Republicans succeed in their endeavor, next election cycle, I expect to be one of those standing in a long line for over 8 hours or so.
    -
    -
    _________________________________________

  • Shark2007

    There have been quotes from Republicans in different states that indicate they were intentionally tilting the table in their favor with changes in voting laws. This meant finding ways to discourage or frustrate minority and urban voters. Given that this comports with Roberts and Scalia’s agenda you can count on 4 votes to declare parts of the Voter Rights law unconstitutional. The question is will there be 5.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 25, 2014
President Barack Obama and ASIMO, an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility, bow to each other during a youth science event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known as the Miraikan, in Tokyo, Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP)

Guns in Georgia. Obama in Asia. Affirmative Action. And Joe Biden in Ukraine. Our weekly news roundtable.

Apr 25, 2014
In this Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 file photo, employees of the New Hampshire state health department set up a temporary clinic at the the middle school in Stratham, N.H., to test hundreds of people for hepatitis C related to an outbreak at nearby Exeter Hospital. A new drug, Sovaldi, is said to successful treat more than 90 percent of Hepatitis C patients. (AP)

Super expensive miracle drugs. How much can we afford to pay?

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 24, 2014
A Buddhist monk lights the funeral pyre of Nepalese mountaineer Ang Kaji Sherpa, killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, during his funeral ceremony in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday, April 21, 2014.  (AP)

A Sherpa boycott on Everest after a deadly avalanche. We’ll look at climbing, culture, life, death and money at the top of the world.

 
Apr 24, 2014
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

California as Exhibit A for what happens when a state bans affirmative action in college admissions. We’ll look at race, college and California.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Up At Everest Base Camp, ‘People Still Don’t Know The Ramifications’
Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

With a satellite phone call from Mount Everest’s Base Camp, climber and filmmaker David Breashears informs us that the Everest climbing season “is over.”

More »
Comment
 
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

More »
Comment