Home / General / America’s Embarrassing Voting System

America’s Embarrassing Voting System


Exhibit A: Florida

Exhibit B: Ohio

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  • wengler

    Our voting system is a national embarrassment, but it cannot be fixed because Republicans a) don’t care and b) hate fair elections.

  • Warren Terra

    The Ohio story is about this:

    Under Husted’s plan, 12 of those 18 electoral votes would be handed to Mitt Romney, the popular vote loser.

    The reason for this is Ohio’s incredibly gerrymandered Congressional districts have been drawn to pack Democrats together so they have the majority in only 4 of the state’s 16 congressional districts.

    I just looked at the election in Ohio, for some context:
    President: 2,697,308 D votes, 2,593,789 R votes. 50.9% D
    Senate: 2,645,942 D votes, 2,371,242 R votes.
    52.7% D
    House: 1,984,187 D votes , 2,282,590 R votes.
    53.5% R
    (Note in one Republican district and one Democratic district the incumbent ran unopposed and no votes were tallied; these contests might have shifted the totals a bit, likely to the Dems, had they been run)

    House seats: 25% Dem (4/16).

    That’s shameful in its own right. To suggest it should be extended to the Electoral College is just greedy to boot – though I fully expect the Republicans of PA and other blue states they control to do it.

    • wengler

      I would not be surprised if this was the biggest Republican fad since voter fraud.

      The Republicans actually gained a seat in the OH state house(60-39) while retaining their 23-10 seat supermajority in the state Senate.

      • mark f

        It was already floated in Pennsylvania, which has a House/state popular vote discrepancy similar to Ohio’s.

    • rea

      This is an example of how they could have beaten us if they wre a bit more competent.

    • Heron

      Makes sense from their perspective. They have the advantage in the wide, empty spaces of America, and breaking up votes by congressional district, combined with gerry-mandering, would transform their territorial advantage into an electoral one. It’d also disenfranchise millions of US citizens of course, but sense when as the Republican Party given a damn about that?

  • wengler

    It is interesting to go here to see what went on at the state level this election.

    In Rhode Island the Republican Party should probably just disband(32-5 Senate, 69-6 House), and in Utah the Democrats aren’t doing much better(24-5 Senate, 61-14 House).

    • Of course a Rhode Island legislature last session with around the same party split passed a Republican-style voter ID law and destroyed public worker pensions.

      • wengler

        Here in Illinois we’re going to get a Democratic supermajority in both houses and the first item on the agenda will likely be public worker pensions.

        One party states have factions instead of parties.

      • Marc

        I’ve lived in one-party Democratic areas. At least in the Northeast you end up with party machines largely staffed with hacks; they will be good on national issues but not on local ones.

    • Murc

      Something to keep in mind is that in Rhode Island a lot of those ‘Democrats’ are basically Republicans who cynically chose a party affiliation that wouldn’t be instant poison at the ballot box.

    • Morbo

      Wow, I was curious about the New Hampshire House having listened to this weekend’s This American Life. The results are not yet finalized, but holy shit I counted 73 incumbent Republicans who did not seek reelection or resigned. That is 1/4 of their caucus, and judging from the show I’m betting they were all moderates. As for the radical Republican freshman class of 2010 that was the subject of the show, it looks like 64 of them lost on Tuesday. That’s quite reassuring actually.

      • John

        The New Hampshire House of Representatives has 400 members? That is totally insane, isn’t it?

        • Morbo

          Looks like the next highest number is Pennsylvania with 203. Going by people per representative that’s 3295 in NH and 62773 in PA, Vermont being second with 4176. They seem to take “no taxation without representation” seriously in the Northeast Appalachians.

    • Steve H

      That’s just a slightly below average performance for Democrats in Utah.

      The best the Dems here have ever been able to hope for is enough of a bloc in one house to uphold a veto.

  • FLRealist

    Florida wouldn’t know what to do with itself if it didn’t make the headlines every four years during the elections.

    I apologoze for our fuckupedness.

    • wengler

      You don’t have to ‘goze for nuthin’.

      Florida doesn’t matter.

  • RhZ

    Great minds and all, I just posted a comment on this in Farley’s thread, gonna re-post here:

    Can we please agitate for secure computer terminals and paper confirmation records now?

    Or does that make me an unhinged crank?

    I am from Ohio, I have seen all the games. And this issue scares the heck out of me, especially because the Dems aren’t the least bit interested.

    At least we have 50 separate systems. That’s a good firewall. But that also means federal law can only do so much. I don’t want a federalized system, but I also don’t want a situation where a GOP state legislature could require voters to use Amiga computers from the 90s as the sole systems used to record their votes.

    • Emily

      My small city (part of a metro area but not part of a county) went to exclusively paper ballots this election. They were read/tabulated by scan-tron, but no computer voting. We’ve had computer-ish machines in every election I’ve voted here (since 2006).

      I don’t know why they changed, but I will say that they had my polling station room set up to accomodate about 30 people filling out ballots at the same time. No WAY they could have had that many machines available. The most machines I’ve ever seen for an election was about 6. So maybe paper actually made it quicker to vote?

  • avoidswork

    To be fair, Florida is an embarassment to the United States of America without an election afoot.

    But, the blatant and active measures that one faction of our political make-up utilizes and creates just to oppress voting or redistrict is an honest tragedy.

    And, as others before me have stated, not a big concern of a lot of people.

    I hate saying libs/progs have to sink to repub/con levels, but we must get on the ball about any/all voter-related issues. (Which really means upping our electorate game to the local/state/Rep. levels)

    And, for the love of all that is holy, unholy and meh, there should be No Partisanship in the Voting Room. None, whatsoever.

    • spencer

      To be fair, Florida is an embarassment to the United States of America without an election afoot.

      For certain, non-standard definitions of “fair,” sure.

  • Jameson Quinn

    Exhibit C: plurality voting.

    Just saying. I know that other stuff is plenty important, and probably 10 times more likely to get fixed (~10% instead of ~1%). But fixing plurality voting would easily be 50 times more important. And it wouldn’t be so unlikely if people actually started talking about it.

    • mpowell

      How is this going to fix gerrymandering?

  • Western Dave

    Exhibit D Arizona. 500,000 uncounted ballots according to Maddow tonight.

  • mch

    You forgot PA.

  • These things make me happier and happier that I live in California.

  • robotswillstealyourjobs

    Keep fucking that rat, Husted.

  • Marc

    If the Republicans actually pulled this off we have an initiative process in Ohio. The districts would be redrawn so quickly that they’d come to regret this power grab. PA lacks that leverage and I’d watch that state to see if the “let’s disenfranchise people on the presidential level” movement is the next republican fad.

    • mds

      It was actually already floated in Pennsylvania; that could even be where Husted got the idea. Some legislative Republicans apparently considered it a bridge too far. It was also talked about in Wisconsin last year. Hey, it’s not like any more of the red states will adopt the system, so what’s not to like?

      I really, really hope that Democrats keep up their game in off years for a change, because repeatedly handing complete control of states to Republicans sure does keep biting us on the ass.

  • Ruby

    As an Ohioan, I want to add that the redistricting bullshit has been a big issue here. Especially here in Lucas County, a solidly democratic area that they originally tried to cut into three different pieces, mixed with huge swaths of conservative area. Effectively breaking up and diluting our vote. Not to mention redistricting Kucinich out of his seat (since they weren’t able to legitimately vote him out.)

    There WAS an amendment to fix it on the ballot. It was voted down, but I think that may have been voter confusion. People may have (wrongly) believed that the “stop crazy, partisan redistricting” amendment was a “redistricting amendment”. That is, they may have thought that a “no” vote meant “no redistricting”, as opposed to its actual effect of “no attempts to stop crazy, partisan redistricting”. (And, God knows it’s hard to get Ohioans to not tune out political ads, for obvious reasons…)

    Hopefully, we’ll try again, with a better public information campaign, in 2014.

  • Auguste

    One county, one electoral vote!

    (Would be very surprised if some hack somewhere hasn’t already floated that plan.)

  • ThatOtherMike

    IMO, the best solution is to get rid of Congressional districts.

    Elect all Congresscritters at-large and the problems with gerrymandering obviously disappear.

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