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Mail in voting and the election day train wreck

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Timsup2nothin, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Looking back on my own congressional districts election in 2018, and looking at projections regarding November, I am seeing an inevitable disaster. Like many California districts, in 2018 the election day vote tallies here favored the Republican but shifted as the mail in vote was counted over the following days. Plenty of people here knew exactly what was going to happen, since people voting by mail skew Democrat here by a very wide margin. However that "plenty of people" did not include the intentionally ignorant and the media that plays to them, so Republicans widely believe that the election was "stolen."

    So with mail in voting anticipated to account for as much as thirty percent of the vote, and mail in voting skewing heavily to Democrats, it is predictable that election day vote tallies across the board are going to indicate a complete wipe out in favor of the GOP. This is something the Trump faithful expect and something that their favored media will undoubtedly report as genuinely happening. Trump will almost certainly make a false claim of a sweeping victory sometime in the evening of election day.

    At that time there are unlikely to be any facts available to counter that claim. In 2018 the percentages of mail in ballots and how they would skew could be forecast with some reasonable expectation of accuracy, so legitimate predictions could be made. In my district the election day counts were very nearly a tie, for example, so everyone except the most obtusely insistent on ignoring the facts knew the Democrat would take the seat (ultimately by over five points). But the credible news services in November are going to be forced to report "yeah, this is unprecedented so estimates and predictions of final tallies at this point would just be irresponsible." This will not be an effective counter to the predictable irresponsibility of Trump and the right wing news sources that will be telling their followers exactly what they want and expect to hear.

    How do we counter what will undoubtedly be several days of Trumpist celebrations? What backlash can we expect from them as votes are counted and reality slowly overtakes their happy place of ignorance?
     
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  2. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    Don't call stuff so early seems to be the obvious solution.
     
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  3. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Well, sure. Unfortunately there are two inescapable facts.

    1) It is customary in the US that for the most part accurate predictions are readily available on election day. As noted, the race in my congressional district was effectively over on election day and was acknowledged as such even by the GOP incumbent who at that point was in the lead by some number of votes. He, along with everyone else, knew that there was about 5% of the final vote outstanding and that he would lose that ongoing count by about ten to one margin. Since it has typically been possible to make such predictions there will be an expectation that such predictions can be and should be made.

    2) The GOP oriented media, GOP candidates, and their supporters, collectively, can certainly be counted on to NOT act responsibly in this environment. Fox News will cheerfully report incomplete vote counts showing GOP leads without putting any emphasis on them being incomplete. GOP candidates will cheerfully claim victory citing those incomplete vote counts. GOP supporters will cheerfully accept these reports as facts. Then at the top of the hour Fox will be reporting "GOP candidate celebrates victory," again without stressing in any way that the claimed victory is in no way official.
     
  4. Commodore

    Commodore Deity

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    Instructions unclear, ballot stuck in toaster.
     
  5. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    It is the USA. 200 years of a breeding experiment to raise stupid to new heights.
     
  6. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Deity

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    This implies that, if disregarding third party candidates, that the mail in votes are 90% democrat to 9% republican.

    I am puzzled as to why that would be the case.

    Is it due to closure of polling stations in democrat leaning precincts to the extent that it is not physically possible for in person
    voting to being completed there or such long queues that result in voters feeling unable to vote in person OR something else?
     
  7. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    If I had to guess it's economic/generational.

    Greens here overperform on special votes.
     
  8. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    Regardless of the preferences of mail-in voters is there anything stopping polling organizations that do exit polls from also doing a survey of mail-in voters by election day?

    I know there are some problems with landline telephones (one such prediction was made where, I think, Alf Landon beat FDR and that was later found to be because Landon voters tended to have more telephones!) so how the pollsters do surveys nowadays, not so sure.

    I think any reputable news organization—including those cable networks—would try to get the most accurate result even if they’re generally pulling for one side in their editorials.
     
  9. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Deity

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    Nevertheless; ten to one is a very large ratio in a closely fought two horse race.

    Without a coherent explanation, I'd regard the Donald's suspicions as reasonable.
     
  10. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    A train wreck is possible this fall in Canada, too, as a couple of the opposition parties are making noises that they're considering a no-confidence vote for the throne speech next month. That would result in the government falling and a new election having to be called. Canadian elections normally don't take longer than 42 days from writ to voting day, and while Elections Canada claims it's ready for pandemic voting, I don't believe it. They're talking about single-use pencils and distancing at the polling station... that would make it impossible for the busiest stations to get people through the process in any reasonable amount of time, as the lines would stretch for blocks if everyone has to stay 2 metres apart. It was suggested that the vote take place over 2 days, but of course that would mean paying the EC workers more and disrupting the schools and community centres and churches where the polling stations are set up. Not to mention that this would be happening at a time of year when we could already have snow.

    Mail-in would be the obvious solution, and a lot of people already do their voting that way. But it would disenfranchise a lot of people if they stick to the regular ID rules (there actually are people who don't have photo ID and substitute utility bills, health cards, or any of another 3 dozen or so kinds of ID. The current procedure is that you have to send copies of your ID to a processing centre in Manitoba (I think) and they'll decide if you're eligible (eligibility means Canadian citizen 18 or older, resident in the polling district where you intend to vote, and you have to be registered; party affiliation doesn't matter) to do a mail-in ballot.

    This presumes that everyone has the means to send copies and that Canada Post will get everything where it needs to go, on time. There are a lot of people who don't get their ballots in time to vote and send them back, and that's when the situation is normal.

    Any party that triggers an election under these circumstances deserves to be reduced to non-party status (fewer than 12 seats). I know there's a boatload of scandals going on right now, but now isn't the time for an election. We just had one last October.

    Not to mention that we're paying attention to what's happening in the U.S. as we've had quite enough of Trump, thankyouverymuch. Not that Biden would be ideal, but he'd be better for us than the incompetent piece of trash you have right now.
     
  11. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    Take what you will from it but the Brookings Institution, a respected research group says:

    A major study of California, Utah, and Washington state conducted by Daniel Thompson, Jesse Yoder, Jennifer Wu, and Andrew Hall of Stanford University for elections between 1996 and 2018 concluded there was no partisan advantage to either party based on voting by mail.
    I’ve only skimmed the link above (the quoted one) because I wondered myself if mail-in voting has been demonstrably shown to favor one party over the other.
     
  12. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Deity

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    The advantage of voting in person in a three sided booth with officials there to check that no one is looking over your
    shoulder is that you can safely vote for who you like, and are therefore much more resistant to social pressure from
    your peer group, being told who to vote for by your spouse or having the boss supervise your voting their way.

    The minute you move to postal or internet voting, people will say I am voting for x, and will complete
    the form (paper or on screen) in front of you, and demand that you do likewise, and at this point spouses
    may fear being beaten up and employees may fear being sacked or otherwise discriminated against.

    I therefore feel that the Donald may be right, like a stopped clock is twice a day, albeit for the wrong reason.

    I am not against postal voting if people are unavoidably away or due to infirmity unable to attend, but
    I am old fashioned enough to believe that people should be encouraged to attend and vote in person.

    The latter no doubt also discriminates against those too stupid to find the polling booth, remember
    which day is voting day, or too lazy to walk there, or too impatient to queue, but as Scott Adams said,
    the resultant system is stable because the stupid and lazy are unlikely to successfuly organise a rebellion.
     
  13. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    The Republican party self describes as "conservative." Conservative, by definition, includes "resistant to change." "Going to the polls on election day was good enough for my pappy, it's good enough for me" seems to be a much more common sentiment among Republican voters.

    Polling regarding the current election indicates that as much as forty percent of people who say they lean Democrat also say they are likely to vote by means other than in person on election day, where only about ten percent of people who say they lean Republican are saying that.
     
  14. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Deity

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    Thank you for your explanation. In this particular matter it seems that I am conservative
    as my cynicism makes me somewhat suspicious of alternative arrangements.
     
  15. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    I'm going to post pictures of my ballot and referendum stuff on CFC.
     
  16. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    I caught that. I think you are underestimating certain things about the US. For example, an employer saying "let me see your ballot" would get completely rekt; I would bet this at extreme odds. Like their business would be swamped under negative publicity and they would be lucky to escape criminal charges level of rekt. The abusive spouse is nominally possible, but I doubt that it would occur in any quantity to make it significant in affects.
     
  17. thecrazyscot

    thecrazyscot Spiffy

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    Bold of you to assume that many people in the US can even get to the three sided booth.

    Mail in voting in the US skews Democrat because Republicans tend to make it difficult to vote in-person. Poor people (who skew Democrat) often can't risk leaving their jobs to vote as there is no national law requiring business to provide paid time off to vote. Many states don't even require giving any time off to vote. And when they do, it is often unpaid, and only up to 2 hours. Unless you get to the polling place at the right time, you can be stuck in line for hours. Your fundamental problem is that people are not encouraged to attend and vote in person in the US, unless you are the right kind of person.

    Mail in ballots give people the chance to vote who otherwise would be unable to do so. Whether that be from illness, disability, lack of transportation (another significant issue for the poor), fear of missing a paycheck, or - and bear with me here - the desire to avoid being in large groups of people when there's a pandemic afoot.

    Your objections seem like strawmen to me. Mail in ballots are sent to the home, not the workplace, so there's no reason an employer would ever be able to demand to look at your ballot. Unless you can point to evidence of significant "vote intimidation" via domestic abuse it just looks like a conveniently trumped-up excuse to avoid sending out mail-in ballots.

    @Timsup2nothin Glad to see your self-imposed exile is at an end for now. I appreciate your pugnaciousness, even when I'm on the receiving end of it. ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
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  18. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy We'll dig up the road!

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    Polling stations are like the DMV, not enough in high density areas. Densely populated areas leans democrat.

    Voted 3 times, always after having moved, so I had to register when voting.
    I voted when living in the country, voting at the town hall is a 5 minute affair.
    Lived in the suburbs/city of 50,000, voted at the fire station and then another time at a national guard armory, both times about 20-30 minutes.
    Have not lived in a densely populated city, but I've seen on TV sometimes the lines are hours long.

    Your ballot before or after you vote?
    Tried to look up if Ballot selfies were legal in New Zealand, but it's either not popular enough or a non-issue.

    Here's the US laws by state:
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/25/13389980/ballot-selfie-legal-illegal

    Please, please, no one take selfies in the booth in a crowded polling station. The lines are long enough in some areas. If you have an absentee ballot, or polling station is not busy, go ahead.
     
  19. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    Actual voting numbers, nationally, don't differ exceptionally when it comes to mail-in ballots.

    But compromising the election system makes it possible for results to be called into question or manipulated.

    The postal service is being disrupted and sabotaged alongside mass arrests and evictions, both of which can disallow a citizen from voting. In particular, Trump's "law and order" schpiel is convenient cover for the fact that urban areas skew Democrat, where most of the evictions are happening due to no protections, and that the protests are largely made up of Democrats too.

    Not to mention that polling stations are being closed due to the uncontrolled pandemic, of which minority neighbourhoods are the biggest victims of (both the closures and the pandemic). Which is another population that skews Democrat.

    An authoritarian's guide to staying in power in a democracy:

    1. Make the voting process unreliable. This allows you to refuse the results.
    2. Make it difficult for your opponents to access voting.
    3. Remove voting rights from undesirables, i.e. subsets of your opponent's demographics.
    4. Threaten the media if they air unfavourable coverage about you.
    5. Ensure your cohorts toe the company line, lest they be ousted from the inner circle.
    6. Appeal to the baser instincts of your more aggressive base, so that violent, dehumanizing support is secured. Civilians are less likely to openly resist if there are other civilians locally who will threaten their lives.
     
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  20. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    It's even more reasonable to have suspicion when literal animals receive ballots. Or when towns have a larger count of registered voters than their eligible population. LA had > 1 million more registered voters than it had eligible population. I'm sure some of that is people moving away or dying, but it's a little fishy to assume that includes 1/4 of the city's entire population.
     

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