As one example, people want to both have majority-minority districts and avoid situations in which "specific populations of voters" (to quote the article) are concentrated into a district. These goals are often opposed to each other, especially when the minorities involved skew toward one of the two parties under consideration.
So it's quite possible for a redistricting plan using the "I cut, you choose" process to end up falling afoul of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting strength of a minority...
I wonder if the game can be fairly expanded to X number of parties?
As a mathematical exercise, trying to extend the game to more than 2 parties is interesting, for sure. Real-world relevance is unclear, unfortunately.
And it's not clear if one of the cake cutters could sacrifice their own slice to benefit one of the others (in return for a bribe).
Cake? Maybe. Equal-population single-winner firdt-past-the-post political districts, no. But that's okay, because single-winner districts don't practically support more than two competitive parties, especially when you have separately elected statewide and national executives rather than a parliamentary system.
Of course, get rid of single-winner FPTP districts, and you not only can support more parties, you make gerrymandering mostly pointless, even if you do still have districting.
(Suppose four players, P1 to P4. They each get to place two settlements, and there's an advantage to getting first pick. You place settlements in this order: P1, P2, P3, P4, P4, P3, P2, P1)
Now, there is a cake (map) to cut, and 4 parties. P1 draws one line, then P2, then P3. Then, each party picks one of the 4 slices, starting with P4.
Point being, optimizing districting to maintain a 2-party system may not be desirable, even if that's the system we've fallen into. We could change voting systems to introduce more viable parties (which has it's own problems - look at unstable governments in Europe based on oddball alliances).
That's not a problem, that's a feature. It ensures the parties need to learn to cooperate and compromise to get things through when voters are not in firm agreement. As a result you get continuity: It's rare to get the kind of drastic shifts that you get in the US when the balance shifts between the Republicans and Democrats, because it is rare for a single party to get an absolute majority, and so alliances shift with voting patterns, and the negotiated compromises tends to have to reflect a wider range of interests or not get passed.
A lot of places this leads to a tradition of broad compromises to ensure lasting reforms that won't just get undone by the next government.
So while the specific governments may not sit as tightly, I'd argue it tends to lead to a lot more stability in government direction.
Also, there's another bad consequence: In two party system when you lose the elections you really loose: other party takes the whole prize, and for you there's really nothing to do for the next four years. In multi party system even if you finish the elections on 2nd or 3rd place you may still end up joining the ruling coalition of parties, just maybe with somewhat weaker position.
Basically European system shifts focus of political parties from making deals with their voters to making deals with other parties.
The US two-parties-that-are-obviously-fractious-coalitions plus separation of powers system provides far more of those for any elected leader (because it's not a parliamentary system and lacks real mechanisms for party discipline, even a party with control of both political branches and the judiciary isn't analogous to a parliamentary-system ruling party with an outright, non-coalition majority, and isn't held accountable the way those can be.
Keeping separation of powers and adopting a more proportional system for the House of Reps, even straight party list (which would require Constitutional change), or state level party list or STV with or without some level of districting (which may or may not require Constitutional change) would not meaningfully add to the excuses for failure to deliver on promises.
In fact, systems with greater proportionality in legislative elections produce higher satisfaction with government, which should be unsurprising: electing a government that's views actually align with those of the population results in government policy more aligned with public preferences. Which, after all, is the whole premise of representative democracy.
Well yes, but since you have more than three parties (I don't know what country you're from, or how many viable parties you have), voters can be less forgiving.
I heard somewhere that a market needs at least four somewhat viable players, in the sense that one is a monopoly (bad), but two and three players can still control the market in an undesirable manner.
It probably also depends very much on the particulars of the government, how much power the opposition parties still have versus the coalition, if there's multiple Houses and how they interact, etc.
Either way, I do believe that having multiple viable parties (and preferably at least four?) is a good thing compared to having only two real contenders. But this is mainly because I'm looking at the UK and US for examples of two-party systems. From both I understand that a very large portion of the voting population are rationally aware that their votes will almost certainly not make any difference whatsoever. If anyone knows about other countries with two-party systems that actually make many voters feel well (or at least fairly) represented, I'm curious to hear about them.
 I don't have a citation sorry. It was on the news, in the context of the number of mobile network operators in the Netherlands being down to three, due to a merger. And afaik all of them are now multinationals. But not only do I not have a citation, neither can I really say whether the same holds for political parties in a democracy. So take this for what you like :)
Those systems aren't really unstable, they just formalize things that go on behind the scenes in the US system where the major parties are actually internally diverse coalition with competitive factions.
vs hammering through legislation with zero bipartisanship.
Which is actually a problem in parliamentary systems that end up with majorities.
These coalition governments are a feature, not a bug.
Does anyone know: is it typical for the NYT to not link to court decisions? I'm used to such links in online news stories.
As a software engineer, isn't there some way to draw maps which balance out demographics programmatically? While taking into consideration population, rural, suburban, urban areas, etc. Shouldn't there be a national policy/process that is followed?
It would make some sense to abolish recording what party people affiliate with. It really serves no purpose. Let people vote in both parties primaries.
You have a certain number of census tracts (essentially, neighborhoods) with known populations and geographic areas. You know you need to divide the state into X congressional districts.
You should simply assign census tracts to districts such that 1) you end up with X districts, 2) each district's total population is within a Y% tolerance of state population / X, 3) you minimize the average of the lengths of the district borders (to force maximum geographic compactness).
Given available data from the Census, some mucking around in PostGIS or ESRI, and a state-of-the-art commercial solver like Gurobi, there's absolutely no reason this couldn't be done.
It'd also be trivial to add on requirements for balancing demographics or political affiliation within certain tolerances as well.
Who would have thought someone that has spent a large chunk of their life studying and working in the areas that are required to solve this problem would come up with a useful solution? Not our representatives, apparently... :/
There are mathematicians who study gerrymandering and election maps [1,2].
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland's_3rd_congressional_d... for an example...
> isn't there some way to draw maps which balance out demographics programmatically
We can't even agree on what "balance" means. In particular, people want both majority-minority districts and party-balanced districts, which is a pretty tough constraint in practice.
Fivethirtyeight.com people have written a lot about it (including why you can't simply write a program and go home, just like you can't for most political questions). They also have an ongoing podcast series that talks about the issue in great detail 'The Gerrymandering Project'.
Plus, before skyscrapers and other sorts high density developments geography had an okay correlation with population density, but that is no longer the case anymore. There are often far more people in a single block in a city than on an entire knob out in the knobs, or an entire mountain in mountainous areas, etc. You can't easily "circle" just a floor or three of a single building on a 2D map with any accuracy, but to balance population density fairly you may have to consider problems like that.
With TV, radio, the internet, skyscrapers, and urban density, maybe we need a whole new solution for representative democracy than where physically you collect your snail mail?
I don't have any good theories on what should replace geography, but I do think geography is a problem we could eliminate by ignoring that variable.
The latter makes us establish physical security around election polling sites, and the former requires that we spent money to move people, machines, and consumables into and out of those sites.
As such, those costs require that political districts consider geography as a practical, money-saving measure, especially roads and buildings. You have to print N blank ballots and send them to the polling stations, and then send back any unused blanks, and the local issues on ballots for adjacent districts might be different.
In order to eliminate geography, you would need a system that has good data security without requiring physical security for the whole network. And an integral part of that would be a foolproof and uncheatable online identification system.
Good luck with that.
You could simply let anyone vote for anyone and elect the top N contenders where there is N seats.
Logically the choices would resemble the choices of the population.
You can also use the slow but difficult to default distributed network we have had the longest. The US mail.
I get what you're saying about geography.
But the alternatives have a lot of pitfalls. An at-large candidate from Texas or California is not likely to be particularly close to any minority demographic that might desire a champion for their concerns. You end up with every candidate from Chicago, campaigning in Chicago and its collar counties, and no one ever visits or gets elected from Carbondale or Bloomington-Normal or the Illinois part of the Quad Cities.
It might be appropriate to segment the population by profession, such as to have all the bus drivers, car drivers, train operators, and pilots in the state nominally represented by the same person, while all the farmers, loggers, and ranchers have their own person. That faces the same problems as geographical gerrymandering, and more.
If you segmented the population alphabetically, the representative for surnames starting with the letters A through C does not have a particularly clear mandate. But at least it would likely be a fair distribution.
I think the simplest segmentation would be between urban and rural. Line up voters by the population density of their census tract. Slice the population into a reasonable number of buckets, 2 or 3, and the voters in those buckets elect a number of at-large representatives. You probably end up with liberal representatives for every urban core, moderate representatives for every suburb and commuter artery, and conservative representatives for every hamlet and unincorporated township that can still see the stars at night.
Democracy means representing the majority view tempered by personal judgement.
You could, but that would actually be worse the FPTP in single member districts.
> Logically the choices would resemble the choices of the population.
No, they wouldn't, except by chance. Say you have six candidates, A-F, for three seats. 75% of the electorate prefers an ideology generally espoused by A, B, and C; 25% prefers an ideology generally espoused by D and E, and 10% prefers an ideology espoused by F.
In the first group, A is by far the most effective campaigner and gets 70% of the total vote, with the remainder split evenly between B and C; in the second group, support is split equally between D and E. The last, of course, all goes to F.
So, in your top 3 vote, A and F win seats in the clear, and the third vote goes to a tiebreaker between D and E; this does not at all reflect the distribution of views in the population.
That's why methods like Single Transferrable Vote and it's relatives, using preference rather than bullet ballots, exist.
It's not an interesting solution to the real-time results obsessed crowd, but it is a solution proven to mostly work.
Yes, there will always be direct local interests like fire, police, emergency service, sewage, utility, etc districts, but those services all have natural boundaries themselves, and the political boundaries can and often do match there at city/county/township/x-district levels.
But the state and federal levels, at least in the US, seem increasingly divorced from geography (outside of the Cold Civil War between rural and urban economies/beliefs/interests). The weird shapes of current gerrymandered districts is only possible because the geography is so divorced from the governing. If the shape of most US congressional districts was the shape of fire or sewage districts there would be riots in the streets.
I used to agree (also a software engineer) that this is a puzzle that ought to be solveable with weighted voronoi diagrams or somesuch but then I read: https://peoplespolicyproject.org/2017/10/17/the-problem-of-d...
Once you define which of the many competing priorities for districting (aside from naked partisan advantage and disenfranchising particular races, which we can assume are agreed not to be acceptable priorities) to optimize and how to weight them against each other this becomes easy.
Of course, the people with illegitimate goals can easily game out which combination of the notionally legitimate goals maximizes their actual illegitimate ones, and advocate for that as the standard.
Even having bipartisan commisions doesn't solve the problem. Parties will work together to secure incumbents.
It basically comes down to a who watches the watchers issue.
The California process may produce better results on average by some measure (and is emphatically more transparent) compared to legislative redistricting, but it emphatically vastly increased the drama associated with redistricting.
But, yes, I think people are mostly satisfied with the results, which is a separate issue from drama in the process.
California is listed as "Non-partisan;
super-majority (majority of each group) needed", you can argue that Wiki is wrong about this, but thats the source I'm using.
Wiki further clarifies its use of "non partisan":
Non-partisan means that either, a) the partisan makeup of the commission is not specified beforehand, or b) a substantial portion (i.e. more than one) of the membership of the commission is reserved for political independents or members of so-called Third Parties.
But, yes, by that odd definition, the California system is non-partisan under (b).
The interest voters express preferences for by voting?
The interests voters idealize (they may vote pragmatically within existing rules)?
A purely algorithmic solution needs to encode preferences and how to balance them, so they need to be defined quite precisely.
But it's unprecedented which makes it hard to enact without a lot of momentum.
Not saying that isn't happening now, it is. But software doesn't solve that issue.
So we created this great problem: congressional lines. Then we try and fix it. Representation is hard. Why not do away with the problem entirely? Remove this type of representation.
Radical, yes, but what does congress do anyway? ;)
why does this matter? congresspeople vote on national issues, not local issues.
Has it always been that way and will get worked out or is the US determined to destroy its institutions?
Well, let's analyze each of your questions in turn.
> Since I came to the US there is this constant push for impeaching the sitting president
When did you come to the USA?
There was a constant push to impeach Obama. There was a constant push to impeach Bush. The was a constant push to impeach Clinton.
Clinton was elected in 1993, so there are a lot of adult Americans who were born in the USA and who can also say that "since I came to the US (aka was born), there has been this constant push for impeaching the sitting president".
> extreme gerrymandering
> and all the other nonsense
Congress seems to be more dysfunctional now than it was in the 80's and 90's. But there have been worse eras, too. At least the congressmen who've been shot lately weren't shot by other congressmen in duels, for example... :-\
Electoral punishment for gaming the system to extreme levels, and even for misconduct that has no benefit for a party or candidates image or efficacy (blatant corruption, Roy Moore-type behavior [edit, 1]) has proven to be non-existent. The more various candidates and officials push, the farther it's clear they can go without punishment. Things are getting worse because they keep trying to push farther, and succeeding.
This is largely because of wedge issues—especially abortion, but also guns to a lesser extent. The problem won't go away unless we modify our election system to permit more than two viable parties at a time, so that, say, an anti-abortion party can go way off the rails and its saner voters can defect to another anti-abortion party, without losing anti-abortion voting power in legislative bodies (as, say, a protest vote would), and so on for every other issue. Proportional representation or something along those lines would help a lot. Most any effective change like this would also eliminate or greatly reduce the power of gerrymandering.
 Nearly non-existent—he did lose, after all, but narrowly.
I would prefer duels or fistfights overt the current state to be honest :-). Those tend to end after a while whereas the current state can go on forever.
Civil wars tend to end but I'd prefer the current state of affairs over a full-blown war, to be honest.
Is this considered normal? If so, why? It's like results of an election aren't final. A candidate wins yet people try to have him kicked out. :/
Impeachment looms larger in the public's imagination than it does in Congress's. It's normal for people wo want an elected official they dislike to go away, but let's be honest: it's mostly rhetoric and not action. Nixon and Clinton lost the public's confidence to a degree that forced the issue, but most people understand that it's not likely to happen even if they wish it would.
> If so, why? It's like results of an election aren't final.
This is essentially the point. Election results aren't final. We don't elect a king, or a dictator, for four years. We elect a President, who serves at our leisure, but whose power is checked by Congress, who also serve at our leisure. If Congress loses faith in a President - which is what impeachment implies - one would hope that they decide to exercise that option.
Instead of impeaching Trump maybe the Democrats should start standing for something and try to get elected. This seems a much more straightforward way.
I think you're right, in a sense. She had a 52-point plan on her website which outlined her position on any number of issues. At heart, she's a policy wonk. Leslie Knope for president. If she had been a bit more simplistic, it would likely have spoken to voters a bit more (ala Bernie Sanders -- Economic fairness! Medicare for all! Free college!)
I don't know if it is considered normal, but it is normal.
> A candidate wins yet people try to have him kicked out.
Impeachment is in the constitution for a reason. Winning an election is not a sufficient condition for maintaining a public office. So on face, there's nothing actually wrong with trying to use a constitutional tool to kick out an elected official.
> If so, why?
You're kind of asking for a retrial of very polarizing figures from recent political history, a dangerous topic on hn, and I suppose that's the reason for the downvotes. I'm trying, here, to give an honest and historically accurate answer.
Obama and Bush impeachment advocates were mostly unjustifiable partisans, in the sense that there were never serious, constitutionally plausible, and widely-believed-to-be-true justifications for impeachment. That's probably why neither person was ever actually impeached. Consider this "the system working mostly as intended"
Clinton was justifiable, at least at one point in time, although we could fairly ask whether the same accusations would result in an impeachment today. Again, consider this "the system working as intended"
Trump is an open case, and these things are hard to judge without the benefit of hindsight. But there are at least serious, plausible accusations of impeachable conduct. We'll see if those accusations are true, I guess.
However, you'll note that in all of these cases except for Clinton, it was a minority of elected representatives from the opposition party calling for an actual impeachment.
The vast majority of opposition representatives did always call for investigations. But that's a checks-and-balances system working as intended IMO.
OTOH, the Clinton impeachment that actually occurred (and ultimately resulted in a Senate acquittal) was on a completely different basis.
Doesn't the fact that there has been a push to get all the presidents kicked out mean there's something really wrong?
Not especially, given that the “push” in the activist base hasn't procedurally gone very far in most cases. You'd find very few democracies where some members of the opposition (especially in the electorate) don't claim that any given leader’s behavior is unacceptable and should result in removal.
I mean, I think something did go wrong—Ford’s pardon of Nixon which
was essentially justified by the argument that prosecuting a President would be too much for the nation to deal with—which has encouraged subsequent President's to view violating legal and Constitutional constraints on the power of the Presidency as safe because they are, in a sense, “too big to fail”.
But I while I think that has manifested in an increase in Presidential limit-pushing at least from Reagan on, I don't think that impeachment discussions are particularly a system if a deep political dysfunction.
After WWII (or, really, FDR's first campaign) the party system entered a long realignment along what became the modern American left/right axis which was basically completed in the early 1990s. Which is why polarization increased throughout the post-WWII period, but also why it was turbocharged from the Clinton era on.
Institutionally things are starting to break down because of a combination of poor design and poor implementation.
But there are so very many people who will argue that the current system is a feature not a bug.
The Democrats were unhappy with Reagan and Bush Sr. The Republicans were deeply unhappy with Clinton. The Democrats were on the border of being deranged by Bush Jr. The Republicans were deranged with Obama. Now the Democrats are absolutely insane about Trump.
(I'll give you that Trump makes it easier than any of his predecessors. Still, this has been growing since 1980, on both sides.)
They're really not the same.
> Wake Up America! See article: "Israeli Science: Obama Birth Certificate is a Fake"
> He doesn't have a birth certificate, or if he does, there's something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me -- and I have no idea if this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be -- that where it says 'religion,' it might have 'Muslim.' And if you're a Muslim, you don't change your religion, by the way.
> Perfect Obama's dad born in Africa, Mitt Romney's dad born in Mexico.Any pure breeds left? #CNNDebate
Surely we can agree that nasty, terrible people like that have no place in our political discourse?
Notice how people don't defend republican decisions, they just immediately go "BUT BOTH SIDES". When your only defense is whataboutism, maybe you need to stop and think for a bit.
Who stole a supreme court seat?
Who started winning presidencies without the popular vote and ramming extremely unpopular legislation through with reconciliation?
Make no mistake, the crass disregard for the democratic process on display in NC is a model coming soon to a state near you :(
While rulings like this are good news, what of the laws passed by these unconstitutionally "elected" bodies during the last decade? The damage (to our school system for example) is lasting and won't be undone by a mere SCOTUS rulings.
It's not just the democratic process, but more generally the rule of law. The GOP has gone into crazy territory with their "ends justify the means" strategies. Look at the support of Roy Moore. Party over everything. Disgusting.
I'd point out that you're equating accusations of sexually assaulting teenage girls with internal (and legal) party political intrigue, but then, you cited Seth Rich, so I already know you are immune to reason and sensible discussion. I just feel for Seth's poor family, having to put up with nonsense conspiracy theorists every day.
You're right that the types of things being done by each party, when in power, are different, but the shared mentality amongst the party members, of both parties, is the same: our team must win at all costs.
That's not 'being distracted,' that's 'paying attention.' The mentality of the people voting for representatives is totally irrelevant when, once in power, those representatives behave extremely differently depending on party affiliation.
At some point you have to draw a line connecting the two groups, right?
Otherwise, if these groups differ significantly, then they'd be voted out. On the contrary, polls show overwhelming support from within that party.
>but the shared mentality amongst the party members, of both parties, is the same: our team must win at all costs.
Sorry. That's simply not true. Look at the House Russia investigation and the behavior of people like Nunes.
You'd be hard-pressed to find an equivalent dereliction from the other side in a matter as significant as that implied by the allegations and evidence to-date. Think of it: there was more emphasis on HRC's emails.
We can say it's a matter of opinion, but at some point we must converge on reason. There is no equivalence here.
It even works for uncontested races. The office goes empty until an acceptable candidate can be found to fill it.
2. I'm not sure that option is actually a good idea, since the effective result is that either the incumbent continues longer - which means the none-of-the-above vote is a vote for the incumbent, so it's still rational to vote for the "other party" - or the office is empty. That's good if your goal is a small and weak government, which is a totally reasonable thing to want, but probably not one that reflects the will of the majority of Americans.
And I explicitly said the office would remain empty. If an incumbent runs unopposed, the new option would be the way to force their party to pick someone else, since obviously no one had the moxie or political capital to challenge in the primary.
If it is important that the office be filled, it is important that the parties run candidates qualified to fill it. In light of recent events, I'd rather have no elected official or a temporary placeholder than a bad official. It would seem that our government has a limited capacity to operate rationally even when the person nominally in charge is incompetent or non compos mentis. It certainly happened in the later years of the Reagan administration. It might be happening now.
Europe has proved that short election cycles are possible. We could survive six weeks of vacancy in most offices while cranking out a mulligan election. And where it really counts, existing succession plans apply. We could certainly run one mulligan between November and January, and if another one is required, Congress still has time to pick their Speaker of the House before inauguration day, who would then have to take the office until an election finally succeeds in naming a full-term replacement.
The sheer panic, expense, and inconvenience of the first time would likely encourage the parties to not run crap candidates in the future.
I said "(Unless you have a realistic way of introducing good)" - I meant that the way of introducing it must be realistic, not simply that the good must be realistic. (Let me know if I could have phrased that more clearly!)
Any one of those might work.
But you don't always have unlimited attempts, so it's still worth considering the amount of resistance a sound, sensible, rational solution to a real, obvious problem that affects every constituent might face in the typical congressperson, especially when the problem at hand is the prevalence of congresspersons stubbornly obstructing bills that would benefit the whole population at their expense.
It's a natural side effect of a first-past-the-post voting system.
I'm not going to ban you because there are earlier stretches in your comment history that do use HN as intended. But please read the rules and take the spirit of this site to heart. We'd appreciate it. Other links to take a look at are https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html and http://www.paulgraham.com/hackernews.html.
Like HRC purging hundreds of thousands of voters in Brooklyn for no reason the day before the primary?
This. What-aboutism is rampant these days, but frequently involves conflating things of such vastly different degree as to be of an altogether distinct quality.
The strange thing about the supposed "insurgent" party invoking it so frequently is that they are justifying their own behavior by equating it to that of those they so vehemently oppose and demand to be repudiated.
I see that as more of a failing of the democratic process than people being tribal. Simply put, if you opposed Trump (or Clinton) your only sensible option was to vote Clinton (or Trump). The sooner we escape this two-party hell the better, but it won't happen any time soon.
PS: When you try to game the system, the system owns your ass.
Oh, certainly. But very few people dislike both candidates equally. I didn't think Clinton was a particularly good candidate, but I was extremely concerned about the prospect of Trump being President. In that situation, my most sensible path is to vote for Clinton, despite my reservations. A vote for a third party would be a waste unless the system was changed in a way that would make it meaningful. All that said, I live in New York, so my vote doesn't make a damn difference anyway.
> Oh, certainly.
but then you said:
> A vote for a third party would be a waste
So, which is it?
Just my opinion, of course, and one that is heavily biased as a result of the 2016 election.
Why did the democratic process fail? Because people are being tribal. No one seriouly considered whether there might be other, better, candidates in other parties besides the big two.
Given that we've done absolutely nothing to 'fix' the democratic process, I suspect we'll get to relive this again and again, and again.
I think it's more of a vicious circle. The system encourages people to be tribal, so they act tribally, which further reinforces the system. Politicians with the power to change the system have zero incentive to do so.
> No one seriouly considered whether there might be other, better, candidates in other parties besides the big two.
Given that Bernie Sanders wasn't even a member of the Democratic party until 2016, I'd say he is a good example of a third party candidate who people would seriously consider, if the system allowed it. But it doesn't, so he won't be.
I think those are two separate things - having your team win at all costs, and opposing the other team regardless of what they do. The latter can be a rational response to an opposing team who is willing to win at all costs (and I would currently agree that this is justified). The Democrats have determined that the Republicans are untrustworthy, insisting on rules when they help and suspending them when they don't, pushing all of the gerrymandering they can get away with, etc. The Democrats themselves do not engage in this behavior - they just want the behavior to end. And in turn they get accused of organized voter fraud and all sorts of other allegations that have no basis in reality.
I would actually say that one of the persistent problems with the Democrats is continuing to extend the presumption of good faith to their Republican colleagues who have shown a history of acting in bad faith. The right response is to oppose everything Republicans do, simply because they are Republicans, until they show themselves willing to work in good faith. You can absolutely believe certain things and disagree with your political opponents and still act in good faith.
(As someone who believes in Christian morality and disagrees with a lot of policies of Democrats, notably their warlike tendencies, this situation combined with the two-party system is a problem for me, because it is now the case that I simply cannot vote for any Republican in good conscience, whether or not I think their Democratic opponent is reasonable.)
No it isn't.
Your comment is a perfect example of someone ignoring the other person and trying to win an argument at all costs. You completely restated what I wrote into an unrecognizable and false statement. That is commonly called a strawman logical fallacy.
Are you aware that both parties gerrymander their districts?
Yes, and I agree with you.
> Your comment is a perfect example of someone ignoring the other person and trying to win an argument at all costs
Oh yea, gotta win all those fake internet points. /s
As the 1,001st visitor, you have just won the entire Internet!
We do know that it was HRC running for the presidency in 2016.
>early in her legal career she worked tirelessly to provide legal defense
She was a defense attorney. Even "bad" people are entitled to earnest counsel. It's how our legal system works, otherwise it doesn't work. An attorney defending her client is not an endorsement of his behavior. Obviously.
Suggesting otherwise means you are ignorant WRT the U.S. legal system, willfully spreading Cosmic Pizza type conspiracy theories, or both.
By population, NC is a 50/50 red/blue state. Even by county, which is what a non-gerrymandered legislature would look like, it's all red outside of Charlotte and Raleigh, and 50/50 in places like Greensboro or Fayetteville.
I'm against HB-2 as well, but it's up to the judicial to rectify that.
The fact that the judiciary has the power to stop them does not make what they did any more or less acceptable. Gerrymandering the state specifically to subvert the will of the voting population is crass disregard for the democratic process.
There is a reason why there's a statute of limitations, but neither does it mean that the current punishment is enough.
Let's talk children, as you say - you would punish a child, yet you would not mark him as a morally corrupted person forever; the punishment just needs to be severe enough.
If the sitting legislature changes the districts in order to choose their voters, we move away from the ideal of an election.
The existence of a body charged with cleaning up messes is not an excuse for acting in bad faith. _Nothing_ is an excuse for acting in bad faith.
I lived in NC. The senators there that introduced a state constitutional amendment to deny marriage equality all ran in districts where they had no opponent running at all.
> proven racist bias
That goes both ways (Charlotte, Greensboro and Fayetteville). I really don't think the Democrats are going to be happy with the outcome of a rebalancing, because the Republicans will still have a huge legislative majority, maybe even more so.
So don't do that. Land doesn't vote, people do. If you give every 600k people a congressional district, the state is slightly more red than blue.
When every policy decision is decided by the needs of the residents of a few, highly populous cities, with no thought to the different needs of those living in rural areas, being a farmer, miner, logger, etc. becomes completely disincentivized.
When all those people in those cities (and the rest of the country) require incentivized agriculture to supply their basic survival needs, the system falls apart. The whole reason we have a Senate is so people in states that produce our agricultural products aren't disenfranchised.
Even so, California is our largest agricultural producer, and it's disenfranchised by the Senate. Other major producers include some small states like Nebraska, but also other large states like Texas, Illinois and North Carolina.
This is a huge pet peeve of mine. The agricultural industry does not exist in isolation, so its most immediate practitioners do not deserve a minority-rule electoral power.
Farmers use Wall St money to fund the planting of seeds geo-engineered by folks living in cities, harvest the resulting crops using tractors designed/built by folks living in cities, then ship the product on freight designed/built by folks living in cities. Throughout the whole process, farmers depend upon a whole set of energy informatics products (from weather prediction to oil discovery) made possible by a tour de force of scientific and engineering talent designed/built by folks living in/around cities.
Farmers are not rugged individualists, and an individual farmer is no more "critical to the survival" of city folk than a Deere software engineer or an Exxon scientist is "critical to the survival" of the modern farmer. And yet, you don't see those folks asking for a non-representative democracy...
The myth of the rugged farmer as the pillar holding modern society is just that -- a BS mythology.
And all of this before even considering that city folk help pay for all the public infrastructure that makes farming possible in the first place -- everything form rural roads and interstates they never directly use to subsidized crop insurance they don't immediately benefit from to concessions in international treaties that directly harm their industry in return for concessions that boost our agricultural industry and thereby contribute to our own food security.
Going back to the article, farmers don't deserve to be the dictators of a minority-ruled psuedo-democracy because farmers are just one more cog in a huge machine, a machine that farmers depend on to support their own way of life and, in many cases, even survival.
> When every policy decision is decided by the needs of the residents of a few, highly populous cities, with no thought to the different needs of those living in rural areas, being a farmer, miner, logger, etc. becomes completely disincentivized.
There are lots of people in cities who depend on and know a lot about the agricultural industry. Some of them grew up on farms and went on to work in knowledge industries supporting farming. Many of these city folks know more about farming/logging/mining than even the most skilled farmer/logger/miner. And many have more at stake in the success of America's agricultural industry than the folks actually working the land.
Presuming that someone who doesn't work the land can't know the needs of the agricultural/mining/logging industry is a somewhat conceited viewpoint.
Utter, pompous nonsense. And I say that as a software engineer.
> farmers don't deserve to be the dictators of a minority-ruled psuedo-democracy because farmers are just one more cog in a huge machine
What they don't deserve to be is permanently dictated to because their profession requires that they live in less population dense areas.
> There are lots of people in cities who depend on and know a lot about the agricultural industry.
What percentage of people living in New York have worked a farm? I think you're pulling your conclusions out of thin air.
One hundred years ago maybe. Not today. And the Exxon scientist/Deere engineer is meant to be read in a prototypical way. The point is, modern food security depends on the proper functioning of a lage, inter-dependent system.
It would be pompous to claim that the average software/petro engineer understands farming better than a farmer. But I didn't make that claim. I made the claim that some of these folks understand a related industry that is as important to US food security as is the actual act of farming a particular piece of land.
I also provided concrete and specific ways in which Farmers rely on a larger social fabric and, in particular, engineering/scientific/financial expertise that tends to concentrate in large cities.
Instead of calling names, provide counter-points those concrete and specific dependencies. Explain how a modern modern farmer could do his work, in an economically and ecologically sustainable way, without those other industries.
Also, in addition to the dependencies I've already pointed out, I'll provide an actual counter-example to your claim. Plenty of countries with many more farmers per capita than the USA have far worse food security than the USA, even given excellent farmland. So clearly, farmers are only part of the story!
And also a counter-example in the other direction: plenty of countries that don't use insane gerrymandering to give a minority of voters out-sized political influence have excellent agricultural systems. So clearly, farmers don't need minority rule in order for a society to enjoy a stable agricultural sector.
So no, we are not going to starve if rural folks lose their ability to push policy on abortion and bathroom usage. Both rationally and empirically, the claims you're making about the supremacy of the farmer's vote don't hold up to observed reality.
> What they don't deserve to be is permanently dictated to because their profession requires that they live in less population dense areas.
That's true. But they also don't deserve more say because they live in a less dense area, which is what you were originally claiming.
And even if farmers did have some unique secret sauce understanding of the inter-connected system that ensures US food security, your argument still does not justify giving rural folks in general an out-sized voice in governance. You do not make the case that the average rural McDonalds employee should have more voting power than the average urban McDonalds employee. The proposition that your argument actually defends is that that (farm) land ownership/stewardship should determine voting power.
Each person should have one vote, equally weighted, and without respect to geographic location. No?
> What percentage of people living in New York have worked a farm? I think you're pulling your conclusions out of thin air.
Well, New York has a lot of agriculture ;-)
WRT NYC, That's not the correct question. The correct question is: what percentage of people in New York understand OR contribute to some industry or process that's critical to US food security? That's a good question, and sounds difficult to answer with any specificity, so I stand by my original claim: "a lot".
 Mere understanding is sufficient here, because your claim was that farmers need a bigger electoral voice to ensure food security. My claim is that many people in cities understand what's necessary for a functioning agricultural system, and will vote accordingly (seeing as they like eating and all)
"Los Angeles and New York get less proportional representation, just because many people choose to live there."
"What about the people of rural South Dakota, don't they get a vote?"
Absolutely they do.
Geographic systems are based on a flawed predicate. Democracy should be based on "1 person, 1 vote", not "1 square mile/foot, 1 vote".
Tell me you go ahead and stick your hand in table saws because the safety interlocks will save you, and I’ll accept this statement as a justification for such undemocratic behavior.
That another element of the democratic process (the courts) intervened to correct the legislature's disregard does not exonerate that disregard.
You don't get to blow up the system because it's not functioning how you want it to. You're supposed to work in the system. The judiciary is correctly functioning by declaring this gerrymandering unconstitutional.
It sounds to me as though you have not fully internalized that gerrymandering – and other associated voter suppression tactics – are precisely designed to thwart the remedy you recommend here.
If that’s your response, I assess that you’ve either reached the point of supporting a narrative, or you don’t understand the impact of gerrymandering, which is specifically designed to work around this. You snarkily mentioned something was “U. S. government 101”, which it wasn’t, but gerrymandering they taught me in grade school.
No, it's not; legislative districts must be equal size because of one-person-one-vote; counties very much are not equal size. What things look like by county has little to do with what a “non-gerrymandered” legislative map would look like (which isn't even a uniquely objectively answerable question, since while there are some clear established improper goals in districting, there's no single accepted standard for correct goals, so there is a very wide range of potential non-gerrymandered ways of districting, which produce very different maps.)
I don't really agree with that, nor do I think does the Constitution. The legislature may not pass laws which are inconsistent with the Constitution; the executive may not execute actions which are inconsistent with the Constitution and the law; the judicial may not render decisions which are inconsistent with (firstly) the Constitution and (secondly) the law.
As a practical matter this means that the judicial branch often is reviewing the law, but it doesn't absolve the other two branches of obeying their oaths of office.
Sec. 7. Oath.
Before entering upon the duties of an office, a person elected or appointed to the office shall take and subscribe the following oath:
"I, _______________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina not inconsistent therewith, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office as _______________, so help me God."
It's turtles all the way down: the legislature's laws are reviewed by judges or ignored by the executive; judges & members of the executive branch may be impeached by the legislature; ultimately the voters decide what they're willing to let their government get away with.
These people are representatives. They are supposed to represent the interests of all their constituents. Deliberately redrawing the electoral map in an attempt to help voters only of their own party is a gross violation of basic democratic norms. It is putting party before country in the worst possible way.
That this has failed is in fault a part of the system, but largely our own fault. You can see this very thread degenerating into partisanship. And this partisanship ensures that representatives don't actually need to worry about representing the people that put them into office. All they need to do is make the people scared enough of the alternative that they'll vote against their self interest 'because it's better than the alternative.' The most recent election was quite a radical example, which I suspect will only get more extreme in elections to come. How many people genuinely felt Hillary was the sort of person that would truly represent them and their beliefs? How many people voted for her because they were terrified instead of Trump? And vice versa for those that voted for Trump and their terror of Clinton as opposed to those voting with belief Trump would effectively represent them?
It's also the same reason our 'representatives' pander left and right to corporations and special interests. We do a pretty awful job at being swayed by anything resembling merit, but massive advertising, attack ads, and other stuff is what really gets us going. Corporations and special interests provide the "donations" to fund those campaigns. The average voter does not. They simply go out and emotionally, or tribally, cast their votes, get their sticker and 6 pack, and go home and root for their team like a sports game - much to the benefit of the 'players.'
I would agree with most of what you said, particularly your diagnosis of the dysfunctions of the US system, but this part simply isn't true. There are plenty of successful democracies (almost all in central and northern Europe, admittedly) where political partisanship exists within a moral framework, and politicians adhere to certain moral and democratic norms, even when it is against their immediate interests to do so.
I think it's easy to overgeneralise the problems of the closest example to hand as being representative of all, and being fundamental and unavoidable limitations of human nature. But there are always counter-examples. There are always places where government actually delivers to people, and where the political system avoids the worst systemic dysfunctions that plague other regimes.
I'm not sure the US will ever reform its political system to achieve the same results, but, at the very least, we shouldn't let politicians (and the people who elect them) off the hook for underperforming vs. what we know is possible.
In the US it doesn't matter if the #1 candidate only got 10% of the vote. As long as the #2 candidate got less than 10%, then #1 gets 100% of the seats and political power. Because of this, voters have to factor in the insidious 'electability' into their decisions. Fewer people than ever identify as republican or democrat, yet they retain very near 100% of seats at all levels. This is what I was alluding to when mentioning that part of the problem is our system. Compare this to a proportional system where if there are 10 seats available then gaining at least 10% of the vote, in general, tends to guarantee you representation. This makes strategic voting much less of a concern. Even the 'Pirate Party' has managed to win representation in a variety of nations similar to those you allude to.
And for the sake of brevity, I'll omit more precise discussion of population size and diversity here. But those factors need also be considered. Compared to the nations you're mentioning, the US is huge and incredibly diverse. Democracy is redundant in populations where views tend to remain fairly similar throughout as any action would tend to be the will of all. On the other end, in a nation where everybody held views often mutually exclusive, democracy would be dysfunctional at best as any action would please one group to the offense of all the rest. Of course every nation's reality lay somewhere between the opposite extremes, but where the nations you describe may lay closer to one end, I suspect the US lays closer to the other.
It's complicated, of course, when the topic is itself politicized. But it's possible—and because possible, necessary—to discuss it without getting either generic or uncivil.
You've posted some excellent comments but I also see quite a few in which you've taken swipes at the person or comment you're replying to. That's against the rules here. We have these rules because of long experience with what fosters discussion quality and what degrades it. If you'd read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and take the spirit of this site to heart going forward, we'd really appreciate it.
But I'm somewhat baffled that you consider what I posted in this case a "rant". Fair enough, saying "total nonsense" was probably unnecessary, but it is still a comment on the quality of the argument, not upon the person, and as such seems to be within the rules. As for the rest, what exactly is uncivil about it? I absolutely would make these same arguments face-to-face if somebody made the original argument. In fact, I'd be probably be rather less civil about it in person.
I consider the post I responded to to be spreading a genuinely dangerous idea. Such ideas need to be rebutted, and, practically speaking, the force of the rhetoric needs to be increased commensurate with the dangerousness of the idea, in order to avoid giving an impression of false equivalence between it and other, more harmless ones. If it isn't commensurate, then surely that is what the community moderation is for? But in this case you seem to have acted unilaterally to hide my post.
I'm all for HN to be a bastion of constructive discussion. But that shouldn't be an excuse to allow toxic ideas to go unchallenged, or to be treated with a degree of respect that they do not deserve. The failure of intellectuals to vigorously contest destructive ideas, confining their criticism to a passionless and academic vernacular, has been a recurring historical problem. In the long term, it contributes directly to the rise of situations and movements that curtail any debate, anodyne or otherwise.
HN does not exist in a political vacuum. The type of discussion you say you want to foster is only possible because of a set of political principles and circumstances that are by no means "normal", historically speaking. Failing to defend those principles, or censoring those who do, helps those who would destroy them, and will harm HN eventually.
What you're missing is that the laws being overturned here are themselves directly concerned with the democratic process.
They aren't statutes, which are a lesser and more-common form of law.
You seem to be deliberately missing the point.
The GP was consistently ignoring the salient point that I and others repeatedly made; instead pursuing the same line of attack as if we hadn't pointed out the inconsistency.
Hence, it seemed to me that he was not interested in engaging in honest dialogue, so I pointed to his approach to the discussion. There was no personal attack.
It's also a great example of politicians choosing their voters. If we are going for this system, why not just do a state-wide popular vote election and choose the top N people as winners?
Also, gerrymandering seems responsible for the candidates sliding further into extremism. Basically if you run in a freshly created district that you are reasonably sure will go to your party, your real competition isn't the Dem/Rep who is running against you. It's your opponents in the primary. So if you are a Democrat running against a Republican in a close to 50/50 split, you might be compelled to become more centrist to steal some votes. But if you are only concerned about the primaries, you will try to be the Democratiest Democrat ever.
They redraw the map every 10 years, and they do do it over and over.
Sure, sometimes demos shift, but even then it's a crap shoot as to whether enough people move, and if those people move in are of a different party.
> state-wide popular vote election
That's party-list proportional representation. It's done in many countries, but not in the U.S. or countries of the British Commonwealth. Any U.S. state could decide to adopt it though...
Switching to a system where as a state we pick based on party representation or as a whole pick N candidates (something like they do in parts of Europe I believe) seems preferable and renders gerrymandering ineffective because there are no districts to draw. Hopefully we'd get representation based on the voters being represented with this style of system.
And of course drawing lines on a map rarely helps with fairness.
>In addition to Judge Wynn, an appointee of Mr. Obama’s, Senior Judge W. Earl Britt of the Federal District Court in Raleigh joined the opinion. Judge Britt was appointed by President Jimmy Carter.
>Judge William L. Osteen Jr., who was appointed by President George W. Bush and sits on the federal bench in Greensboro, said he agreed that the existing map violated the 14th Amendment, but he disputed other parts of Judge Wynn’s opinion, including the decision to appoint an independent expert to begin preparing an alternative map.
> President Trump carried North Carolina in 2016, but the state elected a Democrat as its governor on the same day and in 2008 supported President Barack Obama.
All subsequent mentions of someone in an NY Times article are typically "Mr./Mrs. ______".
It's also done to involved Republican (and presumably white) politicians on their subsequent mentions in the article.
America is a republic, not a monarchy or aristocracy: titles are for a limited duration, not for life.
Robert Hickey also: http://www.formsofaddress.info/FOA_president_US_former.html
Miss Manners too: https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1030916.html
I find it problematic that it is used inconsistently - all presidents other than Obama keep their titles for life.
Maybe only white presidents keep their title for life? I’d rather see that disparity tackled first, whether that means everyone keeps their title or no one.
This also seems to be a good occasion to encourage people to work from an assumption of good faith.
It's especially fitting considering this is the New York Times, a publication that, even if it were racist (which it is not), would probably be smart enough not to let it shine through in the most obvious way possible.
> Is there a particular standard...?
Rather than seeking to advance any democratic or
constitutional interest, the state legislator
responsible for drawing the 2016 Plan said
he drew the map to advantage Republican
candidates because he “think[s] electing
Republicans is better than electing Democrats.”
Ex. 1016, at 34:21–23. But that is not a
choice the Constitution allows legislative
mapdrawers to make.
> In a 2004 opinion, [Justice Anthony Kennedy] expressed alarm at the practice of extreme partisan gerrymandering but said the court should hold off on outlawing it. He also left the door open to ruling differently in the future, as long as lawyers provided a suitable way to measure when gerrymandering goes too far. He said that without that measurement, the court runs the risk of becoming too involved in a decision-making process that is legally mandated to state legislatures.
Actually, it's maybe a little like spam filtering.
A good first step would be proportional representation.
The best thing we can do to address gerrymandering is to keep partisans from coming up with zany voting districts which are optimized strictly for their own political benefit.
Cities aren't dead yet. It still makes sense to divide carve out districts according to population centers and geography.
Our lives and our industries are tied to the land we live on. It's not just rural and urban: there's coastal and landlocked, desert and forest, tropical and arctic, etc. Each of these areas have unique concerns when it comes to policies that effect their land and the industries that their land lends itself to.
Hillary Clinton of Arkansas was Senator for New York.
A couple-hundred miles is nothing for a modern carbetbagger.
We're talking about state reps here, so moving the goalposts doesn't help you. State reps are usually representatives of a couple of towns and some land. They aren't senators or governors. You can't adequately represent people at that level if you aren't around them and never meet them.
Specifics aside, I fully agree that I'm much more likely to have something in common with a software developer across the state than the school-teacher next door.
> Can't we elect representatives based on some other grouping?
And even though in the US such cases are often addressed to a single official, they ate sued in their professional capability. That means their legal bills, and any monetary judgements, are paid by the government.
All that doesn't preclude voters to draw their own conclusions. But you would have to look at every case individually: this case is pretty obvious, and it fits well with the existing narrative of the Republican party cutting corners to subvert basic mechanisms of democracy. But even actions that are well-intentioned and completely benign in their effects will occasionally be struck down by the courts when, for example, they are enacted by an agency when the courts believe legislative action is required.
1. Letting politicians determine electorate boundaries is just a dumb idea. Who thought that could possibly work?
2. Non-proportional representation belongs in the age of horses and telegrams.
The politicians that voted it into law, of course.
I’ll put it more simply, again. North Carolina has an electoral system that gives the minority party an absolute veto proof majority of their congress. In my view that is incompatible with democracy, and I don’t understand why I should give any credence to a criticism who can’t engage with that point honestly and forthrightly. I’m open to hearing more about alternative opinions, but for me that requires a better argument.
That's exactly why the original article can be dismissed. Of course there's a lot wrong in NC but no one has to engage data that is put forward in bad faith. Find (or write) a "forthright" argument first.
NC has Voter ID laws, which were a huge part of the x/100 score given. Literally every other developed country (and most undeveloped countries) in the world require ID to vote, but somehow it's "undemocratic", among other outrageous things, if you try to do it in the U.S.
> But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 2612 (2013), eliminating preclearance obligations, a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an “omnibus” election law. Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans. In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist.
That does seem pretty damning when you read their justification
Active election fraud is almost exclusively in the favor of the Democratic party. I can't remember the last time someone on the right was arrested for fraudulently filling out registrations forms, or when >100% of the registered voters in a district voted for the Republican candidate, as happened as recently as the 2016 presidential election in Detroit in the favor of Clinton.
The problem isn't voter ID. It's two sides using it as a way to unfairly benefit their interests. One side pre-emptively and the other actively during the vote. Both are wrong, but Voter ID itself isn't.
How about for actually fraudulently voting someone else's ballot. (Ironically, after publicly making your exact argument about voter fraud being exclusively a Democratic thing.) 
Or voting twice because of Republican voter fraud claims. 
Or ballot-box stuffing. 
All from the 2016 election.
A nice key word there, arrested.
Especially given that multiple members of Trump's electoral team, even his own family, were found to have violate electoral law and fined.
I get it though, they were just "confused" and making "honest mistakes".
Given the Republicans arrested for voter fraud (yes, the kinds that actually affect the vote count) in the 2016 cycle, the more key phrase seems to be “I can't remember”.
It's not that it didn't happen, repeatedly and recently, it's just that fortythirteen doesn't remember it, perhaps because it clashes with a preconceived worldview.
Quit playing for your side and accept when you've read a valid point.
> The former doesn't even affect the vote count.
Some of the people mentioned in my example _were_ shown to have voted twice.
> Quit playing for your side
My side? I'm a US permanent resident, I'm not eligible to vote. That doesn't make me blind to the fact there are huge issues with the system here, and fault to be found on both sides of the aisle.
“Quit playing for your side”, indeed.
I can, it's this https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-court...
>Voter ID laws themselves were not declared unconstitutional, the extra actions by the Republicans were.
Wrong, North Carolina's Voter ID laws were declared unconstitutional as they were used to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”
>I see no effort from Democrats to offer any option on how to secure our elections,
Are you saying the Secure Elections Act doesn't have Democratic sponsors?
>which is especially damning considering they've spent the whole last year falsely claiming that they were "hacked".
Democrats were 'hacked', unless you are claiming that John Podesta, Colin Powell, and the DNC didn't have email accounts that were broken into. I think your strawman claim is that democrats are maintaining that vote counts were altered, which again is a strawman - no one serious is actually making that claim, it would seem you're trying to claim a fringe view as a mainstream (strawmanning).
>Active election fraud is almost exclusively in the favor of the Democratic party.
That's the typical claim, yes. Your comment is interesting though, since you seem to want to limit the discussion to 'active voter fraud', as opposed to methods that indirectly lead to unfair elections - like voting laws designed to disenfranchise minorities with 'surgical precision'. If we expanded the scope of the discussion, we'd see you're arguments conveniently leave out those methods that Republicans have been using for the past 30+ years.
>I can't remember the last time someone on the right was arrested for fraudulently filling out registrations forms, or when >100% of the registered voters in a district voted for the Republican candidate, as happened as recently as the 2016 presidential election in Detroit in the favor of Clinton.
You mean those precincts where workers miscounted voters? Didn't the Republican Secretary of State say they were errors, and in any case didn't affect the outcome in the state? Seems like you're fishing.
>The problem isn't voter ID. It's two sides using it as a way to unfairly benefit their interests. One side pre-emptively and the other actively during the vote. Both are wrong, but Voter ID itself isn't.
It seems like you're closing your argument with 'both sides', and in any case 'both sides' aren't having their voter id laws thrown out in court because they are explicitly being used to drive disenfranchisement.
Well, the UK doesn't. And most other developed countries have proper national mandatory ID systems where everyone has an ID. People would complain a lot less about the ID requirement if the ID was equally easy to get for all voters, which it isn't.
This is the nub of it. The way to disenfranchise people "legitimately" is to
1) insist on the voters having an Id and
2) make it hard for some people to get the necessary Id.
Longer discussion here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHFOwlMCdto "these restrictions tend to disproportionately impact African-American and Latino voters"
Who in this country is unable to get an ID? More specifically, who in NC is unable to get an ID?
It's rather convenient that the Democrats are always against any measure that would make elections less easy to rig, and provide no active solutions to improve the situation.
It's not as simple as taking a 15 minute drive to the DMV and waiting in line. Many of these people lack access to proper transit systems to get to these places. At least where I live, the DMV is open during normal business hours which may be impossible to get to without taking time off of work. Many of these people are paid hourly which makes this a financial decision as well. It's really hard to miss an hour of work when that could be food or rent.
It's really hard to come up with a solution when large swaths of the country or totally opposed to anything that slightly resembles a national ID. While I agree that we could probably be doing something, it's not as simple as telling everyone to go to the DMV.
I've thankfully never been in that situation, and I think you've done a great job explaining the issues with the a voter ID system to someone like myself who wouldn't see any issue with it.
I watched my parents struggle growing up. My dad worked in a steel mill. My mom cut hair and cleaned businesses after work. I never saw them not busy. They made a ton of sacrifices to keep a roof over my head and food on the table.
Getting an ID would not have been a simple task for them. We lived in public housing and we walked almost everywhere. I watched them struggle to get by every day and to hear someone say "just do something" really makes me upset. It's not that simple. Their life was planned down to the minute. Work, walking me home, second job, making dinner, managing finances down to the penny, etc.
All that I am saying is, it's not that simple. People are in some really shitty situations despite doing everything right. Making it harder for these people to vote (who already have trouble finding the time to get to the polls) is just fundamentally wrong in my opinion.
I mean, there is, I was young, living on my own, getting around by bus poor, and then there is poor poor.
There are many reasons why people can’t or won’t get state IDs, even if you can’t fathom it. Until we have mandatory federal IDs (which, incidentally, Republicans are usually against because...facism or something), making them required for a civic duty is just dumb and unfair.
But...uhm, what if you don't have your birth certificate lying around somewhere? What if its like California, you have to pay $50 and wait in line for a few hours? Or what if you try to get a state ID and they want a utility bill to pay your residence?
There are billions of little things.
You can do a lot without an ID card. You can even fly with evidence of identity that doesn't require an ID. You can actually bank as long as you know your SS# and can provide another form of identity (e.g. birth certificate). You might not be able to get a credit card, but those are rich people problems.
Anyways, there is an entire world that you and I are not very familiar with.
Is there any evidence that this is happening, in a way that voter ID would prevent?
"It's not hard to get" is the other fallacy, which is subject to huge selection bias "because I found it easy and so did all the people that I know". Many comments here exhibit that, and I can't tell if they're made in good faith or not.
If people are actually concerned that requiring a state ID to vote will disenfranchise the poor, then compromise and make IDs free or discounted based upon income.
But that's the thing. What if the people pushing to require a state ID want to disenfranchise the poor?
I refer you to this comment, which you should have seen by now. Court case, concrete evidence. No frivolous arguments please.
> Why is voting, which is an important civil duty, the one thing that should not require proof of identity?
Are you saying that it might be abused? But is it actually abused, in reality? Your "what if" isn't good enough without concrete evidence. Enough double-think.
There are a lot of comments in this post so I did not see that. In this case, it does appear that the NC legislature did intentionally act maliciously to affect who could vote. That being said, I still stand by my position that an ID should be required to vote, and that it should be easy acquire an ID.
> Are you saying that ... it might be abused? But is it actually, in reality? Your "what if" isn't good enough without concrete evidence.
I'm saying that not requiring an ID makes it easier for voting to be abused. I doubt it's abused much because it would be too fragile and require too much orchestration, but I don't think it's nonexistent. I think it's one of many safeguards to help ensure that elections are legitimate.
> Enough double-think.
I fail to see how I'm being logically inconsistent. I simply asked for evidence which you did provide. Most of the time people mention vague events without any citations.
Requiring voter Id, while making it not trivial to get voter id, has pros and cons. The pros are theoretical, as you say "I doubt it's abused much", and the cons are actual. That alone should indicate that it's a bad idea.
The position that "an ID should be required to vote, and that it should be easy acquire an ID" is logical and defensible, except when that's made out to be the actual situation. The problem that it solves is theoretical, the abuses of it are manifest.
The governor race in 2016 went 49%-48.8%, yet 2/10 representative sent to Washington are Democrats. Why do you think this is representative?
Voter ID laws are consistently shown to disadvantage poor minority voters -- especially when coupled with the strategic closure of DMV offices and an increase in fees -- as surprise we've seen here in NC.
> so the majority Republican legislature
I get that this is the system, but it's an inherent problem of the system.
If (arbitrary numbers) 5M people live in three cities and they voted Democrat (leaving aside the Raleigh issue for now), and 1M people live in the rest of the state, there is no credulous interpretation of how you can come to a conclusion that
"the majority of the state is Republican"
other than to acknowledge that your system is not about 1 person, 1 vote, but 1 unit of land, 1 vote, and it unfairly awards people who own large tracts of land, or live in undeveloped areas. Yes, yes, I get that this was to allow country folk to feel represented.
But be clear, in no way is the state truly "majority Republican" other than in terms of square miles, regardless of who does or doesn't (because huge tracts of federal land, national parks and the like, get lumped into these rural districts) live there.