The actual voting takes place on paper, and while it takes time to prepare the ballots and count the votes, the process of voting doesn’t take very longer than a few minutes for the individual citizen. From they enter the voting place till they are done.
I think that’s the way to digitize elections, you make them speedy for the citizens, but safe for democracy.
I can’t for the life of me understand why you would ever do a digital vote. It’s just so risky. I guess you save money by adding effectiveness to the process surrounding an election, preparing ballots and counting votes, but those parts of the process are owned by the public sector and I don’t think the government should ever value the safety of our democracy as less important than money. We count votes by enlisting employees of the municipality, members of political parties and paid help from local NGOs, and everything is monitored and counted a few times. It’s a little taxing, but everyone involved enjoy the process, and financially it’s not that expensive compared to paying a license for voting machines.
This is part of the problem in the United States. Voting is a chore, and you're often going to lose money (unpaid time off) to do it. If elections were national holidays and voting was treated as a privilege instead of a chore, we would be much better off.
A couple of weeks before the midterms I'm going to get a packet in the mail containing my ballot, instructions for filling it out, a pamphlet where every candidate on the ballot gets a paragraph or two to make their case, and a prepaid return envelope. I fill out my ballot at my leisure, stuff it in the envelope, sign the envelope underneath the flap, and drop it in a mailbox. There's a receipt with an anonymous serial number in the packet that I can go online and use to verify my ballot has been received. If I'm worried about missing the deadline there are also dropboxes in most government buildings I can drop my ballot in up through the day of the election, along with a few traditional polling places open on election day.
Voter turnout here is about twelve points above the national average.
Our democracy is broken, and the people capable of fixing it are actively incentivized to keep it broken.
The headline of that article is "If you vote by mail in Florida, it’s 10 times more likely that ballot won’t count". That's not equivalent to what you said.
If there's a 99% chance your vote will count and 1% chance it won't, a 10 times more likely to not count changes that to a 90% will count/10% won't count chance. Using your wording, it would change it to a 9% will count/91% won't count chance. Those are vastly different things.
Voter turnout is still not very high.
The envelopes have to remain sealed until they're brought into the room with the election monitors to be counted. If the seal isn't intact or the envelope isn't signed underneath or the bar code under the flap doesn't match the one on the ballot then the ballot is considered spoiled. The actual ballots are wrapped in a "secrecy sleeve" so that the votes can't be seen without unfolding them, and the election monitors separate the envelopes with the signatures from the ballots before they begin counting, so the secret ballot is preserved.
From that point forward they're processed just like any other paper ballots.
there are all sorts of safeguards for things like not getting your ballot in the mail, etc. I was also automatically register to vote as an independent when I got my drivers license. (they mailed me a form I could return/mail to change party, if I wanted to).
My last state, my town was small, had a single polling place, and trying to vote before work meant getting there before they opened at 7am, or else wait 60-90 min to vote, and be late to work. (or come in after work, and wait 60-90 minutes).
There are have been cases of "vote for me or I'll break your legs". When you vote from home someone can come by and watch you mail your vote the "correct" way in.
To be useful it would be necessary to visit 10,000’s - 100,000 houses and threaten violence.
The voting system does not need to resolve this issue. Threats of violence are already illegal, and any group conducting such acts at that volume would be quickly apprehended. Call the police.
Can you imagine how quickly twitter / the internet would blow up if stand over men were going door to door threatening voters?
Voter intimidation is already illegal and there is no indication that it is a legitimate problem in the states that have postal voting.
While im theory its relevant a practical issue has never happened once as far as I can remember.
Going to hugly distributed areas to beat all voters up seems like a terrible attack vector.
So maybe in some places it could be a problem but I dont see it as much of a problem in a modern First World Democracy.
Genuinely curious because I've never heard of anyone expressing this concern before.
Polling locations can be (and allegedly are) reduced in number and/or moved farther away from specific groups in order to influence who votes.
Aside from that you can't find out much more, of course, because as soon as your ballot is received and the outer envelope is scanned, it is discarded and your ballot (which is inside an inner secrecy envelope) is put in a box with the rest.
Edit: Found this
> In 1845, the United States Congress chose a single date for all national elections in all states. The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was chosen so that there would never be more than 34 days between Election Day and the first Wednesday in December. Election Day is held on a Tuesday so that voters will not have to vote or travel on Sunday. This was an important consideration at the time when the laws were written and is still so in some Christian communities in the United States.
This seems a pretty dated reason. Why no one is proposing to change it ?
As far as absentee ballots are concerned, sometimes they are difficult to get. My mother had trouble getting one when she was pregnant - my sister was due around election day. She finally got it, luckily - because my sister was, indeed, born on election day.
I assume there is some correlation between people who are unlikely to receive paid time off for voting and people that have to work on unusual days, so I'm not sure changing what day Election Day falls on will fix anything.
The solution is to mandate that employers give you a couple of paid hours off on Election Day. I would be surprised if this was not already the case in several states.
States can also help out by keeping the polls open for longer hours, so that someone who has to work an 8 hour shift has plenty of time on either side of their workday to go vote. (Last primary, I forgot in the morning, then worked late... and still had plenty of time to vote after work. The same is not true in every state.)
Do you need to get to the polling place? I guess all gas station workers are exempt. As is everybody working for the various transit systems.
Can you ensure nobody has a medical issue on a national holiday? Doctors, nurses, and hospital support staff are all working. This also brings on either the entire power grid, or someone in maintenance to watch the generators.
Do you eat? All restaurants are exempt. So are grocery stores. So are all the utilities related to energy needed for cooking. (though here Israel with their nobody working on the sabbath has an interesting take - in part that works there because non-jews are willing to work but it need not)
Are you going arrest foreigners the night before (which is to say no passports are valid, go home before voting day and come back afterwards - bad weather is not an excuse to plan ahead)? I guess hotels get to remain open.
You can go on. It turns out to run civilization we need a lot of people working even on holidays. Interestingly, it turns out a lot of these workers are the poorer people who you were trying to help.
There's no reason we can't take the positive step forward of making it a holiday now which would improve it for a huge amount of people and then improve it further.
It seems people want 100% solutions. If it's not perfect we might as well stay stuck where we are. This is essentially what you are saying. This is why no progress is ever made, because improvements are ignored because they are "not perfect." The world isn't perfect, but we can do better and making it a holiday will help significantly.
Keep searching for Utopia, while the pragmatists get things done.
Some states might even allow absentee ballots for those who will be present in the state, but are essential personnel who have been scheduled to work on election day. That's not something that can be established federally, though.
And it has to be on-par with things like memorial day, labor day, thanksgiving and christmas... plus include primaries as well.
If it is similar to President's day or Veterens day, not only will folks still work, but they will usually get paid normal wages that day as well.
As something that helps the problem, it is simple enough. It's not an abstract idea. Our particular vessel at implementing such a change is where the complexity lies and the problem is with that, not the idea.
Often times quick fixes solve major issues for enough time for more permanent solutions to be put in place. Patching a pothole does the job. It's not perfect, but your car won't get damaged anymore in the pothole.
Are you certain about this?
Making it a holiday is a huge step forward. Taking other steps (like mandated hours off for all jobs) can also be done. Why can't we have a small step forward? Is there a problem with progress if it doesn't fully solve the problem?
1.) There should be at least one federal holiday that constructs a three-day weekend each month. I think ideally, any new such holidays should grant the Friday, rather than Monday, as the holiday day - Friday is traditionally the day of dumping problems on someone else, and ruining their weekend. Ruining a three-day weekend in this fashion is especially egregious, and, at least temporarily, the Friday switchup should help to confuse the problem-dumpers.
2.) The informal Thanksgiving and Christmas-New Years week holidays should be formalized - these are already de facto periods of minimal productivity, they might as well be de jure, and we can just focus on being happy/miserable with our families during this period.
3.) In similar fashion, the entire 4th of July week should be declared a holiday, if for no other reason than to resolve issues of confusion on proper conduct when the 4th falls upon inconvenient days like Wednesday, as occurred this year. A week of vacation during the period when there is actually the potential of usable daylight and pleasant weather would have significant mental health implications.
4.) How the freak is voting day not a national holiday already?!?
But you're right - don't do nothing just because to do something isn't perfect.
In that line, a national holiday for voting would encourage voting. As such, all the groups pushing voter suppression would be against a holiday.
So yes, it's reasonable to say that the cohort that Trump made the largest gains with (i.e., lower income brackets) is his "voter base."
American polling centres also often seem to have massive queues and long waiting periods to vote, I assume due to understaffing and insufficient numbers of centres.
Yep, due to a well-documented campaign by republicans to restrict access to voting that has been ongoing since the civil rights era.
Why hasn't it changed? Because to change it the party in power would have to vote to massively change voting block, almost certainly swinging several elections. Since the party is in power, they have no interest in this.
Additionally, the people who want it changed are probably the people who can't easily vote on Tuesday. These people already don't vote, so they can't influence their politicians to support changing the day.
I'm sorry but there is a non sequitur here. If someone is inconvenienced by voting on Tuesday, it doesn't really mean they don't vote on Tuesday.
I don't know how it really is (non-US citizen and not in the US) but I strongly suspect there must a lot of people who don't fancy the extra hassle but still vote.
How is the timing in the U.S. then?
Silicon Valley is surprisingly terrible at most things governmental.
We can, that’s what I do since I’m working on election days.
Paper isn't perfect and I think the thought at the time was pushing elimination of all of paper's errors. That being said, digital voting of course has far worse problems if you don't do it right (and it's pretty clear it hasn't been done very well in the US). In hindsight, that was a poor push.
I imagine it's actually possible to design a digital voting system that is fairly secure (eg air-gapped voting machines, secure data storage and transmission, integrity verification, redundant security features, thoroughly tested, and -- most critical of all -- paper backups), but it would be very difficult compared to designing a better paper ballot system, and probably quite a bit more expensive.
Every attempt to firm up voter registration roles (such as proving identity, eligibility, etc) is met with cries of racism.
As a side note our Politicians in Denmark, just trashed the posibility of using evoting, citing security, and that our current election system, is actually superior. The only thing we would gain, would be fast vote counting. Why sould we trade security for that?
I also think, you shouldn't use voting machines. But I understood them better when I found out that their ballots are different from our ballots.
How is the counting done in Denmark? Do they still have to collect all the paper ballots and count them in a central place? If so, how do you avoid all the 'hanging chad' issues?
1) Free. Period. Otherwise you're going to disenfranchise poor people who can't afford even $50 to get an ID.
2) Universally accessible. If we're going to require it, then we need to make sure everyone has one, from a little old lady living 100 miles from civilization in Montana, to the homeless living in camps near San Jose.
So you don't really need those things, but they may be proxy issues for other hard-to-solve issues.
It's the same sort of thing in most European countries, you need to prove who you are, and usually doing that costs some one-off nominal fee. Voting is always going to carry some cost, whether that's money or in externalities imposed on voters.
I'm not saying Iceland and other European countries are "comparable to the US", I'm sure we could spend all day moving that particular goal post.
I was just pointing out that there's nothing wrong per-se with requiring ID to vote. I'm somewhat familiar with the US history on the matter, and realize that in practice, and I think uniquely in the US, it's a wedge issue that's historically been motivated by voter disenfranchisement.
But it's important to separate that practical concern about particular implementations from the very notion that having a national ID system and using it for things like voting could never work.
I'm curious about how this works in practice. If you're a tourist visiting the US during a vote can you just show up to a voting polling station and cast a vote? If you don't have to show your ID what happens from the time you walk up to a polling station until you cast your vote and walk out again?
In most states, you must be registered to vote before election day. In those states, non-citizens who attempt to vote will be asked their name and address before they are handed a ballot. When they are found to not be on the registration list for that polling precinct, they will not get a regular ballot. They may be given the chance to cast a provisional ballot, but it will be thrown out during the counting process when evidence cannot be found that the person was eligible to vote.
The voter registration process has proven to be a highly effective means of preventing ineligible voters from voting. The exceptions tend to be when different government departments fail to communicate effectively to catch people registering in multiple places, or ineligible criminals attempting to register. Voter ID does not meaningfully improve the security against non-citizens voting.
Okey, so there's a list of people eligible to vote at a given polling station, but how do you you get on that list?
If there's no mandate to show ID do you just show up for registration and say your name is John Smith living at such-and-such St? The federal census is every 10 years so that claim can't be checked against that. Do local governments maintain their own name/address databases?
Are they ever going to say "we don't believe that you live here". What do you do then? Show up with a utility bill with your name on it?
As it happens, essentially no one in the US commits voter fraud of this sort (the go in, vote as someone you’re not, kind. Ballot stuffing may or may not be a thing, or rigging of digital elections may be a thing).
The US also makes voting day be on a normal work days, it’s not a holiday or weekend, and people don’t get time off work to vote. There are often very long waiting lines to vote. So telling people they need an ID to vote leads to people actually being disenfranchised, in the US, if they just forgot their ID.
And again, actual voter fraud is so rare that it’s national news when someone is convicted of it (and people go looking for it often).
To answer your questions about voting in the US, everything varies by state/territory. All of them require you to register before you are allowed to vote. The deadline to register is usually weeks to months before election day. A few states allow you to register on election day and your vote won't be counted until your registration is confirmed. When you register (or in the lead up to the election) you are assigned a specific polling location. Many states have some sort of absentee or mail ballot that allows you to vote if you can't or don't want to physically go to a polling place. You have to be registered ahead of time to receive one of those ballots.
On election day you show up to your assigned polling place and tell them your name. The polling place will have a list of people eligible to vote at that location and will match your name to their list. You might be asked to sign next to your name on their list to confirm you voted and potentially confirm your identity. I have no idea if anyone really reviews the signatures. If your name isn't on the list, you may be given a provisional ballot and then there will be a process to investigate why you weren't on the list. Provisional ballots generally aren't counted unless a race is extremely close and a large percentage of those ballots end up being disqualified for various reasons.
An extremely determined tourist might be able to lie their way into filling out a provisional ballot but it wouldn't be counted because their eligibility wouldn't be confirmed. They could potentially impersonate a known eligible voter, but that would require them knowing the correct polling place, knowing that person has not yet voted, and be willing to commit an obvious fraud. The upside for committing that type of fraud is extremely low considering the effort that would be required to swing anything but the smallest elections. There is no real evidence that anymore than a handful of people attempt this type of thing during any election.
A national ID sounds like a terrible idea for this country right now.
It's a very poor system that was never designed for its current use. We have many of the downsides of a poorly implemented national ID and very few of the upsides. We need an actual purpose built national ID.
Some stats on Wisconsin, which is supposed to provide a free voter ID: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/us/wisconsin-voters.html
You should be able to handle this like you do getting a passport. Fill out the forms, get a proper picture taken, slap it in the mail, get your shiny new documents back in two weeks.
I filled out the forms to renew my passport and took them to my local post office. The only person staffing the passport desk refused to take my forms because I hadn't filled in the name of my employer. I pointed out that the website explicitly states that that field is optional, and that the website will not even allow you to print a form that doesn't pass its validation. She hallucinated that the field is optional only in the case that you have no employer.
So, I had to travel to a passport office. The desk there really wanted me to fill in the name of my employer, but at least they didn't refuse to take my perfectly valid form based on their own personal delusions.
Let's join the rest of the world and make sure that the people voting in our elections are citizens. Community organizers have proven to be extremely effective at getting voters to the polls. If a preliminary step is for them to get them their card, I'm sure they won't flinch from that duty.
> Let's join the rest of the world and make sure that the people voting in our elections are citizens.
The proper time to verify citizenship is during the registration process, when there's time to be thorough. You can't do a reasonable job of validating ID or checking that a person is only registered to vote in one place at the polling place.
But if you want to implement paper ballots across the board at the same time, or even 1st, than let's make that happen. As you say, any progress is better than none. Since you are obstructing voter id and not obstructing paper ballots (I assume), than by all means, let's do that first.
Ignoring for the moment how improper it is for you to take such a personally accusative tone: The voter ID opposition has been thoroughly justified by the lack of evidence that the problems it solves are real enough to need solving, and by the fact that even the slightest awareness of the context surrounding these voter ID proposals makes it clear that they are not good-faith attempts to make our elections more fair.
In short: nobody's falling for the lies. They're too transparent.
I would be pleased if you did not personally insult those who you are speaking to.
The lack of evidence is a farce, since any attempts to collect such evidence are met with stonewalling and refusal by democratically controlled local and state government.
In 2014, a study released by a team of professors from Old Dominion University and George Mason University estimated that approximately 6.4 percent of noncitizens voted In the 2008 presidential election. (Versus 56% of legal citizens voting)
As immigration reform becomes more and more of an issue, there is incentive for that 6.4 percent number to further increase, and indeed it may have in 2016, but that data is proving hard to pry loose. Since there are 11 million illegals in the US by the lowest estimate (high estimates are 20 million) this is not a non-problem.
As for the disenfranchisement canard. Even Nate Silver acknowledges it's non-validity. Silver has noted, this argument doesn’t make sense because the vast majority of adults in America hold some form of photo identification and states with voter ID laws offer qualifying documentation at minimal or no cost.
Not letting a citizen vote is just as much voter fraud as a non-citizen voting. Except its worse, because it is performed by the state.
By the way, the single prosecuted case of voter fraud from 2016 I'm aware of, is a man in Colorado, who voted for his wife after she'd moved out of state. They're both citizens.
a) Want to make having an ID as a prerequisite for voting
b) Are deeply against any form of national ID card (or anything else that makes it cheap and easy to get an ID)
It's almost (almost) like they want to prevent poor people from cities (who don't need cars) from voting.
Also it’s hard for poor people to get ID cards because our governments make the process hard and time consuming. It’s a manufactured and not inherent problem.
The state believes requiring IDs disenfranchises the poor. It’s actually the disfunctional state governments that do it.
No proposal for voter ID in the US has ever accompanied a serious effort to ensure all citizens have easy access to suitable ID.
Many proposals have been explicitly crafted on the back of data gathering campaigns to determine which forms of ID "unfavorable" groups generally do not have.
We used to look people up in big books, that are printed for the occasion, to make sure their piece is valid and they haven’t already voted - which took a long time and led to queues. That’s the part we digitized.
But you can vote without ID as long as you have that piece of paper and know your birthdate.
I’m actually not sure how the homeless vote (they can’t receive the piece of paper), but I guess they probably do a mail vote at their local municipality.
We do have a central registry of every citizen, so I guess that might scare some Americans.
You don’t need that though, you could pick up your registration at any municipality with your ID. That’s how I vote, I work from before the voting starts to after it closes, so I vote via mail.
US has same registry. It might not include every american but I'd be suprised if it doesn't have 99.99% of all Americans in it.
This doesn’t seem to be the case for most of the proposed American requirements, at all.
Most other countries in Europe have mandatory govt id anyway, so it’s not a major burden.
Automatic registration is likely controversial in the US for different reasons, as other posters mentioned.
Specifically, the system should be auditable in a way that makes it difficult to trace individual votes back to voters, but allows individual voters to verify that their votes are counted correctly.
There must be a good way to accomplish this while also addressing potential voter fraud. Does anybody know of any research in this area?
With paper ballots, I have no way of knowing whether or not my vote was counted correctly. And I find that really unsettling.
Computers are about convenience. Elections are important enough to do things the hard way.
Paper gives you natural decentralization. Computers will tend to be purchased from and serviced by a small number of companies.
If everyone can prove how they voted it becomes much easier to intimidate or incentivize people to vote a certain way.
The people who count votes are either trusted employees of the muniplacity, members of a politician party or NGOs. I guess in a two party system it’s hard to understand why politician party members are impartial, but when you have several parties they govern each other + they don’t get to count their own votes, and there is at least one recount of only officials.
I’m not sure what system would be safer.
Without a paper trail you have no evidence. I guess you could use blockchain, but realistically, it would never be decentralized and 99% of the voters wouldn’t understand it well enough to know whether or not the software actually did what they intended, making it much unsafer.
Unless it's good enough to verify whether your vote was counted, that should be fairly easy to do.
Untrue. You can use strong encryption to ensure confidentiality and zero-knowledge proofs to ensure integrity. Then, you can use methods from homomorphic encryption to tally the ballots. There is a whole area of research dedicated to this.
'The film investigates the flawed integrity of electronic voting machines, particularly those made by Diebold Election Systems, exposing previously unknown backdoors in the Diebold trade secret computer software. The film culminates dramatically in the on-camera hacking of the in-use / working Diebold election system in Leon County, Florida - the same computer voting system which has been used in actual American elections across thirty-three states, and which still counts tens of millions of America's votes today.'
Same company in 2018, same issues
Staff up the FEC and then make it their job to seek out and provide ID to every single eligible voter in the country. Kinda like the census, be proactive and don't make disenfranchisement a thing. And then make it so polling places are open for days, maybe a week, including a full weekend, so everyone gets a chance to vote.
Or vote-by-mail. We've established it works.
All of them believe it's the Russians based on all the available evidence.
I'm a huge proponent of direct democracy. But I also think we are asked to vote on way too many things.
Alas, I only have one idea for reducing the number of elections. (Which would also improve outcomes.)
Replacing our current first-post-the-post (aka winner takes all) with approval voting (for exec positions) or proportional representation (for assemblies) would consolidate our separate primary and general elections into one event.
Honestly, I believe the literal opposite. People act irrationally if they believe it's in their own self-interest.
What leads to to think that way? I'm genuinely curious.
* When my team gives me ownership over a project, I take pride in that project and produce higher-quality work. This is loosely related to "people act more responsibly when you give them more responsibility" in the sense that direct democracy will make people feel like they have more ownership over issues.
* Homeowners tend to take better care of their place of living than renters.
* When people have kids, most tend to mature and act more responsibly in general. Not all, but most. In this case "having a child" is a proxy for "having more responsibility" in general.
In terms of studies, I'm intrigued by experiments  where people are assigned leadership roles randomly. They seem to suggest that people tend to make better decisions when given more responsibility. An even more radical idea that is more closely related to this study would be to assign random citizens to be in charge of a certain political issue, say for 6 to 12 months.
Then you just moved the controversial part of the process back to what the pros and cons are, or another step further still to who decides what the pros and cons are.
I think this would be thoroughly gamed. You’d get “cheat sheets” on how to answer, or more importantly, you’d disenfranchise poorly educated people or people with learning disabilities (who afaik, still have a right to vote.)
The disenfranchisement angle is important and is something that I haven't thought about. Thank you for pointing out.
Even when congress did manage to in a act bipartisan manner, lobbyists persuaded the white house to kill it.
You'll find plenty of incredibly destructive practices (nearing national suicide actually) caused by money in politics and worsened catastrophically by Citizens United.
Secure Elections Act.
Finance systems expect fraud, and systems in place to detect and revert it. Voting has none of those protections.
The problem is so many voting systems, so many ways to fix the vote, recounts are impossible to trust.
People trust their money in their accounts and they trust that the financial system and software can track that. We need to move to something like that pronto with receipts, digital voting, ability to check your vote, data tracking, ability for researchers to get access to it, fraud protection and more.
Is anyone shocked yet?
Ideally printed/machine readable votes (one that the voter doesn't take with them) sounds like could be an answer
I don't see why a digital counting machine which is kept completely offline and is transported physically cannot be used, specially if we can verify it's counting functions by randomly verifying a few of those machines (also keep paper ballots, just use the machine to count ballots), or statistics, and use an external randomization/derandomization module.
But a non-hacked vote tabulating machine will still do the job better than non-hacked humans.
Add a high enough percentage of random hand audits of the machine but counts to ensure they're functioning correctly, and you should get a reasonably high confidence that you have the most accurate count.
Defies the purpose of electronic machines completely. Why use machines + lots of auditors, when just more counters (worth less than auditors) could do the same job, with a much higher cost to corrupt?...
As if the totally secure communications over Internet problem had been solved. Why are we seeing SO MANY issues with TLS, VPNs, hardcoded root passwords everywhere, ssh issues even!...
Sure, people don't care if it's simulated when they win, but when they lose, they care a lot.
Feel like I'm a lone voice in the wilderness on this one but I really feel like I need to shout from the rooftops that electronic voting courts violence, and it is culpable hubris to state otherwise.
Too much attention seeking in this headline. We knew from day one that there would be vulns. It doesn't matter how many people use them. Good that some have been found now. Let's support them by public reporting in seriously investigating the flaws they know about.