> It’s little surprise that the way Kemp’s office approached confirming absentee ballots was met with anger. “While the data may already be public, it is not publicly available in aggregate like this,”
It's interesting how so many laws are predicated on limited resources. Ie, all names and addresses of registered voters should be publicly available, because we don't think anyone has the resources to manually request, retrieve and process all of that data.
Except that even in the old days, corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals did have the resources to do things that were out of reach to the common person. But because it's so rare, and because it's usually kept secret, no one knows or worries about the ramifications.
And then along comes technology and levels the playing field. Things that only the moneyed people could do previously, can now be done by anyone. And suddenly, people start to realize that's a huge problem.
Many people seem to think that the solution to such flare-ups is to introduce more friction, so that the average person can no longer afford to take advantage of the situation. Perhaps that's better than nothing, but it still leaves a loophole wide enough for megacorps and billionaires to take advantage of. Perhaps the real solution is to change the laws so that no one can legally take advantage of these loopholes, no matter how much money or resources they have. Ie, it's better to fail-fast and fix the underlying bug, than to put up a bunch of hacks and fail silently.
Modern systems are much more powerful (in certain ways), enabling potential injustices that no one ever considered possible, and thus of course made no effort to protect against. We are only beginning to consider all of the ramifications of these new systems, what new abuses are available, what the impacts could may be, and how to properly account for new abuses.
We have to work hard to make sure our systems don't enable large-scale automated injustice.
Yeah, rolling through a stop at 3mph in the middle of nowhere probably isn't great, but it's not what folks hand in mind when they created the penalties for running red lights. An officer probably wouldn't have bothered to make the stop. But in a world where law enforcement is automated, 99.9% of citations will be these marginal cases.
> Perhaps the real solution is to change the laws so that no one can legally take advantage of these loopholes, no matter how much money or resources they have.
i.e. if a law was created with the supposition that in practice it would only apply to a certain subset of cases to which it could in theory, then change the law so that it is universally applicable.
That being said, your "robots in the sky" scenario strikes me as a perfectly plausible example of a techno-dystopia we could create for ourselves far enough down that path.
If I had a dollar for every DUI story I've heard that involved getting pulled over "a block from home" after rolling through a stop sign..
I don't necessarily disagree with your point but I've seen and been on the receiving end of what could only described as "bored cop"
If a cop suspects DUI, I want that driver pulled over even if they're entering their own driveway. "But I wasn't going to put any more people's lives in mortal danger by my recklessness tonight" is not a good argument. And keeping people from recklessly endangering others, whether by penalties that make them think twice or by taking their license, is one of the most basic reasons we have police at all.
Assuming the OP is correct, and he could actually see there were no cars, pedestrians, or cyclists nearby.
This is organized by reason for not being at your ballot box.
Beyond that, it just seems sketchy.
That's not the typical narrative. I think people share far more than they ever did before, and when asked about privacy they express much less interest than previously (though that is changing a little now): People share things on social media that were never public before; they allow corporations and government to monitor and record their activities at scales that are orders of magnitude beyond what was done before. The threat of big brother and totalitarian government used to be a widespread concern (the book 1984 being an obvious example); now that it's happening, few seem to be bothered.
Arguably, it's worse than nothing for the reasons you described. It's the state-level equivalent of literally shoving things under the rug.
The philosophy seems similar to that behind the "right to be forgotten". Certain phrases are still permitted to be published for the world to read but not allowed to be discovered in a efficient manner.
The point of anonymous voting is to ensure that the voter's choices are secret, not to conceal the fact that someone voted. Even in Afghanistan where voting can cost your life, purple dye is placed on a finger to maintain a rudimentary system of tracking who has voted and who hasn't.
EDIT: Let me add, I'm no Kemp apologist, but let's keep the focus on the real failures that occurred in GA... Not exaggerated problems.
On the other hand, IIRC my history, before maybe the 1970s the U.S. parties did use more private processes, selecting candidates in the 'smoke-filled room' (the image is of fat old men smoking cigars and making deals). Some say the quality of candidate was better then.
Some state like mine put everyone on the same ballot for the partisan primaries, and the instructions tell you to only vote in the column for your party, and if you vote in multiple parties your ballot is tossed out. Hence, we don't track which party you're "registered" as, because we don't need it - with the tradeoff of slightly more complex ballots .
It happens in India as well, its to prevent same person voting multiple times.
For what it's worth, not making it publicly available isn't really feasible either, since that would make fraud trivially easy for any resourceful and determined organization.
Brian Kemp is a bad apple. But what he did here is unremarkable.
Gosh, if I were a criminal, there's an awful lot of homes that are likely candidates for robbing now that a list of "who is not home + their address" is public.
Lots of states that do restrict them allow anyone over a certain age to use it.
So it doesn't really imply that they aren't home.
Also known as an invitation to come rob me.
The Secretary of State (candidate Kemp in this case) could have handled this a lot better ... but chose not to.
I think on HN we know well that changes in technology greatly affect the value and power of information.
I'm not sure if this is actually priveliged information? Voter rolls typically have some of this information and can be purchased by the general public as far as I understand.
My local political party will "lend" our data to candidates we endorse. One of the perks we offer. We have contracts, with monetary penalties. Using mulligans, we've identified a few abuses, and made them pay up.
The Florida data set which I requested has the same kind of information about absentee votes and physical addresses.
I am wondering if this kind of data will become less public.
And anyone has the option of removing themselves from the roll, if they don't want their neighbours to see where they live, where:
> having my residential address shown on the publicly available roll places the personal safety of myself or members of my family at risk...
Turnout by itself should not be a goal, but free and willing participation should be.
Compulsory voting is great if you are running a dictatorship, it is not a good idea if you want to create a functioning democracy because voter turnout is an excellent way to judge how engaged people are. That signal is lost when you force people to vote.
Yes, proportional representation is better than first-past-the-post. But you can have that irrespective of how you get people to vote in the first place.
Not sure where you pulled that out from.
> That signal is lost when you force people to vote.
Many spoil votes on purpose. That's a signal.
You see voter turnout, I see voter suppression. I'd rather force everyone to the polls where they can choose to say nothing, than have the powers that be potentially silence those that have nothing.
FFS, it's one day in your life. Make it a voting holiday. Create more voting centers. Make it easier to vote.
Australian here, if you want to actually find out. Your assumptions about how it works are definitely not true in practice, and it's an interesting application of game theory to explain why.
Maybe we should go back in time, and not let women vote either, I mean you know how hysterical they are.
1) go to a polling place and get your name marked off. Whether you actually vote after that is up to you. You can just leave or you can take ballot papers, not fill them out, draw pictures on them or whatever appeals to you.
2) pay a fairly trivial fine. I believe its $20. https://www.aec.gov.au/FAQs/Voting_Australia.htm
3) provide a reason why you didn't vote. Anecdotally the reasons can be incredibly flimsy. "I was suffering from a case of ennui" is a reason that has been accepted. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ennui
The whole point of it isn't to get people to vote. Its to ensure that the electoral roll is up to date. They don't care if you vote.
Also of note is how EASY it is to vote here. Postal votes can be lodged. There are “early voting” places open a couple of weeks before the Election Day, and the elections are held on Saturdays.
Basically eliminating voter suppression, for one.
Compulsory voting could easily include a requirement that employers impose no penalty at all on an employee who takes time from work to vote.
Purging, caging, shunting voters to provisionals, registration errors, challenges (eg mismatched signatures), insufficient poll sites and ballots, etc, etc.
But then what would the infotainment complex talk about if we engineered away all the manufactured outrage and electioneering?
Voters always have the option to soil their ballots. Or leave them blank.
People can be targetted - for advertising, for harassment, for enhanced surveillance - if public information is available in the aggregate, in ways that they cannot be targetted if the information is not.
There are some types of data about individuals, where it is in the public interest for that data to be available, but it also represents an invasion of privacy if it is. So the public benefits have to be weighed against the potential for harm. The thing is, the potential for harm changes depending on "how available" the data is. If the decision on whether to make data public was made in a time where getting individual pieces of data was time-consuming and inconvenient, and getting data in the aggregate was near-impossible, then if the data suddenly becomes available in the aggregate to anyone with a passing interest in obtaining it, the trade-off that was made to determine whether the data should have been made public is no longer valid.
So saying that something is "public information" is... tricky. There are cases where we should look back at the trade-offs we made, and re-evaluate them in the light of the technology that is now available to the average person.
I don't recommend trying.
The moment this crosses the line and people start publishing the names and addresses of people who have asked that their details remain unpublished, that should be a crime. Doing so exposes vulnerable people to harassment and death, often at the hands of domestic abusers or drug gangs they’ve been trying to escape.
This was my immediate conclusion. What a transparently detestable move.
"Kemp, who as secretary of state effectively runs the state’s elections despite running in one, has been accused of voter suppression in recent weeks, "
The article mentions two specific dangers about absentee voter lists: targeting unoccupied properties and-- related-- discouraging the absentee vote on the next election. That and the lack of ToS meant that posting this list was a bad idea.
I followed your link but didn't find any examples of wrongly posting gratis downloadable absentee lists. Instead I read examples of problems with Democrats attempting to shame people into voting based on publicly available (though not gratis downloadable) data.
That is a different issue than giving the public immediate access to absentee voting lists the day after an election. We don't need links vigilantly posted from "the other side" about a different issue to remind us that people do bad things all across the political spectrum. Please save them for a time when a poster claims that Democrats take data protection much more seriously than this. (I.e., please don't ever post them.)
This is why I could never be a criminal. I would have never thought of that exploit. It sometimes scares me how clever and resourceful some people can be.
Brian Kemp should be in jail for his actions. Actually he never should have been in a position to take these actions. Instead he's going to be governor with no opposition.
It is in effect, tarring all these people with a brush that is an edge-case scenario and that would be voter fraud.
Guilty until proven innocent in the social media age has become the norm alas.
Also, the law enforcement community does recognize such far-right extremists as a legitimate threat.
Jim Crow only formally ended a little over 50 years ago, and let's not pretend the folks enforcing it took that SCOTUS ruling and went "ooops, my bad, we'll be good now!" Racial disparities in things like policing, voter suppression, etc. all still exist. Many Southern jurisdictions were still under DOJ supervision until 2013, and probably still should be.
As with Depression-era folks, some of the fears and practices get passed down. There are folks with Scottish ancestors from the 1600s who do their weddings in kilts hundreds of years later; the idea that fear of Jim Crow can't be passed down is absurd.
> If the klan wants to terrorize black people, they don't need the voter rolls to do it.
It should be fairly obvious that it makes it significantly easier to suppress voting if you have a list of voters to specifically target.
And how many instances are there of that happening in the past, say, 20 years?
> Just prior to the 1990 general election, postcards were sent to over 100,000 black voters in the state. The sending of these postcards was financed directly by the North Carolina Republican Party and indirectly by Senator Helms’ reelection campaign. As I recall several thousand white voters were sent postcards as well. Information gathered by DOJ during its investigation showed that the voting precincts targeted to receive the postcard mailing were 94% black, overall.
> The postcard contained inaccurate information telling voters that they could not vote on Election Day if they did not reside at the address at which they were registered for the 30 days prior to the election. The postcard also suggested that any voter who did attempt to vote would be subject to federal prosecution.
This case wound up with a consent decree being put into place.
As for number of instances, I'm not sure how you'd possibly begin to quantify that. Most instances would result in no reporting whatsoever, those reported would be hard to prosecute (anonymous threatening calls, for example), etc. What's clear is intimidation/suppression attempts do still occur - it's trivial to find examples of them.
It happens online too, people are getting banned from video game forums merely for expressing support for particular elected officials and their entire administrations . We're well beyond the era where extremism / hate get you banned, the bar is being lowered and lowered to the point of speaking positively about a political group = banning.