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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:29 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Thanks for the clarification!

(In the Netherlands, you always need to bring a passport, identity card or a driver's license when you vote; so I guess that counts as a voter ID law? But the context is probably very different. You're never more than a 2-hour drive away from a foreign country, so even people who don't have a driver's license almost always have either a passport or an identity card. And we don't have the kind of two party system where a party in power can benefit from engaging in voter suppression.

On the positive side, you don't have to register as a voter: your municipality just sends you the necessary voting card if you're eligible to vote.)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:50 pm 
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Most states allow registration at the polling place on the day of election if you are not already in the big book of voters. You have to bring proof of residency which can be as simple as a renter's agreement or a utility bill plus the aforementioned photo ID. No big deal-- just stand in two lines instead of one.

The odd thing about it is that you don't have to prove citizenship or eligibility. For example, you don't have to provide a birth certificate or naturalization papers. I supposed they're running your ID through various databases but mostly they are relying on the fact that no one risks committing a felony to vote.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:25 pm 
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Same day registration is available in some states, but not "most" really--here's a map of where it's available. (Though it's probably available to more people than that map makes it seem, since something like one-eighth of all Americans live in California). I also think North Dakota has no voter registration at all. Some states like New York have really restrictive voter registration deadlines.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:34 pm 
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matt w wrote:
Same day registration is available in some states, but not "most" really


Thanks for clarifying that. It's strange that elections for national offices all have different rules across the states.

Even stranger is the electoral college for presidential elections. Why does one vote in North Dakota count more than one vote in a more populus state? It's a bad system.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:10 pm 
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Why does one vote in North Dakota count more than one vote in a more populus state?


There is a long story behind this, going back to the 1700s, which has been thoroughly discussed elsewhere. I think rehashing it here would be more off-topic than the forum really deserves. :/


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:02 pm 
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zarf wrote:
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Why does one vote in North Dakota count more than one vote in a more populus state?


There is a long story behind this, going back to the 1700s, which has been thoroughly discussed elsewhere. I think rehashing it here would be more off-topic than the forum really deserves. :/


Here we go again.

So now a completely valid inquiry about the Electoral College would be "more off-topic" in a thread called "Question About US Voting"?

I don't know what you have against free-flowing discussion of political matters, zarf, but man, it's irksome when you constantly try to shut threads down when people are discussing things.

Is it because you feel none of us plebians can adequately discuss this without your guidance and you just don't have the time to inform our helpless, ignorant rabble?

If people are calmly discussing things ON TOPIC in a thread, why do you insist they cease?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:37 pm 
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Moderator comment:

This whole thread is off-topic from the topic of interactive fiction, which would perhaps be a reasonable sense of "more off-topic" to use. But this is the "General and Off-Topic Talk" subforum, so I don't think it should be a problem to continue the discussion this way, as long as the discussion remains, as you say, calm. Which, ahem.

So as a moderator I don't think anyone should feel like they shouldn't be able to answer bikibird's question, keeping in mind that political discussions can sometimes get heated and we all want to remain respectful, not that that has been an issue so far.

In my non-mod capacity (but non-historian), this and this seem like good reads on the subject of the Electoral College and its disproportion.

[EDIT: fixed the link formatting and changed something that didn't make sense]


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:45 pm 
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Just to clarify, I wasn't intending to pick on North Dakotans. I've known and worked with several of them-- fine people.

I just meant it as an example of some of the weirdness of the U.S. electoral process.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:17 am 
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Well the non proportionality of the presidental electoral college derives from the non proportionality of the senate, which in turn depends on the notion of states rights, and the nature of the USA which is a federation. As in many countries, you have one house which treats people as equals, and one which treats states as equals.

The real oddity in my non-US mind is that states can punish "faithless" electors (or perhaps that you don't elect more unpledged electors). Either switch to direct democracy, or let your representatives do their jobs!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:14 am 
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Disproportionate representation in the senate doesn't bother me. Different regions of the country have different issues because of geography, climate, demographic, and history. The minority voices need to be heard. The senate is a check on the tyranny of the majority, or should be.

However, I would be much happier if the president who leads us all was selected by a popular vote.

Regarding Danii's comments on state's rights--

(Feel free to mod this if I've strayed too far off topic in the off topic forum.)

So there are three sets of rights to be concern about: individual, state, and federal. There are many examples in history about state's rights in the U.S. that come down to states taking civil rights from individuals vs. the feds protecting those rights on behalf of the individual.

So, while decentralizing power is generally a good tyranny reduction strategy, one has to careful. In looking at state's rights issues, is the intent to centralize rights that should reside at the individual level (tyranny increase) or are they attempting to decentralize regulation that's at the federal level (tyranny decrease)?

I've deliberately stayed away from specific issues because I want to keep this to an abstract discussion of systems, not a heated debate about U.S. politics. (I'm so worn out by our politics right now.)

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