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Hagar
Oct 14th, 2004, 08:56 AM
Can someone explain me how exactly one can vote for the presidential elections in the USA?
I am asking this because I don't understand this voter registration system. Do you already have to indicate your preference when you register? But isn't an election anonymous (no one knows who you vote for)?

Rollo
Oct 14th, 2004, 09:07 AM
It's a bit of a mess from a European viewpoint Hagar-because each state more or less makes it's own rules. The actual vote is private. Some states ask you to indicate a party when you register, some don't.

Crazy Canuck
Oct 14th, 2004, 09:37 AM
It makes no sense to me either, and I'm not even that far removed ;)

Calvin
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:03 AM
http://www.johnbowis.com/east_timor.jpg

As far as elections go, the US could learn a lot from so-called "developing" countries. Maybe a simple finger-dipping-in-black-ink system would remove all current problems with registrated voters? :tape:

Hagar
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:36 AM
It's a bit of a mess from a European viewpoint Hagar-because each state more or less makes it's own rules. The actual vote is private. Some states ask you to indicate a party when you register, some don't.
Well, that's kind of shocking to hear: your vote should be known to no one else but yourself.
Plus, if you have to admit what party you belong to when you register, it's an open invitation for fraud, as seems to happen now.

Andy T
Oct 14th, 2004, 11:49 AM
Come on guys, it's really simple: the person with the most votes loses! They call it dumb-ocracy

!<blocparty>!
Oct 14th, 2004, 11:55 AM
Come on guys, it's really simple: the person with the most votes loses! They call it dumb-ocracy


:lol: :tape:

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Oct 14th, 2004, 04:01 PM
Ok, here is the deal.

You have to register within the state you reside. Some states require registration by "party" (usually Democratic, Republican, or Independent, but some parties have access in a few states, like Greens, Socialists, Libertarians, Constitution, etc.).

When you vote in a GENERAL ELECTION, it does not matter what party you belong to. If it was a PRIMARY ELECTION, you could only vote in the primary of that party you are registered to.



To vote on Nov. 2nd, some states required you have your paperwork turned in a month before the elction, but some states - like Minnesota - say that you can register to vote the day of the election. It just depends.


Does that make sense?


(if it does, then this part will certainly not make sense:)

Now, when voting for president, you are not actually voting for "John Kerry" or "George Bush" but you are voting for a slate of ELECTORS (there are 538 of them) who will then, in turn, vote for your guy. Now, the ELECTORS are not always honest. For example, in 2000, the final ELECTORAL vote should have been 272 Bush - 267 Gore. BUT, one ELECTOR didn't vote for Gore (I think they abstained), so it was 272 - 266 officially. Make sense? ;)

Hagar
Oct 14th, 2004, 04:29 PM
Ok, here is the deal.

You have to register within the state you reside. Some states require registration by "party" (usually Democratic, Republican, or Independent, but some parties have access in a few states, like Greens, Socialists, Libertarians, Constitution, etc.).

When you vote in a GENERAL ELECTION, it does not matter what party you belong to. If it was a PRIMARY ELECTION, you could only vote in the primary of that party you are registered to.



To vote on Nov. 2nd, some states required you have your paperwork turned in a month before the elction, but some states - like Minnesota - say that you can register to vote the day of the election. It just depends.


Does that make sense?


(if it does, then this part will certainly not make sense:)

Now, when voting for president, you are not actually voting for "John Kerry" or "George Bush" but you are voting for a slate of ELECTORS (there are 538 of them) who will then, in turn, vote for your guy. Now, the ELECTORS are not always honest. For example, in 2000, the final ELECTORAL vote should have been 272 Bush - 267 Gore. BUT, one ELECTOR didn't vote for Gore (I think they abstained), so it was 272 - 266 officially. Make sense? ;)
Thanks for this explanation. I know it is an indirect vote and that you vote for the ones that can vote for the president.
But so what do you guys find on the paper you vote on? The name of several electors, one for each party (that would make it 2 in most cases I presume)?

It still does not make sense at all that for the presidential elections, you should confess your colour the moment you register, because you can still switch to the other side once you are in the voting booth. Is that right?

The Crow
Oct 14th, 2004, 04:35 PM
And then they are surprised many people do not vote? :lol:

wongqks
Oct 14th, 2004, 04:53 PM
why don't they make it the one who have the most votes win, whata re their reason of not taking the most logic and common sense approach, surely the one who is voted by more people should be president not like the scam and injustice which happen in 2000?

kabuki
Oct 14th, 2004, 04:54 PM
It doesn't. :sad:

martirogi
Oct 14th, 2004, 07:38 PM
the electoral college started when the united states was first founded, each state got a certain number of votes so that the candidates would go to the smaller states and not just campaign in the big cities, makes sense if you look at it that way

kiwifan
Oct 14th, 2004, 07:57 PM
why don't they make it the one who have the most votes win, whata re their reason of not taking the most logic and common sense approach, surely the one who is voted by more people should be president not like the scam and injustice which happen in 2000?
Then National Candidates would ignore most of the country (their issues, their opinions, etc.) because some states have so many more people than others.

I haven't checked a census but I'd imagine my state CA's population is large enough to cancel out at least 10 states in the middle of the country.

Little States would be ignored. If you think the enviornment, farmers, etc get little attention now, it would a tyranny of the City dwellers without the current system.

It has its flaws but I like the Electoral College system.

esquímaux
Oct 14th, 2004, 07:58 PM
I vote for someone, they vote for someone else.

Mase
Oct 14th, 2004, 07:59 PM
It doesn't. :sad:
Thats exactly what I was going to say, too funny! :haha::sad:

MisterQ
Oct 14th, 2004, 09:53 PM
Then National Candidates would ignore most of the country (their issues, their opinions, etc.) because some states have so many more people than others.

I haven't checked a census but I'd imagine my state CA's population is large enough to cancel out at least 10 states in the middle of the country.

Little States would be ignored. If you think the enviornment, farmers, etc get little attention now, it would a tyranny of the City dwellers without the current system.

It has its flaws but I like the Electoral College system.

I understand the argument, and I find the system fascinating (it's interesting how they strategize and try to reach 270 votes), but I wonder if it really works. Since the states are allotted electors based on population anyway, the states with a lot of people are still the focus of the campaigns. Florida and Ohio are the main targets now, not states of smaller populations like New Hampshire and Nevada.

I am increasingly unhappy with the current system because it effectively negates the votes of millions of people. California and New York may be indisputably Democratic, but there are literally millions of Republican voters there; the opposite is true in Texas, for example. George Bush has no interest in appealing to my interests as a New Yorker, because he knows that he has no chance of winning the state. Kerry has no reason to care for the interests of the people of Texas or Nebraska for the same reason. This probably wouldn't be the case if the popular vote counted. As it stands now, I feel like my vote doesn't really count for much in this extremely close election, but those of Ohioans and Floridians do.

tfannis
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:00 PM
Ok, here is the deal.

You have to register within the state you reside. Some states require registration by "party" (usually Democratic, Republican, or Independent, but some parties have access in a few states, like Greens, Socialists, Libertarians, Constitution, etc.).

When you vote in a GENERAL ELECTION, it does not matter what party you belong to. If it was a PRIMARY ELECTION, you could only vote in the primary of that party you are registered to.



To vote on Nov. 2nd, some states required you have your paperwork turned in a month before the elction, but some states - like Minnesota - say that you can register to vote the day of the election. It just depends.


Does that make sense?


(if it does, then this part will certainly not make sense:)

Now, when voting for president, you are not actually voting for "John Kerry" or "George Bush" but you are voting for a slate of ELECTORS (there are 538 of them) who will then, in turn, vote for your guy. Now, the ELECTORS are not always honest. For example, in 2000, the final ELECTORAL vote should have been 272 Bush - 267 Gore. BUT, one ELECTOR didn't vote for Gore (I think they abstained), so it was 272 - 266 officially. Make sense? ;)
I don't get it :o Sorry ;)

So you vote for someone who's going to vote for you.
Do these electors vote as many times as the number of persons that voted for them? :confused:

Martian Willow
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:02 PM
Well, that's kind of shocking to hear: your vote should be known to no one else but yourself.
Plus, if you have to admit what party you belong to when you register, it's an open invitation for fraud, as seems to happen now.

Add in private registration companies that can apparently just disappear without trace, and a few electronic voting booths, and the whole thing starts to look pretty sinister. :unsure:

MisterQ
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:11 PM
I don't get it :o Sorry ;)

So you vote for someone who's going to vote for you.
Do these electors vote as many times as the number of persons that voted for them? :confused:

Each state has a given number of electors, based on population results from the latest census. With the exception of one or two states that split their electors by districts, ALL of the electors from your state will cast one vote for the person who wins the most votes in that state. Whoever gets 270 votes or more wins.

So if Kerry wins the state of Pennsylvania, ALL of the 21 electoral college members from that state will cast a vote for Kerry. (Technically, I believe each elector is not legally bound to do so, however, and that complicates matters. But historically, they almost always do).

Here's a link to a map showing how many electors each state has:


electoral college map (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/electoral.college/)

kiwifan
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:31 PM
I understand the argument, and I find the system fascinating (it's interesting how they strategize and try to reach 270 votes), but I wonder if it really works. Since the states are allotted electors based on population anyway, the states with a lot of people are still the focus of the campaigns. Florida and Ohio are the main targets now, not states of smaller populations like New Hampshire and Nevada.

I am increasingly unhappy with the current system because it effectively negates the votes of millions of people. California and New York may be indisputably Democratic, but there are literally millions of Republican voters there; the opposite is true in Texas, for example. George Bush has no interest in appealing to my interests as a New Yorker, because he knows that he has no chance of winning the state. Kerry has no reason to care for the interests of the people of Texas or Nebraska for the same reason. This probably wouldn't be the case if the popular vote counted. As it stands now, I feel like my vote doesn't really count for much in this extremely close election, but those of Ohioans and Floridians do.
Good point. :cool:

I think Politicians will go to the states where they won't win...

...to support those pockets of "liberalism" (Austin, TX) and "conservatism" (Orange County, CA) and insure that what little "like minded" help they can expect is supported.

Keep those Democratic and Republican congressmen coming out of their respective enemy territories. ;)

Still for the most part, your point is very good.

and great posting the electoral map. :cool: :cool: :cool:

tfannis
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:33 PM
Ah :D So every party has its slate and the electors of the slate which gets the most popular votes are the ones who get to vote?

omg what a sentence :lol: sorry :o

griffin
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:38 PM
I don't know if this will help, or cause more confusion, but I found this:

http://www.fec.gov/pages/ecworks.htm

The current workings of the Electoral College are the result of both design and experience. As it now operates:

* Each State is allocated a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. Representatives (which may change each decade according to the size of each State's population as determined in the Census).
* The political parties (or independent candidates) in each State submit to the State's chief election official a list of individuals pledged to their candidate for president and equal in number to the State's electoral vote. Usually, the major political parties select these individuals either in their State party conventions or through appointment by their State party leaders while third parties and independent candidates merely designate theirs.
* Members of Congress and employees of the federal government are prohibited from serving as an Elector in order to maintain the balance between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.
* After their caucuses and primaries, the major parties nominate their candidates for president and vice president in their national conventions
traditionally held in the summer preceding the election. (Third parties and independent candidates follow different procedures according to the individual State laws). The names of the duly nominated candidates are then officially submitted to each State's chief election official so that they might appear on the general election ballot.
* On the Tuesday following the first Monday of November in years divisible by four, the people in each State cast their ballots for the party slate of Electors representing their choice for president and vice president (although as a matter of practice, general election ballots normally say "Electors for" each set of candidates rather than list the individual Electors on each slate).
* Whichever party slate wins the most popular votes in the State becomes that State's Electors-so that, in effect, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a State wins all the Electors of that State. (The two exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska where two Electors are chosen by statewide popular vote and the remainder by the popular vote within each Congressional district).
* On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December (as established in federal law) each State's Electors meet in their respective State capitals and cast their electoral votes-one for president and one for vice president.

* The candidate for president with the most electoral votes, provided that it is an absolute majority (one over half of the total), is declared president. Similarly, the vice presidential candidate with the absolute majority of electoral votes is declared vice president.
* In the event no one obtains an absolute majority of electoral votes for president, the U.S. House of Representatives (as the chamber closest to the people) selects the president from among the top three contenders with each State casting only one vote and an absolute majority of the States being required to elect. Similarly, if no one obtains an absolute majority for vice president, then the U.S. Senate makes the selection from among the top two contenders for that office.

tfannis
Oct 14th, 2004, 10:48 PM
Thanx....that's the best explanation yet :) I hope I get it now :o

ys
Oct 15th, 2004, 12:07 AM
Oh, yeah, conspiracy all around.. All designed to oppress...

Ted of Teds Tennis
Oct 15th, 2004, 03:40 AM
Hagar:

The point of declaring a party affiliation when you register to vote is unrelated to whom you vote for in the general election. If you're an enrolled Republican, you can vote in the Republican party's primary elections (an election held several weeks before the general election in which two or more Republicans compete to see who gets the Republican Party's spot on the ballot in the general election; other parties also have primaries, of course).

Some states now have open primaries (a bad idea if you ask me) in which you can vote regardless of your party affiliation. The main point is that here in the States, the primary elections are organized by the state governments, and not by the political parties.

As for what appears on the ballot in the Presidential race, I think some states actually list the names of the electors on their ballots; my memory from 2000 is that here in New York the ballot only says 'Electors for such-and-such candidate'.

backhanddtl4
Oct 15th, 2004, 04:50 AM
Then National Candidates would ignore most of the country (their issues, their opinions, etc.) because some states have so many more people than others.

I haven't checked a census but I'd imagine my state CA's population is large enough to cancel out at least 10 states in the middle of the country.

Little States would be ignored. If you think the enviornment, farmers, etc get little attention now, it would a tyranny of the City dwellers without the current system.

It has its flaws but I like the Electoral College system.


Actually, that isn't true. With the electoral college system, most of the states are already projected to go democrat or republican before the election even occurs. The states that are undecided are called "swing states", and they are the main areas of campaigning when the electoral college system is in place. Therefore, the candidates actually end up visiting less states when the Electoral college system is in use.

backhanddtl4
Oct 15th, 2004, 04:51 AM
The Electoral College MUST be eliminated. There are too many flaws and it is far outdated.

Hagar
Oct 15th, 2004, 09:51 AM
Can someone simply explain to me what you do as a concrete individual if you want to vote for Kerry.
- the different steps you undertake (vote in the primary? registering? voting?)
- what do you see on your paper when you vote in a primary?
- what do you see on your paper when you vote on 2 November?

I need concrete examples.

Hagar
Oct 15th, 2004, 09:58 AM
Hagar:

The point of declaring a party affiliation when you register to vote is unrelated to whom you vote for in the general election. If you're an enrolled Republican, you can vote in the Republican party's primary elections (an election held several weeks before the general election in which two or more Republicans compete to see who gets the Republican Party's spot on the ballot in the general election; other parties also have primaries, of course).

Some states now have open primaries (a bad idea if you ask me) in which you can vote regardless of your party affiliation. The main point is that here in the States, the primary elections are organized by the state governments, and not by the political parties.

As for what appears on the ballot in the Presidential race, I think some states actually list the names of the electors on their ballots; my memory from 2000 is that here in New York the ballot only says 'Electors for such-and-such candidate'.
So that means that in NY, you will only find three possibilities on your paper:
- elector for Bush
- elector for Kerry
- elector for Nader (I presume)
Is that correct?

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Oct 15th, 2004, 01:38 PM
For example, in South Carolina (we are voting on computers this year), you will see:


FEDERAL OFFICES
Select ONE set of ELECTORS for the office of the President of the United States of America.

REPUBLICAN - George W. Bush & Dick Cheney

DEMOCRAT - John F. Kerry & John Edwards

REFORM - Ralph Nader & Peter Camejo

GREEN - Michael Cobb & ??

CONSTITUTION - MICHAEL PEROUTKA & ??


Then you press the button that you want to vote for and then it asks to make sure you want that person (so Florida 2000 doesn't happen again).

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Oct 15th, 2004, 01:40 PM
So that means that in NY, you will only find three possibilities on your paper:
- elector for Bush
- elector for Kerry
- elector for Nader (I presume)
Is that correct?
The only candidates in all 50 states and DC are Bush and Kerry.

The Libertarian Candidate (conservative economics, socially liberal) is in every state but Oklahoma.

Ralph Nader is in about 30 of the states.

It just depends if that party has ballot access. In order to obtain ballot access, each state sets up different rules, like receiving a certain amount of votes in the last presidential electior OR gathering enough signatures to be put on the ballot.

Hagar
Oct 15th, 2004, 03:42 PM
For example, in South Carolina (we are voting on computers this year), you will see:


FEDERAL OFFICES
Select ONE set of ELECTORS for the office of the President of the United States of America.

REPUBLICAN - George W. Bush & Dick Cheney

DEMOCRAT - John F. Kerry & John Edwards

REFORM - Ralph Nader & Peter Camejo

GREEN - Michael Cobb & ??

CONSTITUTION - MICHAEL PEROUTKA & ??


Then you press the button that you want to vote for and then it asks to make sure you want that person (so Florida 2000 doesn't happen again).
It's amazing; there are actually other candidates than Bush, Kerry and Nader.

cynicole
Oct 15th, 2004, 07:56 PM
It just depends if that party has ballot access. In order to obtain ballot access, each state sets up different rules, like receiving a certain amount of votes in the last presidential electior OR gathering enough signatures to be put on the ballot.
I thought there was some rule that said that if your party received 5% of the popular vote in the last general election, then your party is automatically on the ballot for the next general election. I'm not entirely sure though.

griffin
Oct 15th, 2004, 08:11 PM
I thought there was some rule that said that if your party received 5% of the popular vote in the last general election, then your party is automatically on the ballot for the next general election. I'm not entirely sure though.

and you become eligible for federal matching funds - yeah, that's one of the hooks the Naderites used to get people to vote for him last time.