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View Diary: Barack Obama '51 percent watch': Waiting on NYC to put him over the top (102 comments)

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  •  not sure about that (5+ / 0-)

    1) aren't computers supposed to speed things up?
    2) India, for example, votes overwhelmingly electronically, and the results are known within hours of the close of polls on the final voting day (electorate is close to 1 billion and elections are held over a month or so). Parliamentary systems are different obviously, but not THAT different.
    3) most of the democratic world is simply astonished by the US's inability to provide for efficient elections. Not just the voter supression, which is horrifying, but the sheer oddness. The final results are still not known a month after the election. Bizarre.

    here in UK we have hand-counted paper ballots and 90% of results known within 12 hours of polls closing. Rest within 24h, I guess.

    •  One issue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueMajority, Dirtandiron

      Is that elections in other countries are a single election. We hold 50 separate elections, with different rules, different voting methods, different times to count the votes etc etc etc. If voting policies and procedures were unified nationwide, voting could be accomplished much fast.

        •  good point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, rainmanjr

          Although the fact the states are disinclined to speed and professionalise their own processes up is surprising (esp in the light of Florida 2000 etc).

           Also I suppose that constitutionally there is no rush: in other countries (UK for example) the government changes within days of the election, whereas you guys have to wait for the Electoral College to meet [and now we get to the EC this isn't getting any less weird, to be honest...]

          still it takes all sorts, no?

          •  The fact that the new Congress (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rainmanjr

            isn't sworn in until January 3rd doesn't help either. When the election is held 2 months before the result needs to actually be determined, there is little incentive to go as fast as possible.

          •  Is the EC any stranger than (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, happymisanthropy, vcmvo2

            voting for an MP who then votes for Prime Minster.  In the UK I think there have been 3 instances since 1930 where the party with the most votes did not win a majority in the commons.

            Most Europeans in my experience think they know a lot about American politics - and they know more about us than we do about them.  But some of the things they say kind of ignore the pecularity in their own system - and the EC vrs popular vote.

            The other major difference is that you have elections in the US to choose Party candidates - which is far more democratic than the methods used in Europe (this is one reason why they are fewer parties in the US - and I have seldom heard a European consider that).

            The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

            by fladem on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:08:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  euroviews (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Smoh, zesty grapher

              sorry to be european and have views.

              the UK has a parliamentary system which may indeed seem strange. Constitutionally the leader of the largest party becomes PM. That is common in parliamentary systems. Electoral colleges in executive presidential systems such as yours are much rarer: the Vatican springs to mind...

              All electoral systems have peculiarities, and the way votes translate into seats/members/whatever is one of the very common peculiarities. The EC is a peculiarity dumped on top of an election, and has no bearing on the way votes fall.

              I have no idea what you mean when you imply there are not party candidates in Europe. I cannot think of a country without them. There are of course different ways of voting, first past the post, STV etc. Does it occur to you that a multiplicity of parties might be more democratic than than not? In the UK we have 2.5 dominant parties, which I've never considered to be very democratic. The trade-off I suppose is stability.

      •  Yes and No ... (0+ / 0-)

        In India, we do have to vote on multiple streams though it is not as complex as in USA. At any time, there can be a max of 3 elections that happen - MP (Congress Representative equivalent), MLA (State Representative equivalent) and local body elections. The MPs and MLAs act as the Electoral College and the majority party nominates the Prime Minister or State Chief Minister - quite similiar to UK rules. Typically, local body elections are not combined with national and state elections.

        In India, Election is conducted by a constitutional body not controlled by the Goct. Election Commission of India and its state counterparts oversee election and even state & national policies and transfer of beauracrats have to stop or be approved by EC during election time (from the time of announcement of election to counting of votes!)

        I feel nostalgic about paper vote counting as the pundits took a day or two to talk about issues during election cycle. To counter ballot box looting (quite common in rural areas) and ballot stuffing, the govt implemented 2 changes. (1) Every person on the ballot can send his nominees inside the election premises and sit across the table from where the voter votes (they cannot for obvious reasons see the vote). These nominees have to concur the validity of the voter before the voter votes. Thus, no voter supression! (2) we moved to electronic machines. These are simple machines with a button for each candidate. No more electronics - no Touchscreen, optical scanner or anything! The machines are robust and cannot take more than 3 votes per minute (to avoid ballot stuffing!). The machine has a count of votes and reads it back to the returning officer at the end of the day along with a print-out of time & vote.

        The EC also has rights to reset polling and re-poll when it finds trouble!

        Election rigging has gone down drastically and the politicians have moved up the value chain in election fraud - from ballot box 'kidnapping' and ballot stuffing to bribing the voters with cash (day before election) or election promises to give free TVs, Laptops etc (can't believe it? Here is a link)

      •  and different ballots w/ different candidates (0+ / 0-)

        "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
        Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:20:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You don't know the final result? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      In the UK there is only 1 vote in a parlementrary election - so the counting takes longer.  In general it takes about 4 - 5 hours for most to report though some do not finish to the next day.

      The UK election is faster because it is simpler - one question on the ballot.

      The US has multiple races: the Florida ballot was in some places 11 pages long.

      In point of fact we knew the results of the presidential election about 12 minutes after the last poll closed, and had reasonably final results the next day.  Florida was mostly done the day after, but the provisional ballots took a couple of days longer.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:03:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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