[Discussion] Attitudes to and administration of voting.

I read today about more accusations electoral shenanigans in Alabama, and I compare that with how Australian elections are conducted. We have compulsory voting and the attitude of those running elections seems completely different to the US example.

The Australian Electoral Commission has a mandate to ensure that every eligible voter casts a vote. In between elections they work to ensure the electoral roll is as complete as it can be. If they get information that you may have moved or turned 18, then they will hound you with letters and forms to make sure your registration is correct. If there is a possible discrepancy at the polling station then you will be required to cast a provisional vote. There is no ID requirement to cast a vote. Electoral officers will ensure nursing homes and remote voters all get their chance to cast their vote.
Out system is built to get the maximum possible number of votes.
We have independent boundary commissioners to minimise gerrymandering and all electorates have roughly the same number of voters in them (with some variation for larger rural areas).

I am biased I'm sure, but I think the AEC does a pretty good job of managing our elections outside of partisan politics but I think that is because of the way they have been set up and managed.

I'm curious how other nations manage the administration of their voting rolls and election days. What works well and what does not.

They don't in the USA. The less people vote the better chance aholes stay in power.

When I lived in CA, we would get ballot info by mail, so it was easy to read what you'd be voting on in advance (early 90s). In SC now, sometimes I still have difficulty finding online what will be on the ballot in advance.

We also have migrating polling stations (was at elementary school, then fire station, then church, then back to fire station).

We now need to show a picture ID to vote as well.

I vote, but I have no trust that my vote is even counted.

From Wikipedia:

In the 2016 Australian census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were English (36.1%), Australian (33.5%),[226] Irish (11.0%), Scottish (9.3%), Chinese (5.6%), Italian (4.6%), German (4.5%), Indian (2.8%), Greek (1.8%), and Dutch (1.6%)

The difference in attitude towards voting is the result of a difference in circumstances as far as racist vote suppression being, sadly, a viable strategy.

We have independent boundary commissioners to minimise gerrymandering and all electorates have roughly the same number of voters in them (with some variation for larger rural areas).

There've been at least two historical cases where attempts were made to use malapportionment (differently-sized districts) to tilt the electoral field. Both have been mostly dismantled, but there's nothing inherent to the system that would prevent a similar setup from being re-adopted - and a lot of reasons to make future attempts.

And what they left behind in South Australia is a system that on the surface appears fair, but is strongly tilted in one direction due to demographics. Labor routinely wins elections despite getting far fewer votes. What South Australia has accepted is more-or-less a permanent gerrymander, with Liberal voters packed into safe rural districts to nullify their numbers.

Also, Queensland has voter ID requirements, which had the expected effect. They are mild, and can theoretically be bypassed by a provisional vote, but Australia certainly isn't immune to the voter ID form of electoral manipulation.

Aetius wrote:

And what they left behind in South Australia is a system that on the surface appears fair, but is strongly tilted in one direction due to demographics. Labor routinely wins elections despite getting far fewer votes. What South Australia has accepted is more-or-less a permanent gerrymander, with Liberal voters packed into safe rural districts to nullify their numbers.

John Howard (Liberal) says hi from 1998. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austra...
And also ignores preference flows from The Greens almost exclusively to Labor.

There's an episode of Radiolab that talks about a similar commission in India that goes to extreme lengths to ensure everyone can vote, including trekking into the jungle and setting up a special polling place for one monk who lives in isolation.

It's kind of amazing to me that the US, that claims to hold the vote so sacred, doesn't have a similar election commission that's publicly funded, non-partisan, and whose mandate is to make sure everyone votes, and in fact, frequently does the opposite by passing laws whose main goal is to disenfranchise voters. This probably comes down to the whole states' rights thing where any attempt to nationalize the election process would be violently opposed as the feds coming down to force you to do something, and dammit, Americans should be free to do whatever they want, including not vote.

Chaz wrote:

It's kind of amazing to me that the US, that claims to hold the vote so sacred, doesn't have a similar election commission that's publicly funded, non-partisan, and whose mandate is to make sure everyone votes, and in fact, frequently does the opposite by passing laws whose main goal is to disenfranchise voters.

This may shock you but there are many things that American's claim to care about that, in reality they don't. In fact I would say the majority of things that American's say make the US the greatest nation are actively worked against by those same Americans.

farley3k wrote:
Chaz wrote:

It's kind of amazing to me that the US, that claims to hold the vote so sacred, doesn't have a similar election commission that's publicly funded, non-partisan, and whose mandate is to make sure everyone votes, and in fact, frequently does the opposite by passing laws whose main goal is to disenfranchise voters.

This may shock you but there are many things that American's claim to care about that, in reality they don't. In fact I would say the majority of things that American's say make the US the greatest nation are actively worked against by those same Americans.

Oh, I know. That still amazes me.

It's worth pointing out that there were no *actual* voting irregularities found in Alabama. There were a bunch of accusations floating around the Conservo-sphere (vans full of illegal immigrants, Democrats busing in black people from out of state, the usual racist/xenophobic bullsh*t), but they were very quickly debunked.