Yay! My favourite republican enters the fray!
We may not always see eye to eye on matters, which I guess is almost a prerequisite for a good debate, but you always raise the level of discourse here, so I truly appreciate having you back.
It is sad, isn’t it? But, yeah. A lot of people are quite bad at finding and following simple instructions. Yet voting should not just be for the well informed or well educated. In a democracy all people should have a say, even those that have a hard time googling how to register.
In 37 states.
Then there are two (Maine and Vermont) that have a more European approach and let felons vote.
In 7 states (Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, Wyoming) an individual petition for pardon is required for some crimes (and can be denied) and in 4 states (Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia) an individual petition for reinstatement of voting rights is required for felons convicted of any crime.
I would agree that it isn’t hard not to commit felonies. But then I’m very much the type of person that goes by the book. I read instructions. My children roll their eyes as I read the ingredients on labels of food packages before buying them. People with a lack of schooling, lack of funds, lack of impulse control and lacking familiarity with local laws may find it harder.
In some cases there may also be a discrepancy between what is considered socially acceptable and what is legal. For instance I understand that more than 40% of Americans smoke marijuana while the possession of marijuana is a prosecutable crime in several states. In Florida, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 1 year in jail and a driver's license revocation. Possession between 20 grams and 25 pounds is considered a felony in Florida. It can result in imprisonment of up to five years. Now, for those still using medieval measures, one ounce is roughly 28.3 grams, which means that anyone carrying an ounce of weed in Florida could face up to five years in prison and permanent loss of voting rights.
Now, I’m not an advocate for legalization of drugs, but when something that 40% of the population is doing on a fairly regular basis can lead to a lengthy prison term… following the law becomes much harder.
It is of note that 10% of the general population in Florida, and 25% of black men, lack voting rights.
It is implied that these laws are used to restrict black voting. I do not know if this is true, but from what I read drug use is as widespread among white Floridians as among black ones, but those convicted of possession are overwhelmingly part of the black population.
And Florida is a notorious swing state.
In theory, this sounds reasonable. I would even be inclined to agree to that principle. In practice, it is a slippery slope.UWSaint wrote: ↑Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:22 pm*
FWIW, personally, I agree with disenfrachisement-while-serving-sentence as a policy matter. If you violate core and substantial components of the social compact (felonious crimes are those the elected representatives deem pose the greatest harm to society), you don't get to participate in making the social compact for awhile.
As shown in the example of Florida, what constitutes a serious offense is not always self evident.
In countries that are less than exemplary democracies, stripping felons of rights is often a method to cripple the opposition. In both Russia and Turkey, the leading opposition figures have been convicted of financial crimes, such as corruption or tax fraud, and as a result cannot stand for election.
Did they commit those crimes? I don’t know. Maybe they did. Most western governments believe they didn’t. But the main point is that if you have laws that can strip people of the right to vote or run for office, there will be a temptation to use those laws to harm your opponents and secure your grip on power.
In the case Hirst vs United Kingdom the European Court of Human Rights in 2005 found that general rules for automatic disenfranchisements resulting from convictions to be against human rights. This ruling applied equally for prisoners and for ex-convicts.
In 2014 the voter turnout in Sweden was a measly 82.14 %. The media debated whether it is time to make voting mandatory, as in eg Australia, since when nearly a fifth of eligible voters opt out of the process, the results are not really going to be representative of the will of the people.UWSaint wrote: ↑Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:22 pm* It isn't hard to go to the polls on a Tuesday. You don't have to take off work. They are open more than 8 hours. And if you can't make it, some form of early voting is a feature in most states and absentee voting is always available.
* Yes, in some places, a polling place might be far away. And yes, this is a VERY BIG country with some sparsely populated areas -- these people (generally republican leaning) have a larger "cost" to getting to the polls (though the price of procuring a mail in ballot is the same). And at the margins, distance can mean some people decide it isn't worth their while to vote. Given early voting and absentee mail in options, the effects of this are mitigated. Isn't distance to the polling place an issue in every large country with rural populations?
* Last comment on this: policies have waxed and waned in the US in terms of ease of ballot access. Since the despicable Jim Crow laws were done away in the south (those laws passed by Democrats to keep blacks from voting, for my international friends' historical edification), though, the difference is that it is either easy to vote or very easy to vote.
In the 2016 US presidential elections 55.7% of the voting age population actually voted.
You say it is easy to vote in the USA, but then, why don’t people vote?
One argument I’ve heard is that a lot of people disliked both candidates, but hey, there were third party candidates! Just show up and make your voice heard! If the 44.3% who did not vote had all voted for the same third party candidate, that candidate would have won.
And it wasn’t just this election. It’s pretty much every US election. Mid term elections tend to have an even lower turnout. Often less than 40%. And thus a minority of voters get to decide who rules the most powerful nation on earth. It is a cause of great concern.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 ... countries/
I agree. What confuses me is the claim that many people in the US lack valid photo ID.UWSaint wrote: ↑Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:22 pmIn the US, many states use this system, but it is called "voter suppression".... (I think its perfectly sensible to have minimal integrity controls such as this in place).Per wrote: ↑Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:51 amVoter ID? Yeah, [in Sweden] all voters must identify themselves, but we allow three methods:
1) presenting a valid photo ID
2) being recognised by an officer at the polling station that vouches for the identity of the voter
3) having another person with a valid photo ID signing an affadavit confirming the identity of the voter
How do these people survive? Heck, the most common type of ID used in Sweden is your driver’s license. Most places I’ve been in the US, it is really hard to get by without a car. It puzzles me.
And really, people ask for photo ID for all kinds of services here in Sweden.
I don’t understand how you can get by without it.
Although, we can actually buy groceries without presenting it…..