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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the but-but-it's-raining! dept.

CNN reports that when asked how to offset the influence of big money in politics, President Barack Obama suggested it's time to make voting a requirement. "Other countries have mandatory voting," said Obama "It would be transformative if everybody voted -- that would counteract money more than anything," he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly.

"The people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income, they're skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups. There's a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls."

At least 26 countries have compulsory voting, according to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Failure to vote is punishable by a fine in countries such as Australia and Belgium; if you fail to pay your fine in Belgium, you could go to prison. Less than 37% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. That means about 144 million Americans -- more than the population of Russia -- skipped out.

Critics of mandatory voting have questioned the practicality of passing and enforcing such a requirement; others say that freedom also means the freedom not to do something.

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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:26AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:26AM (#161046)

    Everyone else forget about it.

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:32AM (#161048)

      Dude, man, if we get like, umanimoius votes for Bama, he gotta get a third term, dude! And if the dude get his third term, you know he gonna legalize it! Eveeevvybody vote for Bama, man! Unamimoss write-in votes for O-B_A_M-A and you know heel win agan!!

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by NCommander on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:46AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:46AM (#161054) Homepage Journal

      At the risk of feeding the trolls, you do realize there is a 2 term limit for presidents in the United States, right?

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:56AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:56AM (#161058)

        Until someone writes an executive order that says otherwise.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by naubol on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:09PM

          by naubol (1918) on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:09PM (#161110)

          Executive orders are trumped by the constitution. If he did that, the SC would overturn the order via judicial review. It would likely be ignored by all governors anyway. If he tried to ignore that with executive powers, he would be swiftly given articles of impeachment by the house and convicted by the senate. In which case, he would technically no longer have executive powers, and then for him to actually use them would require a colossal coup involving a tremendous number of agencies, generals, governors, commandants, etc. etc. etc.

          In other words, he's not going to have a third term and he and everyone else knows it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:15PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:15PM (#161116)

            Just imagine how historic it'd be: first black president is first to serve a third term since that white cracker roosevelt who didn't deserve four terms.

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:54PM

            by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:54PM (#161149) Journal

            The constitution trumps executive orders and statutes ... in theory. In actual everyday usage? Not so much.

            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:12PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:12PM (#161199)

              When there is ambiguity it will be exploited. That is human nature, maybe even just plain old nature.

              But the 22nd amendment is starkly clear: "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice"

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:44PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:44PM (#161300)

                Easy hack: "postpone" future presidential elections indefinitely.

                Not that I believe the problem lies at the presidential level - the root problem seems to be generations of people that forgot about freedom and instead see government as a club used to bludgeon other people they don't like.

          • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:04PM

            by JNCF (4317) on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:04PM (#161153) Journal

            Executive orders are trumped by the constitution.

            I don't think anybody is going to be running for a third term any time soon. The proposal is downright ludicrous. That being said, invoking the constitution as a guideline for what the government can and cannot do is also ludicrous, perhaps even more so. Ever heard of Edward Snowden?

            • (Score: 2) by naubol on Thursday April 02 2015, @03:41PM

              by naubol (1918) on Thursday April 02 2015, @03:41PM (#165846)

              You're not arguing that the constitution is selectively enforced, which is my position, and seems to me to fit the facts.

              • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Thursday April 02 2015, @06:25PM

                by JNCF (4317) on Thursday April 02 2015, @06:25PM (#165893) Journal

                I guess that I don't see a meaningful distinction between selectively enforcing a legal document and not enforcing it. As soon as you're not enforcing large parts of it because they're inconvenient for your agenda the parts that you still happen to enforce seem like they just coincidentally have backing by the document.

                I don't think that America's political power structure would allow Obama to seek a third term (assuming that he was crazy enough to try for it), but I think that most pundits' invocations of the Constitution in that discourse would be ad hoc arguments wrapped in legalize and patriotism. They could not be taken as genuine arguments about Constitutional law unless a given pundit also took firm Constitutional positions on the Second and Fourth amendments, not just the Twenty-second.

                Strictly speaking I cannot disagree with the statement that the Constitution is selectively enforced.

                • (Score: 2) by naubol on Friday April 10 2015, @07:48PM

                  by naubol (1918) on Friday April 10 2015, @07:48PM (#168821)

                  My invocation of the constitution was in context for refuting the idea that Obama would go for a third time.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:54PM (#161082)

        Three hundred million votes for Obama can't be wrong. The constitution must be wrong.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:20PM (#161172)

          Three hundred million idiots voted for him, that's whats wrong.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:33AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:33AM (#161049)

    Make campaign contributions illegal. Untie the corporate funding from the us political system. Enact term limits for all political and judicial positions.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:34AM (#161050)

      Corporations are people too. You must allow them to vote with money. What could be more democratic than that?

      • (Score: 1, Disagree) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:57AM

        You say in jest what I'll say in seriousness. If we're going to tax them, they have every right to participate in politics. I'm however fine with removing their representation if we remove the taxation as well.

        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:11PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:11PM (#161091)

          > If we're going to tax them, they have every right to participate in politics.

          By that logic every person, citizen or not, regardless of age, should be eligible to vote simply for paying sales tax on a single transaction in the country.

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:25PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:25PM (#161095)

            I've always thought the age requirement was silly. A baby could vote about as intelligently as a grand majority of adults do, as they either just vote for the same party over and over again, or flip flop between parties that all despise freedom.

          • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:16PM

            You forgot the dead ones. Oh, and welcome to the Democratic Party.

            --
            My rights don't end where your fear begins.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:46PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:46PM (#161187)

              huh huh dur

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:54PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:54PM (#161566)

              welcome to the Democratic Party.

              Its funny, but you're more right on this than anything else, because the Democrat party is everyone who isn't a Republican. The reason they appear to vote as a block or "toe the party line" because Republican ideas are unable to stand on their own merits, so anyone with half a brain who doesn't have an agenda votes against them.

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:45PM

          by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:45PM (#161099) Homepage
          You tax foreigners - can foreigners vote too?
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:15PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:15PM (#161118)

          I pay property tax on my house and other taxes on my car. Can they vote too?

          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:35PM

            You missed the key bit there, YOU pay those taxes because YOU owe them. Corporations pay their own because THEY owe them.

            --
            My rights don't end where your fear begins.
            • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:27PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:27PM (#161176)

              And shareholders OWN the company.

              Only those without owners get to vote.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:28PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:28PM (#161209)

          Bribery is somewhat outside the scope of the standard political process... or at least it's supposed to be in the United States.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Buck Feta on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:20PM

          by Buck Feta (958) on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:20PM (#161253) Journal

          What would keep me from setting up 1,000,000 small corporations and thus controlling 1,000,000 votes?

          --
          - fractious political commentary goes here -
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:30PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:30PM (#161254)

            >>What would keep me from setting up 1,000,000
            >> small corporations and thus controlling 1,000,000 votes?

            Well, the half billion dollars or so it'd cost to set them up might slow you down. Filling out a million sets of corporate filings would be a tad time consuming. Then another set of annual filings every year.

            You'd need 5 or 10 million people to sit on all the boards. All of whom would have their own opinions,too...

            Other than that, no problems...

            • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:49PM

              by Buck Feta (958) on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:49PM (#161257) Journal

              I think you vastly overestimate the cost to set up and run a small corporation, you certainly don't understand corporate ownership structures.

              --
              - fractious political commentary goes here -
            • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @09:10PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @09:10PM (#161258)

              > Well, the half billion dollars or so it'd cost to set them up might slow you down.

              $50 for an LLC in Arkansas [arkansas.gov]

              > Filling out a million sets of corporate filings would be a tad time consuming.

              Mail merge.

              > You'd need 5 or 10 million people to sit on all the boards.

              Just need one person for an LLC and no reason the same guy can't be on the board of all 1 million.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @10:19PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @10:19PM (#161277)

                And then print out a million copies.buy a million stamps and a million envelopes... Lick all the envelopes. I wonder how big your car will have to be to drive them all to the post office?

                • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:48AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:48AM (#161359)

                  > And then print out a million copies.buy a million stamps and a million envelopes...

                  Electronic filing.
                  Even if it paper filing was the only option - we have an entire industry in American dedicated to handling the task of bulk mailing.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:35PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:35PM (#161555)

          You do know that every person _legally_ working in the US, citizen or not, pays income tax (as well social security, etc.).

          Full disclosure: I am a foreigner working in the US on a work permit.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:09PM (#161090)

      Or/and make an un-cast vote count as a vote against the parties running.

      In the event the 'unvote' reaches a majority the doors to the buildings of the centers of power would be closed, the congress critters and political appointees would be sent home without pay, the lobbying industry would have no-one to lobby, and the civil services would be instructed to carry on as before with unchanged budgets and policies.

      If people noticed a difference they might be more inclined to vote the net time. Chances are they wouldn't though.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:02PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:02PM (#161107) Homepage Journal

        The unvotes have outnumbered the votes many times. The vote has been as low as 27% if I recall correctly. Little more than one eligible voter in four voting. That's a pretty big majority, isn't it? More than the 66% supermajority needed to override a presidential veto. More than enough to pass a constitutional amendment.

        --
        "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:56PM

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:56PM (#161151) Journal

      Real campaign reform would mean that the loser in any election is summarily executed. The politicians would really compete for voter approval in that situation.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:18PM

      by HiThere (866) on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:18PM (#161227) Journal

      Term limits didn't work out particularly well in California. The crooked politico ran for higher office (see Diane Feinstein) and the more honest ones quit.

      To be fair, Feinstein might well have run for higher office anyway, her chances for reelection as mayor weren't all that great as many people hated her. And some notably crooked politicos left. But it's much easier to replace a more crooked politico than a more honest one (with an equal).

      Your other suggestions should pretty good, but difficult. What do you do about "independent support committees"? While I don't count spending money as "free speech" (because money isn't equally distributed) the Supreme Court does. And government sponsorship of candidates has all sorts of potential hooks...as in who counts as a legitimate candidate. The trade off we made of allowing easier registration of multiple parties against requiring the media networks to offer equal coverage hasn't worked out very well, largely because the electoral system is based on plurality rather than majority...but that problem wasn't obvious ahead of time.

      I've nearly come to the point where I believe that instead of an election we should have a "draft lotter" managed by the Selective Service. "Your friends and neighbors have selected you to be State Senator....." There's a few places where currently centralized power would need to be diluted so that one "real winner" couldn't louse up everything, but that's a good idea anyway.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @05:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @05:16PM (#161578)

        I believe that instead of an election we should have a "draft lotter" managed by the Selective Service. "Your friends and neighbors have selected you to be State Senator....."

        The culture in the US is far too corrupted and self-centered for that to work. People would rush for the chance to sell their influence so they could get out of poverty. I doubt even 20% of the people in the US would be able to see beyond themselves when it came to governance.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Jaruzel on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:41AM

    by Jaruzel (812) on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:41AM (#161052) Homepage Journal

    I'd only be in favour of mandatory voting, if every ballot paper had 'none of the above' as an option, otherwise it's not really a democracy is it?

    --
    This is my opinion, there are many others, but this one is mine.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:46AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:46AM (#161055) Homepage Journal

      You could write it in; write-ins are legal in federal elections.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 1) by hurwitz on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:12PM

        by hurwitz (4938) on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:12PM (#161066)

        NCommander for President!

        I was surprised to find out more than a few write-ins [wikipedia.org] were successful. Mostly in the primary stage.

        Realistically speaking, it would be much cheaper to advertise a candidate: I would rather send brochures to mailboxes the week before election day (selectively, by neighborhood, however) than fork over $X00k a minute to the local TV media conglomerate during the whole 18-month election cycle.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Kell on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:03PM

        by Kell (292) on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:03PM (#161087)

        Hey, NCommander, I've been wondering. If you're the new number 2, who is number 1?

        --
        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
        • (Score: 4, Funny) by TheGratefulNet on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:52PM

          by TheGratefulNet (659) on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:52PM (#161101)

          I am not a number! I am a free man!!!

           

           

          (bwahahahahaha!)

          --
          "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
          • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:10PM

            by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:10PM (#161224) Homepage Journal

            If there was ever a justification to hide UID numbers by default, this is it.

            --
            Still always moving
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:13PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:13PM (#161638)

              No way. If his UID was 6, that really would have been hilarious.

        • (Score: 3, Touché) by NCommander on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:09PM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:09PM (#161221) Homepage Journal

          The community of course :)

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @05:18PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @05:18PM (#161581)

            In that case, "Anonymous Coward" should display UID 1.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @04:26PM (#161549)

        You could write it in; write-ins are legal in federal elections.

        Indeed. I was just thinking that the "ballot" for elections should be a blank piece of paper. The voter must write in the candidate of their choice for each office up for election. As an added twist, any misspelling of a candidate's name means that ballot gets tossed.

    • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:54AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:54AM (#161057) Journal

      As long as the votes are paper-base and secret, you could just cross-out your ballot. The only thing they could control is if you walk in and put paper into the box.

      For computer-based elections, this might be more difficult if not actively supported by the system.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:08PM

        Paper ballot I'd be more inclined to wipe my turd cutter with. No, wait, that's for tax forms.

        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
        • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:23PM

          by q.kontinuum (532) on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:23PM (#161071) Journal

          What kind of ballot would you prefer? Do you doubt in the use of elections in general, or would you prefer voting-machines? I don't think democracy is perfect, but I still think it is the best system there is, in the sense of the lesser of many evils.
          Voting-machines I consider inherently insecure. There was a discussion on soylentnews recently [soylentnews.org], my conclusion being that voting machines disable joe-average from overseeing the poll: To get the same level of transparency we have in paper-ballots, it would be required to enable everyone to review and understand the whole system, from network-level via OS, voting software down to the last CPU. I don't think anyone is capable to understand all levels at once, and I don't think joe average would have any opportunity to review the process in any meaningful way even for his own district. The only possibility would be if every vote would be printed on paper as well and put into a separate box, available for manual counting.

          --
          Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:43PM

            I don't object to any kind of ballot, just forcing people to vote. Wiping your arse with a properly filled out paper ballot would be a fine form of protest, IMO.

            --
            My rights don't end where your fear begins.
            • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:00PM

              by q.kontinuum (532) on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:00PM (#161248) Journal

              Hm. I think I see your point, but did you consider that forcing people to vote would also make it more difficult to fake results? If it turns out that millions of people are entitled to vote, but turn out to be dead for long-time when following up on their missing vote, those can be stricken from the records for the next election. Also it gives some hint on how to keep updated lists for the future. (I do understand that currently lots of those orphaned votes are suspected to be used to skew the results. But I expect it's not *all* of those orphaned votes, and following up on those not voting could close some of the gaps.
              The other thing is that I heard, organisers in some districts make it intentionally difficult for some groups to vote and skew the election that way. If anyone has to vote anyway, there won't be much of a point to make it inconvenient for some groups.
              Would you agree if there was a field on the ballot "[x] None of the above"? Or do you object to the fact you'd still have to show up there? Or did I miss (again) a third option?

              --
              Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
          • (Score: 2) by Adamsjas on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:25PM

            by Adamsjas (4507) on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:25PM (#161208)

            Nice segue.

            Suggest (without basis) that someone prefers voting machines.
            Then use that as a launch pad for an off-topic rant about voting machines.

            • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:07PM

              by q.kontinuum (532) on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:07PM (#161219) Journal

              Not actually a rant. I asked for the two options that came to my mind and wasn't sure I'd get follow up in this discussion today, therefore I gave answers to both options. The answer for "democracy" was a bit short, because it's too much to cover everything.

              --
              Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by VLM on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:38PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:38PM (#161073)

        Doesn't work that way in my state. You get a paper optical ballot, you fill it out privately, you insert it into the scanner, the scanner either says "beep beep" and eats the ballot, or if the scanner is unhappy with what you're written on the ballot, it emits a bongo drum and barfs the ballot back at you, and a legal minimum of two observers descends upon you to issue a new ballot, explain the process, or WTF you. Most of the time its double voting errors due to poor pencil eraser work, and after a little cleanup the machine will accept the ballot.

        So intentionally spoiling a ballot simply pisses off a couple people and accomplishes little other than wasted time, which would be an interesting form of civil disobedience.

        If you turn in a blank ballot the machine will eat the ballot although its widely believed that the ballot will be filled in "correctly" for you, later.

        We really need "none of the above" so blank ballots can't be "fixed" later.

        It should be noted that things are gerrymandered carefully enough that I have no representation. Enough "I vote for whoever my dad voted for" fools live in the district in the carefully aligned boundaries such that no accumulation of thinking voters could possibly have any impact or representation. So I'm not really sure whats to be gained by bothering to vote at all, or bothering to vote for anyone but the gerrymandered party.

        The majority of the population being unthinking demographic voters and/or party faithful traditionalists in heavily gerrymandered districts means voting is a waste of time to create political change. If you want change, F like rabbits and have more kids and hope the gerrymandering doesn't "fix" the demographic problem in the next generation. Plus or minus more legal/illegal immigrants and plus or minus altering municipal zoning laws to motivate certain demographics to move in or out of an area.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:50PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:50PM (#161214) Journal

          If you turn in a blank ballot the machine will eat the ballot although its widely believed that the ballot will be filled in "correctly" for you, later.

          Widely believed?

          Optically read ballots are some of the most audit-able machine read ballots around. They've survived numerous hand counts in places like Alaska which used them forever. A spoiled ballot in one race never spoils a whole ballot. It just means that ballot isn't counted for that race. Further, when descended upon due to beeping, you can decline to re-vote, and your ballot stands as voted, except for the race you double voted.

          I've served on election boards in Alaska where these machines were use, and they were easy to use, and because of mandatory recounts, (close races) the proved more audit-able and less error prone than the prior punch system.

           

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Monday March 23 2015, @03:55PM

            by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday March 23 2015, @03:55PM (#161530) Homepage

            Minnesota uses the same ballots and they work great. Also at every poll location that I have voted at (I have lived several places) use black sharpies to fill in the ballots. The last go around I was curious about what happens when someone spoils their ballot so I after filling in some of the elections I went up and said I spoiled my ballot. At that point they wrote void across the old one, crossed all the bubbles out with a big black sharpie, and handed me a new ballot. The people who can't figure out those ballots seem to have no one but themselves to blame. Especially since if you do make a mistake they will void your previous ballot and hand you a new one.

            --
            T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by RobotMonster on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:03PM

      by RobotMonster (130) on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:03PM (#161061) Journal

      We have mandatory voting in Australia, which I think is a good thing. It would be better if you had to pass a basic knowledge test on major current events before you were allowed to vote, but I can't see that idea gaining any traction...

      Note that your vote is still secret -- once you've been checked off on the role, you can fill out your ballot any way you like -- leave it blank, draw pictures of unicorns all over it, whatever. You only need to fill out the ballot 'properly' if you want your vote to be counted.
      We also hold elections on Saturdays, and it's fairly easy to register for postal voting, if getting down to the booth on election day would be difficult or inconvenient.
      You can still draw unicorns on your ballot if you're using postal voting -- the 'vote envelope' is sealed, and there's a detachable flap on the outside that has your voter information that is used to mark you off on the roll.
      The person marking you off on the roll can't see how you voted (or indeed if you even filled out the ballot at all).

      Where it all falls down is that the legislation has been constructed so that no elected member can be held legally accountable for their actions in office; election promises hold no legal weight whatsoever (the current government in Australia has done the exact opposite of almost everything they promised during the election. Our only recourse? Wait for the next election...); money can easily buy favourable treatment; the bulk of the population have no idea about how any of this works and nor do they care.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:49PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:49PM (#161078)

        It would be better if you had to pass a basic knowledge test on major current events before you were allowed to vote, but I can't see that idea gaining any traction

        Being from .au you probably are unfamiliar with our southern ancestors peculiar institutions and before various schemes of poll taxes and IQ tests were banned, they would have all kinds of ridiculous fees (like a median month's pay as a tax) and quiz questions ("Prove P=NP and put a proof of FLT in the small margin of the page") and surprisingly enough the tests and taxes were remarkably poorly enforced if not outright ignored for white voters and remarkably well enforced for pretty much all other race voters.

        More or less like the modern law enforcement and judicial system, although oriented specifically toward voting.

        So yeah after all the marches and riots half a century ago to get rid of that stuff, I suspect nothing like it is coming back anytime soon.

        Even something tangential on a ballot like calling the likely next presidential candidates "has a spouse mostly famous for getting a BJ in the oral, er, oval, office" and "Has a bro who is a war criminal" would probably be forbidden.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by RobotMonster on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:56PM

          by RobotMonster (130) on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:56PM (#161084) Journal

          No I wasn't aware of that; did you know that Australia's Constitution still carries clauses specifically designed to *enable* racism?

          Here's one, there are more:

          25. Provisions as to races disqualified from voting
          For the purposes of the last section, if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified from voting at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, then, in reckoning the number of the people of the State or of the Commonwealth, persons of that race resident in that State shall not be counted.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:50PM (#161081)

        If someone doesn't want to vote, then they should have the freedom to not do so. But that's just coming from someone who would prefer to live in a free country, which unfortunately does not exist.

        It would be better if you had to pass a basic knowledge test on major current events before you were allowed to vote, but I can't see that idea gaining any traction...

        Because, as we've seen, it would only be used to oppress people. And what you consider to be "basic knowledge" would eventually be changed to better oppress poor people, who also tend to be uneducated. Nice job harming the poor even more.

        I also think that it's more important to have good critical thinking skills than to mindlessly memorize "basic knowledge." What could you possibly test them on? Randomly historical events? Knowledge of the candidate(s) in question? None of this would ensure they're making a 'good' decision, and as soon as you get into that territory, you're already trying to remove your opponents' voting rights. We should not remove people's fundamental right to vote based on subjective feelings of what qualifies as "basic knowledge."

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by RobotMonster on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:46PM

          by RobotMonster (130) on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:46PM (#161100) Journal

          If someone doesn't want to vote, then they should have the freedom to not do so.

          In Australia, you indeed have the freedom not to vote. You *do* need to get yourself marked-off on the electoral role, otherwise you will be fined, but nobody is forcing you to actually influence the election result.

          But that's just coming from someone who would prefer to live in a free country, which unfortunately does not exist.

          Giving an equal vote to *all* candidates is hardly a good recipe for moving towards a free country... Sit around a whinge about the state of the nation, and then don't vote (or run yourself). Good plan.

          I also think that it's more important to have good critical thinking skills than to mindlessly memorize "basic knowledge." What could you possibly test them on? Randomly historical events? Knowledge of the candidate(s) in question?

          I agree; critical thinking is an essential skill. As I initially said, I doubted any attempt to ensure the voters actually know what they are voting about would get anywhere.

          It has given me a thought though: Instead of the ballot paper listing the candidates you wanted to vote for, it listed policies instead. The winning candidate would be then determined by which policies each candidate was for or against. This would have the advantage that the electorate would then have a clear-cut contract with the elected person: No, we didn't vote for You. We voted for X. You said you were going to do X, we voted for X, and now you are compelled to do X or we will call a fresh election.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:54PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:54PM (#161102)

            In Australia, you indeed have the freedom not to vote. You *do* need to get yourself marked-off on the electoral role

            Nice try, but you can see their intentions. You get fined if you don't bother with any of it.

            Giving an equal vote to *all* candidates is hardly a good recipe for moving towards a free country...

            The idea of infringing upon people's freedoms to give people freedom is contradictory. You cannot sway me by trying to convince me that practical benefits won't work. My stance is a principled one.

            Good plan.

            I don't think it's a good plan, but I support other people's freedom to do that.

            • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:15PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:15PM (#161117)

              > The idea of infringing upon people's freedoms to give people freedom is contradictory. My stance is a principled one

              Its not principled, its pedantry. Freedom is not a concept fully defined by a single sentence.

              • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:09PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:09PM (#161222)

                You're an idiot. If you make voting mandatory, you are infringing upon people's freedom not to vote. I don't care what other freedoms you claim to be protecting; if we infringe upon other liberties in order to do that, it is meaningless. What you are saying is no different from the scumbags who say we should violate people's freedom in the name of safety.

                • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:46PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:46PM (#161241)

                  > You're an idiot.

                  When everybody else are idiots and morons, its time to start wondering if maybe the problem lies elsewhere.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @02:05AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @02:05AM (#161331)

                    Bandwagon fallacy.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @05:09AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @05:09AM (#161362)

                      I've lost track... which AC are you?

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2015, @11:20PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2015, @11:20PM (#162556)

                    When logical fallacies like this get modded up, you know something is wrong.

            • (Score: 4, Touché) by RobotMonster on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:33PM

              by RobotMonster (130) on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:33PM (#161124) Journal

              You get fined if you don't bother with any of it.

              Nice try, but you won't get fined if you never even bothered to get on the electoral roll in the first place.

              My stance is a principled one.

              What principle would that be?
              Do you have the freedom to lie in the middle of a busy road?
              Do you have the freedom to drive over somebody exercising their freedom to lie in the middle of a busy road?
              Do you have the freedom to expect that people won't be lying in the road?

              Your freedoms should end where they infringe on mine.
              Not bothering to vote against a wanna-be-dictator? That's infringing on my freedoms right there.
              This freedom thing is a bit more complicated than you seem to think!

              • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:13PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:13PM (#161225)

                Nice try, but you won't get fined if you never even bothered to get on the electoral roll in the first place.

                So mandatory voting doesn't exist, then? One needn't do anything at all?

                What principle would that be?

                All of your examples are absurd and completely offtopic.

                Your freedoms should end where they infringe on mine.

                You do not have a freedom to take away other people's freedom not to vote, or at least, you shouldn't.

                That's infringing on my freedoms right there.

                Nope. The dictator would be infringing upon your freedoms, not people who vote/don't vote in a way that you like. You seem to be the wannabe dictator here, pal.

                This freedom thing is a bit more complicated than you seem to think!

                It's really not, but I expected a response like yours; you're completely transparent. Infringing upon liberties to save liberties is a dead end, which we've seen with the war on 'terror'. You're in such good company.

                • (Score: 2) by RobotMonster on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:07PM

                  by RobotMonster (130) on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:07PM (#161288) Journal

                  Infringing upon liberties to save liberties is a dead end,

                  Oh please; while this is often true, it is not *always* true.
                  Should you have the freedom to carry an M60 at all times, and be free to gun down whoever you like?
                  No?
                  I shouldn't be free to murder you in your home? That's fascist man. You're infringing on my liberties! Help, Help! I'm being oppressed!

                  I gave you a chance to explain your "principle", but the best you could do was complain I was being off-topic. Foolishly I was hoping for an interesting discourse...
                  What your "principle" appears to be, is anarchy. (I should be able to do, or not do, anything I want, rest of the world be damned).

                  This was supposed to be a discussion about democracy, not anarchy. You can't be completely free in a democracy to do anything you damn well please.
                  There are laws and such, that (oh no) reduce your freedom, for the overall benefit of society. This is part of the democratic system. One of the main roles of the elected is to work on improving that body of law (in principle, anyway).
                  Ensuring that the citizens take part in the democratic process is (supposed to be) for the overall benefit of society.

                  Go live in your anarchist utopia with the rest of your anonymous troll friends and see how free you are three weeks later when some other anarchists with bigger guns move in...

                  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @02:00AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @02:00AM (#161329)

                    Should you have the freedom to carry an M60 at all times, and be free to gun down whoever you like?

                    Jesus, you're ridiculously stupid. Your notion of freedom is so broken that talking to you is a waste of time, because whenever I mentioned the word "freedom", you seem to assume I think it's a natural right to murder people.

                    Fuck off if you're going to be this dishonest.

                    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by RobotMonster on Monday March 23 2015, @09:19AM

                      by RobotMonster (130) on Monday March 23 2015, @09:19AM (#161392) Journal

                      You're the anarchist who keeps insisting "Infringing upon liberties to save liberties is a dead end", without caveat,
                      *Finally* you've admitted that you don't think that directly harming others should be included in your freedom.
                      But you know, keep arguing your "principled stance" without actually explaining your principles...

                      Your notion of freedom is so broken that talking to you is a waste of time

                      I was trying to find out what your notion of freedom was, as you kept declaring that you can't "Infringing upon liberties to save liberties". This is a blanket statement that is clearly not correct (and not one you agree with, if you're going to outlaw 'directly' harming others, whatever that might mean.). You're spouting catchphrases that don't actually reflect what you're thinking.

                      Jesus, you're ridiculously stupid.

                      You're the fucking moron here, dumb-ass. Talking to you is like talking to an eleven year old.
                      You mentioned earlier in the thread that you valued critical thinking. You might want to invest in learning how to do it. And actually communicating your point, instead of calling everybody stupid, that would be a small improvement.

                      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @01:45PM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @01:45PM (#161454)

                        You're the anarchist who keeps insisting "Infringing upon liberties to save liberties is a dead end", without caveat,

                        Not an anarchist. Straw man.

                        You mentioned earlier in the thread that you valued critical thinking. You might want to invest in learning how to do it.

                        I say it is you who needs to learn how to think critically; your straw men and random assumptions are seemingly endless. Furthermore, you resort to pointless pedantry. Because of that, I have no real desire to waste my time explaining my exact positions (which would likely be intentionally misinterpreted anyway), and you've already revealed yourself as an authoritarian anyway.

                        Here's how a conversation with someone who supports the NSA's mass surveillance sometimes turns out:
                        Me: We should value freedom over safety.
                        Them: Aha! You didn't specify *exactly* what freedom means! That must mean you support the freedom to murder! Checkmate, anarchist!

                        You're resembling them right now. I could pick at many statements you've made in the exact same way, since language isn't always exact or literal.

                  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @02:03AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @02:03AM (#161330)

                    I gave you a chance to explain your "principle"

                    Freedom does not include the ability to directly harm others without consequence.

                    Go live in your anarchist utopia

                    Not forcing people to vote != anarchy. I am actually a liberal, so nice try there.

                    • (Score: 2) by RobotMonster on Monday March 23 2015, @09:11AM

                      by RobotMonster (130) on Monday March 23 2015, @09:11AM (#161387) Journal

                      Freedom does not include the ability to directly harm others without consequence.

                      It does for some people. But, finally, you've said something instead of throwing around insults and one-eyed nonsense. Hoorah!

                      So, do you have the freedom to not pay your taxes?

                      Doesn't directly harm anyone.

            • (Score: 1, Troll) by tathra on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:35PM

              by tathra (3367) on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:35PM (#161141)

              The idea of infringing upon people's freedoms to give people freedom is contradictory.

              how absurd. we've taken away your freedom to freely murder people with no consequences in order to give the people you would have murdered the freedom to live. taking away freedom to give freedom, no contradictions there at all, its just a matter of whose freedoms and the freedoms to do what. if restricting certain freedoms increases the amount of freedom available to more people then its a net gain, an overall increase in "freedom".

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:20PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:20PM (#161229)

                how absurd. we've taken away your freedom to freely murder people with no consequences in order to give the people you would have murdered the freedom to live. taking away freedom to give freedom, no contradictions there at all, its just a matter of whose freedoms and the freedoms to do what.

                You're a complete moron. I do not believe such a freedom would ever be legitimate to begin with, so you seemingly misinterpreting my position to score 'points.' So calling that a freedom when speaking to me is mistaken to begin with. Freedom isn't, to me, the same as the ability to do something.

                Murder directly harms someone. You cannot make the same claim of someone who doesn't vote, unless you have a very illogical definition of "harm." And it is contradictory because if your goal is to maximize freedom, you have already failed, as there are certainly alternatives to forcing people to vote.

                if restricting certain freedoms increases the amount of freedom available to more people then its a net gain, an overall increase in "freedom".

                I speak of *real* freedoms like freedom of speech, freedom of expression, privacy, etc. And no, you cannot infringe upon such fundamental liberties in the name of more freedom. You might spew forth more straw men that has nothing to do with my actual position, but that will not help you.

                You seem to be in the same crowd as those who say we need to surrender our liberties for security from the terrorist bogeyman, and even your example is extremely similar. In order to truly maximize freedom, we need to take measures that don't infringe upon our fundamental liberties to begin with, like, say, education.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:40PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:40PM (#161183)

            "Giving an equal vote to *all* candidates is hardly a good recipe for moving towards a free country."

            Granting your imprimatur to the corrupt religion of 'democracy' certainly is no better.

            If voting could change the system it would be illegal. Think about it.

          • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday March 23 2015, @01:16PM

            by cafebabe (894) on Monday March 23 2015, @01:16PM (#161440) Journal

            If we must have voting rather than representative democracy run like jury service, I like the opportunity to vote directly on issues rather individuals who might have a passing resemblance to my position while electioneering. However, I am concerned that the economics of party politics will allow one party to obtain the most populist position. This would lead to a one-party state and no obligation for anyone to fulfil an electoral mandate.

            --
            1702845791×2
            • (Score: 2) by RobotMonster on Monday March 23 2015, @01:56PM

              by RobotMonster (130) on Monday March 23 2015, @01:56PM (#161461) Journal

              I like the idea of a random-lottery jury-service type thing. Elections based on issues, with randomly selected people who must adhere to the per-issue election results. It seems like it could do a lot to rid us of the "career politician" problem, but I do worry that it would end up being little more than a figure-head type arrangement with the real power (and corruption) being wielded entirely by the civil servants. (Having said that, it'd likely still be an improvement over the current models).

              I don't think capitalism and (true) democracy are really that compatible.

              I'm reminded of an idea I had once to solve the problem of election results not being truly representative. Regardless of whether you use first-pass-the-post or preferential systems, the counted results can vary quite a bit from overall voter intentions. (I would put a reference here but I'm too lazy). My thought was to make it random -- all votes are put into a hat (figuratively), and only one ballot is drawn from it. The content of that ballot would be the election result. If you run the system for an infinite amount of time, overall voter intentions would be accurately tracked. Every vote counts! Your vote could be the winning ticket.

              A one-party state would be a travesty. A two party system is bad enough! In the same way that I think that there needs to be an upper ceiling on how large multinational corporations should be able to grow (see the TV series Continuum where the multinationals of the future stepped in and took over when the governments of the world ran out of money), perhaps there should be a limit to how many people could be in a party? If we're voting for 'people' instead of 'issues', I'd much rather each elected representative got to act on their own conscience, instead of having to blindly follow the party line (i.e. no parties, only issues).

              • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Monday March 23 2015, @04:47PM

                by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday March 23 2015, @04:47PM (#161561) Homepage

                I would almost prefer that a 3rd chamber be added to the legislative branch. This 3rd chamber is chosen at random yearly from the population, have it be like 0.001% of the population chosen at random from the voting population similar to jury duty. These people remain at home and every 2 weeks they are sent a ballot to vote yes or no on all legislation passed by both the house and senate that they have to have postmarked within 2 weeks. I'd even offer compensation to these people of $1000-$2000 a year since it will take away from their free time. For a bill to go on to the president 50%+1 of this new chamber would need to vote in the affirmative.

                --
                T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
              • (Score: 2) by tathra on Monday March 23 2015, @05:44PM

                by tathra (3367) on Monday March 23 2015, @05:44PM (#161592)

                I don't think capitalism and (true) democracy are really that compatible.

                they're not. when a system exists that allows money to be centralized, it becomes possible to use those insanely large sums of money to buy anything, even regulatory agencies and lawmakers. the solution is to not let money be concentrated into the hands of a few individuals in the first place. pretty much all wealth is only gained due to luck, either by being born into money or by getting extremely lucky by having the right idea at the right time (which still requires having enough initial capital to be able profit off the idea), but hopefully 'forceful wealth redistribution' (taking money by force and redistributing it) isn't required, hopefully actual socialism, where the people who work for a company are all co-owners (cooperatives i think they're called?), could distribute capital more fairly in a reasonable amount of time and keep it from concentrating in insane amounts into individuals' hands. the only problem is getting enough cooperatives started for the idea to take off and replace our current exploitation-driven market.

      • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Monday March 23 2015, @04:17PM

        by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday March 23 2015, @04:17PM (#161544) Homepage

        I would be against a test that used current events. I would make it simple but factual. Have a pool of 20 questions of which 10 are given that test a person's basic understanding of government. Include questions like:

        Who is the current President of the United States of America?

        Who is the current Vice President of the United States of America?

        What are the 3 branches of government

        What branch of government enforces the laws?

        What branch of government writes the laws?

        What chamber of congress does spending and taxing legislation originate in?

        Who is the current governor of your state

        Who are your current sitting senators?

        Who is your current sitting house member?

        Who is the current speaker of the US House?

        Who is the speaker of the US Senate

        How long do Justices on the US Supreme Court serve?

        The answers are all multiple choice and each person is required to get all 10 correct. If these questions are a barrier for voting for a person I really don't want them to vote. I don't want people to vote who don't even have the most basic idea of how our government works to vote for the people in that government. These are questions that everyone with at least a 6th grade education should be able to answer and I would contend that if someone is unable to answer them they are not mentally fit to be voting. Which interestingly enough is a requirement to actually be able to vote in many places.

        --
        T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
        • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday March 25 2015, @11:24PM

          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday March 25 2015, @11:24PM (#162559)

          Great. More uncreative multiple choice tests that test only for mindless rote memorization. This time, though, the stakes are much, much higher; a fundamental liberty is at stake.

          I don't care how 'simple' you think the questions are; they will only be used to oppress the poor and uneducated (and the poor are often uneducated simply because their situation makes it hard to become more educated), who will then have no means to try to improve their situation because you've taken away one of the biggest means to do so. Maybe you think they 'deserve' it, and I'm sure racists thought the same way in the past. The idea of an unbiased test that will determine whether or not someone is eligible to vote being ultimately beneficial or moral is a joke. You're giving far too much power to the government, and it simply does not deserve and *will* abuse it.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Adamsjas on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:20PM

      by Adamsjas (4507) on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:20PM (#161204)

      The right to vote is not an obligation.
      The right to free speech is also the right to not speak (publicly or privately) on any issue.

      I can't think of a single reason to make voting mandatory. Don't care, don't know, and can't be bothered voters add nothing to the stability or correctness of our government.

      (And, by the way Mr. Jaruzel, the us is not a Democracy, its a Republic.)

      • (Score: 2) by Jaruzel on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:05PM

        by Jaruzel (812) on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:05PM (#161249) Homepage Journal

        I know it's a Republic, unlike US Citizens I actually know about countries other than my own. I however was talking in general about 'Democracy'. Almost no countries actually have full democratic systems, where the people actually have a direct mechanism to vote in their leader.

        --
        This is my opinion, there are many others, but this one is mine.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @06:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @06:24PM (#161606)

        A republic is a type of democracy, jackass. "Democracy" means more than just "direct democracy" you fucking moron.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:16PM (#161068)

    The choice to not vote can itself be a political statement of nonconfidence or contempt for the process. I choose not to vote, but not because I'm lazy or uninterested, I refrain because corruption ensures that it just doesn't matter. Forcing people to vote will not produce better results, it will only increase turn out. People who silently protest or feel disenfranchised will do the bare minimum to avoid penalty, they won't vote with the care and concern that educated voting demands.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by wantkitteh on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:49PM

      by wantkitteh (3362) on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:49PM (#161079) Homepage Journal

      While I agree in principle, the reality of that choice is not that the folks we didn't vote for go "OMG! He didn't vote! What are we doing wrong!?", they go "Well, that's another demographic group we don't have to give a shit about".

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:07PM (#161108)

        The very fact that we're discussing mandatory voting indicates that they do care about the nonvoting demographic. In this case, the conversation was initiated by the highest official.

        • (Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Monday March 23 2015, @10:25AM

          by wantkitteh (3362) on Monday March 23 2015, @10:25AM (#161407) Homepage Journal

          Why on earth has it taken so long? Comparing UK voter turnout figures [ukpolitical.info] from 1945 to the present day against US voting figures [wikipedia.org] for the same time period, it seems the US has had a huge problem with political engagement since for an awfully long time. Only in 2001 and 2005 have UK figures dipped below the US peak turnout during that period, and we were shocked by how poor those figures were.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by FatPhil on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:01PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:01PM (#161106) Homepage
      When people say to me that I am to blame for idiots being in power because, yet again, I haven't voted, my response is an even more vehement "if you voted, you validated the system which I consider flawed, and therefore you are to blame for its outcome".
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:22PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:22PM (#161138) Journal

        Voting is not the only way to participate. Nor should it be.

        You want change? Get in politician's faces. You can move city hall. The thing about just telling them what you want is not to go it alone, you have to be in a group, the larger the better. If 5% of a city's citizens march to city hall, they will listen, and they will respond. Another way is to sue them. But there, you have to have something. Even if the judges are sympathetic, they need something to work with, some evidence that the city violated a law, didn't follow procedure, something. Also helps if the issue is something that the majority supports. Most governments are not very scrupulous or competent. There will be things to work with, the trouble is to find out about them.

        All the time, politicians are trying to use their power for personal gain. They have to be watched constantly, and reined in whenever they try it. If the people don't do anything, the politicians' relatives and friends will get rich off the city. They provide service just good enough to keep the grumbling to a minimum, and collect overly large pay, some of which is kicked back to the politician who handed them the favor. Be feisty, so that they understand the people will not put up with corruption. For example, our humble city of about 40,000 was once involved in a scheme with a religious organization, think it was the Maharishis, to build the world's tallest building in the city. A city of only 40,000 is going to host the world's tallest building, WTF? What is clear is that the mayor flipped the site for a tidy profit for himself. He recused himself from the vote to rezone the land, but of course it was rezoned for high rise. It wasn't much longer before most of the citizens got wind of this scheme and started asking some hard questions. That mayor was voted out the next election, in favor of someone who would never have made it in otherwise, as she was one of those overzealous social conservatives who immediately embarked upon her own crusade to rid the city of alcohol, which was a good bit of our tax base. Pulled every move she could think of to shut down all the liquor stores in the city. They fought back and sued her and the individual council members who had supported her crusade, and won. One interesting remnant of that fight is that one store was found to be straddling the border. Only half the store can be used to sell liquor, and they have added a blue line to the floor to show that boundary. She was herself voted out the next election, in favor of a diseased drug addict who spent most of her tenure in the hospital-- got a liver transplant as I recall. She also got the boot after one term, in favor of a saner, more levelheaded guy who had no history of corruption or drug use. Finally!

        One trouble with many local elections is that they try very hard not to tell the public anything at all. Too often, I've been presented with a choice between 2 candidates for which there has been no coverage at all of their positions, party affiliations, or anything. The only info I had was photos and their ages. Not seeing anything to work with on the photos, like a big old Christian cross dangling from a necklace, or anything else that looked like the mark of a social conservative, I went with age. I voted for the younger candidate, reasoning that that there may be a weak correlation between old age and corruption, and maybe the younger person would be less corrupt. Also, that the younger person would be more in tune with technology.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:08PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:08PM (#161633)

          who had no history of corruption or drug use.

          Not everyone who uses drugs is corrupt or a scumbag. Sure, theres a lot of corrupt scumbags that use drugs, but then there's also lots of people you never hear about who use drugs reasonably and don't use it as an excuse to inflict harm on others. Drug use doesn't make people into scumbags, they're scumbags to begin with; the biggest scumbag junkies will still be scumbags even when they're sober.who had no history of corruption or drug clean.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:27PM

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:27PM (#161160) Journal

      You could vote for my cat, as I do, which shows my contempt clearly. By not voting, your protest is lost in the masses of the apathetic.

      • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:25PM (#161231)

        And your response seems like a mere idiot who thinks it's more important to joke around than to actually vote.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Sunday March 22 2015, @10:19PM

          by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @10:19PM (#161276) Journal

          Maybe I am an idiot. Neither the DNC nor the GOP represent my views. I will vote for neither. If there is a 3d party candidate running, __any__ third party candidate, I vote for that person. Otherwise, I vote for my cat as a protest vote. I think it is important that my ballot be cast so that it can be counted in the whole, and yet dilute the percentages of the DNC and GOP candidates. If enough people who don't vote as a protest did this, their protest could be heard if the percentage rose to some level. But not voting as a protest merely makes a person indistinguishable from the apathetic. Anyway, in my way of thinking, the most idiotic thing I could do is to actually vote for someone I think sucks.

      • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Monday March 23 2015, @05:07PM

        by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday March 23 2015, @05:07PM (#161572) Homepage

        From now on I will vote for your cat instead of Batman for all uncontested or R v. D elections. What is your cat's name or can I just hemocyanin's cat?
         
        Yes I am serious, in college one of the guys on my floor was a law enforcement major and we decided to run him as in county sheriff election as a write in against the unopposed current sheriff. As the college polling station was typically one of the first to report he had like 58% of the vote at one point but it eventually dropped to about 10%

        --
        T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @12:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @12:57AM (#161321)

      Yes but there is a distinguishable difference between a registered non-vote, and an unregistered vote. Some states have a mandatory "none of the above" box, which allows voters to express their dissatisfaction. If that field wins the election, new candidates are required. So not voting as a protest, fails to allow the protest itself to be registered.

      If I was going to litigate corporate manipulation of the political process I would do it under the foreign gifts clause. Public companies represent shareholders, and those shareholders cannot be guaranteed to be fully domestic, thus their interests may in the aggregate reflect a unlawful foreign gift.

      Really SCOTUS's doctrine of treating corporations as people is wrong in about a hundred ways, they just never select a case that would cause them to overturn decades of vomit inspiring doctrine. It is worth noting the Sotomayor actually begged this question during oral arguments of Citizens United vs. FEC, but the numbskulls at the FEC refused to take the bait. (audio available online) So at least one justice WOULD like to hear the argument.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:58PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:58PM (#161085)

    others say that freedom also means the freedom not to do something.

    You have to join a church, but you have freedumb, you can join any prosperity gospel evang christian church you'd like. Just as long as its one of them.

    Another interesting problem is I missed an election once for being at a work emergency from before the polls opened to after they closed. I live in a highly gerrymandered district so obviously it doesn't matter if I vote. Mostly I was pissed off at working conditions LOL more so than missing the chance to cast a meaningless vote.

    Why the polls can't be open for a month at city hall or every police or fire dept or library is a mystery.

    And if I recall correctly my grandmother was unconscious getting a bypass for an entire election once (presumably her cardiologist knew ahead of time that he'd be working on someone, but she had no idea). She'd be pretty pissed off at going to prison as a felon after she recovered. If there are any laws of politics, the first would be you don't want to piss off grannies. "You're getting a bypass tomorrow" "but tomorrow is election day" "well you aren't going to be able to vote so hope you enjoy PMITA prison after you recover and get sent to jail" ".... crickets ..."

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:06PM (#161088)

      > Why the polls can't be open for a month at city hall or every police or fire dept or library is a mystery.

      Suppression of poor voters. In recent years such early voting periods have been reduced and its universally been republicans behind the reductions. Poor people can't take time off from their jobs, often have to take public transportation which often doesn't run on weekends and much outside working hours on weekdays. Georgia is one example. [msnbc.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:22PM (#161120)

        Forgive my ignorance about the USA but aren't election days supposed to be public holidays? Around here they are, and parties often bus people around for free. Emergency services vote on a different day and employers keeping anyone else from voting is a serious crime.

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:44PM

          by Immerman (3985) on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:44PM (#161128)

          That would be nice. What we get instead is businesses being required to allow employees to take two(?) hours of leave on election day.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:57PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:57PM (#161131)

            > What we get instead is businesses being required to allow employees to take two(?) hours of leave on election day.

            Even that is optimistic.

            The laws vary by state, many of them have enough loopholes to essentially cancel out any requirement for time off. [nolo.com]

            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:07PM

              by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:07PM (#161133)

              Employee must request leave in advance: “Before election day.”

              In my real world example, lightning literally didn't strike until election day. What a mess that was.

              Also being salaried I don't need the law to walk off the job and vote, although I would have been walking into an unemployment line after of course had I done so.

              Finally I was having a typical good day until lunchtime or so lightning storm, so being permitted to vote at 8am would have been nice but I felt it unnecessary at the time.

      • (Score: 1) by TK-421 on Monday March 23 2015, @04:15PM

        by TK-421 (3235) on Monday March 23 2015, @04:15PM (#161543) Journal

        Oh for crying out loud, not this crap!

        If you want to vote, you WILL vote! Have you ever worked an election? Right, didn't think so! If you had you would know that people line up before the polls open and they line up to get in the "chute" (look it up!) before they close. The ones who really want it will do it in the rain, snow, and cold.

        If you are poor and have no transportation, you can vote absentee by mail. Can't be bothered to walk out to your mailbox? No problem the call the election board and they will bring the damned ballot to your door and let you vote right in your home.

        The only "cost" of voting is you have to actually take a few minutes to request it and do it. If you have no job then I suspect you will be available any time the election board says they are available to come to your house. If you work three jobs then you have got to have $0.50 cents to mail the letter that requests an absentee ballot be mailed to your residence prior to the election, you will certainly already have the necessary excuse for qualifying for absentee. Don't like the USPS and you work 90 hours M-F? No sweat come into the government center(s) on the weekend and vote early.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:16PM (#161641)

          I want to mod this "Informative" but I'm unable to verify that such programs (like the voting board coming to your house to let you vote) are real. There are also many places that won't allow early voting, or on the weekend, and/or put restrictions on allowing absentee voting, etc (many of which are Republican-ran areas - coincidence?). Voter suppression efforts are a very real threat and involving removing those other options of which you speak, in addition to ensuring that nobody even knows such options exist in the first place.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2015, @02:46AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25 2015, @02:46AM (#162232)

            Fair enough. Each of the programs I mentioned absolutely exist for my county an they are consistent with offerings of other counties in my state. We are a red state and the controlling party gets to decide how to carry out the voting process WRT going above and beyond. I vote early every time because I am always working the polls on election day. Early voting is open at the government center two weeks prior to election day. Early voting can be done M-S, only Sunday is unavailable.

            I always have absentee ballots that I have to count as an inspector and some of these even arrive in the PM of election day. Absentee ballots can be mailed.

            I never served on our traveling board but we have been using it for over a decade. Mostly senior citizens unable to travel take advantage of it.

            In addition to being a red state we also require picture ID. If the state didn't offer a free ID, and it didn't have the travel board, if it didn't allow early voting, and it didn't allow absentee mail voting I would be concerned about some people not having an honest opportunity to vote as well. As it is now, I honestly fail to see why anyone would have an excuse not to vote.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by caffeinated bacon on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:38PM

      by caffeinated bacon (4151) on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:38PM (#161126)

      You're just trolling.
      It's a small fine for not voting, and if you have a reasonable excuse, then a simple warning of 'be more careful next time' will suffice...

    • (Score: 1) by TK-421 on Monday March 23 2015, @04:19PM

      by TK-421 (3235) on Monday March 23 2015, @04:19PM (#161546) Journal

      Why the polls can't be open for a month at city hall or every police or fire dept or library is a mystery.

      They are, at least a couple weeks prior to the election. See my post to AC further down in the thread.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:19PM (#161643)

        Not everywhere. [jsonline.com] And this is just the first example I found.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @12:59PM (#161086)

    So I recently moved and am using a private mailbox (PMB) for everything, my name is on absolutely no electronic records that also list my residential address. I discovered that my PMB is in a different district than my actual residence. Voter registration is public information, very public. So I have opted not to register to vote because I don't want to take the legal risk of being accused of voter fraud.

    If this comes to pass, and I'm not philosophically opposed to it, then I would be pissed if it made me chose between technically committing vote fraud and maintaining my privacy.

    Side story: I personally know a couple from california who registered to vote by mail at an inlaw's address in Ohio because they thought their vote for Romney wouldn't make any difference in California but might help tip Ohio. I had my suspicions since one of them is a raving fox-news junkie and I confirmed it by checking for their names on Ohio's voter registration rolls. I wouldn't rat them out, but they denied it and when I pointed out how easy it was to catch them they totally freaked out.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:16PM (#161092)

    and your mandated divide and conquer. I refuse to vote for people I don't want to be elected.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @06:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @06:37PM (#161618)

      Vote for someone else then.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Daiv on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:21PM

    by Daiv (3940) on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:21PM (#161094)

    I'll support any decision anybody makes on how they vote. My friends grandmother voted on the best looking candidates. Her right. However, I have wanted something for some time if the US implemented mandatory voting: The anti-vote.

    Essentially a -1 vote. Instead of a vote FOR something, I want people given the chance to vote *against* something instead. Instead of having to pick the lesser of two or more evils, I want to vote down something or someone I disagree with the most. THAT could actually change things if implemented with mandatory voting.

    Also, people, if you haven't learned by now to at LEAST check out your local elections, where there are issues that directly impact your daily life and you can vote for *or* against issues, you really, really need to. With the electoral college it is understandable to not vote for presidential candidates, but please find out what's going on in your neck of the woods.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RamiK on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:14PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:14PM (#161115)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disapproval_voting [wikipedia.org]

      I will also add multiple votes per voter to the system. Something like 1x candidates - 1 votes to each voter. So, if it's just 2 parties running then each person will get only 1 anti-vote. 3 parties is 2 and 4 parties is 3 anti-votes and so on...
      This will allow people to either effectively choose the party they really want into power by voting out the rest, or to effectively support a few parties through expressing their strong disapproval of the remaining parties.

      This should also be exceptionally effective against demagogues and hatemongers since general disapproval will be vented out through the anti votes, while their radical supporters will not be able to vote multiple times for them. Additionally it will encourage people to qualify and quantify their choices in a way the current system doesn't.

      --
      compiling...
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by umafuckitt on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:58PM

    by umafuckitt (20) on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:58PM (#161103)

    "It would be transformative if everybody voted -- that would counteract money more than anything"

    Really? No. It wouldn't stop the absurd circus that goes on before the election, the ridiculous quantities of cash donations, and the wasted time. If you want to counteract money you set strict limits on compaign contributions, compaign duration, and the periods during which contributions can be made. You also curtail the powers of lobby groups to win influence through gifts and money. You have to stop the stupid pretence that blocking people from giving money is limiting their freedom of speech. However, all you have to do is say "freedom of speech" and all common sense seems to go out of the window.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @03:45PM (#161145)

      However, all you have to do is say "freedom of speech" and all common sense seems to go out of the window.

      Only when that "speech" is money. You don't see anybody protesting the "free speech zones" [wikipedia.org] which literally restrict where "freedom of speech" exists.

      • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:42PM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:42PM (#161239)

        Nor do you see many people protesting the FCC's censorship of 'profanity', which is a blatant violation of the first amendment (that courts love to modify with invisible ink to give the government more power). Nor do you see many people protesting copyright laws which necessarily require censorship (perhaps of websites, for example) in order to enforce. Nor do you see people protesting other kinds of obscenity laws. There are many things that are ignored by the masses, and yet affect our fundamental liberties. Good luck getting the majority to care about those.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:14PM

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:14PM (#161157) Journal

      It is arguable that limiting contributions limits speech but limiting contributions is not the only way to achieve the same thing.

      1) Use public funds to match dollar for dollar, any fundraising achieved by any candidate.
      2) Provide such funding to all parties who get 1% of the vote in the last election.

      In this scenario, if a war monger like HRC raises $1B, that's fine, her supporters are free to give it to her. The green candidate, the libertarian candidate, eventually the pirate candidate, will ALSO get a billion dollars. This restricts no one's freedom to speak with their wallet, but it makes getting massive donations counterproductive.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:58PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @01:58PM (#161104) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, you're free to not vote. What you have forgotten is, with freedom comes responsibility. Failure to be responsible has cost a lot of people their freedom, on small scales, and on large scales. Various peoples in history have failed to be responsible for the actions of their government, like Germany in the 1930's. Small scale, failure to pay taxes has cost a lot of people freedom, in the form of imprisonment.

    Responsibility. What a concept. You have a RESPONSIBILITY to vote.

    I could suggest that people who don't vote for x number of elections just lose their citizenship. You could become a ward of the state, or some such thing, shipped off by train to do the seasonal work that so many Mexicans are happy to do. If you're not a citizen, then you have no rights to worry about, do you?

    Oh, we'll respect basic HUMAN RIGHTS. Food, shelter, basic medical care, and we won't work you more than 60 hours per week. But, forget about all the rights that citizens enjoy. You didn't care enough to vote, I don't care about all those nice things that you want either.

    Seems like I've read some books in which the authors expressed similar views. Starship Troopers, maybe?

    --
    "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
    • (Score: 2) by jbWolf on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:28PM

      by jbWolf (2774) <reversethis-{moc.flow-bj} {ta} {bj}> on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:28PM (#161122) Homepage

      What if one believes that the responsible thing to do is to vote for someone instead of against someone? What if one believes that their right to vote for whom they want has already been taken away -- even in the U.S.? What if one believes that having a citizenship actually didn't afford you any more rights than a non-citizen? What is the responsible thing to do then?

      --
      www.jb-wolf.com [jb-wolf.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:21PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:21PM (#161158) Homepage Journal

        1. You cannot vote for someone without voting against someone, unless there are no challengers. This isn't special olympics, where everyone wins.

        2. You make something of a point - but if that be the case, then that person should be working to convince other people of that fact. Those people should then organize their own party, and begin educating the ignorant masses. That IS a lot of work - but then, responsibility. If you have none, then you should enjoy none of the benefits of being a voting citizen.

        3. Being a citizen cannot give you any more basic human rights than inherently belong to all humans. However - being human does NOT give you the right to vote in Afghanistan, if you have never even been to Afghanistan. Nor does it give an illegal alien in the US the right to vote in US elections. Several other rights are inherent to citizens, such as the right to own property, to claim veteran's benefits, to apply for food and/or housing assistance, and so much more. These are rights reserved for citizens. If you're a non-citizen, and you need some kind of aid, then you apply for foreign aid, you don't apply for citizen's benefits.

        All civilized nations recognize that the status of it's citizens is somehow different than the status of non-citizens.

        If you are about to launch into a diatribe against nationalism - it will be wasted on me. I am proud to be an American. And, a Russian should be proud to be a Russian. An Englishman should be proud to be English. Nationalism is a good thing, not a bad thing, unless and until it is carried to irrational extremes such as Hitler did with his Third Reich.

        --
        "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:33PM

          by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:33PM (#161162) Journal

          1. You cannot vote for someone without voting against someone, unless there are no challengers. This isn't special olympics, where everyone wins.

          While literally true, you are missing the whole point of the phrase "vote against". It means you hated the person you voted for less than the one you did not vote for. This is not the same as "being for" -- supporting, liking, wanting -- a candidate and much more about being against the other candidate.

        • (Score: 2) by jbWolf on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:25PM

          by jbWolf (2774) <reversethis-{moc.flow-bj} {ta} {bj}> on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:25PM (#161230) Homepage

          1. You cannot vote for someone without voting against someone, unless there are no challengers. This isn't special olympics, where everyone wins.

          I'll tell you who'd I'd be happy to vote for: a brick [jb-wolf.com]. It makes more sense than our current options. And sometimes it feels like I'm dealing with the special olympics... except the special olympics actually makes more sense and has more honor than politics.

          2. You make something of a point - but if that be the case, then that person should be working to convince other people of that fact. Those people should then organize their own party, and begin educating the ignorant masses. That IS a lot of work - but then, responsibility. If you have none, then you should enjoy none of the benefits of being a voting citizen.

          I cannot organize a party. I do not have the physical nor mental abilities to do so. I have tried to educate, however. I'll refer you back to my script on my website: The Political Debate [jb-wolf.com]. The download section (which contains the actual script) and the Additional Links section (which contains why I wrote the script [jb-wolf.com]) will be of most interest to you.

          I would also argue that Snowden tried to convince other people about some of the points I made and in doing so, lost his ability to make a party of his own and lost his right to vote. It's not so clear cut as you make it out to be.

          All civilized nations recognize that the status of it's citizens is somehow different than the status of non-citizens.

          I agree. I'm just not sure that America is civilized. (As a matter of fact, I'm not sure any nation on Earth is civilized.) I feel that my right to vote has been revoked because there is no fair way for a politician that I would endorse to make it to the big leagues. I would be happy to endorse a candidate that I agree only 80% with. Today, I cannot agree with any major candidate more than 5% hence my statement that I believe my right to vote has been removed. And I'm not some nut job. My opinions are fairly similar to a lot of people on Soylent News.

          An interesting quote to provoke some thought on the matter: "Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." (Douglas Adams)

          If you are about to launch into a diatribe against nationalism - it will be wasted on me. I am proud to be an American. And, a Russian should be proud to be a Russian. An Englishman should be proud to be English. Nationalism is a good thing, not a bad thing, unless and until it is carried to irrational extremes such as Hitler did with his Third Reich.

          I am very patriotic to the constitution, but not to the same set of legal rules that the United States seems to be following. I often like a lot of what you have to say, but I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on some of this. There are some very nasty things happening in every country you listed, but I'll simultaneously acknowledge they are some of the best countries in to world to live in right now. I'm just afraid the line you draw between the ideal country and the Third Reich and in a different spot from the line I drew.

          Which brings me to my actual point. You and I are pretty much on the same side. I like most of what you write (I follow you both here and on Slashdot), but I wrote my first message to challenge you. I don't feel it is responsible for me to cast my vote for those who I vehemently disagree with.

          --
          www.jb-wolf.com [jb-wolf.com]
          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday March 23 2015, @07:01AM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 23 2015, @07:01AM (#161372) Homepage Journal

            Oh yeah. Your script kinda sucks. You didn't give descriptions of anyone. Mr. Carter has big Mickey Mouse ears, and a big goofy grin. Mr. Reagan is short, mousy, and shifty looking. Leech is a puffed up bag of hot air, with a glossy shine, and an empty head. You gotta give your characters some CHARACTER!!

            Otherwise, the script works pretty well for me.

            Oh yeah - the redneck. His great-gran-pappy arrived here in 1840 something, not 1940 something, married an Indian squaw, and fought off Comancheros until the Gold Rush. That doesn't change the fact that the Asian dude's great-gran-papppy arrived in the US twenty years before the redneck's great-gran-pappy.

            --
            "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
            • (Score: 2) by jbWolf on Monday March 23 2015, @10:31AM

              by jbWolf (2774) <reversethis-{moc.flow-bj} {ta} {bj}> on Monday March 23 2015, @10:31AM (#161408) Homepage

              It both works well and sucks, huh? ;) I'll keep the more character thing in mind for other works. I had two reasons for keeping character descriptions sparse: 1) politicians sometimes lack character and 2) I wanted the actors, directors, and producers to be creative. (Some of the production notes alluded to that.) I felt my job was to keep the writing focused solely on "the politics". But I'll keep your advice in mind and maybe I'll edit it a little bit later if I think I can improve it.

              I'm glad you got some enjoyment out of it, though.

              --
              www.jb-wolf.com [jb-wolf.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:29PM (#161178)

      Responsibility. What a concept. You have a RESPONSIBILITY to vote.

      I used go think that. Now i think I have a responsibility not to legitimize a broken and corrupt political system.

    • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:30PM

      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:30PM (#161236)

      Yeah, you're free to not vote. What you have forgotten is, with freedom comes responsibility.

      I have a feeling your post is going to end up similar to those who say, "You have the freedom to say X, but freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences!" to justify any infringement upon freedom of speech.

      I could suggest that people who don't vote for x number of elections just lose their citizenship.

      Yep. So much for small government.

      Seems like I've read some books in which the authors expressed similar views.

      Yeah, and they're completely authoritarian, and not something to advocate in reality.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:53PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:53PM (#161244) Homepage Journal

        No, there are some subtle differences between authoritarianism, and a democratic libertarian government which enforces responsibility. With straight-up authoritarianism, the ruling class claims authority over all aspects of your life, and tells you how to live, without even trying to justify it.

        The world which Heinlein described placed authority with the PEOPLE, much as the founding fathers of the US did. Those people who act responsibly retain authority, and those people who fail to act responsibly lose that authority. That is, your decisions have consequences. Act a criminal, lose your freedom. Merely act irresponsible, lose some benefits of citizenship. Act responsible, and you're a citizen in good standing. It all makes sense to me.

        Better than our system today, in which the cops chase people down for possessing and/or using substances which mostly harm no one, or harm only the person using them. In a libertarian society, you could use any damned drug you care to use. Of course, if you OD on your chosen poison, you couldn't expect government or society to save your life for you. Dying is the logical result of over dosing on any drug, so if you overdose, it must be presumed that you INTENDED to die. A libertarian isn't going to interfere with your right to an undignified death, puking and shitting all over yourself.

        --
        "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:18PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @08:18PM (#161252)

          Act a criminal, lose your freedom

          Never mind that tbe US was founded upon a bunch of people disobeying "the law". Maybe today's non-voters are patriots.

        • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Sunday March 22 2015, @09:24PM

          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Sunday March 22 2015, @09:24PM (#161264)

          No, there are some subtle differences between authoritarianism, and a democratic libertarian government which enforces responsibility.

          Your "democratic libertarian government" would strip someone of their citizenship because they made choices you disagree with. It's your "responsibility" to do X, and you didn't do X, so now we'll get government thugs to punish you.

          Nice small government you have there. Heinlein was a hardcore authoritarian; don't pretend otherwise. Even a democratic country can be authoritarian; it's why direct democracy is so frightening.

          Better than our system today

          Let's just stop doing the bad things, not adopt more bad policies.

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday March 23 2015, @01:08PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Monday March 23 2015, @01:08PM (#161436) Journal

      People are keen to cite their rights but not so keen to cite their responsibilities.

      --
      1702845791×2
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @01:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @01:48PM (#161457)

        That's because the people who refer to "responsibilities" are often authoritarians who are seeking to infringe upon our rights.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:37PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @07:37PM (#161653)

          What a load of shit. Its your responsibility to not impinge upon my rights. Saying that people are responsible for their actions when their actions affect others is by definition not "authoritarian", its "personal responsibility".

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @06:12AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2015, @06:12AM (#164084)

            Idiot. Read the comment I responded to for an example of the type of authoritarian I was referring to. "Do these things that I say are your responsibilities, or I'll get the government to take away your rights!" In this case, it's not voting that he feels is bad, which is an inaction that directly harms no one.

            Other examples: "You have a responsibility to not commit crimes, so the police were correct in using an excessive amount of force on this guy who ended up dying because of the police's actions." Etc. Get the idea now?

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by darkfeline on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:41PM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Sunday March 22 2015, @02:41PM (#161127) Homepage

    >Less than 37% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

    Given our recent Social Security article, what are the chances that many of these eligible voters skipped out because they're dead?

    --
    Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:39PM (#161164)

      Many of these places would not know what to do if they had a 100% turnout. I voted in that 37%. It was a 3 hour wait (and had apparently been that way all day, should have early voted...). They did not have enough tables for you to vote at. Would it have killed them to have 5 or 10 more? Apparently so. This year when I vote it will probably be sub 5% vote. I have seen people elected with as little as 100-200 votes and there are several hundred thousand in their area. I will wizz in and out of there. These are the years where they like to push thru poorly thought out bond bills which are usually money grabs for some pet company.

      Here is the one thing I tell people. If you do not know what your dudes stand for do not vote. You obviously do not care. Dont go ticking off crap just cause you think you need to. You are literally wasting your time and just getting in my way. Even 'I liked his hair' is a better reason to vote than 'just because I am supposed to'.

      To add to this about 6% of our population can not vote anyway. As going to prison usually strips you of that right. Of that population 70-80% are illiterate. Could our polls (which is usually volunteer work) handle 3-4 million special needs people? Not at this time. They could but it will take a lot more work than they do now.

      If they push this out that you must vote. Then I say you must own a gun. A right I do not exercise.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:01PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:01PM (#161152)

    Bite me. Mandatory health care, mandatory voting? What next? Who in hell does this clown think he is, anyway? Who does he think I am? Obviously, he thinks I'm a nobody other than a revenue source for his pals in the health-care industry.

    I'm just going to start referring to him as "Mandy", Barack "Mandatory" Obama.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:25PM (#161232)

      NAWBO is behind this. Obama is a sock-puppet for the Nawbonites.

  • (Score: 1) by t-3 on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:54PM

    by t-3 (4907) on Sunday March 22 2015, @04:54PM (#161166) Journal

    Mandatory voting might have a good effect, but it probably wouldn't. Even if everyone votes, the entrenched system won't change because no one can afford to be a politician. If the number of representatives was increased dramatically, political activity and interest would be increased by virtue of more political opportunity. The current two party system is a failure that disincentivizes people from participating and promotes disillusionment and pessimistic thinking. This will not be changed without a massive grassroots effort, because it is perfectly tailored to the interests of the powerful.

  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by No Respect on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:39PM

    by No Respect (991) on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:39PM (#161182)

    That's NOT what Obama said. I won't even elaborate. Go look it up if you don't fucking believe me. Don't get me wrong, I think he's an awful president, but this is just another take on "Al Gore says he invented the internet".

    For fuck's sake I expected better here.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:52PM (#161189)

      I am down modding you because your rant adds negative value.
      If you are going to make the effort to castigate us, then you can make the effort to inform us.
      "Go look it up" is not a useful contribution to any discussion.

    • (Score: 2) by Jaruzel on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:54PM

      by Jaruzel (812) on Sunday March 22 2015, @05:54PM (#161192) Homepage Journal

      Don't just rant - prove it. Otherwise you are just trolling.

      --
      This is my opinion, there are many others, but this one is mine.
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @06:07PM (#161198)

      Just ban this prick already

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:09PM (#161220)

    Here comes Obamavote. Be required to pay $1500 per year for the ability to vote, or pay a stiff penalty on income taxes.

  • (Score: 1) by wisnoskij on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:44PM

    by wisnoskij (5149) <jonathonwisnoskiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:44PM (#161240)

    It would, pretty much by definition, have the exact opposite effect. Forcing the uninformed to vote mean far far more votes to the name you recognize the most. Whoever had more and bigger signs/ads would win for sure.

  • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:54PM

    by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2015, @07:54PM (#161245) Journal

    Instead of going the authoritarian route, they could make election day a holiday so that students and working people had more time to vote.

    They could also STOP doing the other shit they've been doing, like eliminating polling stations, cutting the hours, and piling on voter ID requirements to deliberately discourage voting.

    In the end I don't think it would make much difference though, as long as voters are still willing to go along with the two-party false dichotomy perpetuated by corporate media.

    • (Score: 1) by TK-421 on Monday March 23 2015, @04:46PM

      by TK-421 (3235) on Monday March 23 2015, @04:46PM (#161559) Journal

      Instead of going the authoritarian route, they could make election day a holiday so that students and working people had more time to vote.

      Why does anyone need a holiday? If you are a college student you most likely are not living in your registered voting center and you likely don't have access to transportation to get you there. As a student you have access to voting absentee just like anybody else. All you need is a phone or a first class stamp, something the poor and students can obtain with enough effort.

      They could also STOP doing the other shit they've been doing, like eliminating polling stations, cutting the hours, and piling on voter ID requirements to deliberately discourage voting.

      The hours are the same EVERY SINGLE TIME. I have been working elections for over a decade, 6-6 is, and and always will be the voting time block, no change there. Cutting polling stations, yeah that can cause some inconvenience, but it can save money which is something I like in a government employee. Too many people in a single poll is bad because no one wants to wait two hours in line to vote so I get it that this one isn't clear cut. If a polling location is deemed to be superfluous then it should be cut. If cutting it causes genuine inconvenience then you are again welcome to vote early or absentee. You have options.

      As for voting requirements, I am curious to know what you think is excessive. If you possess a drivers license, have registered to vote, and you belong in my polling place (on the books as we say) then you will vote in my polling place. If you can't afford a car/ or automotive insurance, or whatever, then you are entitled to a free government ID which is acceptable for voting purposes. Just make sure you don't lose that free ID because the next one within 5 years will cost you a whopping $5 USD.

      In the end I don't think it would make much difference though, as long as voters are still willing to go along with the two-party false dichotomy perpetuated by corporate media.

      I stubbornly still believe that voting is always productive. As for two-parties, I think more parties in participation would be a great thing.

      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Tuesday March 24 2015, @04:44AM

        by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 24 2015, @04:44AM (#161807) Journal

        Personally, I've never had a problem voting. But I know that in other states the ACLU has filed lawsuits to block legislation on the grounds that it would prevent eligible voters from doing so. This suggests that there are people out there who would vote if certain obstacles were removed. Meanwhile we have someone talking about making it mandatory. This makes no sense. They want to use the stick when they haven't even tried the carrot.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22 2015, @11:53PM (#161301)

    They have run simulations and concluded that a better way to control the population is to make voting mandatory. People love being told what to do.
    Democracies and voting are just sweetner covering the bitter pill that the people are not in control, rather some shadowy group who hire someone to represent their interests.
    Watch the movie "The Adjustment Bureau" then think how much could be really happening. Also remember that they approved this movie to be watched by the masses. They are cleverly manipulating things to be in absolute control. Forever.

  • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Monday March 23 2015, @12:14PM

    by WillAdams (1424) on Monday March 23 2015, @12:14PM (#161423)

    Set a narrow window (say 100 days) for states to have their primaries.

    Each year, states get to pick their primary day based on voter registration and turnout, w/ states w/ the higher percentages going first (in the event of a tie, rotate between larger population, older state, congressional, senate voting and attendance) --- no state may chose the same date as another state.

  • (Score: 1) by Squidious on Monday March 23 2015, @01:56PM

    by Squidious (4327) on Monday March 23 2015, @01:56PM (#161460)

    Make election day a national holiday. In the spirit of things, state that it is only a holiday for those who can and do vote. Maybe base one's holiday privilege based upon whether one voted in the previous federal election?

    --
    The terrorists have won, game, set, match. They've scared the people into electing authoritarian regimes.
  • (Score: 2) by GeminiDomino on Monday March 23 2015, @02:30PM

    by GeminiDomino (661) on Monday March 23 2015, @02:30PM (#161477)

    Give me someone I can vote FOR - voting AGAINST is not and never will be enough - and we'll talk.

    Otherwise, fuck off.

    --
    "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @06:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2015, @06:10PM (#161603)

    What a joke.. public vote is nothing more than a rigged opinion poll. Only the electoral college vote actually counts.

    The real punch line is Obama is chasing down (more) poor people like they got something to take in their wallets.

  • (Score: 2) by e_armadillo on Monday March 23 2015, @09:43PM

    by e_armadillo (3695) on Monday March 23 2015, @09:43PM (#161708)

    So, by Obama's logic, "Other countries have mandatory voting", maybe the punishment for not voting should be a sound thrashing with a Cane . . .

    Give me a fucking break. If you don't vote, don't complain -- end of story. Do we really need to force the people that don't care to vote to vote anyway? Do you really think they will come to the polls ready to make an informed choice? This is all assuming, of course, that there are reasonable choices available, <spoiler>there aren't</spoiler> . . .

    If you really want to encourage participation in the system, there are much better ways. But, I am not certain that this is really about encouraging participation, more like asserting authroity and not much more.

    --
    "How are we gonna get out of here?" ... "We'll dig our way out!" ... "No, no, dig UP stupid!"
    • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday March 27 2015, @08:42PM

      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday March 27 2015, @08:42PM (#163321)

      Do you really think they will come to the polls ready to make an informed choice?

      Most of the people who currently vote don't make informed choices. That's how The One Party candidates keep winning.