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Control of US Senate may come down to...a font selection?

MarkusQ (450076) writes | more than 7 years ago

United States 3

So, coming down to the wire, we see that control of the US Senate is pretty much a toss up with a half dozen or so races potentially deciding if control lands in the hands of the Republicans, the Democrats, or some 3rd Party. According to a

So, coming down to the wire, we see that control of the US Senate is pretty much a toss up with a half dozen or so races potentially deciding if control lands in the hands of the Republicans, the Democrats, or some 3rd Party. According to a story in the Washington Post one of those races may come down to the choice of font used on the electronic voting machines in several counties.

Why? Because "although the larger type is easier to read, it also unintentionally shortens the longer names on the summary page of the ballot" -- shortening in the case of the Senate candidate meaning it leaves off his last name. This means he will be listed as "James H. 'Jim'..." on an ballot that also includes a "James T. 'Jim'..." running against a "James P. 'Jim'..." which is not expected to cause undue confusion.

Officials claim that it is simply a computer 'glitch' and should almost certainly be fixed by the 2007 general election.

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3 comments

Ballots (bullocks) (1)

Doctor O (549663) | more than 7 years ago | (#16575516)

Geezus. As a German I can just shake my head in disbelief about how fucked your voting system and equipment is. To be honest, in Germany it's also possible that someone becomes chancellor (the German equivalent of the POTUS) even if someone else has more votes overall, so it's a tie here, but both the ballots and the Diebold vote stealing machines are so incredibly stupid ideas that I can only wonder why American citizens don't get out on the streets and demonstrate to outlaw both.

Please get me right, I think that the USA used to be one of the best examples of democracy, but the last two elections make me reconsider this. Can you explain to me why you 'merkins don't just use PEN and PAPER to vote, like, say, whole farking Europe? It's as quick to count, and it IS the paper trail your voting machines won't produce unless hell freezes.

I would have thought that the American people will defend their democracy at all costs. I am quite disappointed that while there are many vocal protesters, the masses don't seem interested any more. Tell me, is there no discussion on paper voting or is it just invisible in the online media? Why are Americans not defending their democracy?

US Apathy (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16575964)

Can you explain to me why you 'merkins don't just use PEN and PAPER to vote, like, say, whole farking Europe? It's as quick to count, and it IS the paper trail your voting machines won't produce unless hell freezes.

As you probably know, the main excuses given are 1) our ballots are more complicated, 2) they take longer to count, 3) it isn't "fair" to handicapped individuals who need assistance to use them, 4) there are more (or at least more obvious) opportunities for abuse. None of these hold water when you think about it, but there you are.

There is some germ truth to these claims; our ballots are more complex, containing three type of democracy (we decide things, we vote for people who decide things, and we vote for people who vote for people who decide things) at four or more scopes (federal, state, county/parish, city/township), and often for office most places don't vote on (e.g. clerks). People don't count as quickly or as reliably as computers. And so forth.

But we could certainly make the ballots simpler if we wanted to. We have no problem managing large numbers of people to serve on juries (not to mention invading foreign countries) so we should be able to draft count-the-vote squads.

I am quite disappointed that while there are many vocal protesters, the masses don't seem interested any more. Tell me, is there no discussion on paper voting or is it just invisible in the online media? Why are Americans not defending their democracy?

There is quite a bit of protest, certainly more than you see reading "the news". But there isn't as much as I would expect either, in part because it isn't getting the coverage it deserves, in part because of bread and circuses, in part because of the heavily partisan atmosphere of the last decade or so, and in part because a considerable number of people shut down their brains when you start to talk about anything technical. It may take something extreme [avantnews.com] to wake the masses up, but there are still a lot of people upset than you'd think if you only get your news from "the news".

--MarkusQ

Re:US Apathy (1)

Doctor O (549663) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701011)

As you probably know, the main excuses given are 1) our ballots are more complicated, 2) they take longer to count, 3) it isn't "fair" to handicapped individuals who need assistance to use them, 4) there are more (or at least more obvious) opportunities for abuse. None of these hold water when you think about it, but there you are.

Actually I don't understand why ballots were introduced at all. I don't see any benefit, but I see lots of downsides. (Some of the stated reasons are indeed BS, as handicapped people will need assistance with P&P as well.) I see that counting votes for the US is more work than counting votes for Germany, but then again, the European vote had way more voters than the US have, and it also was P&P and finished counting a day later.

But we could certainly make the ballots simpler if we wanted to. We have no problem managing large numbers of people to serve on juries (not to mention invading foreign countries) so we should be able to draft count-the-vote squads.

So, with all those voting machines desasters of the past and the irregularities of your last two elections, the American democracy sadly reminds me of some third world country which can't even guarantee its own citizens that their vote will be considered. Note that I'm not mocking you, I really feel sad about it as the USA always have been the reference for me on how it should work. I just would have thought that the public would start a march towards the capital and take the election thief out. Instead, they reelected him (probably). At least it looks as if things weren't running as smooth this time.

It may take something extreme to wake the masses up, but there are still a lot of people upset than you'd think if you only get your news from "the news".

Nice article. *g* The point is that I live on another continent and the only way of accessing "news" about the US and A (as Borat would put it) is online, as American politics hardly are a subject of German news.

Well. Seems as if 9/11 has pulled the American public's teeth. I cannot blame them. If I were kept constantly in a state of suspicion and fear, my behaviour would probably change, too.
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