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Archives for Voting (page 2 / 2)

Voting Early and in More Than One State

Voting Early and in More Than One State →

John Fund, writing in National Review:

North Carolina’s State Board of Elections is referring evidence to prosecutors that five people appear to have voted in both North Carolina and in Florida. The information the board is passing on wasn’t gathered by government officials, but by a private watchdog group called the Voter Integrity Project.

This specific problem isn't one that would have been stopped by photo ID. But it is one that would have been stopped by taking vote fraud seriously.

As it is right now, under our current voter-registration system there is almost no chance of individuals who register and vote illegally in more than one state being caught because states do not run comparisons between their voter registration lists.

If they did try to purge their voter rolls of ineligible voters, they'd be accused of racism and of oppressing poor people.

This entry was tagged. Elections Voting

Why I Love the Electoral College

Why I Love the Electoral College →

Garrett Jones has some good insights into why the Electoral College matters.

We rarely hear too much about regional issues in the U.S. other than farmers vs. everyone else. But if the presidency was decided by majority rule, I'm sure we'd hear a lot more about regional differences. Could a presidential candidate get 75% of the votes in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida by promising broad-based Gulf Coast subsidies and a few other goodies? Could a candidate get 85% of California's and New York's votes partly by offering housing subsidies for people facing high housing costs?

I don't know: But if we got rid of the electoral college and had a popularly elected president we'd sure have a chance to find out.

As it stands, presidential candidates are trying to appeal to the median voter in each state across a large number of states. That's how you get to be president. This reduces regional tensions because candidates are never trying to get 90% of the votes in a state. When you're pitting 90% of one region of the country against 90% of another region of the country, you're substantially raising the probability of social conflict.

This entry was tagged. Elections Voting

Number-Cruncher on Polls’ History of Underestimating the GOP

Number-Cruncher on Polls’ History of Underestimating the GOP →

This is why I keep saying that I have no idea what will happen on election day. Everything depends on turnout and, right now, we have absolutely no idea whether more Democrats or Republicans will turn out. The 2008 election was a massive year for Democrats, while the 2010 election was a massive year for Republicans. What will the 2012 election be?

Here is what people should know is bothering pollsters, and if you’re a Republican you can feel comfortable that what you are reading is based on guess work assumptions:

In 2010, we saw the country move back to 2004 levels, but we also saw a bubbling of the Tea Party, who are among the most enthusiastic of voters. Also 2010 was a midterm, where the overall turnout of registered voters is considerably lower, and the GOP base turns out better in non-presidential years than the Democrats’ base. So we process this data.

We saw in 1994 the GOP do very well, but in 1996 Clinton won easily. But sometimes a party’s momentum from the midterms carries on to the following year; we saw the Democrats add to their 2006 gains in 2008. So will 2012 be a receding of the tide of the midterms (like 1996) or an acceleration (like 2008)?

Of course in 1996, the economy was soaring and right now, we’re crawling… so you make the judgment on where this should be.

Even using logical deductions, it is difficult to get a read on what the 2012 partisan divide will be because we’ve seen it change so quickly. From 1994 through 2004, the partisan divide was fairly stable, moving no more than 2 points from cycle to cycle.

Personally I think its safe to say that 2008 is not going to happen in 2012, any pollster hanging their hat on 2008 sampling cannot be reasonably relied on…

Towards More Burdensome Voting

The AP reports on the legal challenges to Georgia's shiny new photo voter ID requirement.

The new law requires that every voter who casts a ballot in person produce a valid, government-issued photo ID. Elections officials had already distributed several dozen of the new voter photo IDs to people, primarily seniors, who don't have a driver's license, passport or other qualifying photo ID.

The [state] seeks to stay the temporary restraining order issued Friday by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Melvin Westmoreland. In his sharply worded ruling, Westmoreland said the voter ID law "unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote rather than regulate it" and would cause "irreparable harm."

Maybe, maybe not. I'm willing to accept that obtaining a new ID can be "a burden" -- I recently moved to Wisconsin and had to get a new driver's license, after all. I'm not willing to accept that requiring a photo ID is an "undue burden", however. We're not talking about the right to play bingo, check out library books, or eat at Chinese buffets. We're talking about the right to cast a vote. The right to decide the current and future direction of our various governments. This is, or should be, a serious responsibility.

Most responsibilities come with their own built-in burdens. That tends to be a central element of of having responsibilities and privileges -- something my parents continually warned me about with each new privilege they gave me. Owning a car, owning a house, having children, managing business projects, managing money, even owning a dog -- all of these responsibilities come with their own unique burdens. I can't understand why voting should be any different.

Theoretically a voter has spent (at least) the month or two leading up to the election contemplating the various issues and candidates at hand. Is it unreasonable to expect that sometime during that period the responsible voter also ensures that he or she meets the requirements necessary to vote? The State of Georgia is asking that each prospective voter register beforehand and obtain a photo identification. Both of these goals can be accomplished with one visit to a government office. Does Georgia really have a significant population of people that are both committed to voting and completely unable to visit a government office sometime prior to an election? Does any state?

Here's my opinion: if you can't muster up the ability to register to vote and obtain a photo ID, you're not serious enough about voting to participate in the election. If you're one of the rare people that has absolutely no means of getting to a voter registration office, drop me an e-mail -- I'll be happy to give you a lift. Just don't try to tell me that democracy isn't worth the effort.

This entry was tagged. Voting

Separation of Church and State

Earlier this month, Dr. Rich Scarborough -- pastor, and founder of Vision America -- sent out an e-mail talking about the role of Christians in American government.

This past week the Republican State Convention met in San Antonio, Texas. I was invited to speak at a Values Voter Rally at 8:30 PM in the Menger Hotel, across from the Convention Center. Once again, to my great delight, hundreds gathered to hear a Gospel artist sing and a Baptist Minister speak. As I spoke about the importance of Christians being salt and light in the moral and civil arena, the crowd erupted in applause several times and at the end, they stood to applaud.

As I left, I bowed my head and thanked God that many Christians are getting it! We are the Church and in America, we are the Government. Tell me, how do you separate the two without removing all Christian influence from the public arena?

I'd like to respond to that question.

"We are the Church and in America, we are the Government." That phrase sends chills up and down my spine -- and not in a good way. True, the Church is made up of God's people. True, most of those people earnestly desire to follow after God and live lives that are pleasing to Him. That does not, however, make them saints on earth. Christians can be just as prone to hubris, arrogance, and greed as non-Christians. The fact that a person is a Christian does not, in and of itself, mean that he or she should receive my vote.

Many Christians go into government with the goal of "Cleaning up Society." The American Family Association, and the Parents Television Council, for instance, strongly dislike much of the content on prime-time television. Their preferred solution is to make it illegal to broadcast certain language, show certain images, or portray certain ideas on broadcast television. Other groups want to criminalize all homosexual behavior, criminalize certain styles of dress, certain behaviors (like smoking and drinking), or criminalize any public vulgarity.

I have a big problem with this. It is an attempt to impose Christian morality by force. It is an attempt to make the entire country live according to Christian values and display Christian behaviors. A large portion of the nation is (or claims to be) Christian. A significant percentage of the country is not. (If 70% of 300 million people are Christian, that means 90 million people are not Christian.) These laws would force everyone to exhibit Christian behavior, regardless of the whether or not they truly love God and want to please Him. I believe this is wrong, that it is nothing more than forced hypocrisy.

Rather than making Christianity appealing to non-Christians, these laws would only reinforce the impression that Christianity is about following rules and living a certain way. Rather than communicating the great Truth -- that true Christianity is a relationship with an awesome Being that wants to know me personally -- these laws would reinforce the belief that Christians are concerned only with rules and controlling people. In short, legislating morality would Christianity odious to many of the unsaved, rather than desirable.

Why should I force someone who doesn't love God, who doesn't understand God, and who doesn't want anything to do with God to live under God's rules? God Himself doesn't require that. God allows billions of people around the world to live in sin each and every day. God allows each person on earth to live their life as they will. God allows each person the freedom to accept Him or reject Him. True, God desires certain behaviors and attitudes from those who love Him. But God doesn't impose His will anyone, even Christians.

If God does not force unbelievers to live according to a certain set of rules, I don't believe I have any authority whatsoever to rule over them. If God has voluntarily relinquished control over people's lives, how dare I pick up that control and attempt to wield it myself? Such behavior is rank arrogance -- an assumption that I know the mind of God and I know exactly what penalties and punishments He wishes to impose on those who disobey Him.

God desires one thing, and one thing only, from non-Christians: that they recognize His control over the universe, submit willingly to His authority, and love Him before all others. Everything else is secondary to this. Once a person's heart is aligned with God's, right behaviors will follow. If a person's heart is not aligned with God's, no amount of laws will improve his character or bring him any closer to purity.

I believe government has a responsibility to protect its citizens against aggression and fraud. Government should be concerned with prosecuting rape, murder, theft and fraud. I do not believe government should be concerned with the behavior of its citizens -- that is rightly the role of priests, pastors, and churches.

How then should Christians behave in government? If I do not believe that they should legislate according to their moral beliefs, how should they legislate? Christians should follow the advice of Micah 6:8

He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Over and over and over and over again throughout Scripture, God's prophets and apostles urge His people to act justly -- not to accept bribes, not to treat the rich better than the poor, not to withhold from those in need. Over and over, God exhorts His people to treat everyone equally, to deal honestly, to honor contracts -- in short, to live with integrity. How many of our Congressman and Senators truly live up to these requirements? How many of our supposedly Christian legislators live up to these requirements? This how a Christian should act while in office. Christians in government should stand up for the oppressed, deal justly with everyone, and enforce the law equally on the rich and the poor.

Being a Christian legislator should not associated with enacting Christian morals but with display Christian values while in office. Christian legislators should set the standard for honesty, integrity, and humility in government. A legislator who displayed those moral values would be far more valuable than one who simply voted to fine television stations over vulgarity or who simply voted to require certain minimum standards of dress.

"How do you separate [Church and government] without removing all Christian influence from the public arena?" You separate the two by letting the church reign supreme in matters of morality and letting the government protect people's bodies and property. If Christian government officials focus their energies on ensuring that all people are protected equally and that government conducts its operations with integrity and humility, the Christian influence on the public arena will be huge.

Ultimately Christianity does not need the support of America's government in order to survive. Whether or not the Ten Commandments are displayed in America's courthouses is not nearly as important as whether or not America's people have the Ten Commandments written on their hearts. A Christian government can do nothing to write God's law on people's hearts, but it can ensure that all people are treated as God commands -- equally, with love and honesty.

This entry was tagged. Sin Virtues Voting