Here, There, And Other Places — Voting

Here’s how it works in New Zealand per our NZ friend Barry …

* ease of voter registration. The law requires that everyone over the age 18 register on the electoral roll. However if you haven’t registered, you can do so when you go to vote. It only takes a few minutes.

* no queueing. Polling places are set up everywhere including churches, mosques, schools, community centres, shopping malls etc. I’ve voted every three years in every nation and local election since 1972 in four different electorates (voting districts) and I’ve never had to wait for more than five minutes, and those occasions were at peak times. .

* polling day is always on a Saturday as fewer people work on that day. Polling booths are open from 7am to 7pm on polling day and most are open every day in the two weeks prior to polling day

* you can vote outside of the electorate you’re registered in

* voter ID is not required, but bringing in the ID that is mailed out to every registered voter at the commencement of each election cycle will cut about a minute off the voting process.

* it’s a simple process to register for postal voting and telephone voting and the vote(s) can be cast any time in the month prior to polling day. It’s also possible to nominate someone to vote on your behalf if your disability is such that you can not vote in person

Voter fraud is extremely rare and there never has been a coordinated attempt of voter fraud. Ease of voting takes priority over everything else as that is seen as absolutely vital for democracy.

Additionally gerrymandering does not occur as electoral boundaries are determined by an independent non political commission consisting of a high Court judge, the head of the Statistics Department, a number of other civil servants whose roles I don’t recall at this moment, and one person representing the governing political parties and one person representing the opposition parties.

Restrictions around voting that’s seen in some American states is unfathomable to us. The only restriction here is that it is an offense to display political party advertising of any type (including insignia, badges etc) on polling day.

And here’s how it works in Australia, per our Australian friend Andrea …

Every eligible person MUST vote. Because of that necessity, voting has been made as easy as possible. We always vote on a Saturday, so most people /can/ vote. We have voting booths in almost every school hall or community centre Australia wide, so there’s always a voting place near at hand. We also have postal ballots.

And we have consequences for not voting…but…the punishment for not voting is a $50 slap on the wrist!

We have no voter fraud as far as I know, and while Australians might grumble at having to make time to vote, we all DOT IT.

Are all Australians fully aware of the policies and issues of the day? Nope. Does majority rule always get it right? Nope. But at least there /is/ majority rule. Our country isn’t driven by extreme factions of either the left or the right because compulsory voting /moderates/ those extremes.

Is the US even aware of how far it’s drifting from the principles of democracy?????

And here’s how it works in the United States …

Well, never mind, for it varies so greatly from state-to-state and further varies depending on a) level of wealth, b) colour of skin, c) education level, d) age, e) length of toenails (okay, maybe I’m being a bit facetious with that last one).  But nowhere … NOWHERE in the United States is it as painless to cast a vote as it is in either New Zealand or Australia.  And it is getting more and more painful, time-consuming and difficult every year, at least in some states.  Voting in the U.S. is highly discriminatory in this, the year 2022, the 235th year since the U.S. Constitution was ratified.  This level of difficulty could explain the low voter turnout … often barely over 50% and often less than 50% in mid-term election years.

You’ll notice the spike in 2020 when, due to the pandemic, most states made postal voting available to more people.  This year, many of those concessions have been reversed, and most every state in the nation has imposed more restrictive measures including enhanced voter ID requirements, travel restrictions, fewer polling places (resulting in longer wait times), fewer drop boxes, purging voter registration lists, and much more.  A disabled, elderly person or a college student in some states has almost no chance of being able to make their voice heard.

Thanks to Barry and Andrea for showing us how a truly democratic voting system works.  We can hope that someday the people of this nation will put the good of the country ahead of their partisanship and demand that we make it easier rather than harder. Don’t hold your breath, though.

27 thoughts on “Here, There, And Other Places — Voting

  1. Jill,

    Thought you and a few of your followers might be a bit interested in this Texas Tribune report* on just how gullible (white) Texas voters truly are in the San Marcos area—or how brazen they are to publicly tout “The Big Lies ” pushed by MAGA, the GOP, and the orange Orangutan. Check it out when you have time. What’s funny here is that Republican Conspiracy Theorists (Qanon?) were attacking or rudely disrupting Republican officials at the voting machine test site! 😄 Can you say, probable backfire tactically for the GOP? 😉


    blockquote>HEADLINE: Boisterous agitators disrupt Hays County election machine test, badger Texas secretary of state

    SUBHEADER: “Can we go back to focusing on the testing please?” official pleads as crowd demands answers to conspiracy theories.

    EXCERPT: The crowd surrounded members of the election test board — which consisted of political party representatives, county officials and election workers — who were assigned to test the machines, pressing in and looking over their shoulders. Many filed into the election department’s large conference room at county headquarters holding notebooks and pens, ready to take notes.

    As soon as the testing began, the activists began to raise familiar questions.

    “Are the machines all connected?” one asked Jennifer Doinoff, the county’s elections administrator. “How many Bluetooth devices are there?”

    No, the machines are not connected, Doinoff responded, nor were there any Bluetooth devices. The questioning continued, sparking side conversations and repeatedly drowning out the voices of those doing the testing. Doinoff, over and over, had to ask the crowd to lower their voices.

    […] Texas law requires public testing of the voting machines be done before and after every election to ensure the machines are counting votes correctly. Half-a-dozen Hart InterCivic voting machines were spaced out on a large table inside the room, ready to be tested by the handful of county officials present to help.

    […] As testing of the machines continued in the background, the activists turned their attention away from the process, surrounding Scott and peppering him with complaints and prepared questions. Scott, a Republican, spent around 20 minutes listening and answering granular questions.



    Some days it honestly feels like, looks like here in Texas we have an overabundance of male and female Yosemite Sams or Samanthas constantly duped by not Bugs Bunny, but by an Orangutan and other Root-n-est, Toot-n-est Cowboy/Cowgirl in these here PARts! (everyone fires off their six-shooters in the air!/i>) YEE-HAW!!! Shoot dem damn machines! 🏴󠁵󠁳󠁴󠁸󠁿🤠


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here in the UK it’s pretty well the same as New Zealand. We do have fairly low turnouts, which is a bit of a problem, and first past the post isn’t satisfactory when you have many parties competing for seats, but other than that it’s fair and not corrupt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought you did have a pretty good system. I haven’t heard any of my UK friends complain about unfair restrictions or difficulty of voting. I agree with you … where there are multiple parties, ranked choice would be a better option than first past the post. More and more these days I wish we had multiple parties here in the U.S. … one of our two has become so corrupt as to no longer be a viable party, but sadly far too many cannot see that they are the party of bigotry and authoritarianism, trying to take us backward rather than forward.

      Liked by 2 people

            • Here’s the post I wrote about the newly formed party back in July. If you check out the comments, you’ll see some of the reasons why there is little enthusiasm for it. I think maybe they are pressing the wrong issues at the wrong time? I would welcome a viable third party, but I’m not so sure this one is going to get off the ground … and certainly not in time for this year’s election, probably not in time for the 2024 presidential election, either.

              Liked by 2 people

              • In a FPP system a third party does indeed tend to let one party in with a minority of the total vote. As many of your commentators say, it needs a version of proportional representation. We have FPP here in UK and it most definitely does NOT lead to a fair and representative result.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Agreed. I would much rather have at least three competing parties with equal opportunities and with Ranked Choice voting rather than First Past Post. A couple of states here have a ranked choice system and it seems to work exceptionally well, but unfortunately the Republicans will fight tooth and nail against it, for they have a minority of support and no platform other than simply being against whatever the Democrats are for. Sigh. I am really concerned about the upcoming election. Our nation is very much in danger of becoming an autocracy and it seems that far too many simply don’t care. I would also like to see us adopt mandatory voting, but again … the opposition to that would be overwhelming, since the Republicans rely on both voter apathy and voter disenfranchisement.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I think you’re right about all of those, Jill. A lot of people over here would also like to adopt a different way to FPP, and there is increasing support for this. It won’t happen yet, but I think it might not be too far away.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I hope you’re right and that it does happen at some point in the not-too-distant future in the UK. Here, it will be decades, if ever … both parties defend their turf with vigor, and a third party would mean they would have to work harder to get the votes. Currently, all they have to do is promise more than their opponent, or be slightly less obnoxious than the other guy!

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: HERE, THERE, AND OTHER PLACES — VOTING. | | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  4. Jill, both of these countries are well ahead of the US. We are not one of the better democracies in the world for this and the various attacks by the former president and his sycophants. We have a political party in the US who does not want everyone eligible to vote. It is truly that simple. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

  5. EXCELLENT stuff Jill, and of course Barry & Andrea too!

    Voter fraud is extremely rare and there never has been a coordinated attempt of [widespread?] voter fraud.

    Basically the same condition exists here too in the U.S. It has never in our history been widespread enough or to the levels needed… to change the final outcome of what We the People wanted! In fact, our elections are the SAFEST they’ve ever been since 1788!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Prof! Agreed — we have almost no voter fraud here, contrary to what the Republicans would like us to believe.

      In addition to the numerous voting restrictions imposed by the states in the past two years, my biggest fear is those candidates who are ALREADY planning to contest the results! This simply cannot happen … it is degrading and demoralizing to us all! Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

      • And the more tRumpsters continue to push this pile of feces, the more precedence they set for future unfounded doubts and distrust of our election officers/volunteers and the processes. It is bad, BAD undermining of a perfectly good functioning system! 😡

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! The first time I voted, I was a student in Santa Barbara. The citizens of Santa Barbara could vote within five minutes, but those of us who lived on campus had an address in Goleta. The wait time to vote in Goleta was over eight hours long. Someone did try to shut the line down early, but those of us who were in line fought for our right to vote because we had arrived to the polling place before it closed, and the line was not our fault. I waited over ten hours to vote for John Kerry. And, this was in California, which I would assume is one of the easiest states to vote in.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks!!! Over 8 hours!!! I cannot imagine! The longest I think I’ve ever had to wait was about 30 minutes. I would be furious if I stood in line that long and then they shut it down! But I know that does happen, particularly in poorer districts where polling places are reduced and staffing is short. And then ten hours … I must give you a thumbs up 👍 for having the patience and tenacity to ensure your voice was heard! And some people are too lazy to even fill out a mail-in ballot or register to vote! One would think California would be among the easier, but perhaps it’s just the sheer volume of people? I hope you have better luck this November!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you. I’m not sure if I would have the same tenacity now as I did at 18, but I doubt I would ever have to wait that long again. The residents of Santa Barbara are overwhelmingly conservative, while the college students are overwhelmingly liberal. So, at least in my experience, Santa Barbara intentionally made voting difficult for university students in order to discourage them from voting. I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than thirty minutes since then. In my current town, I’ve never waited more than ten minutes. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • Ahhhhh … that would not surprise me one bit! Some states in the past year have made it illegal to put ballot boxes or polling stations on college campuses, for that very reason. Sigh. Ten minutes sounds much more reasonable!

          Liked by 2 people

    • I think you guys in the UK have much more free and fair elections than we do here in the U.S. these days! Once the Republicans here figured out that with their current ideology, they cannot win free and fair elections, they began chipping away at voting rights and have largely disenfranchised the poor, Blacks, Hispanics, working women, the elderly and college students.

      Liked by 1 person

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