Some comments I'm seeing on Georgia's runoff...

 

…just confirm one thing I’ve always thought of Americans.

Unavoidable disclaimer

This is NOT a Republican post or a Democratic post. I am not American, nor I live in the US. I follow certain US events only because I have to, to the extent that who becomes President of the USA, or the composition of its Senate and Congress still heavily influence other countries. Apart from that, what Americans do, who they elect and how they live is none of my business, no question. And, like any other country, America has a lot of other things to imitate, things I envy Americans for. But there is one thing they really get wrong, sorry.

ADDED on 2021/01/06, 6:34pm, GMT+1: let me stress that what worries me and pushed me to write this post is not what Americans vote. It is only the fact that a voting system designed and imposed for decades in this way, even if 100% executed in perfect good faith by 100000% honest and competent people can only increase the fragmentation of any society. With dangerous long term effects for the whole world, when that society is as influential as the US.

ALSO: do NOT miss the follow-up, that is the reaction of an american election inspector, and my reply!.

Ten minutes ago, browsing YouTube…

Ten minutes ago, YouTube decided to suggest me a video of an American citizen very, very upset for the results of the Georgia runoff. So were the majority of people who commented his words. Some of those comments catched my attention, and are pasted below, because they confirm one bipartisan thing, well within scope of this website, that I have always thought of the USA.

Here are some of the comments I am talking about:

  • If we can’t vote in open, honest elections then there are only two outcomes. Neither will be good
  • The Dominion algorithms make it to where they only win by 2% or less so it doesn’t raise any red flags of voter fraud.
  • The vote harvesting is the devil
  • When they said they’d add 3 more hours to count mail in and absentee ballots I knew this was a lost cause
  • my voting machine had molded onto its plastic case the word DOMINION
  • Same machines, same software, why would you get different results?
  • Vote switching software was deployed again. They already have the proof. Just hold on.
  • The Dominion machines crashed again, so I’m not placing any faith in the results.
  • plus lots of comments in the “I’ll never bother to vote again, it’s totally pointless” category

And the thing I am talking about is…

This: Americans are great people from lots of points of view. Sincerely. But trust them to get everything conceivable about voting, as wrong as possible. Sorry, this is what it looks like from outside.

This is how any political vote with only a few, binary choices should happen:

Some comments I'm seeing on Georgia's runoff... /img/italian-ballot-1946.jpg
CAPTION: Ballot of the 1946 italian institutional referendum

The piece of paper above is the paper ballot of the 1946 Referendum with which Italians chose between Republic and Monarchy. For the purpose of this post, it is an almost perfect picture of how political elections still happen in Italy, today:

  • only with paper ballots that any analphabet could understand: cross the picture you want, done
  • with the, mandatory same copying pens for everybody, provided at the booth by voting officials
  • ballot counting done manually, in each booth right after it closes, by a committee of representatives of all major parties
  • with photographic voter ID documents that everybody has anyway, so why the hell not
  • voter registration handled as described below
  • everybody votes in the same few hours, nationwide, always on Sundays and (sometimes) the following Monday morning. No ballots to send for counting to no warehouse, with all the risks involved

In the US, instead…

Again: as far as I am concerned, what follows only matters for votes that directly influence the whole US, and with them the rest of the world. How the residents of any US county or city decide, their major, or how to finance their local aqueducts is only their business, seriously. The US, we were saying…

E-voting

The only thing worse than e-voting is online voting, for all the reasons I already explained in detail elsewhere. Here, today, it is only necessary to highlight one thing:

the comments above, and the millions similar that will surely follow, simply could not exist, if US voting happened as described two paragraphs above. If vote casting were manual, and vote counting happened that way, maybe under a live webcam in every booth… this would not completely eliminate frauds (nothing could), but it would make large scale fraud immensely harder, while making immensely easier to trust the system. It’s as simple as that. No, better: voting has to be as simple as that. See here, again.

Mail voting/early voting

Having lived under assorted lockdowns for most of the last ten months, and being likely heading for more, I do acknowledge that, this time, mail or early voting had some advantages.

But the basic idea is flawed, and not democratic. Check again the paragraph above: “Everybody votes the same Sunday, nationwide” means nothing less that everybody votes with the same information available, without being influenced by what happened in other districts thousands of miles away, weeeks if not months before.

Oh, and with no risk of candidates changing programs on the fly, every week. Plus, quoting myself, “No ballots to store for weeks to wait counting to no warehouse, with all the risks involved”, that is, even on this side: more trust in the system.

That is democratic. Simplicity is democratic. Everybody voting whenever they want, or are influenced to do, adding lots of unnecessary “risk points” along the chain, is the opposite. See next paragraph.

Primaries and Caucuses not happening all in the same day nationwide

Caucuses seem different from democracy to me, but never mind, it’s just my opinion, really. The real problem with US Caucuses and Primaries is exactly the same as with mail voting, and early voting.

Try to imagine the USA 2020 primaries, happening all in the same day, Supertuesdays be damned, and all that implies, from candidates and strategies in both parties, to fundraising and propaganda. I dare suggest they would have been more authentic, more representative of the actual country, regardless of their outcome.

Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is wrong, and if I understand correctly, it is much worst in the USA than elsewhere, especially since when it was digitally enhanced.

No automatic registration

Voter registration? Which registration? This other piece of paper:

Some comments I'm seeing on Georgia's runoff... /img/tessera-elettorale-italiana.small.jpg
CAPTION: From Wikipedia. Click for larger version.

is the paper “Tessera Elettorale” (Election Card) that every italian citizen automatically receives as proof of its right to vote, as soon as he or she comes of age (18 years). That is, every italian adult is, by definition, also in the voting register. Every time you go to vote, the voting officers stamp one of those circles. When all the circles are stamped, you get another card. Usually takes 2 or 3 hours, when it just does not arrives in one’s mailbox. Of course, together with that card, everbody has to show a photo ID, to avoid impersonation, or multiple voting.

Resistance to photo ID

The country that gave the world Echelon, NSA, Facebook… complains about mandatory photo ID? Well, OK.

Scandalously low number of polling booths.

I have voted in person in Italy for decades now, and with one exception it never took more than 45, 50 minutes, including walking to the polling booths. That, in Rome. In rural areas it surely takes longer, but you get my point. We are about about 46 million voters, we always vote all in the same days, and still we never experience anything remotely like this:

Some comments I'm seeing on Georgia's runoff... /img/us-voting-lines.jpg

Why all this?

All the useless voting complexity listed below is a major, major factor why so many US citizens (on both sides!) are disenfranchised, and dangerously, DANGEROUSLY fragment their “news sources.

It is this that makes possible, every time, not “just another Florida, but a dozen Floridas”.

If, by magic, I could plant one idea firmly in the brain of every American, it would be this: Always vote, but only for candidates, of whatever party, that seriously commit to drain THIS particular swamp. All the others may wait.

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