Ballot Zombies

Maura Alwyen

HVAC/R Master Craftsman, Chef, Woodworker, Journeyman Metalworker, somewhat of a Blacksmith, & Author I do my own stunts & cinematography. Typos, poor word choices, wrong but similar sounding word choices are par for the course. All mistakes are artisanally crafted from the finest oopsies. Otherwise I'm just a regular girl with opinions and a point from which to shout into the void.

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88 Responses

  1. Philip H
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    says:

    Three questions:
    How many ballot zombies are there in any election?
    What is their statistical impact on elections?
    Is their impact more or less then the hundreds of thousands of living voters purged in states using bad data bases?Report

    • Pat in reply to Philip H
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      says:

      Very few.

      With incredibly rare exceptions, basically zero.

      Several orders of magnitude lower.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Pat
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        says:

        I expected all those answers, so I remain puzzled why we are spending electrons debating this. Its another NOT Problem in search of a NOT Solution.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          It’s sort of like how getting shot by the cops is an extremely rare event compared to other problems, even other problems affecting the demographic which cares about getting shot by the cops.

          Also if we don’t deal with the issue then we’re leaving it to the likes of Trump and we’ll get riots.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            What’s there to deal with? Exactly zero of the proposals from the Right – except trying to totally quash mail in ballots (which Trump used) – focus on this. And the Left has rightly judged it a non issue. Which means its going to always be fodder for propaganda. Unfortunately.Report

  2. Motoconomist
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    says:

    So at DOJ i matched social security death data with state voter records, across multiple decades of elections and states, there were maybe 100 zombie voters…out of billions of legal votes.

    Not worth worrying about.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Motoconomist
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      says:

      This. No system is perfect, but before we spend resources fixing a problem, let’s make sure the problem is significant. Maybe Washington County, MO has a statistically significant problem with the dead voting, but does the state? Does the country?Report

  3. Chris
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    says:

    Why spend the money this would cost on real problems, when you can spend them on fake problems — let’s call them zombie problems — like this one?Report

  4. Marchmaine
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    says:

    As someone who solves Identity Matching/Resolution problems for multi-nationals… I can simply say that solving the problem is much much bigger than this. Like unimaginably harder. Like, not actually possible given the systems involved and the scale… which simultaneously is decentralized and lacking even a notion of intra-department/sate interoperability. Further, my experience with State/Local/Federal IT also tells me that even with an unlimited budget, it’s still not possible… not by the people who run these systems.

    And I say that not as someone who thinks they are trying there best, but as someone who knows they couldn’t do it even if asked. Not even damning them with faint praise… damning them with damning. (figuratively, of course).

    I’m in favor of voting reform (of lots of different types) … I think it’s required at this juncture to deal with lots of problems (not fraud, specifically) … but if we don’t address the broad infrastructure issues and just try to, say, make mail-in voting *easier* then I think we’re doing it wrong.Report

    • Chris in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      Just imagining using fuzzy matching and telling someone they can’t vote because their name crossed the specified death threshold.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Sure, I think we under appreciate how the inefficiencies make it harder for folks to vote too.

        I hate to say it, but a lot of what folks are looking for out of 21st century governance probably leads back to a National ID program that replaces SSN. And stated nakedly it will be opposed by all; but in its absence, lots of things we think we should be able to do, we can’t. But by the same token lots of things we should be *grateful* we *can’t* do, we can’t.

        But as trust erodes, both the things we want and the things we *don’t* want become attractive simultaneously.Report

    • North in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      So I take it to mean you’re down with the idea of a free national ID card for citizens?Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to North
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        says:

        Absolutely… here’s the shit-show that it kick-off though:

        1. How do you verify the first National ID everyone gets?
        2. How do you manage 4th Amendment and Privacy regulations for a National Data Base that is used everywhere.
        3. Are there any limits to what is required or even voluntarily authorized to use your National ID? Can Lowes request it? If yes, why, if no, why not?Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          At this point, the Social Security number is a de facto national ID.

          I don’t see any reason not to just make it one officially.Report

        • North in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          1. Presumably the same way you verify state drivers licenses which are the de facto ID currently.
          2. See #1
          3. I suppose they could. Would cost them mountains of customers to do so. It’s the right (terror of illegal immigration and supposition of rampant voter fraud) that’s been demanding this oddly which would leave the onus on them to push for where they want it used.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to North
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            says:

            Sure… there are paths… we’re just not really talking about them

            But this the evolution of RealID… as of now not all 50-states have the same ID requirements… would also have to specify update rules to validate voter eligibility… which is done in many, but not all states.

            So potentially we could piggy-back on strengthening (even further) the RealID requirements and specify various rules regarding voting, etc. But RealID was postponed into MAY 2023… and you’d need this as a minimum for updating Voter Rolls… not sure if that’s doable by 2024 elections.

            But sure… we can’t fly without RealID are we good if we can’t vote without RealID?

            Has RealID been scrutinized to pass muster with all factions as fair and reasonable?

            I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable giving Lowes my Real ID number when I get it.

            Here’s what’s required in VA (presumably all states) to start the Real ID process (1st minimum requirement … there’s more after this):

            You are required to provide proof of your identity. DMV accepts the documents listed below. On this page, select one document that you will bring to DMV as your primary proof of identity.

            *Official birth document issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction, or territory. Birth documents issued by a hospital, notifications of birth registration, foreign birth certificates, and Virginia certificates of foreign birth (documents displaying the statement “Not evidence of U.S. citizenship”) are not accepted.
            Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. passport card (temporary passports are not accepted)
            *Unexpired foreign passport with unexpired or expired U.S. visa and unexpired I-94 or entry stamp
            *Unexpired foreign passport with unexpired I-94W
            *Unexpired foreign passport with unexpired or expired U.S. immigrant visa
            *Unexpired foreign passport with unexpired or expired I-551 stamp
            *Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766)
            *Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
            *Certificate of Birth Abroad (FS-545)
            *Certification of Report of Birth of a U.S. Citizen (DS-1350)
            *U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or Form N-570)
            *U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560 or Form N-561)
            *Valid, unexpired permanent resident card (Form I-551)

            Obviously, additional rules would need adding for Voting eligibility… DHS website says that these ID’s are still State Level only (i.e. You couldn’t use your VA RealID to vote in TX, but it should make the process of getting your TX RealID easier). There’s no National Data Base of RealID. Everytime you move (out of state), you get a new RealID… which would have to be matched/de-duped.Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              Mmhmm, so if you wanted to get the left to buy into national ID it’d have to be free with citizenship, it’d have to be national and it’d have to be readily and universally available through some process individual states couldn’t tinker with. I don’t think you’d have much trouble with various verification documentation so long as it isn’t restricted to, say, home owners or some other naked finger on the demographic scale.

              Once ya had that, well, I don’t think it’d be a hard lift to require it for voting. If you don’t have that then we’re back to the lists of examples as long of my arm of GOP operatives chortling about how the various states they’re controlling are setting up ID rules and ID availability to exclude demographics that tend to vote Democratic and that makes ID requirements for voting pretty hard to sell. Especially when the right has failed, utterly and totally, to ever demonstrate enough voter fraud to even influence an election, let alone tip it.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
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                says:

                Right… RealID is kind of a pain when I looked at it (I got deferred last year due to Covid)… I could see lots of folks not wanting to bother with it… except for the whole airplane thing.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                The way that you get the left to not buy into it is to get them to believe that not giving a National ID to undocumented dreamers who just want better lives for themselves and their families is racist.Report

              • InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Frankly that’s where the rubber meets the road on this. Does anyone presenting him or herself at the Rio Grande get one? Pretty sure the black helicopter crowd on the right would be swiftly overridden as long as the answer is no.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                The internet left wouldn’t buy into it unless we were mailing one to every person in the hemisphere and half the people in the other one. Since they’re politically irrelevant that observation is anodyne.

                The actual left, the one who nominated and then elected Biden, which does include some pretty lefty people, would probably quite happily cut a deal for National ID that only went to current citizens and legal immigrants. They’d have, of course, to be given some policy concession in exchange of course. That’s what makes it a deal.Report

              • Chris in reply to North
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                says:

                The best thing about visiting here a bit again is seeing how y’all view the left now that the left is, let’s say, out of the shadows and all up in Democratic politics. Just fascinating.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Which “the left”?

                Because “the left” doesn’t necessarily mean liberals and it doesn’t mean the idiots who were setting stuff on fire last year (how dare you?) and it definitely doesn’t mean the “defund the police” people who were COINTELPRO plants, and you shouldn’t conflate them with the democratic party which, as everyone knows, would be a center-right party in Europe.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                By “left” i mean these folks, and only these folks: https://platypus1917.org/Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Makes sense to me.

                I always think it’s unfair when conservatives of every stripe makes sweeping generalizations of the “so-called” left.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Since one of the themes of that group is “the left is dead,” the good thing is that there’s no one left to care when “the left” is used to describe groups that aren’t the left, and therefore may still be alive.Report

              • North in reply to Chris
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                says:

                It’s always a delight to see you about too!Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to North
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                says:

                What’s the lead time to get an ID? I mean, if a RealID is anything like a passport, then you are looking at 6 weeks or so (if not more). And does it require an interview? Is any of that going to naturally (no malice intended) going to impact the poor more than the higher SES?

                One of the nice things about passports is I can do most of it through the mail, but it’s still paperwork, and putting together a package and getting it mailed off and waiting for it.

                But to hear some on the left, they want people to be able to get an ID at the Post Office, or the Library, or any government building…Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I got a RealID here in CA using my birth certificate and utility bill.

                The appointment took about 20 minutes start to finish and it was mailed about 4 weeks later.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                My point is that an ID that does not have some degree of rigor behind it is an ID that is useless. That rigor is going to make it difficult, or nearly impossible, for some demographic to get an ID, and the media, and/or activist groups will jump on that.

                And let’s face it, that demographic is most likely going to be those who lack money and time.

                The question is simply, are you OK with some percentage of that demographic being without an ID, even if the ID process is free (unlike, say, a passport, which costs $100+), because meeting the requirements is beyond them?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I agree, and ironically I was almost that demographic group.

                I long ago lost my SS card and have ever since only relied on the number stored in my head. My passport has long been expired, and during COVID my drivers license expired.

                So that left me with no valid form of ID other than a birth certificate. Luckily the utility bill is in my name and luckily it is an acceptable form.

                There is a surprisingly large demographic of people who for various reasons fall through the cracks.

                Not that this is any reason not to have a universal ID- just that we will need to have an aggressive outreach program to find and assist these people.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I suspect that such an outreach program will immediately become a political football.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Which is why people like always smell bad faith whenever the topic of IDs comes up.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Are we sure that very marginal hard to reach voters are largely for team blue?

                The other issue is a national id instantly gets used for things illegal aliens need to do. Buy alcohol, process money, even driving.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                The Republican Party seems to think that marginal voters are primarily Democrats.

                Talk to them.Report

              • North in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I got a RealID last time I renewed my driver’s license and it didn’t require an interview but did require a small mountain of paperwork. If I were not a home owner it would have been quite a huge pain to try and get it (a good half the verification document types are connected to utilities or mortgage documents).

                So, I would think it’d need to be easier than that, more universally available and, most importantly, free.

                Looking at how passport are done is probably a good starting point.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
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                says:

                Virginia requires an appointment at the DMV; presumably for document review? Which is why I don’t have one.Report

              • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                I also needed an appointment. It required 4 or 5 documents which were scanned but was otherwise not much worse than the regular renewal process. I think my proof included car registration and proof of car insurance along with passport and some other junk.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Colorado makes you show up in person at least every ten years. When I had to do that, they sent me a notice about what to bring because the upgrade to REAL ID was mandatory. I took my passport; they accepted the old license as proof of residency.Report

  5. Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Under current conditions when your loved — or hated — one passes YOU are responsible for telling the County Elections Office of their death and provide proof…

    Not true, or at least it shouldn’t be. The 2003 Help America Vote Act requires states to maintain a single, official, centralized, computerized voter registration database managed at the state level. The law also requires that the registration database be synchronized with other state databases. Almost all deaths are reported to the Social Security Administration fairly promptly (for various reasons), which in turn notifies states. At least in my state, deaths reported by the SSA then propagate through the various state databases: revenue (for taxes), drivers licenses, voter registration, public assistance, etc.Report

  6. Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    When it comes to this, the incentives matter. People will try to game the system regarding the death of a person for financial gain (cashing grandma’s pension checks while she slowly mummifies in the crawlspace), but there’s not really an incentive for any individual to vote for grandma.

    Now a PAC or a political party, they have an incentive to try voter fraud, but at that scale, it’s very hard to pull off.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      This is what most people miss when discussing the possibility of voting fraud.

      Which is, that it is almost impossible to work to any degree that matters. In order to swing even a small election, you need to move thousands of votes, which means you need to coordinate the efforts of thousands of people without anyone talking or making a mistake which would trigger an investigation.

      It has the same flaw as any conspiracy theory which is that it ends up being more convoluted than just accomplishing the same goal by campaigning and GOTV.

      ETA: This does NOT apply to the possibility of electronic voting fraud where an algorithm or single agent has control of the votes.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        And yet, it is widely ‘recognized’ that Mayor Daley committed fraud to swing Chicago to Kennedy.

        Which is just to say, it doesn’t happen until it does.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          Even if that was true (& AFAIK there is no hard evidence Daley actually did anything), that was 1960. I think we’ve made a few upgrades since then.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            My point is that we’re working with a 19th (18th?) century voting paradigm with mid 20th century ‘upgrades’ and we asking for 21st century changes without sufficiently upgrading all the other aspects.

            Democratic voting is first and foremost about trust, then access. If you do access then trust you have issues. I’m on board with both, but Trust is eroding and every article is basically a statistical analysis of how our Trust is eroding, how our systems are incomplete… but let’s brute-force the Trust for another cycle.

            Its weird that the Trad has to push for the 21st century infrastructure upgrades… to get the upgrades to Trust/Access we want.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              I do agree that trust will have a breaking point if not addressed, and the constant attempts to restrict access only hasten that break.

              I’m honestly waiting for a repeat of the Battle of Athens.Report

            • Slade the Leveller in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              The mistrust is an artificial construct though. No one was seriously talking about voting “fraud” until notoriously sore as it turned out winner Donald Trump came along in 2016.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                More to the point, the very guy who has screamed the loudest about fraud was the guy who phoned a governor and demanded he find some votes.

                Whose party has dedicated itself to finding ways to overrule votes they don’t like.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Bad actors / demagogues is a problem that predates Trump and will outlive him. Politics attracts them.

                Our elections are really good, they are less than perfect. We need to have close to perfect elections because otherwise bad actors will take advantage.

                Picture Trump where we’re pretty sure (but not positive) that Chicago really did fix their outcome and affect the entirety. Nixon walked away for the good of the country and because he wanted to stay in politics.

                Whose party has dedicated itself to finding ways to overrule votes they don’t like.

                BSDI. See also Bush v Gore.Report

              • Ken S in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                The initial source for the “Nixon walked away for the good of the country” is Nixon’s book (Six Crises). Everyone else is quoting (or quoting someone who is quoting) Nixon. Paint me a skeptic.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Ken S
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                says:

                I’d be thrilled if Trump had walked away from his claims “for the good of the country” even if it was really because he thought it would leave him better positioned for the next Presidential Run.

                As it is, we almost need him to try again just to showcase what he did was a political loser.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                Trust is an artificial construct too.

                But honestly I’m not litigating the last election or election – n … we need voting reforms across the board, and it’s better to build in Trust as a primary not secondary issue.

                I’m also not trying to get one side or the other elected, and I think a lot of ballot enhancements (with the right level of trust) will break down some of the sclerotic party factions that is driving some bad decisions on what Voter Reform (TM) should be.

                I’ll even say that I think y’all are underestimating the risks from the Trumpified Republican faction that can capture the voting mechanisms – a’la Mayor Dayley in Chicago – which we all know was never *proven* to be the case [wink, wink]. Within the current system and any system that privileges access over trust.

                It’s similar to when I talk about Redistricting and folks assume that it’s obvious how redistricting should work… but it’s not obvious, and in some cases the “it’s obvious” is masking a lot of subtext on how redistricting would ‘fix’ problems for their team and not as much thought on how it might open new problems and/or whether we’re talking about underlying challenges that redistricting is masking or a proxy.Report

              • Slade the Leveller in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                We’ve had over 200 years of overwhelmingly fair elections, in which there was no loss of trust. The republic even recovered from the 2000 presidential fiasco. Donald Trump, and his followers, are the ones who claim to have lost trust in the system, but the only reason they can point to for said loss is the fact that Donald Trump thought he wouldn’t win in 2016, and didn’t win in 2020. That is not a rational basis.

                Upending out electoral system on the basis of these spurious claims is not doing our country any favors.

                (I think, if I read your comment correctly, we’re saying the same thing, essentially.)Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          In other words, he mobilized thousands of people to move thousands of votes, and the people involved talked about it which is why it is “recognized”.

          And it only was possible by agents working at the highest levels, i.e. the city mayor and elections staff, not individual voters with fraudulent ballots.

          Election fraud is certainly possible today, but it needs to happen at that same level- like where a sitting President calls a governor and orders him to “find the votes” and he complies. Or where a state elections board disqualifies strategic precinct votes for the opposite party.

          Or even if a murderous mob attacks the Congress and intimidates them into refusing to certify the results of an election.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            You guys are fighting the last war.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Bush v Gore. We need a few thousand votes, let’s count some group extra special, the number of disregarded votes is greater than the margin of error.

            Now in theory if I own the ballot counting machinery and it’s all electronic and running on special code that’s not open, we have one source of failure. In theory I could do something along the lines of that bank code which captures half pennies.

            How to PROVE that something like that isn’t happening is a problem.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              Bush v Gore:

              1. Delay the recounts by any means possible, up to and including staging a riot.
              2, Declare that it’s too late for recounts.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Why should we be able to “recount” until the correct side wins?

                Bush won the first count (before anyone knew how close it was).
                Bush won the mechanical recount (which lacked human fingers on the outcome).

                So clearly we need a 3rd count, with lots of human fingers on the outcome, and lots of efforts to retroactively change the rules of the election, to come up with a “more fair” outcome?Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Dark Matter
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                So court-ordered recounts should be vetoed by rioters. Got it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                The protests were mostly peaceful.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Yes, Democrat Judges did rule that it would be more fair to see what the voters in a Dem stronghold really intended in the context of that maybe swinging the election.

                Eventually we had the Supreme Court say that you’re not allowed to count Dem votes extra special.

                Big picture the lesson to learn is that when this sort of thing happens, it is extremely difficult to stay non partison and on the sidelines, and that includes Judges.

                Another big picture thing is one man’s “obviously trying to steal the election” is another’s “making it more fair”… and that while the election is ongoing is an EXTREMELY poor time to try to deal with these sorts of issues and rules affecting these sorts of issues.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                If you assert that judges are acting in a partisan manner, then doesn’t that lend credence to the assertion that the 2000 election was in fact stolen?

                Which once again gets back to my point that in order to steal an election, you can’t do it at the individual ballot fraud level, you need to have control of the election system itself.

                Which suggests that rather than fixate on voter ID or zombie ballots, we should be focusing on what is happening with state election boards.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                You’re correct from a practical level (i.e. avoiding stolen elections). However the bulk of the problem is how to convince people that we care about this, i.e. virtue signaling.

                Everyone intuitively feeling that the election is secure is our big defense against what Trump is doing. Telling everyone that we’re focused on the parts of the system that matter and their individual vote doesn’t isn’t going to do it.

                RE: 2000 Election
                Bush won, but the margin of error was larger than his margin of victory. I’d say we instantly moved from “what is fair” to “how do we change the rules to get my guy winning”.

                There certainly was BSDI, but Bush had the advantage of winning in almost all scenarios (including both the ones used and the ones Gore was arguing for).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter
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                “There certainly was BSDI, but Bush had the advantage of winning in almost all scenarios (including both the ones used and the ones Gore was arguing for).”

                If I recall, a post-election analysis showed that Bush would have won if Gore’s preferred method of recount was used and Gore would have won if Bush’s preferred method of recount was used. It was a delicious little bit of irony.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
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                Bush’s “preferred method of recount” was to stop and accept the existing counts where he’d won.

                Gore wouldn’t have won with his preferred method of counting extra special the Dem stronghold areas. He would have won if he’d (re)counted the entire state, including GOP strongholds.

                The irony was he’d claimed on TV that he wanted a full state recount with this by hand judging every ballot method but his lawyers never argued for this in court.

                Now I’m not sure all that is right, the big problem with “by hand judging every ballot” is you’re increasing the margin of error and allowing for people to see what they want to see. If the study was run by Left leaning types then they could have done that and undercounted the GOP.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                Related
                https://abc7news.com/larry-elder-voter-fraud-california-recall-gavin-newsom/11019011/

                Larry Elder is pre-emptively conceding the race and pushing nonsense claims of fraud.

                This, more than ballot fraud, is the real threat to American democracy, where the underlying premise is that any Democratic win is presumptively illegitimate.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Would you say that people who keep pointing out stuff like “but so and so didn’t win the *POPULAR* vote!” is something that undercuts American democracy or is that an important part of maintaining legitimacy?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                No.
                The popular vote is a good way to gauge the depth of support while Electoral College gauges the breadth.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                +1Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Would arguing that breadth doesn’t matter when compared to depth be an important part of maintaining the legitimacy of the system?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                It depends on how disjointed breadth and depth are.

                At some extreme point it could be that the election can’t be said to be a legitimate consent of the governed.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Oh, like with a parliamentary system?

                I’ve never trusted them.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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                Parliamentary systems can work, but you need to have a pretty high bar for the minimum amount of votes to count. Israel and Italy both have low bars and the result has been fringe parties playing king maker to the detriment of the system.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                the real threat to American democracy, where the underlying premise is that any Democratic win is presumptively illegitimate.

                The moment enough people really believe this, then democracy is basically over. This line of thought justifies your own side not allowing elections because the other side won’t.

                We are seeing this a lot on both sides. Team Blue doesn’t like how elections have resulted in the balance of the Supreme Court, so the solution is to pack the court because elections can’t be used for something this important.Report

              • Slade the Leveller in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                When the court actually gets packed is when I’ll start worrying about this problem. Meanwhile, the courts were clogged last fall with frivolous lawsuits filed by Republicans seeking to overturn a legitimate election.Report

              • InMD in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                Yea, I would say neither side has been great about encouraging trust in our system of government lately but only one is showing up in court with arguments so specious their lawyers are being sanctioned.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Courts dealing with this kind of insanity is almost polite. The norm when dealing with this level of general moral outrage is riots.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Funny how the demonstrated losers were the only ones rioting so far, based entirely on the Big Lie.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                We’ve had a lot of riots over the last year plus. Almost all of them are based on what should be local news events, i.e. things that really should be handled inside the court system. Some have been based on what would normally be called good shootings by the cops.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Yea, but to me that fact greatly undercuts the idea that any significant number of people really believe the outcomes of elections in this country are illegitimate. I know what the polls say, and think Marchmaine has some good points, but IMO 99% of this stuff is partisan identity and sloganeering.

                Now it’s absolutely a dangerous and nihilistic game to play and we should stop while we’re ahead but deep down we all know that if elections were really being rigged like they are in say, Belarus, all manner of extreme action including violence could be justified. And yet there’s very little of that. 1/6 was idiot cosplay and a bunch of very sad little people will deservedly spend time in prison for it. I feel the same way about assertions of mass voter suppression.

                What we really have is a bunch of online posturing and media/media adjacent circle jerking that deflates every time it makes contact with reality.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I hope.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Just to reply to the troll, no one can just print off a bunch of mail in ballots. Ballots have control numbers, which means the election office knows what ballot numbers have been mailed (and to what Zip code), which ones haven’t, which ballots were reported lost or stolen, etc. Printing off a bunch of ballots would require the fraudster to have an inside man who could not only hand out a list of open numbers, but also mark those numbers as sent (and defeating any manner of internal controls over those numbers), and avoid any other mistakes that would get flagged (e.g. a block of 1000 ballots all have consecutive control numbers and they are marked only for POTUS, with no down ballot votes, and they were all found in drop boxes (or a single drop box, cause folks be lazy), etc.

        And that’s before we even talk about how you need the right kind of card stock, and a printer that can properly print said card stock, and a machine that can properly fold said card stock. You won’t be able to easily run those out on an office laser printer, and local print shops with the right kind of equipment will call the elections office straight away.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s like they say that the best way to rob a bank is to own one. The best way to steal an election is to control one.

          Not that it can’t be done! We see it done around the world. But that’s just the point-its done in broad daylight.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Exactly.

            Now, of course, as Marchmaine suggests, the trust in those institutions is flagging a bit (lots of folks were certain various election officials were skewing things left or right), so we do have a problem, but it’s not at the ballot level.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          Do you think it’d be easier to make and use counterfeit ballots or counterfeit money?

          Asking for a friend…Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Again, incentives.

            If I manage to make passable $100 bills, I get the value of those bills.

            If I manage to make passable election ballots, I get… what? My preferred politician in office? Maybe, assuming the other side isn’t playing the same game (because if I can counterfeit ballots, so can they).

            So sure, it’s probably easier to counterfeit the ballots, but you still have the issue of control numbers you have to defeat. I mean, you have those on $100 notes as well, but no one really looks at those until they hit the bank, or the federal reserve. By that time, you’ve already laundered the bill.

            Ballot control numbers are checked the moment they hit the election office.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              That was kind of my point. If someone could make passable fake ballots, they could probably make passable counterfeit money and I imagine that’d be a far better route to take unless they were a true zealot.Report

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