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^ That article is all over the place. If the author feels the practice of utilizing emergency managers to resolve cities in receivership denies people of their voting rights, he should just make that argument. The attempt to make a claim of a racist motivation completely changes the argument. I would be on board with discussing the first point I made above, but the second one is a complete joke and makes me want to dismiss the entire article. 

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The Freakonomics podcast just put out a really interesting episode called Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten. It consisted of a bunch of ideas about how our political system could be changed to force politicians to be less polarized, ranging from alternative voting systems to holding regular Constitutional Congresses at the federal level, similar to what several states do. The most fascinating part of the episode, however, had to be Karl Rove's defense of the Electoral College and the existing two-party system.

 

Well, you assume that political tribalism doesn’t exist outside of a two-party system. There’s even more tribalism outside of a two-party system, and it is of a more destructive nature because it is oft-times based upon one simple issue or one personality. And that’s one of the great things about our two-party system. Both parties tend to move away from their extremes in order to win elections. And sometimes they tend to share a great commonality when it comes to the public agenda. They differ in big ways, no doubt about it, but imagine a system in which everybody could organize around personalities, single issues, and highly developed and very narrow ideologies. We’d get something like Italy. It’s had 41 prime ministers and over 60 governments since World War II. Now maybe it’s good that Italy topples its governments with great regularity, but I think it fundamentally undermines the confidence of the people in the system of government and in the system of democracy and in the system of the economy, as well.

 

[...]

 

The Electoral College pushes us towards a two-party system and that thereby promotes stability by providing a barrier against multi-candidate races and the kind of disasters that we see democracies in Western Europe and elsewhere, where the electorate is fragmented by a multi-party system with a wide range of parties, some of them based around personalities, some of them based around regional interests, some of them based around ideological constructs, others of them based around a single issue, some of them based around simply the idea of blowing up the existing system.

 

[...]

 

he Electoral College prevents, for example, presidents with a deeply minority vote. It keeps us from engaging in runoffs like we’ve seen recently in Austria and Italy and France that further scramble and weaken the two parties.

 

Wow. Just wow.

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What a huge story to break over the weekend.  I'm surprised I haven't seen it anywhere on here (or I just completely missed it).  I've included a few of the more striking findings below.

 

North Carolina Voting Restrictions Violate Voters’ Rights, Federal Court Finds

 

WASHINGTON—A federal appeals court Friday invalidated an array of voting restrictions North Carolina imposed in 2013, finding that they violated the Voting Rights Act by obstructing African-Americans’ access to the polls.

 

In Richmond, the three-judge​ Fourth Circuit ​panel​ unanimously held that North Carolina intended to disadvantage black voters by discontinuing same-day registration, reducing early voting, restricting out-of-precinct voting and eliminating one of two Sunday voting days. By a 2-1 vote, the panel also blocked a photo identification requirement that it found was tailored to harm African-Americans by excluding student and public-assistance IDs from the acceptable documents.

 

The court noted that the legislature acted immediately after a 2013 Supreme Court decision releasing North Carolina and other states that historically discriminated against minorities from a requirement that they clear election changes with federal authorities. State lawmakers requested data on which races used various voting procedures, such as same-day registration, and eliminated only those that were disproportionately used by African-Americans, the court found.

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/voting-restrictions-struck-down-in-north-carolina-1469810843

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Republicans are still stuck in the old days when it comes to voter fraud concerns. The real threat now is corruption of electronic voting machines. Americans put a lot of trust in a combination of technology, the manufacturers of said technology, and the users of said technology (our government).

 

This was just on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2016/08/01/488264073/hacking-an-election-why-its-not-as-far-fetched-as-you-might-think

 

If there were to be widespread election fraud, it wouldn't be the Democrats rounding up a bunch of homeless people with no ID, sketchy registration, etc. and paying them with cigarettes to vote (actually that will probably occur regardless), it will be manipulation of electronic votes, particularly those that are all electronic and don't have a verifiable paper trail.

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The Freakonomics podcast just put out a really interesting episode called Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten. It consisted of a bunch of ideas about how our political system could be changed to force politicians to be less polarized, ranging from alternative voting systems to holding regular Constitutional Congresses at the federal level, similar to what several states do. The most fascinating part of the episode, however, had to be Karl Rove's defense of the Electoral College and the existing two-party system.

 

Well, you assume that political tribalism doesn’t exist outside of a two-party system. There’s even more tribalism outside of a two-party system, and it is of a more destructive nature because it is oft-times based upon one simple issue or one personality. And that’s one of the great things about our two-party system. Both parties tend to move away from their extremes in order to win elections. And sometimes they tend to share a great commonality when it comes to the public agenda. They differ in big ways, no doubt about it, but imagine a system in which everybody could organize around personalities, single issues, and highly developed and very narrow ideologies. We’d get something like Italy. It’s had 41 prime ministers and over 60 governments since World War II. Now maybe it’s good that Italy topples its governments with great regularity, but I think it fundamentally undermines the confidence of the people in the system of government and in the system of democracy and in the system of the economy, as well.

 

[...]

 

The Electoral College pushes us towards a two-party system and that thereby promotes stability by providing a barrier against multi-candidate races and the kind of disasters that we see democracies in Western Europe and elsewhere, where the electorate is fragmented by a multi-party system with a wide range of parties, some of them based around personalities, some of them based around regional interests, some of them based around ideological constructs, others of them based around a single issue, some of them based around simply the idea of blowing up the existing system.

 

[...]

 

he Electoral College prevents, for example, presidents with a deeply minority vote. It keeps us from engaging in runoffs like we’ve seen recently in Austria and Italy and France that further scramble and weaken the two parties.

 

Wow. Just wow.

 

Other than the last line about 'deeply minority votes', what is so troubling about what he said? I find Karl Rove pretty despicable, but I tend to agree with basically every point he made in the text you quoted.  More political parties would lead to greater polarization, and I do think people would silo off more based on the one or two issues they care most about.  The two party system is certainly not without faults, but multi-party systems, and really all forms of government are imperfect. 

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The Freakonomics podcast just put out a really interesting episode called Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten. It consisted of a bunch of ideas about how our political system could be changed to force politicians to be less polarized, ranging from alternative voting systems to holding regular Constitutional Congresses at the federal level, similar to what several states do. The most fascinating part of the episode, however, had to be Karl Rove's defense of the Electoral College and the existing two-party system.

 

Well, you assume that political tribalism doesn’t exist outside of a two-party system. There’s even more tribalism outside of a two-party system, and it is of a more destructive nature because it is oft-times based upon one simple issue or one personality. And that’s one of the great things about our two-party system. Both parties tend to move away from their extremes in order to win elections. And sometimes they tend to share a great commonality when it comes to the public agenda. They differ in big ways, no doubt about it, but imagine a system in which everybody could organize around personalities, single issues, and highly developed and very narrow ideologies. We’d get something like Italy. It’s had 41 prime ministers and over 60 governments since World War II. Now maybe it’s good that Italy topples its governments with great regularity, but I think it fundamentally undermines the confidence of the people in the system of government and in the system of democracy and in the system of the economy, as well.

 

[...]

 

The Electoral College pushes us towards a two-party system and that thereby promotes stability by providing a barrier against multi-candidate races and the kind of disasters that we see democracies in Western Europe and elsewhere, where the electorate is fragmented by a multi-party system with a wide range of parties, some of them based around personalities, some of them based around regional interests, some of them based around ideological constructs, others of them based around a single issue, some of them based around simply the idea of blowing up the existing system.

 

[...]

 

he Electoral College prevents, for example, presidents with a deeply minority vote. It keeps us from engaging in runoffs like we’ve seen recently in Austria and Italy and France that further scramble and weaken the two parties.

 

Wow. Just wow.

Did you even consider he might be referring to a Political Minority in this statement?

 

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The way he is talking about our existing two-party system is not in touch with reality. He seems to be claiming that a two-party system results in politicians being more willing to work across the aisle and move towards the center. Which is completely untrue considering that both parties have become more polarized than ever. He says the that problem with third parties is that they represent a single issue and very narrow ideologies, and yet we have seen a lot of major party candidates become popular in recent years because of a hardline stance on a single issue. He warns against third parties that are "based around simply the idea of blowing up the existing system" but hasn't this election been defined by the rise of anti-establishment candidates (within the two major parties) who want to blow up the existing system to some degree?

 

I do agree that in our current system it would be very hard for third parties to rise up. But if we moved Congress or state houses to a proportional representation or field race type of scenario (another idea discussed in the podcast), we could easily get more third party candidates in office in a way that would not destabilize our entire political system as Rove suggested. And I think it would result in more people being represented better, more moderate voices, and politicians being more willing to work together. It would be much tougher to change the way we elect Governors or the President, though, so third parties will probably never have a chance there.

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But isn't a large reason for the stasis we've been experiencing in Washington the increasingly fringe candidates who are making their way into office? With the way that our congressional districts are gerrymandered, we get candidates who must appeal to the most extreme constituents of their parties to even get past the primaries, and they bring these extreme positions to congress thinking that they have a mandate to enact the changes that the small echo chamber of support is clamoring for back home.  Wouldn't smaller parties with more specific platforms only exacerbate this problem? We're at a point now where third parties are really more absorbed into the two main parties, which should, in theory, lead to moderation. You see this both on the left with the Greens/Democratic Socialists and on the right with the Tea Party and Co. both swaying the dominant parties, while not highjacking the platform altogether (though the TP is coming damn close to doing so).  I think America is at its healthiest when the Republicans and Democrats have similar overall visions for the country, but different tactics for achieving said visions.  If we had a bunch of parties operating, we'd have so many competing visions for the future of the country that it would inevitably lead to discord and feelings of powerlessness by those not holding a majority.  In the system we have now, we at least give the fringe liberals and conservatives an opportunity to influence policy in the dominant party. 

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In theory, third parties sound great.  In practice, they tend to be fringe groups who only widen the political aisle

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But let's say you have a significant number of Green Party members in congress. They might be extreme, hard-line on environmental issues but quite moderate on other issues. I don't see how it's any more polarizing than the Tea Party for example.

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Any more polarizing than the Tea Party?  What could be more polarizing than the Tea Party?  It's entire purpose is to polarize politics

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My point is that the Tea Party managed to exist in a two-party system by taking over the Republican Party. Yet Rove says that two-party is more stable and encourages centrism while third parties encourage polarization.

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Again, in theory third parties shouldn't work like that.  But in practice they do.  Have you looked at the Green Party's Platform?

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WED OCT 5, 2016

 

Indiana: Police Raid Voter Registration Office

 

In Indiana, state police have raided Indiana’s largest voter registration office. The Intercept reports nearly a dozen police officers searched the Indianapolis offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project, seizing multiple computers and workers’ personal cellphones. The police say the search is related to an ongoing investigation into possible voter registration fraud. But organizers say the operation was an attack on voter registration efforts in the Republican-controlled state.

 

http://m.democracynow.org/headlines/2016/10/5/46647

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^ The gist of of it is that the organization was routinely completing and/or fixing incomplete/incorrect applications that others had filled out. So if you filled out a registration form with them, but put the wrong zip code or didn't put your phone number, or put information in the wrong box, etc., they were adding/fixing it later before sending them in to the state. This is obviously illegal, and they should have known better.

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^ The gist of of it is that the organization was routinely completing and/or fixing incomplete/incorrect applications that others had filled out. So if you filled out a registration form with them, but put the wrong zip code or didn't put your phone number, or put information in the wrong box, etc., they were adding/fixing it later before sending them in to the state. This is obviously illegal, and they should have known better.

 

Doesn't sound like fraud to me.  Are you suggesting people should not be allowed to vote because they messed up a form?  Or if they don't have a phone?  And if someone corrects errors on a FAFSA application, for example, would that also be "obviously illegal?"

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^ The gist of of it is that the organization was routinely completing and/or fixing incomplete/incorrect applications that others had filled out. So if you filled out a registration form with them, but put the wrong zip code or didn't put your phone number, or put information in the wrong box, etc., they were adding/fixing it later before sending them in to the state. This is obviously illegal, and they should have known better.

 

Doesn't sound like fraud to me.  Are you suggesting people should not be allowed to vote because they messed up a form?  Or if they don't have a phone?  And if someone corrects errors on a FAFSA application, for example, would that also be "obviously illegal?"

 

If you fill out a legal document and sign it, and then someone changes information on it later, that invalidates said document. If this group was finding mistakes on forms, they should have been contacting the individuals who made the mistakes instead of attempting to correct them on their own. Apparently they got a lot of their "corrections" wrong, as well, which will actually disenfranchise the very voters they were trying to register.

 

What if someone 'corrected' an error in your FAFSA form but got the info wrong? Would you be happy when you show up to school and find out you can't stay because your checks were sent to the wrong place?

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Your original description suggested that the corrections were valid.  Regardless of whether your accountant screws up your tax forms, or you screw them up yourself, your underlying tax obligation is the same.  It exists independent of the paperwork.  But you seem to be suggesting that the right to vote is different, that is it premised entirely on red tape.

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The problem is that signed documents were being changed by a third party after the fact. I don't understand why anyone is okay with that in any context. The only reason I can think of in this specific example is that Democrats have no problem doing illegal things if it gets them more votes.

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^Go back and read what your justices said about it in Bush v. Gore.  Overly strict interpretations of the constitutional text (that method which disappears when the 2nd Amendment is in play) allow for the conclusion that voting is a privilege, not a fundamental right.  Under current precedent established by 5-4 decisions of the Court, states can restrict that privilege, so long as they don't do so based on race, gender, etc.  I suspect that precedent is going to be overturned once Garland is confirmed on November 9

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How are justices divided between yours and mine or however you meant that. I don't understand what an "overly strict interpretation" is. It would naturally seem that voting is both a right and also a privilege, at least in a non-legal, informal sense, but how does one preclude the other? And how does that translate into someone not believing that voting is a right and preventing anyone who is legally entitled to vote from voting?

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I don't know, you're the constitutional scholar, right? Tell me! So what are you saying now, there is no explicit right? So then there is no problem with someone to believe it is not a right.  :wtf:

 

and how can Judge Garland be confirmed the day after the election (assuming the worst case scenario) without hearings?

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I don't read the constitution that way.  I don't need it to explicitly say that I can own a handgun even if I am not in a well regulated militia, for me to believe that I have the right to own a handgun.  Nor do I need it to explicitly say that I have a right to vote for me to believe that my right to vote is an outgrowth of my fundamental right to freedom of expression.  Nor do I need it to say that gay people can marry for me to believe that gay people have a fundamental right to marry. 

 

It might not be the day after, but watch how fast Garland is confirmed after Hillary wins.  Hell, if the Senate Republicans didn't think it might cost them congressional seats on election day, they would confirm him right now.

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South Carolina officials are extending the deadline to register to vote in this fall's elections due to Hurricane Matthew... Florida will not

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I don't read the constitution that way.  I don't need it to explicitly say that I can own a handgun even if I am not in a well regulated militia, for me to believe that I have the right to own a handgun.

 

 

 

I'm glad the Constitution protects my right to own laser guns.

 

 

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