Reforming Election Administration

I have been reading and thinking about Prof. Spencer Overton’s book, Stealing Democracy (see link at left) and what it may take to overcome some of the problems this nation has with voting and elections. To be sure, many of the problems we seem to be “experiencing” are not new, but merely have been highlighted since 2000’s Bush v. Gore debacle and subsequent efforts at reform.

But even with laws like Help America Vote Act, we still have many problems, problems that can be solved with a little common sense and some good non-partisan legislation. To that end, there needs to be a two prong approach to changing the way we think about and operate our elections, both federal and state. These legisaltive efforts will require work at both the federal and the state level.

Federal Action
Contrary to popular belief there is no federal right to vote in this country. Election law and constitutional law scholars know this, but not very many average citizens. Sure, most may know about a couple of constitutional amendments about voting, but there is no constitutional grant of a right to vote--only negatives. For example, the 15th Amendment states the right to vote shall not be abridged on account of race. The 19th Amendment says the right can't be abridged on the basis of sex and the 26th Amendment says that the right to vote for citizens age 18 or older shall not be abridged. Many people think these amendments gave the named groups the right to vote and perhaps they did. But those of us who are at least 18 and are white men have no affirmative grant of a right to vote in the U.S. Constitution.

Furthermore, the much balleyhooed Voting Rights Act does not grant anyone the right to vote. Rather, the law prevents states from denying people the right to vote through changes in the state's election laws. Implicitly, the Voting Rights Act assumes there is a state provided right to vote, yet there remains no affirmative grant of a voting right in federal law.

Time has come to address this matter. At the very minimum, Congress could enact legislation giving every U.S. Citizen, over age of 18, the right to vote with a few caveats. The Federal Right to Vote Act, would positively grant, consistent with previously mentioned amendments, the right for all U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections and the elections of the state in which they live.

Now before all the cheering begins, I would like to have a few things included in this law that are just as important. First, in order to register to vote, a person would need to prove their citizenship. The right to vote has always been the hallmark of citizenship. Citizenship can be based on birthright, that is if you are born in the United States or to two American citizens overseas, you are a citizen. Naturalization is rather easy to prove since documentation is given at the time of the swearing in ceremony. The federal law should also provide that once a person is registered in one place to vote, they merely would need to show that registration to another state to have that registration transferred.

Second, in conjunction with the proof of citizenship, proof of identity would be needed at the time of voting. Voter ID is a contentious issue and I can understand the arguments for and against the concept. However, when coupled with a federal right to vote, guaranteed by law, I don't believe that requiring voter ID at the time of voting is too high a price to pay. The presentation of one's voting registration card would be required before entering the voting booth. Obviously the voter registration card would have to be provided by the state at no cost, since a fee for the voter registration card could be considered a poll tax and therefore violative of the 24th Amendment.

Presentation of ID and proof of citizenship to register to vote seem to be small prices to pay for a federally guaranteed right to vote. When backed up with the Voting Rights Act and the HAVA, a Right to Vote Act would ensure that there are no barriers to voting for American citizens who take some small measure of time to exercise the most important right--that of the sovereign franchise.

State Actions
Actually, what I envision is a combination of state action and the work of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), the people who brought the Uniform Commerical Code and dozens of other uniform state laws, ranging from uniform adoption laws to wage withholding laws, can help bring about a Uniform State Election Administration Law (USEAL) that will eliminate the patchwork of election laws within and between states. Designed to work in conjunction with a federal Right to Vote Act, the USEAL would provide a number of standardized sets of legislative language that would keep election administration in the hands of the states, thus preserving the Constitutional order of elections, but also giving a great deal of commonality across state lines, to ensure the same election laws apply to the entire population.

The rationale for USEAL is that many of the election administration issues facing our country are common to all states. Issues such as ballot design, voting machine technology, recount procedures, early voting, absentee ballots, felon re-enmfranchisement, and other matters are questions that impact all states. A uniform law that governs these matters, with options for states to incorporate differences such as voting technology (optical scan versus touch screen voting, for example) can provide a great deal of consistency.

Some of the features that I envision in USEAL:

  • Standards for ballot design, to avoid the fiasco of Florida's infamous butterfly ballot, and to firmly place ballot design into the state administrative law arena so that changes to ballot design could be subject to notice and comment regulations and testing prior to implementation.
  • Rules for choosing, purchasing, using and security of voting technology, as well as standardized training procedures for poll workers. USEAL should include optional language for different voting machine technologies that states can choose, with some differences to deal with the different technology.
  • Procedures for the administration of absentee ballots for overseas voters, and for those who will not be able to vote on election day, such as rules for early voting, voting by mail, or other method of casting ballots.
  • Clearly delineated procedures and practices for initial counts and recounts, including what standards to use for different technologies, time frames for machine recounts, hand recounts, and certification. Given the debate around such issues, having the NCCUSL research and write on this matter alone will give a certain credibility to how votes are counted in this country.
  • Rules for felon re-enfranchisement. While the law would require the re-enfranchisement of all felons at teh completion of their sentence, some options would be available for enfranchisement of felons at their release from prison, their completion of probation, or while on probation or parole, or upon completion of their entire sentence including prison time and parole. Upon petition to the court a reinstatemtn of their right to vote would be granted and furhter registration procedures can take place.
  • Methods for creation of a non-partisan, professional election administration organization on a statewide level, with responsibilities to include training of poll workers, standards for intrastate administration of elections and other matters that should be administered in a non-partisan fashion to make elecitons as fair as possible.
  • Clearly delineated and easily followed rules for getting initiatives and referenda on the ballot
  • Rules and procedures for challenging voters, candidates and initiatives/referenda and methods for deciding such cases, such that courts can follow a clearly defined standard, providing consistency in judgments.
This is clearly not a complete list, and I have faith that the NCCUSL, a non-partisan group, can fill out the list with necessary topics. But I believe this list covers most of the major contentions currently littering our election administration landscape.

One matter that should not be included is governmental structures. For example, the USEAL should not say how a county council is elected, whether through at-large districts, or by geographic districts or a combination of the two, whether cumulative voting will be used or not, etc. These are matters than can, and should, be decided by the electorate through the normal legislative process. The purpose of USEAL is to provide for how elections should be administered, not the structure of the government.

Conclusion
Elections, as we all know, are the foundations of our democratic republic. Without properly functioning elections, the legitimacy of government can and should be called into question. Yet for a nation that proclaims itself to be an exporter of democracy, we do a very poor job administering our own elections and our legitimacy as a world democracy can rightly be questioned. By incorporating a federal right to vote and uniform state election administration practices, we can adhere to our Constitutional principals, avoid questions of legitimacy and provide for free, fair elections with laws geared to making sure that no voter is denied the right to vote or have their vote counted.

Posted by Matt Johnston at October 9, 2006 8:29 AM
Comments
Comment #187094

There is too much voter fraud.
Just ask the people of Ohio, Florida, etc.
Every voter should receive a unique number that can be used to look up and verify their votes (e.g. in newspapers or internet).

Also, government is FOR SALE.
Incumbent politicians will never pass laws to limit campaign contributions. 83% of all ($2.4 billion in 2004) federal election campaign donations come from a mere 0.15% of all eligible voters. 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money. This is not democracy. It’s a scam. Incumbent politicians are bought-and-paid-for, so there is no mystery why incumbent politicians carry the water for their big-money-donor-puppeteers.

Also, there’s no good form of voter identification. Voter fraud is rampant in some places. Illegal aliens are voting in our elections. The government will not enforce existing laws. Government is FOR SALE, slumbering voters allow it (even empower it), and all of that irresponsibility is why our pressing problems continue to grow in number and severity.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 9, 2006 9:46 AM
Comment #187098

d.a.n. said This is not democracy.


You’re right this is not democracy.
It is a representative republic. Scam may be harsh and improper wording. Problems? Yes. However,limiting contributions limit speech. Get it?
Who are you to decide how much I can spend promoting
who I’d like to see elected?

Posted by: VOR at October 9, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #187110

Matt,

I like this post. Of course, the topic of proving your identify (and by extension your citizenship) is the heart of the disgreement between Left and Right on this issue.

I tend to part with my colleagues on the Left as I have come to realize that the only satisfactory solution is a national identify card, issued by the states and on behalf of the Federal govt. Proposals like showing a driver’s license, etc. fall apart when we look at how people would be affected. And a national identify card would have to be phased in over a very long period of time — I anticipate at least a decade — before it would be a requirement for voting. I know many on the Left (and the liberarians on the right) will disagree with me, but to me it is the ace that trumps all other debate on how to hold a fair election.

Posted by: Steve k at October 9, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #187111

Voter “photo” ID’s should be required in order to vote; that would certainly help reduce with voter fraud. Yet, to have no voter fraud at all would be next to impossible; too many people to monitor.


By the way, our “Representative Republic” is voted in Democratically.

Posted by: rahdigly at October 9, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #187116

Matt, excellent topic, but a clear and blatant error in its content. You write: “Contrary to popular belief there is no federal right to vote in this country.”

You could not be more wrong! The 15th Amendment clarifies that voting is a right granted by the federal government which shall not be abridged by the states, as Congress shall have the power to enforce the right declared in the 15th Amendment.

The Amendment states:

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 9, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #187122

David,

Matt’s post points out that Constitutional language like the 15th Amendment refer to conditions under which the right to vote cannot be taken away, not that it is a guarantee of the right to vote. The 15th Amendment is a good case. The Southern States could not say Blacks could note vote because they are Black (the Amendment prohibits that). So the states came up with Literacy tests (not addressed by the constitution). And they passed the constutitional test for some time.

Posted by: Steve K at October 9, 2006 11:41 AM
Comment #187125

Steve K, no, you are wrong. The 15th Amendment clearly states the “The right of citizens of the United States to vote…”

This is as clear a statement that the voting is a right. Want a common sense test of this? Try denying the citizens of any state in this Union the right to vote on any other condition such as State authority. The people have defined this right as theirs and no state dare deprive of them of this right. Insurrection would surely follow.

That is common sense, the kind of which Thomas Paine was famous for.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 9, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #187126

VOR,
83% of all federal campaign donations ($200 or more) come from a mere 0.15% of all eligible voters. So, unless you are rich and making large donations, your donations are meaningless. Incumbent politicians are beholding to their big-money donors. NOT you.

VOR wrote: Yes. However,limiting contributions limit speech. Get it? Who are you to decide how much I can spend promoting who I’d like to see elected?
VOR, Obviously you are not aware of the Supreme Court rulings. The Supreme Court has already ruled that campaign donations can NOT be eliminated, but limits CAN be placed on campaign donations. But, according to your philosophy, that’s exactly what you promote. So, to use your own words … So who are you to say how it is supposed to be? Get it?
VOR wrote: You’re right this is not democracy. It is a representative republic.
VOR, Wrong again. We have a democratic republic, because we elect those representatives. Therefore, it is a mixture.
VOR wrote: Scam may be harsh and improper wording. Problems? Yes.
No, it’s a scam. Incubment politicians like things just the way they have perverted them. Can you name 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 268 (of 535) responsible incumbent politicians? Look here first. Congress is a culture of corruption and looking the other way. Plain and simple, and I can fill volumes to prove it. The other half of the problem is slumbering voters that keep re-electing them. Democrat voters are afraid to vote for non-incumbents because they are afraid Republicans will gain seats. Republican voters are afraid to vote for non-incumbents because they are afraid Democrats will gain seats. The end result is what we have now: Congress has a 90% re-election rate (98% in the House). Irresponsible incumbents got it all figured out. They like it just they way they have perverted it, and they won’t ever pass any common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms voluntarily, that may even remotely reduce their power, their opportunities for self-gain, or reduce the security of the cu$hy, coveted seats. Incubments always out-number newcomers, so nothing ever changes, but grows worse, and incumbents will never voluntarily vote for election reforms. Thus, government is FOR SALE, and 83% of all campaign donations ($200 or more) from a mere 0.15% of all 200 million eligible voters proves it. Posted by: d.a.n at October 9, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #187128

I was thinking exactly what David Remer just wrote while I was reading this article. He’s absolutely correct.
As for reforming our elections, that goal clearly isn’t going to be met by the Republican Party — for they’ve had a lot of time to rectify this bad situation, but have done nothing at all.
HAVA was a ruse that was used to make the states switch over to computerized electronic voting machines, nothing more. And since they aren’t trustworthy, they’ve made our elections worse, rather than more efficient, fair and accountable.
It seems as though reform will only come from the Left side of the aisle. Perhaps we’ll see it — if they can actually manage to get a majority elected to Congress, that is.

Very nice to see an article on this topic in the red column.
Good on you for writing it, Matt Johnston!

Posted by: Adrienne at October 9, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #187137

David,

Let us assume for a moment that you are correct in your interpretation of the 15th Amendment. Why then would women, who were clearly citizens in the United States prior to the 19th Amendment, need a special amendment to grant them the right to vote. Some states had the right for women and some did not.

The problem with voting rights, without a federally granted right, is that such rights are dependent upon state action, that is the state conferring the right to vote upon some group. For example, while citizens over the age of 18 cannot be denied the vote, there is no prohibition upon a state lowering the voting age to 16 (there may other concerns with doing so, but no constitutional bar to doing so).

The Framers may have contemplated a federal voting right, but perhaps due to states’ rights concerns or a desire to keep the federal government small, or because states already had mechanisms in place to handle voting registration, the Framers decided not to include a federal right to vote. This oversight needs to be corrected.

D.A.N.,

While I admire you consistency in message, this post has nothing to do with campaign finance, a government for sale or anything to do with money. Rather, if you read carefully, you will not see any reference to campaigns for government. I am suggesting solutions to clean up some of the stupidity and incompetence in election administration by amending the rules.

While I routinely post about campaign finance, this is not one of those times.

Posted by: Matt Johnston at October 9, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #187142

This is the trouble you get into when you get too literal. As everybody knows, a negated negation is a positive. Not denying a right or not abridging a right means making somebody’s right undenied and unabridged.

If you’ll notice, later amendments affirm that right in other directions.

Another reason that such an argument doesn’t work has something to do with the wording of the original bill of rights:

The First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

All those statements are negatives: Congress shall make no law to do this, this or that. Instead of just saying, “You have the right to free speech, press, assembly and to petition for the redress of greivances”, the constitution merely tells Congress to butt out.

We don’t need explicitly spelled out voting rights just yet. If you’re willing to do a little interpretation, the rights are there as a logical consequence of the other rights.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 9, 2006 12:11 PM
Comment #187147

Matt Johnson,

Above, I addressed three things related to your article:

  • (1) voter identification

  • (2) the right to vote

  • (3) voter fraud

  • (4) and campaign finance and the Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance

I included campaign finanace reform because it is related. Everything in your article is somewhat futile without ever addressing one of the core issues that is undermining the entire election process. Much of it is futile with out also addressing excessive money in politics, which is making it rotten to the core.

So, I beleive that I have done pretty damn well in abiding by the Rules of Participation, by addressing those things above and campaign finance is closely related and has a huge influence on elections.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 9, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #187154

Matt-
Your argument fails to take into account the real-world behavior of Governments. Our rights in America, particularly those we cherish most, are defined by what the government cannot do.

The government is explicitly barred in the first amendment from legislation interfering with religions, positively or negatively, or making laws that interfere with free expression. The right to bear arms is affirmed by a negation of its abridgement. The Fourth amendment negates unwarranted searches, and sets a standard that the authorities are required to rise above to do searches and seizures.

Most rights are affirmed in this manner, and for good reason: these amendments are about the power of congress to do as they please. The point is not to simply declare the right, but to guard it against our own government’s actions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 9, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #187156

Steve K, no, you are wrong. The 15th Amendment clearly states the “The right of citizens of the United States to vote…”

Continues:

“shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

The way I read that, it means it can be denied for other reasons.

Posted by: Steve K at October 9, 2006 12:46 PM
Comment #187177

If the right doesn’t exist, it can’t be denied.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 9, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #187185

Well, you know, I guess Matt has a point about the right to vote. At first, the text of the 15th Amendment seemed clear to me, but to be sure, I went and read some relevant parts of the Constitution. Most of us already realize that we don’t directly elect presidents. The language about electing congressmen isn’t as explicit as I’d like.

Here’s an excerpt from a discussion of the issue:

Most Americans believe that the “legal right to vote” in our democracy is explicit (not just implicit) in our Constitution and laws. However, our Constitution only provides explicitly for non-discrimination in voting on the basis of race, sex, and age in the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments respectively.

Even though the “vote of the people” is perceived as supreme in our democracy - because voting rights are protective of all other rights - Justice Scalia in Bush v. Gore constantly reminded Al Gore’s lawyers that there is no explicit or fundamental right to suffrage in the Constitution. The Supreme Court majority concluded: “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.” (Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104 (2000))

Voting in the United States is based on the constitutional principle of states’ rights. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the State, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Since the word “vote” appears in the Constitution only with respect to non-discrimination, the so-called right to vote is a “state right.” Only a constitutional amendment would give every American an individual affirmative citizenship right to vote.

Here’s the whole article.

Wonderful. Something else to friggin’ worry about.

Posted by: Trent at October 9, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #187197
Trent wrote: Wonderful. Something else to friggin’ worry about.
HA Ha ha ha. No kiddin’ Just when you think things can’t get worse. Especially lately, with Congress trying to grab more power, trying to block access for third parties to ballots, trying to make their incumbencies ever more secure, resisting term limits, resisting election reforms, campaign finance reforms, gerrymandering, voting machines with no way for voters to verify their votes, bought-and-paid-for incumbents peddling influence, looing the other way, and lacking almost completely of any peer pressure to behave responsibly.

Well, fortunately, I think too many Americans (at least the 121 million that vote (of the 200 million eligible voters) would not tolerate their right to vote being removed.

However, with so much voter fraud, that right is being surreptitiously removed. The cleverly deceptive thing about this strategy of small scale voter fraud is that it is just enough to secure the desired results without eliminating the right to vote. All that may be needed is to simply throw a few districts. People will bitch and complain (like in Ohio and Florida), but to no avail.

With some elections as close as we have seen, voting fraud is a serious matter. So, what ever happened in Ohio? The whole thing seems to have been forgotten. But, then, the congress person in charge of getting to the bottom of it had the third worst record in Congress for even showing up to vote … so, for Rep. John Conyers, voting may not be very important. Just pay it lip service, and wait for it to be forgotten.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 9, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #187198

Matt, that was then, this is now. Our system provides that where there is ambiguity in either the Constitution, or the laws that emanate from it, (i.e. legislation), that the Supreme Court shall resolve such ambiguities.

Case after case of court precedent has established that citizens have a right to vote. The courts have also established that the states may for certain proscribed reasons or untested reasons not already decided by the courts, deny voting for very specific reasons such as criminal activity, or other activities which abrogate one’s entitlement or right to vote, such as treason or espionage for a foreign power.

That is what makes our system elastic and capable of surviving centuries of change which the founding fathers could not possibly have envisioned. This is also what critics want to label as judicial activism whenever such rulings don’t favor their cause.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 9, 2006 1:54 PM
Comment #187202

Trent, no need to worry, see my comment above to Matt. What is not in the Constitution, is in precedence of court rulings. Our right to vote is firmly established.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 9, 2006 1:57 PM
Comment #187208

David,

From my earlier post:

“The Supreme Court majority concluded: “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.” (Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104 (2000))”

Presumably this was used to help the Supremes get Bush in office.

Posted by: Trent at October 9, 2006 2:31 PM
Comment #187217

Trent, the Constitution treats election of the President differently than election of Congress, notably, the electoral college.

That said, like I said earlier, try taking the vote for president away from citizens in any state of this union. You will have insurrection. It is a right because the people have declared it so, whether lawmakers have or not.

That is what I call the Thomas Paine Common Sense test.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 9, 2006 2:54 PM
Comment #187218

Interesting post, Matt!

I belive the key word in the 15th amendment is the word CITIZEN,. One must be a citizen to vote in the elections. Therefore, illegal anyones have no right to vote.

Amendments 13,14, 15,19 and 26 are the ones giving citizenship to Blacks, women, Native American Indians and teenagers over 18.

I detest the idea of of voter I.D.s. That’s why I carry a voter registration card with me. It’s mine and I’m proud of it. A national ID card makes it too easy for an unscrupulous government to obtain to much power.

Trent ,
It’s things like your last post that raise the hackles under my skin..
That’s another reason to NOT support a National ID. Currently the HIgh Court wants to make Laws,rather than interpret them.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 9, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #187223

BTW - if Driver licenses can be forged, how of earth would one make an ID that would be safe - let alone correct. False birth certifics are a dime a dozen these days.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 9, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #187227

David, in general, I don’t disagree with you. If you tell Americans they can’t vote, riots would ensue. However, when we start getting into arcane court rulings, it could be very different matter. I haven’t done the research to know what importance the SC ruling on a federal right to vote had in declaring Bush the victor, but surely you agree there is at least potential danger.

Posted by: Trent at October 9, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #187236

The only form of IDentification that is difficult to falsify is biometrics.
But the distrust of government to not abuse that information is understandable.
However:

  • the government already as a great deal of information about us (e.g. Social Security number, drivers’ license number, name, address, telephone, a password, mother’s maiden name, gender, birthdate, height, weight, eye color, etc., etc., etc.), and they don’t protect it very well either

  • with biometrics, that becomes less of a problem, since biometrics are only useful to the owner; people essentially become their very own unique ID card.

  • we are suffering more problems due to the fastest growing crime in the U.S.: identity theft ; some are being devastated by identity theft and there’s is little that can be done about it.

  • some one stealing our identity can be as serious and detrimental as the possible abuses by government

  • biometrics would make it more difficult for know criminals and terrorists to move about among us undetected

  • biometrics offer the following benefits and uses:
    • drivers licenses

    • pass ports, visas

    • voting, voter IDentification

    • banks, credit cards, checking, check writing, ATMs

    • office buildings, work areas

    • time-in/time-out (e.g. similar to time cards)

    • access to homes, apartments

    • access to public airlines, mass transit systems

    • access to public buildings, courts, hospitals, etc.

    • access to public and private buildings

    • access to public and private schools, universities

    • access to laboratories

    • access to storage / supply / inventory rooms

    • access to safes

    • access to medical information

    • access to personal information / property

    • access to secret, classified, proprietary information

    • access to computer systems

    • access to weapons and weapon systems

    • access to vehicles, machines, instruments

    • access to any area where restricted access is required

    • pilot licenses, law-enforcement licenses, medical licenses, etc.

    • tracking non-citizens with expired visas

    • tracking criminals

    • tracking repeat offenders trespassing national borders illegally

Also, any decent biometrics system should utilize 3 (or more) biometrics and an optional password. The password can’t be changed without the 3 (or more biometrics:
following:

  • [01] iris scan

  • [02] fingerprint

  • [03] finger geometry

  • [04] hand geometry

  • [05] facial geometry

  • [06] eye color

  • [07] voice pattern

  • [08] retina

  • [09] hand vein geometry

  • [10] signature

  • [11] facial thermogram

  • [12] facial vein geometry

  • [13] DNA

  • [14] ear geometry

  • [15] odor

  • [16] keystroke dynamics

  • [17] height

  • [18] weight

  • [19] skin color

  • [20] age

  • [21] password(s)

Posted by: d.a.n at October 9, 2006 3:33 PM
Comment #187239

Let’s take a deep breath. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong.

(1) There is no such thing as a United States voter. We are voters of our respective states. Our right to vote is a right is a state right, not a Federal right.

(2) The Constitution requires but one type of election: U.S. House of Representatives who are elected by state voters.

(3) Amendments over the years have said to the states: if you give the right to vote to X, you cannot deny Y’s right to vote based on gender, race, age (>18Let’s take a deep breath. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong.

(1) There is no such thing as a United States voter. We are voters of our respective states. Our right to vote is a right is a state right, not a Federal right.

(2) The Constitution requires but one type of election: U.S. House of Representatives who are elected by state voters.

(3) Amendments over the years have said to the states: if you give the right to vote to X, you cannot deny Y’s right to vote based on gender, race, age (>18

(4) The state legislatures are responsible for the management of elections and respective election law. While we may think we have a Federal right to vote for president or U.S. senator, we do not. That is left to the state legislatures. However, once the legislature has established an election for any office, Federal rights prevent the legislature from limiting those who can vote in many instances.

(5) The instructive case law is an 1874 case from Missouri, Minor v. Happersett. The holding in Minor was upheld in Bush v. Gore.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 9, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #187242

Something strange is going on here… the duplications in my previous post were not my doing…. honest!

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 9, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #187260

d.a.n.


A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good).

It’s typical that you think we live in a democratic republic. Is that like the GDR? or democratic republic of the Congo?

Constitutional limits on campaign spending are wrong. A majority does not make them right…just the current interpretation. Get it now?

Why don’t you give us a stat on ALL contribution? Not just those over $200? Figures don’t work out your way then do they?

Posted by: VOR at October 9, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #187271

Dr. Poshek,
Would you mind posting the resources you used to write the post of October 9, 2006 03:37 PM?

While there doesn’t seem to be any straight definition of a US Citizen, no where can I find that one must be a STATE CITIZEN in order to
vote in a national election.
Actually I can’t find anything that says that one must be a STATE citizen to vote in a STATE election

I just did a search and this is what I discovered:
)Please note the false information given as the 14th amendment. Makes for an intesting concern re: immigration)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/citizen.htm

A citizen of the United States is a native-born, foreign-born, or naturalized person who owes allegiance to the United States and who is entitled to its protection. In addition to the naturalization process, the United States recognizes the U.S. citizenship of individuals according to two fundamental principles: jus soli, or right of birthplace, and jus sanguinis, or right of blood.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship at birth to almost all individuals born in the United States or in U.S. jurisdictions, according to the principle of jus soli. Certain individuals born in the United States, such as children of foreign heads of state or children of foreign diplomats, do not obtain U.S. citizenship under jus soli.

I also found further information from these sites:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship

Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city but now usually a country) and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen. It is largely coterminous with nationality, although it is possible to have a nationality without being a citizen (I.e., be legally subject to a state and entitled to its protection without having rights of political participation in it); it is also possible to have political rights without being a national of a state.
.
Definitions of US citizen on the Web:
http://www.igss.grads.VT.edu/definitions.htm
* A person born in the United States, or naturalized, holding a US passport.

http://www.lirs.org/InfoRes/Glossary.htm
* under the INS, a person who is born in the United States, including the lower 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands; or who become a citizen through naturalization; or who is born outside the United States to US Citizen parents under qualifying circumstances (derivative citizenship) and who has not renounced US citizenship.

According the Food Stamp Manual
305.01 Definition of U.S. Citizen (FSM)
U.S. citizens are:
http://www.dhhs.state.NH.us/FSM_HTM/newfsm.htm#305_01_definition_of_u_s__citizen_fsm.htm
• individuals born in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Swain’s Island;
• foreign-born children, under age 18, residing in the U.S. with their birth or adoptive parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization; and
• individuals granted citizenship status by Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).

Posted by: Linda H. at October 9, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #187274

VOR,

You are arguing we do not have a democratic republic? Hmmmmm. Fascinating. You seem to see everything in pure black and white. Our government has qualities of both. If you disagree, then fine. You believe what you want, because anyone arguing that with you might as well argue with a fence post.

VOR wrote: Why don’t you give us a stat on ALL contribution? Not just those over $200? Figures don’t work out your way then do they?
It still proves my point. You obviously have not done any research on it, or even bothered to read the 83% link at the top. There is ample evidence that most money comes from the wealthy. The total number of donations are small, but the vast majority of money comes from the wealthy. 83% of all ($2.4 billion in 2004) federal campaign donations ($200 or more) come from 0.15% of all 200 million eligible voters. The remaining 17% of all federal campaign donations come from a vastly larger number of people, but is a vastly smaller amount of money. Look it up if you don’t believe it.
VOR wrote: Constitutional limits on campaign spending are wrong. A majority does not make them right…just the current interpretation. Get it now?
That’s your opinion (for what it’s worth), and your opinion is in direct contrast to many Supreme Court rulings, and a multitude of cases, which has already decided many times that campaign contribution limits can be constitutionally limited, but not eliminated. Several times, the Supreme Court has ruled in many cases that reaffirmed previous holdings that limits on contributions are generally constitutional. And, there is a very good reason for that. Without limits, the wealthy can buy any election. The government will be more FOR SALE, than it already is. Don’t you read? That was already explained above. If you don’t believe it, look it up. If you disagree with it, that’s a separate, irrelevant issue.

So, in your own words, “Get it now?
If you disagree with it, then why call it mob rule? Didn’t you already previously (above) say we don’t have a democracy? Didn’t you say we have a Republic? So, which is it? Perhaps your own circular logic is confusing you?

Fortunately for us, campaign limits is not up to you alone. If it were, you would be paving the way for an elitist government, in which the wealthy would rule, letting those with vast wealth and power to have an even worse stranglehold on a government that is already FOR-SALE, and is already full of too many bought-and-paid-for, irresponsible, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 9, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #187286

Gees, trying to find the definition of one who can vote; definition of voter’; definition of US voter…to vote..etc. This is the best I can do.

Definitions of voter on the Web:

* a citizen who has a legal right to vote
wordnet.Princeton.edu/perl/webwn
* Voting is a method of decision making wherein a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. Alternatives to voting include consensus decision making (which works to avoid polarization and the marginalization of dissent) and betting (as in an anticipatory democracy).

From Wikipedia. Encylopedia OnLine
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter
* Those people who vote in an election. (See elector)

From the: The American Heritage® Dictionary
www.elections.act.gov.au/glossary.html

vote (vōt) pronunciation
n.
1. A formal expression of preference for a candidate for office or for a proposed resolution of an issue.
2. A means by which such a preference is made known, such as a raised hand or a marked ballot.
3. The number of votes cast in an election or to resolve an issue: a heavy vote in favor of the bill.
4. A group of voters alike in some way: the Black vote; the rural vote.
5. The act or process of voting: took a vote on the issue.
6. The result of an election or referendum.
**7. The right to participate as a voter; suffrage.

Just for history’s sake. An interesting article.


Just for history’s sake. An interesting article.


Posted by: Linda H. at October 9, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #187299

Sorry folks - here’s the article
id=4638”>http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?


Dr. Poshek
Enough said. Please check your facts, if you don’t mind.
Electon of President and Vice President
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelfth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Electoral_College_under_Amendment_XII

A majority of electoral votes is still required for one to be deemed elected President or Vice President. When nobody has a majority, the House of Representatives, voting by states and with the same quorum requirements as under Article II, chooses a President. The Twelfth Amendment allows the House to consider no more than three candidates, compared to five under the original constitution.
The Senate, similarly, may choose the Vice President if no candidate has received a majority of electoral votes. Its choice is limited to those with the “two highest numbers” of electoral votes. (If multiple individuals are tied for second place, the Senate may consider all of them, in addition to the individual with the greatest number of votes.) The Twelfth Amendment introduced a quorum requirement of two-thirds for the conduct of balloting. Furthermore, the Twelfth Amendment provides that the votes of a majority of Senators are required to arrive at a choice; In the case of a 50/50 tie the President of the Senate, the sitting Vice President, will cast the deciding vote.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelfth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Electoral_College_under_Amendment_XII

Direct election of Senators

Amendment XVII (the Seventeenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution proposed on May 13, 1912 and ratified on April 8, 1913 and first in effect for the election of 1914, amends Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution to provide for the direct election of Senators by the people of a state rather than their election or appointment by a state legislature. It was passed and ratified during the Progressive Era.
By 1836 all states selected their electors by direct popular vote except South Carolina, which did so only after the American Civil War. In choosing electors, most states adopted a general-ticket system in which slates of partisan electors were selected on the basis of a statewide vote. Thus, the winner of a state’s popular vote would win its entire electoral vote. Only Maine and Nebraska have chosen to deviate from this method, instead allocating electoral votes to the victor in each House district and a two-electoral-vote bonus to the statewide winner. The winner-take-all system generally favoured major parties over minor parties, large states over small states, and cohesive voting groups concentrated in large states over those that were more diffusely dispersed across the country.

Selection of Electors
Britannica Online
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-215037/electoral-college
By 1836 all states selected their electors by direct popular vote except South Carolina, which did so only after the American Civil War. In choosing electors, most states adopted a general-ticket system in which slates of partisan electors were selected on the basis of a statewide vote. Thus, the winner of a state’s popular vote would win its entire electoral vote. Only Maine and Nebraska have chosen to deviate from this method, instead allocating electoral votes to the victor in each House district and a two-electoral-vote bonus to the statewide winner. The winner-take-all system generally favoured major parties over minor parties, large states over small states, and cohesive voting groups concentrated in large states over those that were more diffusely dispersed across the country.

Because these have been so long, I leave the House for others to check.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 9, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #187302

LindaH

“That’s another reason to NOT support a National ID. Currently the HIgh Court wants to make Laws,rather than interpret them.”

Just curious, when you say “currently” how far back would you go? Would you consider Roe v. Wade as making law rather than interpreting it?

Posted by: Keith at October 9, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #187329

Yes, it’s true- D.A.N. is relentlessly on-message, especialy regarding anti-incumbency. But bless my eyes if D.A.N. did not write AN ENTIRE POST without the word “incumbent” appearing even once! You people accosting D.A.N., back off!!! D.A.N. is the M.A.N.!

Matt,
Tremendous, thought-provoking post. Many thought provoking responses, as well. Just one concern. I realize that it’s very partisan. Seeing how the House and Senate have just “clarified” the Geneva conventions, can you imagine the truly awe-inspiring pile of crap that would likely be handed down by them in their “clarification” of voter’s rights ?

Posted by: Steve Miller at October 9, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #187339

Trying again for that Article

http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4638

sorry for the link!

Posted by: Linda H. at October 9, 2006 11:54 PM
Comment #187346

Linda H.: As I cited in my posting earlier, the case law citations are to Minor v Happersett (88US162) and Bush v Gord (531US98) and by shepherdizing these cases, you can find every case on the subject;

You can, as well, refer to Articles I, II, & IV of the U.S. Constitution and the relevant Amendments — of course, you will have to return to the case law to learn what those constitutional provisions mean;

For recent discussions of the issue see: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/09/21/no_right_to_vote/ and
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060206/jackson
I am certain there are many popular articles on the subject (I think even Wikipedia has an article on suffrage). However, my earlier posting is based on original authorities: the Constitution and relevant case law.

A close reading of the two articles, cited above, reveal an incomplete (though, generally correct) understanding of the law. Hence, I recommend you limit your studies to original authorities.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 10, 2006 1:15 AM
Comment #187463

Interesting. Much of what you say is true but the Founding Fathers never envisioned private balleting. It was not until the early part of the 20th century that the private or Austrailian ballet was begun. Prior to that the community (precinct or ward) would gather on election day, drink, debate and at the end of the day gather into lots to be counted by the supervisor of voting. To the left for Ralph and to the right of Fred. Article 1, Section 4 of the constitution states “The times, places and manner of the election, for senators and representives, shall be prescribed in each State by the legisature thereof: But the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations,!!!!! Two things are specifically state in this section elections will take place and each state is responsible for its elections. For most of our history the Feds have stayed out of elections, in the 1960’s congress passed the voting rights act. A good law that corrected a problem that exsisted in many areas of this country not just the south. The law is not with out flaws but for the most part is ok.
Voting was never ment to be easy, it is a great responsiblility. Several things need to be done, the least of which is a uniform voting system, leave it to the states. You need to prove citizenship, prove ID and go get to the polls. I personnel feel that ex felons should not be allowed to vote but again it is up to the state.
I do believe that each state should have a uniform system of voting within the state, same type or form of voting, not by county. I am almost to the point to have a tax for not voting. As for campaign financing I am utterly opposed to public financing, I want to keep pols as far away from tax money as possible. I think umlimited contribution with reporting on who and amount within 24 hours so I can make a decision as to who I think is in whose pocket. It interesting to note that in the last election cycle the Democrat party has a higher per contributor than did the Republican party.

CI

Posted by: Charles Pierce at October 10, 2006 4:18 PM
Comment #187465
Steve Miller wrote: Seeing how the House and Senate have just “clarified” the Geneva conventions, can you imagine the truly awe-inspiring pile of crap that would likely be handed down by them in their “clarification” of voter’s rights ?
Steve Miller, Yes, an awe-inspiring pile of crap. Actually frightening! Fortunately, the danger of losing the right-to-vote is not as immediate as the ability to get an accurate vote-count. Neither party seems very interested in voter fraud. But, without any reliable form of voter identification, what can be done? So, removing our right-to-vote is not necessary, when it is easier to simply undermine it with some selective voter fraud. With voting machines that don’t give the voter a unique number (with which to verify their votes), voting machines are an ideal target for voter fraud. And, there seems to be no recourse for lost votes or fraudulent vote-counts. The disregard shown by both parties and the main-stream media for the serious questions and concerns about how private companies count our votes is very suspicious. Ohio was a swing state, but Kerry conceded before the count was complete? Why?

In 2004, Bush got and extra 3,893 votes due to a computer error (in one precinct in Franklin County, Ohio).
The Ohio recount team assigned to Greene County were in process of recording voting information from minority precincts, when they were stopped in mid-count by a surprise order from Secretary of State Blackwell’s office that made all voter records for the state of Ohio, private and no longer considered “public records.”

Note the following. Incumbent presidents almost never make a miracle comeback in opposition to the polls. For example:

  • 1956 Eisenhower’s final projection 59.5%, his actual vote total 57.8%

  • 1964: Johnson’s final projection 64%, his actual share of the vote 61.3%

  • In 1972 Nixon’s final projection tally 62%, his actual vote total 61.8%

  • In 1976 Ford’s final projection number 49%, his % share of the vote 48.1%

  • In 1980, Carter’s final horse projection numer 44%, his real % of the vote 41%

  • In 1984 Reagan final projection tally 59%, his real share of the popular vote 59.2%.

  • In 1996 Clinton’s final projection tally was 52%, his actual share of the vote 49.2%

  • In 2004, Bush’s and Kerry’s final project was about even at 48%)
So, how did Bush end up with 51% ?
Well, I suppose the polls could be wrong. However, it is an interesting out-of-the-norm result.

It appears that the voters have lost their oversight of the vote-counting process. As with many things, nore transparency is needed. If every voter received a unique number recorded with their vote, they could look up their votes (i.e. on the internet and/or news paper, etc.). Without that, there’s no way for any voter to verify their vote. Those intent on comitting voter fraud know this, and can easily exploit it. Especially with private companies providing the voting machines.

The problem with getting any kind of election reforms is the same problem with getting any badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms through an irresponsible, corrupt, do-nothing Congress. It’s funny how Congress can vote themselves a raise or some cu$hy perk$ in a heart-beat, but can never pass any common-sense, no-brainer reforms, if they may even remotely reduce their power, their opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of power.

At any rate, it’s probably safe to say that something is terribly wrong in Ohio, and that is not the only place where significant voter fraud occurred.

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” (Communist Tyrant and mass murderer: Josef Stalin)

P.S. Thanks!

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #187491

Dr. Poshek

RE:Hence, I recommend you limit your studies to original authorities.

I took your advice. Most of my sites are from Law Schools,and our US Constitution, not individual case law, which is subject to individual interpretation.
I obviously differ with you and the two sites you listed. I’ll grant you one thing, you have made me work for this information. Not such a bad thing. Sorry it is so long.

You are “sort of” correct( in a stretch-the-point sort of way) re: the Right to Vote - However the states do not grant this right to the US citizens - they merely draw up the qualitficatiions. That’s scary when you think about it - each state can make its’s on decision about WHO can Vote…
Case law is a decision based on other law in order to try to BEST determine the Meaning of a law.

http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.HTML#vote

Note that in all of this, though, the Constitution never explicitly ensures the right to vote, as it does the right to speech, for example. This is precisely why so many amendments have been needed over time - the qualifications for voters are left to the states. And as long as the qualifications do not conflict with anything in the Constitution, that right can be withheld.

As far as the RTV is concerned I still maintain that it is an unspoken right,just as the right to privacy is an assumed right. What other reason was there for our Forefathers to have gone to such detail about how the voting process is to be handled, let alone include in our Constitution.

As for the Bush v. Gore - I believe our Constitution addresses the manner in which a non-majority President is to be elected. I am unable to find anything anywhere that states the Supreme Court should make that decision. That is the point of the Democrats who argue the election of Bush. He could have won fair and square had the LAWS of our Country been enforced.

May I repeat\recommend for your further reading:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Article II of our US Constitution, as well as Amendments 12 and 17 which speak to these issues.

http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/citizen.htm

A citizen of the United States is a native-born, foreign-born, or naturalized person who owes allegiance to the United States and who is entitled to its protection. In addition to the naturalization process, the United States recognizes the U.S. citizenship of individuals according to two fundamental principles: jus soli, or right of birthplace, and jus sanguinis, or right of blood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship

Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city but now usually a country) and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen. It is largely coterminous with nationality, although it is possible to have a nationality without being a citizen (I.e., be legally subject to a state and entitled to its protection without having rights of political participation in it); it is also possible to have political rights without being a national of a state.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.amendmentxii.html
Amendment XII

The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;—The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;— the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.articlei.html
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.amendmentxvii.html
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.amendmentxvii.html
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

The definition of “Case Law” appears to be
http://www.ll.Georgetown.edu/tutorials/definitions/case_law.HTML
E.B. Williams Library Definitions
From Geogetown Law School:
Case law

Legal precedent that is created by judges rather than legislatures. In case law, judges can either interpret statutory law or apply the common law.

http://www.answers.com/topic/case-law#copyright
case law
n.
Law based on judicial decision and precedent rather than on statutes.
case law


“case law.” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. The Gale Group, Inc, 1998. Answers.com 10 Oct. 2006.
http://www.answers.com/topic/case-law

The noun case law has 2 meanings:

Meaning #1: a system of jurisprudence based on judicial precedents rather than statutory laws
Synonyms: common law, precedent

Meaning #2: (civil law) a law established by following earlier judicial decisions
Synonyms: precedent, common law

My apologies to the Editors, it has been a long time since I sited so many quotes. I hope I documented them satisfactorily

Posted by: Linda H. at October 10, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #187497

Threads like this are why I can’t stay away from Watchblog.

Returning to Matt’s argument, should Congress legislate a federal right to vote in federal and state elections? If it’s a State’s issue, can Congress do it, or would it require a Constitutional Amendment?

What would be the advantages? The federal government would have more say-so in standardizing ballots? There would be legal recourse in federal courts for voters denied the chance to vote through State action?

What would be the cons? Is this really a serious issue?

Thanks all. Although I haven’t really had the time to pursue this with my own research, it’s now on my list of Things to Do.

Posted by: Trent at October 10, 2006 5:57 PM
Comment #187510

Trent,
I know just what you mean about this thread being spellbinding. Good stuff!

Linda H.,
Your post wasn’t too long at all. Thanks so much for looking all that up and sharing it with us.

The blue ribbon goes to:
D.A.N.
For pointing out that voter’s rights legislation would be meaningless if the votes that are cast are subject to hacking!

Posted by: Steve Miller at October 10, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #187525

Steve Miller,
Thanks!
Also, a “hats off” to Linda H. and Dr.Poshek.
The question of “right to vote” is interesting.
Like Trent said “Wonderful. Something else to friggin’ worry about.”
Kind of scary that our right to vote may be on shaky ground?
However, what seems shakier at the moment is the vote-count, and USEAL should put that at the top of their list.
After all, all the rest is irrelevant without an accurate vote-count.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2006 8:21 PM
Comment #187531

Linda H: The right to vote is granted/guaranteed to the citizens of the states by the individual states via their constitutions and voting is a matter of legacy, tradition. And tradition is important. But, there is no Federal right to vote. That is long settled law.

In theory, a state could provide no right to vote outside that for the U.S. House of Representatives; however, it likely would not be ratified by the state’s citizens nor accepted by the Congress.

The right to privacy is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution in its particulars rather than its generalities. Hence, the “Right to Privacy” is nothing new but rather a convenient categorical label coined by the courts over 40 years ago under which various rights are grouped.

Case law may be misunderstood and is frequently clarified by the courts. However, it is the Courts through the published opinions (case law) who say what the law is. That is why Marbury v Madison decided nearly 200 years ago is the cornstone of American jurisprudence. Without reading case law, you cannot possibly understand what the law is on any legal topic. This is especially true in matters regarding the U.S. Constitution.

While one may disagree with a court’s opinion as to a constitutional provision, it is the law until such time as it is overruled or clarified or refined by the deciding or higher court, or the constitution is amended. The reading of case law is one life’s greatest learning opportunities—don’t pass it up. One of the great histories of baseball was written by Justice Blackmun in the SCOTUS opinion in Flood v Kuhn (1972)… http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=407&invol=258#Scene_1 And it is such appropriate reading during the World Series season.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 10, 2006 9:10 PM
Comment #187565

Dr. Poshek,
I would imagine that baseball is fun reading for you, but it is not my thing…World series or not - is it really time for it AGAiiN? However, thanks for the suggestion.
I conceded to you that you are ‘somewhat correct’ re:

there is no ,Federal right to vote. That is long settled law.

I still maintain that just as the

Posted by: Linda H. at October 11, 2006 2:23 AM
Comment #187597

Linda H: I’m not much of a baseball fan myself; however, Blackmun’s history is moving regardless and it did spark a little interest in me. It’s worth reading and is not infrequently included on American Lit reading lists.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 11, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #187614

There was much more to my last post, but it seems to have disappeared. Watchblog Editors, did you remove my post?

As it was rather long, I simply can not re-create it, or do I want to.
In short, I addressed the miss understanding you have re: the House.

The House is named in the Constitution as being the body who would elect the president should the Electoral College fail to select a president.
The House must select the president from 3 choices (or now 2) offered by the Electoral College, which in turn gets those candidates from the People. The College is made up of People selected by the State. The Officials of the State get there because the PEOPLE elected THEM. Thus the House can not elect anyone without the Electoral College, which can not elect anyone without the say of the voters.

I still believe that just as the right to privacy,as you wrote:

is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution in its particulars rather than its generalities,
so is the right to vote. Perhaps even more so.

Two things came about with Marbury v. Madison
1. It helped to clarify the equality of all 3 branches of government.
and interestingly enough
2. Had no Case Law on which to base it’s decision.

I checked out your sources against mine, and as I tended to use Georgetown Law School, Cornell Law School, and the US Constitution, I can’t help but sort of believe that my references sort of trump yours. I checked out The Salon, and the Nation, and both seem to be opinions.
I’m sorry about the dig, but you still haven’t given any original sources for your statements

I loved to read Blackmun’s History, but it has been quiet some time since I read it.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 11, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #187756

Linda H: I’m telling you as an attorney and professor what the law is. It can be interesting discussion to consider what you’d like it to be. I do it frequently myself. Hypotheticals can be fun. However, here we are dealing with the real world and real law. Your arguments would not survive summary judgement.

Marbury v Madison is predicated on previous legal authorities. It cites to both Blackstone’s Commentaries and to King v Baker as well as to Common Law.

As to a Federal right to vote: You’ll have to convince SCOTUS to change its mind and that is highly unlikely as there is no valid legal argument for it to do so.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 12, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #187757

Linda H: I neglected to point out you could try to get a constitutional amendment passed creating a Federal right to vote. However, it would never be ratified. None of the 50 states would ratify such an amendment as its result would be to give state government power to the Federal government.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 12, 2006 9:21 AM
Comment #187809

Dr. Poshek

I did not intend to draw your ire.
Upon re-reading my posts, I can see why you appear to be hung-up on the issue of the RTV. The post that was deleted stated you were correct about the letter of the law re: RTV. I am sorry you did not receive it.

I still maintain that the RVT could be proven legally because
1. Tradition
2. Most importantly it is implied in the Constitution for the various reasons I gave you.

I also agree that the states would never allow the Federal government to have that power.agrees

However, I also addressed the issues you raised re: the House
and
Bush v.Gore

These are two of the three posts I now refer to.

October 10, 2006 05:38 PM
as well as:
October 11, 2006 11:53 AM

Both address predominately your “theory” about voting for the House only. That has been one of my main focus points. That and the fact that the SC had no business deciding who should be president. If you had thoroughly read my posts, you would have noticed that.

I still maintain that you, especially, as a lawyer and professor, should have used better resources than the ones you used. No judge would allow you to site the opinions of magazines writers while in an legal argument to try to get your point across. Other opinions are great to support one’s view, but they are not fact, and should not be used as fact.

IMHO resources should offer facts to back-up one’s opinion, not just add someone else’s opinion to the soup.

This was intended as a debate. You giving me your opinion, and I mine. That is, I believe, supposed to be the point of a debate. These are areas of law that have been argued for decades now, and probably will continue to be. That is what makes it interesting. Not the

I’m telling you as an attorney and professor what the law is.

{you}

That is why the law is considered to be a Living profession. It is subject to change at anytime.

I can not speak for you, but I am tired. I will henceforth tell you one last time, YOU are CORRECT about the RTV not being stated in the Constitution. I concede. Now lets’ get on with the other topics, or quit this particular discussion. Please….

Posted by: Linda H. at October 12, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #187823

Linda H: You did not draw my ire! :) I cited writings from the popular press because they are(1) readily available, (2) easily read, & (3) generally sound discussions of the topic. Unlike you, many people aren’t willing to expend any sweat researching legal issues. It is hard work. For too many years, I’ve seen too many disappointed people when they discovered that their reading of the Constitution isn’t the law. Hence, I have tried over the years to point out the realities. BTW, I had a law professor tell me the same thing my first year in law school; I don’t recall the specific legal topic — I do remember the fundamental lesson.

Finally, if you had not shown so much interest in the RTV & the gumption to pursue it, I would not have pushed you as I did. In other words, pat yourself on the back and keep up the good work!

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at October 12, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #187933

Dr. Poshek,
Thank you, I think….

Interesting little discussion never-the-less…

Posted by: Linda H. at October 13, 2006 10:31 AM
Comment #288789

There is no Constitutional right for an American citizen to vote for the President of the United States. Nor should there be. We are a Republic, not a Democracy. A pure Democracy is a very poor type of government. If you read about the Founding Fathers you would know that they were not fond of a Democracy either. There are a lot of ignorant dumb asses out there. We don’t need them voting for the President. Ben Franklin said,and I’m paraphrasing, “If they figure out how to vote themselves money it will be the end of the Republic”.

Posted by: Danny at October 1, 2009 9:08 PM
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