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snopes
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Comment: I just received this in my email. This is another of those 'amazing facts' emails that are generally wrong. I did a search of the archives and didnt come up with a match.

20 Amazing Facts About Voting In The United States
By Bob Rowe

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies:
Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of
the US voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer
and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was"committed to helping Ohio
deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. 35% of ES&S is owned by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who became
Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, a long-time friend of the Bush
family, was caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate
Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-
presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the US and counts
almost 60% of all US votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any
votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming
out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by
voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all
of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employs 5 convicted felons as developers. These are the
people who write the voting machine computer code.

13. Diebold's Senior Vice-President, Jeff Dean, was convicted of 23
counts of felony theft in the first degree.

14. Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was convicted of planting
back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication"
to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the
polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security
was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be
hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie at
http://blackboxvoting.org/baxter/baxterVPR.mov.)

17. 30% of all US votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen
voting machines with no paper trail.

18. Bush's Help America Vote Act of 2002 has as its goal to replace all
machines with the new electronic touch screen systems with no paper
trail.

19. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and
reported went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.

20. Major statistical voting oddities (odds on the order of 250 million
to 1!) -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically
demonstrated by experts.

Such amazing odds, the equivalent of statistical miracles these were.
Was it God? or was it Diebold...?

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Crow
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Best I can tell, it originated on December 12, 2004 of an online(?) magazine named Coastal Post. I don't know much else, except I did a search on thier site and someone wrote in with a comment on it:
quote:
20 Amazing Facts Correction

I wish to point out a glaring error in the "20 Amazing Facts About Voting In The United States" article, posted on your website, by Bob Rowe. Otherwise the article looks accurate.

The very first statistic is horribly wrong. It is true that Diebold and ESS own 80% of the computer voting market. But Computer voting accounts for much less than 100% of all votes counted in the US (I don't know the correct data).

Otherwise, I share all the concerns you state and as far as I know they are correct. This type of mistake provides fodder for the "opposition", who may pounce on it to dismiss the entire article. I urge you to correct this immediately.

Bill Goldberg

Here is a link to the article, and here is a link to the volume it first appeared in.


CP could have just reprinted it, but they are the most linked to version of the story, and they have nothing there that says anything about pulling it off the internet.

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Major D. Saster
The First USA Noel


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Bah, the days of the Soviet Union are long gone. Who needs to win an election with 99.8% of the votes like old Breznev or Milosevic? These are vulgar, obvious methods just good enough for guys like Kim-Jong-Il.

Nowadays, the clever politico knows that it's much better to win with an edge of 0.5 - 1%. Thus, the country looks much more like a democracy. To achieve this goal, voting machines with no paper trail are the perfect tool.

--------------------
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Troberg
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How is voting carried out in different countries?

In Sweden, we use paper ballots (where each party have their own ballot, nothing is registered on the ballot) put into paper envelopes and put into urns (actually wooden boxes).

The votes for each district is counted manually three times, independent of each other. If the counts differ, even by one vote, they are given three new recounts, and this is repeated until the three counts show the same results.

The ballots are saved so that a complete recount can be done at a later point if necessary.

This is, of course, to ensure that the count is correct and verifiable, with no ambiguities, to avoid the situation that Stalin so aptly describes: "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

--------------------
/Troberg

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Unusual Elfin Lights
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In Canada, you vote for the person running for the seat in the riding where you live. The names of all the candidates running in that riding are on the ballot, followed by the party they represent. You put the X in the appropriate circle next to the corresponding name, drop it off in the ballot box, and voila, you have voted.
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Em
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Paper ballots over here. You place a number in the square next to each name in order of preference with '1' being your first choice.

If the candidate you gave a '1' to comes last in the first round of counting your vote goes to the guy you gave a '2' to, and so on.

ETA: This continues until one candidate has received more than 50% of the vote.

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Andrew of Ware, England
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Paper ballots in the UK. All the ballot slips are numbered and the number is written on the electoral role, so if necessary your own voting paper can be checked to see that it has not been tampered with.

Polling stations are staffed by civil servants seconded from other duties. Before any votes are counted all the boxes from the different polling stations are checked for tampering. The total number of votes in the boxes are counted en masse and compared with the votes cast at each of the polling stations. This ensures that every voting paper has arrived at the count.

The counting is done by representatives of the people standing for eclection. There are also people from each of the candidates watching the counting of each vote. Any candidate can ask for a recount - even if the votes are not close.

Most seats have their results announced within a few hours of the polling stations closing, but some may not be announced until later the next day.

You can also vote by post or by proxy.

--------------------
Andrew, Ware, England

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The Pikey Snow Queen
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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, England:
Paper ballots in the UK. All the ballot slips are numbered and the number is written on the electoral role, so if necessary your own voting paper can be checked to see that it has not been tampered with.

Polling stations are staffed by civil servants seconded from other duties. Before any votes are counted all the boxes from the different polling stations are checked for tampering. The total number of votes in the boxes are counted en masse and compared with the votes cast at each of the polling stations. This ensures that every voting paper has arrived at the count.

The counting is done by representatives of the people standing for eclection. There are also people from each of the candidates watching the counting of each vote. Any candidate can ask for a recount - even if the votes are not close.

Most seats have their results announced within a few hours of the polling stations closing, but some may not be announced until later the next day.

You can also vote by post or by proxy.

You know far too much about voting!

--------------------
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Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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The largest problem with voting in the US is that there are something like 4,000 different organizations (state, county, and local bodies) responsible for creating voting systems, and many of those elections committees are political offices.

There will never be free and fair elections in the US, IMO, as long as those responsible for oversight of elections and redistricting are elected officials.

--------------------
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Major D. Saster
The First USA Noel


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In Switzerland , we keep the paper ballots, either filled at the polling station, or sent by secured mail (in the cantons that offer this possibility), and hand-counted by randomly selected citizens. In two small swiss german cantons, they still have the "Landsgemeinde", where the citizens vote by rising hands.

http://www.answers.com/topic/landsgemeinde

Anyway, the Swiss are professionnal voters, as we have four (4) voting or election weekends a year, where we vote about just anything on the communal, cantonal or national level (building a new road or a tunnel under the Alps, renovating the city's theater, electing the canton's or the national parliament, keeping or abolishing the army, making the wearing of safety belts in cars obligatory, accepting or rejecting new taxes... from the essential to the very trivial, you name it).

On one hand it's very practical, as we have a true "government by the people" (our Federal Council has little to say in fact, and its decisions can always be countered by a popular vote), but the problem is that many Swiss are tired of being asked about their opinions all the time. Here, 35% participation is considered a good result.

--------------------
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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I dunno, AnglRdr. The alternative is to appoint them, and I fear that people who don't have worry about re-election themselves might be even more brazen in helping the people who appoint them, just as the SCOTUS was accused of after Bush v. Gore.

--------------------
"Well, it looks we're on our own ... again."--Rev. Lovejoy

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by Jayguar Temple:
I dunno, AnglRdr. The alternative is to appoint them, and I fear that people who don't have worry about re-election themselves might be even more brazen in helping the people who appoint them, just as the SCOTUS was accused of after Bush v. Gore.

Iowa's redistricting is handled by appointed officials. Interestingly, while something like 98% of congressmen get reelected, Iowa actually has 4 out of 5 races that are competitive. Iowa is doing something right, as far as I am concerned.

And appointed election commissions should be composed of an equal number of members appointed by local parties.

--------------------
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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abigsmurf
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I've never actually heard a reason why the results of the exit polls were so different from the actual election results.

From the statistical work I I did at college a poll on that scale with such a representative sample should've been pretty close. However the accuracy of the exit polls was out by a huge margin. The chances of them being out as much as they were are pretty astronomical. Definately in the lottery winning regions....

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vtsquire
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re: the first "fact"

quote:
1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies:
Diebold and ES&S.

um... no.
.pdf

page 3


 -

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by vtsquire:
re: the first "fact"

quote:
1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies:
Diebold and ES&S.

um... no.
.pdf

page 3


 -

That is the equipment used to cast votes, not count them.

--------------------
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Jayguar Temple:
I dunno, AnglRdr. The alternative is to appoint them, and I fear that people who don't have worry about re-election themselves might be even more brazen in helping the people who appoint them, just as the SCOTUS was accused of after Bush v. Gore.

I see your point, but here's the situation we face in Ohio this year: Our Secretary of State, who is in charge of all voting in the state, is running for governor.

During the last election, I received a voicemail from this same government official, identifying himself as the Ohio Secretary of State, and urging me to vote for a particular ballot issue.

I find both situations deeply troubling.

Here's my solution: Elect the Secretary of State in a non-partisan election (as is done with many judges in this state) and bar him/her from running for any other office during his/her term.

ETA: My point is actually to agree with you: appointing these officials instead of electing them doesn't solve the problem. Banning them from running for office while holding responsibility for elections would. Of course, the cynic in me says it would also make it harder to find candidates for Secretary of State, but it's a price I'm quite willing to pay.

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Jay Temple
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
Here's my solution: Elect the Secretary of State in a non-partisan election (as is done with many judges in this state) and bar him/her from running for any other office during his/her term.

ETA: My point is actually to agree with you: appointing these officials instead of electing them doesn't solve the problem. Banning them from running for office while holding responsibility for elections would. Of course, the cynic in me says it would also make it harder to find candidates for Secretary of State, but it's a price I'm quite willing to pay.

I'd go along with banning them from running for any other office during their term, but I don't think the non-partisan elections would help. My sister, in Nebraska, tells me that their state Senate races are non-partisan, but that everyone knows where their politics lie. I suspect that it would be even more so in a statewide election.

--------------------
"Well, it looks we're on our own ... again."--Rev. Lovejoy

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BrianB
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I thought we already discussed this but I now see that this is a mutation of the one we discussed in June 2005 and the focus is now more on Diebold.
quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

I thought I would comment on this again since it looks like Diebold either moved or deleted that page I linked to. (I can still find it through Archive.org, however.) So, here's another link from CNN with the quote about delivering Ohio's electoral votes. And yes, Mr. O'Dell was part of a group of big GOP fundraisers called the "Rangers and Pioneers."
Anyway, this item is now out of date because O'Dell resigned.
Brian

--------------------
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Andrew of Ware, England
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quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:
You know far too much about voting!

I know. I'm just very, very sad. (I also like to chat to the people in the polling stations. They are stuck in there from about six in the morning until after ten at night. They must be bored out of their tiny minds, so I tgry and make things interesting for them by talking to them. (Now there's an opportunity for someone. [Smile] )

--------------------
Andrew, Ware, England

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The Pikey Snow Queen
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My polling station serves about two or three hundred people. Imagine how bored they are!

I once ran into my boss at the polling station when I went to vote. I hadn't realized he was in the election. He wanted me to vote for him, not bloody likely! Who would vote to give their boss more power?

Besides, he was the conservative candidate, probably goes foxhunting on a weekend!

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, England:
quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:
You know far too much about voting!

I know. I'm just very, very sad. (I also like to chat to the people in the polling stations. They are stuck in there from about six in the morning until after ten at night. They must be bored out of their tiny minds, so I tgry and make things interesting for them by talking to them. (Now there's an opportunity for someone. [Smile] )
The people working in my polling placer are not allowed to chat with the voter. Voters are also not allowed hang around the voting area.

supposedly, this is to prevent the workers or people who have voted already from influencing other voters.

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Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

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snoozn
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I find it unbelievable that there is no federal low requiring a voter verified paper record with electronic voting. If a paper receipt is important enough that I get one every time I shop at the grocery store, surely I should get one when I vote. I find it hard to believe that everything in the OP list is true, but our voting system certainly has problems.

snoozn

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Singing in the Drizzle
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I can not beileve that electronic voting machines do not keep a record of the count some were. I would think that some if not most states require a record of all the votes to be keep and stored for some lenght of time.

I do not know why you need a paper receipt since I never got one before. I have voted using the old voting boths that you move the nobs and pull the lever, the punch cards and mail in. Never was I given a receipt or copy of my votes.

As for not having a paper copy of all the votes. If you remember the old move the nob and pull the lever type voting booths. It just has a bunch of counters on the back. Some repesentives for both partys verifed the count and wrote the totals down and that was you paper record. The same way as the new electronic voting machines are counted. The only different is that you can make a copy or take the memory out the electron machines and store it. The old machines when reset the only record was what some wrote down when counting.

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vtsquire
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
That is the equipment used to cast votes, not count them.
"80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies:
Diebold and ES&S."

Each machine tabulates votes. If you look at page 9, it shows which companies are involved.

es&s represent 0.15% of voters
the accuvote ES and tabulator together represent 6.87% of voters.

7.02% of voters hardly equates to 80%.

(this is from the 2004 election)

a google news search of "80% diebold es&s" turned up " About 80% of American voters will use some form of electronic voting in the November election, where every seat in the House of Representatives is up for re-election, as are 33 Senate offices and 36 governorships."

which IS consistent with the link. Electronic voting != only es&s and diebold. Equate one thing with another... bam, instant urban legend.

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The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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quote:
The people working in my polling placer are not allowed to chat with the voter. Voters are also not allowed hang around the voting area.

supposedly, this is to prevent the workers or people who have voted already from influencing other voters. [/QB]

Miserable killjoys more like

--------------------
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Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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WildaBeast
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security
was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be
hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie at
http://blackboxvoting.org/baxter/baxterVPR.mov.)

Here's the thing I always think of whenever I hear about how insecure Diebold voting machines supposedly are -- Besides making voting machines, Diebold is also one of the world's largest makers of ATMs. One would think an ATM would need to be pretty secure. Couldn't they reuse the security software from their ATMs in their voting machines?

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snoozn
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Singing in the Drizzle:
...I do not know why you need a paper receipt since I never got one before. I have voted using the old voting boths that you move the nobs and pull the lever, the punch cards and mail in. Never was I given a receipt or copy of my votes...

Perhaps I shouldn't have said receipt as that does imply something that you take with you. What I meant is that when I vote electronically I want to have a paper printout that says "Candidate A" that I then put in a box which is kept safely in the event that there is fraud suspected. Then all the papers can be taken out to see if they match the numbers from the machines. In the old punch card or optical scan voting, the punch card or optical scan sheet acts as your verified record. In electronic voting you are just depending on the machine actually counting your vote. I know enough about computer security to know that it certainly is possible to "hack" the system no matter how much Diebold etc. claims to be completely secure. I think there should be random checks done (semi-random, actually more often in close race areas) to make sure the paper votes match the machine-counted votes.

snoozn

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TwoGuyswithaHat
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
I see your point, but here's the situation we face in Ohio this year: Our Secretary of State, who is in charge of all voting in the state, is running for governor.

During the last election, I received a voicemail from this same government official, identifying himself as the Ohio Secretary of State, and urging me to vote for a particular ballot issue.

I find both situations deeply troubling.

Here's my solution: Elect the Secretary of State in a non-partisan election (as is done with many judges in this state) and bar him/her from running for any other office during his/her term.

ETA: My point is actually to agree with you: appointing these officials instead of electing them doesn't solve the problem. Banning them from running for office while holding responsibility for elections would. Of course, the cynic in me says it would also make it harder to find candidates for Secretary of State, but it's a price I'm quite willing to pay.

My worries about US elections, and I believe it goes hand in hand with what you are saying Lainie, is that those responsible for counting ballots can, in a national election be entirely partisan.

When I speak of this, the two instances that come to mind is Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell in 2004 who was also the co-chair of he Committee to Re-elect George Bush in Ohio and Florida Secretary of State in Florida Katherine Harris who was in a similar position in 2000.

To me, there is no doubt in my mind that this creates a large conlict of interest. What I cannot understand, is how such actions are even legal. Even if a secretary of state is entirely on the up and up in both positions, it still gives the impression of impropriety, and such impressions should be entirely void in a transparent democracy.

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In politics, absurdity is not a handicap - Napoleon Bonaparte

Posts: 1801 | From: The Forest City, Ontario | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
rogue
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I have a simple solution...

Elect me President-for-life (all of you snopesters who help will be given cushy jobs like ambassador to the Bahamas or Hawaii!) and we can do away with all this nonsense. I promise to use my absolute power responsibly and to make all the trains, planes, and busses run ON TIME!!!!

-Rogue (for President!!!!!)

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"'Cause you might enjoy some madness for awile."

Posts: 119 | From: Norman, OK | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Davros
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Em:
Paper ballots over here. You place a number in the square next to each name in order of preference with '1' being your first choice.

If the candidate you gave a '1' to comes last in the first round of counting your vote goes to the guy you gave a '2' to, and so on.

ETA: This continues until one candidate has received more than 50% of the vote.

also if you do not vote you can be fined

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Wake up --- time to die
So I'm Evil Get over it

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people

Posts: 1551 | From: NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Davros:
also if you do not vote you can be fined

I've heard about this, but I have always wondered what happens if you are ill on the day of the elections and can't get to the polling station? Do you have to get a sick note from a doctor?

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Andrew, Ware, England

Posts: 1709 | From: Ware, England | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ben Who
Deck the Malls


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Isn't it kind of weird that in Australia you're required to vote, but if you live in the Northern Territory, your votes don't actually count? So you're required to vote in an election in which you can't participate? What's THAT about?

Love, Who?

Posts: 404 | From: Portland | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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