November 6, 2012

America's voting system is worse than most democracies

David Frum, CNN - When the polls close in most other democracies, the results are known almost instantly. Ballots are usually counted accurately and rapidly, and nobody disputes the result. Complaints of voter fraud are rare; complaints of voter suppression are rarer still.

The kind of battle we are seeing in Florida -- where Democrats and Republicans will go to court over whether early voting should span 14 days or eight -- simply does not happen in Germany, Canada, Britain or France. The ballot uncertainty that convulsed the nation after Florida's vote in 2000 could not happen in Mexico or Brazil. David Frum David Frum

Almost everywhere else, elections are run by impartial voting agencies. In France, elections are the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, which establishes places and hours of voting, prints ballots (France still uses paper) and counts the votes. In Germany, an independent federal returning officer oversees a complex state and federal voting system. In Canada, federal elections are managed by a specialized agency, Elections Canada. Mexico, emerging from a sad history of electoral manipulation, created in the 1990s a respected independent agency, the Federal Electoral Institute. Brazil has nationwide electronic voting, producing instantaneous, uncontested results.

No voting system is perfect. Britain has faced allegations of chronic fraud in absentee balloting. As I write, Lithuanian politics are convulsed by allegations of vote buying by one of its political parties.

But here's what doesn't happen in other democracies:

Politicians of one party do not set voting schedules to favor their side and harm the other. Politicians do not move around voting places to gain advantages for themselves or to disadvantage their opponents. In fact, in almost no other country do politicians have any say in the administration of elections at all.

1 comment:

Uncle Goat said...

In the city of Chicago, in the State of Illinois, both clearly easy wins for Obama, we were sent to new polling places after years of going to the same spot, precincts had changed numbers without rhyme or reason -- or informing the public and it was a general pain to vote this year. This was the result of a mismanaged effort to make things "better" I hated to see what's going in counties where they are trying to screw things up.