Vote by Mail is NOT a secret ballot (1 Viewer)

moke123

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I'm not sure what secrecy envelope is.
All states do things a little different. When I vote, I go in and check in at a table. No ID is produced. They then cross my name off the list and I go to the next table where I am given a blank ballot. I go to a booth, check off my choices and then go to the machine which scans my ballot and keeps it. There is nothing on the ballot that identifies me.
A secrecy envelope works much the same way. You are sent a ballot with the return envelope or secrecy envelope. You fill out your ballot which has no identifiable info and place it into the secrecy envelope. You sign the envelope and mail it back in. When its recieved they verify you were mailed a ballot, check your signature, cross your name off the list that you voted and run the ballot through the machine. My choices are still secret. Could the clerk who verifies the envelope know who I voted for? Probably if they cared. The only difference between in-person and by-mail is I'm looking at the person when they cross my name off the list.

@Tera - Good question. Some states make you waive your privacy rights in order to vote by mail. The reason for secrecy is to protect you from retribution from a canidate or elected official you didn't vote for. Hypothetically lets say a president gets elected and that president only wants to govern in favor of those that voted for him and punish those who didn't. Would you want that kind of president to know who you voted for?
 

Isaac

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@GinaWhipp interesting point about having to constantly request the absentee ballot. Where I live I have the option of being placed on the "permanent early voting list", which means I am always sent a ballot, as long as I keep up with my address updates.

As for secrecy, I tend to agree with Tera, I normally wouldn't mind much if people knew who I voted for...Although I wouldn't agree with that sentiment as a general, widely applicable thing across the globe. In many countries voting is a dangerous and consequential thing, and to be able to keep it private is probably an important matter of safety. In the US this has not really been the case.....EXCEPT given the current (to use an over-used term), "cancel culture", it has slowly but surely started to become more "consequential" for people to support the Republican administration. It has become more common and in fact widespread for certain circles--big ones--to "demonize" Republican supporters as being racists, bigots, and even criminals, and so I think at this point it would be a prudent decision for Republicans not to advertise their political leanings too much unless they are prepared to face the consequences (job loss particularly). That takes us right back to privacy. It's probably for the best, for everyone.

Where I live supporting conservatives is extremely common, but if I lived in a liberal bastion OR worked in a liberal-run industry, I'd definitely want my political choices kept private in order to keep my family & their material interests safe.
 

moke123

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In many countries voting is a dangerous and consequential thing, and to be able to keep it private is probably an important matter of safety.
Just ask Alexei Navalny .
 

AccessBlaster

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The DNC say they are worried about foreign actors like Russian meddling, yet the will give foreign nationals motor voter applications to vote. Why would they do this?

Now flip the script and imagine it helped the RNC.

 

Pat Hartman

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Thanks Gina. That was very informative. I would feel much better about mail in voting in your state. If you would like to share your state, please do so I can suggest that my election officials look at your procedures.

Having to request an absentee ballot is one of the safety measures to ensure that ballots are only sent to registered voters. For districts that don't clean up their voter lists religiously, there is way too much chance of extra ballots out there which can be swept up by ballot harvesters. For full mail in voting, ballots would automatically be sent to every voter. This dramatically increases the danger. It also increases the counting burden. If the ballot only has to be postmarked by election day, The counting part seems to be open ended. Does your state have a receipt cutoff? Americans are used to getting election results by the next day at the latest unless there is a race too close to call or problems that require recounting.

Watching the election in 2018, it was amazing how many Republicans who where way ahead when they went to bed and found out the next day or several days later that enough "missing" ballots had been found that the Democrat ended up winning. THIS is why having barcodes on the ballots is so critical and treating ballots like checks so that the issuer always knows what ballots to expect back. This should apply to ballots used in person also. The ballots are counted as you leave so that all the ballots are counted when the polls close. There is no excuse for finding "missing" boxes of ballots. Barcodes also help to control that so the officials know which polling site got which range of barcodes and how many ballots the voting machine counted. One time when I ran out of checks, I picked up the wrong book from the box and started writing checks with a huge gap. The bank actually called me to verify that I was writing the checks.

Another of the big issues with mail in voting is that ballot harvesters can knock on doors and buy ballots that they can then fill out themselves. I used to get a kick out of hearing my Dad and his wife talk about voting in Nevis (my dad became a citizen there). The people on the ballot would contact them and offer them free airline tickets to the Island to vote for them. If they would have voted for the person anyway, they took the free trip :) I don't know how prevalent this practice is. It may just have been a few people who got the offer and Inez and her family were well known in Nevis so she and my Dad were included.

I have no problem with ID as long as it takes into account that not everyone drives so it ought to allow for more than just a driver's license. I have no problem with cleaning up the rolls but it should not for missing one election. Even I don't run out to vote in EVERY election.
You can't fly or even enter a federal building without a valid photo ID. ALL states issue photo IDs to accommodate people who don't drive for just this purpose. There is almost no excuse in this era to not have any form of photo ID and it's not like election days are sprung on us without warning. Election day is always the first Tuesday in November unless the state or municipality has to run a special election so you have plenty of time to get an ID if you want to register to vote and then show it when you get to the polling place.

If someone votes, why keeping his/her vote private is so important?
This is the era of cancel culture. In some districts, if you vote for Trump you could end up with rioters outside your house or eggs on your garage door. The theory is that if your vote is secret, you cannot be coerced by the mob or punished after the fact.

The DNC say they are worried about foreign actors like Russian meddling, yet the will give foreign nationals motor voter applications to vote. Why would they do this?
Not only that, we are printing voting instructions in SPANISH on the ballots!!!! Who thought that was a good idea? If you have to pass an English language proficiency test to become a citizen and only citizens can vote, what the hell is Spanish doing on any US ballot?
 
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GinaWhipp

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@Pat Hartman

I live in Ohio though it was same in New York but you needed a *reason* to request an absentee ballot. Though with the current pandemic the Governor has said no reason\excuse needed to request an absentee ballot for this election.

There is no receipt cut-off date which is one of the reasons it is *strongly* requested you mail them back early. I can remember a few elections where preliminary results were *announced* but the actual count did not arrive for a while. And you can go to the County Board of Elections and keep up with the count if you want to as it gets updated multiple times during the day until the final count is tallied.

I get the whole Democrats prefer vote-by-mail but I am looking at the other side of the coin. And since those must be counted by hand I get why they can turn an election around. So, I'm going to leave that alone.

As for ID, I know lots of people who do neither so they would have no *need* photo ID required. The *kids* today don't even use checks so they don't need it for that either. In New York it's an *affair* to get ID, just too many people. That said, when I registered to vote I had to fill out a paper and provide valid ID which could have been my birth certificate. So, why not make that card I received with Voter ID on it my identification? While there is no picture on it there is PII which MUST match something else in my possession, problem solved.

I do not and have never said, put in my yard, posted or done anything else to advertise who I voted for. You can ask me but I will remind you in my day there was a curtain on the booth. It has nothing to do with cancel culture which extends to both sides (I have a link to both boycott lists, red and blue which I periodically review for sh*ts and giggles.) I just don't think it's any of your business.

As for multi-language, I'm all for that. If English is not your native language then let's make it easier for you to understand. Hmm, if I recall English only became the native language of the US in the 5 or 10 years (might be less). So anyone before that had no *obligation* to learn a native language we didn't have. Oddly enough I never hear anyone complain when instructions are printed in any other language. I never hear people complain when any other language is spoken except when it's a Spanish dialect. You go to a French restaurant and they are speaking French, no one screams, SPEAK ENGLISH! A little Italian restaurant I used to go to when I was in New York they spoke Italian in there, no one screamed at them. What am I missing? What do I care if the instructions are in their native tongue? When I go overseas quite a few places are kind enough to have English translation available for me. I have family living overseas took them a while to learn French and were quite please English was made available for them to get what they needed to get done accomplished.

That said, I remember a friend from Mexico explained to me why the English language is a little more difficult to learn\understand. For instance, we say *screen* which could mean window, screen, television screen, screening a moving, screen a person for a job. Another example, we say No Standing at the bus stop, then how does one wait for the bus? There is no indication those instructions for cars. So, yeah I get why putting it in their native tongue would be less confusing. Remember, Gilda Radner? She made entire Saturday Night Live skits on *misunderstanding and always ended with *Nevermind!* once it was explained because, guess what, we don't even understand ourselves.
 

Pat Hartman

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I'm all for that. If English is not your native language then let's make it easier for you to understand.
English is still not the official language of the US. The point of requiring proficiency in English to become a citizen is because if you do not have proficiency in English, you cannot follow the political discourse and you are reliant on other people to interpret for you. As we all know, when Trump speaks, Rachael Maddow hears x and Republicans and Independents hear y. That should give you a clue why it is so important to listen to and understand what a candidate is actually saying rather than what other people tell you he said. We have immigrants from all over the world and they speak dozens of languages. Singling out Hispanics for special treatment is simply wrong. It's the racism of low expectations. We expect immigrants from other countries to actually speak English to some degree these days before they immigrate because English is the language of educated people around the world - the French have never forgiven us for this. But somehow we expect so little of Hispanics that we have to pander to them. The only thing more insulting would be to print instructions on ballots in large northern cities in Ebonics.

What do I care if the instructions are in their native tongue?
We're talking about voting here, not ordering off a menu. I don't have any problem in Chinese restaurants where the wait staff has only a rudimentary grasp of English. We muddle through. It's the same with other ethnic restaurants. If they're in the US, the wait staff does need some command of English because Americans, being isolated, tend to not be multi-lingual. I had a very funny experience about 10 years ago when I was playing at a bridge tournament in Quebec which is largely French speaking. In high school I studied French for two years and Spanish for two years. I could read and write both at a rudimentary level and I could speak passable Spanish at probably a 4th grade level although my accent was muddled because one teacher spoke Castilian Spanish and the other spoke a Mexican dialect but I couldn't speak French to save my life. I just couldn't make my mouth form the words. Anyway, after a few days of people speaking to me in French, words started coming back and by the fifth day, I started trying to answer except that the words came out in Spanish. So 50 years after graduation, I still couldn't speak French :)
 

GinaWhipp

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Rachael Maddow hears x and Republicans and Independents hear y.
Hmm, this kind of makes my *argument* that we don't even understand ourselves. So, if instructions, no matter what, were included in the persons native tongue what is the harm? I don't consider providing one's native tongue to be insulting. Nor do I consider Ebonics a *language*, it's a slang, nothing should be translated into that. That would be the equivalent of using emoji's for instructions.

Make no mistake, I did not say they should not learn English, I said providing instructions\information in their native language would be helpful to them. I also only refer to Spanish but I see instructions\information in several different languages. So what? It's easier for them to understand. I guess we can agree to disagree here because I'm just not seeing the issue.

We're talking about voting here, not ordering off a menu.
I used restaurants as an example but if you look around you will see this happening in department stores, on the street, in the park... everywhere. You are fortunate that you have not observed it but it happens far too many times for my liking. I took Spanish, can't speak it to save my life but I can understand enough to get by when needed. When I want to *brush up* I watch Novelas. Haven't had to brush up in quite some time, not that much diversity where I am. Again, I guess we will agree to disagree because I am just seeing the issue.
 

The_Doc_Man

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If you REALLY want to look at issues in understanding, here is a thought for you.

Watch the show Swamp People and the show Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks. You will hear accents that make you glad that even the people are speaking English, they have subtitles. As it happens, I don't have trouble most of the time with the Cajun accents because my wife is Cajun. We visit with her family all of the time. But some of the accents on WT:OB are SO extreme that I have to wonder what language they are speaking.

I've been to a lot of places in the USA and when I was in college, had a lot of foreign friends. Once they learned a little about our culture and once we learned about them, the foreign grad students were trivial to understand. Even my friend Envil Kuang Puang Hsiung (from Taiwain) was easy to understand after only a couple of weeks of being here. By contrast, some folks who are native-born speakers of English have such extreme ways of speaking that comprehension seems elusive.
 

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We expect immigrants from other countries to actually speak English to some degree these days before they immigrate because English is the language of educated people around the world
Really? Now that's interesting. Because I can assure you 96% of Japanese are not educated because we can not speak English. What a grief.

We can select a foreign language to learn from elementary school. Most choose English, some choose others. But when it comes to university level, the story is different. Japanese language is far different from English and it makes it hard for most of us to learn it. Instead we learn something else. And for sure, less people here need to learn it at all. Because they see no need to master it. Everything is going just fine without English. That's why most of us don't even feel the need to learn it.

Most of our physicians can't speak in English, because Medical Universities MOSTLY use German.
Japan has been always been ranked bellow 60 in English Proficiency. And in 2019 for the first time we were ranked 53, a new record for us.
It's the first time I see someone judges EDUCATION with the level of their level of English.


 
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The_Doc_Man

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Interesting that Japanese people might prefer German. I will try to avoid reading anything historical into that, but I do understand enough German to know that there is a big difference in sentence structure between those two languages.
 

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@The_Doc_Man , as I said, German mainly is used in Medical.
The main reason we are poor in English, is
  1. English words' pronunciation is very different with our language. Our language doesn't have a constant. Every alphabet is a vowel. So when a word ends in a constant we tend to pronounce it as a vowel. We add a U or I or O to the vowel and make it easier to pronounce. It means that Doc will be pronounced Daku. Or Case will be pronounced Keishi. We also don't have the letter L. So every word with L is pronounced R. Most Japanese pronounce Right and Light the same. Now it will be funny when a word ends with a constant L. For example Bell will be pronounced Beru. Different pronunciations of TH is another story.(Like The or Thunder)

    We also don't have C, and the combination of T with other vowels. So we can't pronounce Ti or Tu. They are pronounced as chi and tsu.

  2. As I said earlier, the young generation doesn't really feel the need to learn it. They don't miss a thing with not being able to speak English. If you travel to some countries around us (I don't want to name them), everyone, from a kid up to elders can speak English fluently. Because they need to talk to the tourists and sell something or take them to sight seeing etc. They use English as a way to make a living. But our society can go on without being able to speak a foreign language.
I never had imagined that the others may think of us as un-educated because we are poor in English.
 
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deletedT

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@Tera , You speak several languages as I recall, dont you?
It depends on what you mean by Speak. If by speak you mean having a little knowledge of a foreign language, yes I can speak a little English, a little Arabic, more little Korean. At school I was very fluent in French and German. But I've forgotten both because I don't use them anymore.
 
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AccessBlaster

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In some parts of California English is not the first language spoken. From schools to the DMV there are about 180 different languages. That's a lot of forms and translators needed.
 

Pat Hartman

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I never had imagined that the others may think of us as un-educated because we are poor in English.
Tara, I don't think people who do not speak English are uneducated and I'm sorry if my comment left that impression. I was simply referring to how English has replaced French as the world's "common" language and I used the phrase that was always used when referring to French. As I mentioned in my anecdote, even though I studied two foreign languages, I can't say that I'm fluent in either. Your English is excellent. Better than a lot of native speakers in fact. I've been told by many that English is a very difficult language to learn and I can tell you that even American children are having trouble with it. Mostly because we have to be "gentle" with the children and not cause them any discomfort so teachers no longer correct grammar and pronunciation in public. They leave it to me to constantly remind the "children" to stop using LIKE as every other word in a sentence or correct their frequent misuse of the pronouns I and me. How can you be 21 and in college and still not be able to use I and me correctly in a sentence?
 

The_Doc_Man

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How can you be 21 and in college and still not be able to use I and me correctly in a sentence?

Don't know, but the recent college entrance scandals that led to jail time for Lori Laughlin make me think that some parents doubt the mental acumen of their own children.
 

Pat Hartman

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The grandchildren are far from stupid but unfortunately their command of English is dictated by their teachers (who have the same problem. I know because I've spoken to them) and their friends. Language changes over time. Words come and go. Meanings and inference change. Apparently, we are in for a change where we can mix up the objective and subjective cases at will and subjects and verbs matching in number is for peasants.
 

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