Re: voting ballot receipts

From: Cameron L. Spitzer <cls_at_truffula_dot_sj_dot_ca_dot_us>
Date: Thu Dec 07 2006 - 13:18:17 CST

I'm glad others objected in detail to a system that
allows vote selling. Vote by mail is bad enough.

Even the most ruthless authoritarian regimes
hold show elections.
One of the indicators that a nation does not have
democracy is that its election ballots are not secret.

During the dirty wars of the 1980s, El Salvador had
"elections," but the ballots were marked with
a large laundry pen on nearly translucent newsprint
and cast into an amazingly transparent (polished Lexan)
ballot box, observed by a team of soldiers with
rifles and binoculars. Peasants who voted the wrong
way disappeared. Sometimes their mutilated bodies
were left at the side of the road. In that banana
republic, it wasn't necessary to coerce individual
voters, nor the employees of any particular plantation.
The whole nation knew the score.

In the US, it is
not necessary to tell individual Walmart employees
a vote for the union will be career-limiting. They
already know. That's coercion, but it leaves no
evidence at all. And all it takes is *reasonable doubt*
that the ballots are secret. There are
plenty of towns in the Central Valley where the
sheriff, the "grower" (plantation owner), and the
pollworker will be the same guy or his goons, and the local
issues are about what he does to his farmworkers. Not much
different from the El Sal situation. Ballot secrecy
becomes a matter of public safety.

This problem is widely understood by election reformers.
Published raw ballots would be a show stopper for
every group I've worked with.


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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:08 2006

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