Now in the United States in 18 states, you can take part in the elections simply by saying your name. In this regard, Indiana Republican Congressman Luke Messer suggests introducing the following rules throughout the United States:
“Despite other provisions of the law in elections to federal bodies of state power, an employee of an election commission does not have the right to issue a ballot to an individual who wishes to vote in person if this person does not provide the employee with a proper document with a photograph,” the text of the bill with which I got acquainted with RT.
According to the congressman, innovations unify the US electoral system.
“This bill is a reasonable amendment aimed at ensuring uniformity in the issue of voter identification, maintaining the integrity of federal elections, as well as enhancing voters' confidence in the electoral process,” the congressman said on his official website.
Messer proposes to accept as a document a driver’s license, an identity card issued by the state government, a passport or military ID.
By the way, according to statistics from the US State Department for 2016, only about 40% of Americans have a passport. The document is not required, but gives the right to citizens of the United States to travel abroad.
According to the current law, in order to obtain identity cards you need to pay a state fee. In America, each state determines its size. For example, in Oregon, a document will cost $ 44.5, and in Ohio - $ 8.5. The cost of a passport is much higher. For all citizens, the state fee will be $ 110.
However, the congressman suggests issuing documents free of charge to those who do not have the opportunity to pay the state fee.
“If a citizen presents a certified document to the election officer confirming that he is not able to pay the cost of obtaining a proper photo ID, the employee must provide him with a document for free,” the project description says.
Believe the word
The fairness of the US electoral process is in doubt. In the presidential election last year, Americans could vote for their favorite candidate using an electronic system. One and a half months before the official elections - November 8 - US citizens located abroad could receive a newsletter on the Internet, and then send their vote by mail to the States.
Earlier, the media told how in 2016, the American cheese maker Jay Close from the village of Moshnitsy near Moscow used his right to choose the president.
During registration on the website of the State Department, the system never demanded that an American prove his identity. He entered passport data from memory, indicated the race and state — Florida — and received the form. It turned out that Washington trusts its citizens and does not even ask clarifying questions.
Usa election organizers
Election organizers are the most important group of employees in any democratic society who work at polling stations on election day. In the United States, election organizers are understood depending on the staff of the judiciary, members of commissions, members of election councils, precinct managers (chairmen of precinct election commissions, inspectors, members of precinct commissions, voter registrars, etc.).
At the state level, election preparation and conduct is typically organized by the state secretary of state, who is the chief election officer. His duties in the broad sense boil down to the following: checking and approving the results of state and / or federal elections, familiarizing local government representatives with state electoral laws by publishing manuals and other materials, approving the use of new electoral machines and electoral systems for voting at locations in states, approving election reporting standards, including registration cards, regular ballot papers and mailing ballots, signing of nomination documents candidates, petitions and referendum appeals, approving election winners and publishing official results, monitoring employees and officials in the elections and the elections themselves, counting votes, addressing fraud and fraud cases, violations of election laws and notifying the state attorney general of this, maintaining electoral lists. In 10 states and the District of Columbia, state electoral councils perform these functions.
In the United States, the general presidential and parliamentary elections in November of each even year involved approximately 1 million people working in 180,000 polling stations. These employees conduct elections in accordance with a huge number of electoral systems - from paper ballots to automated voting machines, from special “sensitive” ballots and punched ballots for computer recognition to the directly automated voting and counting process. These same employees must constantly follow the numerous procedures at polling stations. In some cases, voting results are recorded directly at the polls. However, ballots are often collected at the central point of counting.
According to tradition and nature, election officials are an informal group made up of ordinary citizens belonging to different sectors of the population who generally carry out activities for the benefit of the city and settlement because they belong to a party, political or informal group, or simply work for a certain fee. Mostly this working group consists mainly of pensioners with an average of 60 years. As a rule, they are not united by anything with the government, military organizations, interest groups, professional organizations, and they usually do not share the same political position.
In all states except 10, the dominant political parties have a certain degree of influence on the selection of candidates for election organizers, often with a statutory requirement to comply with bipartisan representation at each polling station. In many administrative units, however, the main problem of recruiting a sufficient number of employees for the electoral bodies, regardless of the political party, significantly reduced the importance of the “pre-selection” procedure. In the past decade, the detachment of workers in the electoral system had more stable replenishment channels, with most employees having long-term experience in this area. At the moment, however, social and economic factors, together with a growing indicator of the average age of employees, have increased the level of staff rotation in the electoral system with simultaneous difficulties in recruiting.
US election officials typically work 12-14 hours on election day, and are required to attend seminars and special classes to enhance their professional skills in accordance with state law. In many administrative units, additional compensation is paid to election officials for attending trainings, and in some states, trainings are mandatory if a person decides to work in an appropriate structure. The duties of employees of election bodies (precinct election commissions) include:
- take care of getting everything necessary for the work of the polling station, as well as the organization of the precinct and its full preparation for work,
- opening of the polling station and holding elections on the appointed day in full accordance with certain procedures for determining the capacity of voters, recording and lowering of ballots, keeping official records and resolving problems,
- closing of polling stations, ensuring the safety of ballot boxes, transporting ballots, filling out the necessary documents and submitting information in reports.
Outside of the listed functions of the election officials, naturally, the numerous procedural, legislative and practical details that may arise on election day have not been mentioned. Effective resolution of everyday issues is a special area of activity for all election officials.
Voting ballots are prepared by election commissions for all elections and referenda held in the city or district on the same day. The newsletter can be printed on both sides. As a rule, the voter should shade the empty oval opposite the name of the candidate whom he supports, or speak out “for” or “against” the issue submitted to the referendum. In other states, the voter had to puncture the ballot in a special place, also opposite the position of the candidate he chose. At the elections this year, electronic forms of voting (without the use of ballots) using special devices are beginning to be applied wider and wider.
The vote itself is held on Tuesday from 8 to 20 hours local time and taking into account time zones in the United States lasts a total of 18 hours. In some states, polling stations open at 6 a.m. The place of the vote counting is determined by state law and is carried out either by the precinct election commission itself or by the territorial commission of the district (county). In this case, counting scanning machines are often used.
The previous US presidential election in 2000 was “stuck” in Florida - for 36 days after the election, the winner remained unknown. Florida elections have become so scandalous due to the fact that the vote count was hampered by technical overlaps.
Most of the polling stations were equipped with special punchers so that the voter would puncture a hole opposite the name of the candidate. In many districts, the ballots were so poorly compiled that people missed and inadvertently cast their ballot to the wrong candidate or were unable to break the ballot at all.
Today, in most polling stations, punched tape has been replaced by electronic voting machines equipped with a touch-screen system. The voter must only a few times press his finger on the screen, determining his preferences. This new technology cost four billion and was introduced at polling stations in 42 of the 50 states.
Computers are complex in technology, but easy to use. They have three drawbacks: they cannot, if necessary, count the votes, are poorly protected from hackers and viruses, and often break down, so voters have to wait hours for polling stations. Opponents of electronic voting believe that the main disadvantage is that computer voting “leaves no trace”, that is, it does not give the voter confirmation that he voted and for whom exactly.
At the polling stations in the United States, the old voting systems are also preserved: ordinary ballots on which to put a checkmark (shade the circle), old punch cards in which to pierce holes, and optical machines.
In some states, you can vote by mail (this is the most popular way in Oregon) and even on the Internet. True, voting by mail in different states is regulated differently. In some states, absentee ballots are accepted only until election day, in others - and after (in Alaska - until November 17).
The time for expression of will is almost unlimited - the “election day” in Maine, for example, lasts three months. 28 states decided that they must vote at their polling station, 17 allowed to vote at any part of their district. Five states allow voters to register on election day, the rest do not. There are no restrictions in North Dakota at all, which is not surprising: in the vast expanses of this state, only 634 thousand people live.
In 2002, the concept of “preliminary ballot” came into American election practice. Now even someone who is not on the voter lists can vote. Only he receives in his hands not a regular ballot, but a “preliminary” one - a special card indicating his name and coordinates.
In the United States, in order to vote, as noted earlier, you must register in advance at the site of residence. But it may happen that the voter is not on the lists. He will still be allowed to vote, but will be allowed to go through the verification process.
After the “dubious” voter votes, the election commission must find out if he had the right to do so. If not, the ballot is discarded. According to the law, their verification and calculation is carried out manually, and this seriously lengthens the process. According to various estimates, 3–6 million “preliminary ballots” were issued in the presidential election.
To process such a variety of ballots, it takes time and armies of election commission workers. But in the US, each state determines how long it takes to count votes. Four weeks are allowed in California, two in Illinois. In Florida and Georgia - two days, in Virginia - only one.
On election day and the vote counting period, candidates, their representatives, and the media may be present at polling stations and election commissions of constituencies (counties).
The official election results, in contrast to the preliminary ones, which become known the day after the vote, can be summed up 20-30 days after the polling stations are closed, after the votes are counted, checked and the results approved. The official election results take into account validly cast votes and valid ballots.