I am a PEO, a Precinct Election Official in Iowa, working on the 2008 General Election. Iowa is the first Caucus in the US Presidential Election. It's considered a bellwether state and provided the first upset victory for Barack Obama. Although I've been working with Information Technology for 25 years, the IT mechanics of our …
Different rules in different places
One of the more bizarre aspects of an American Election, from the point of view of a European, is the fact the there isn't a standard set of rules. So Obama's dead grandmother would have had her early-ballot pulled if she lived Iowa, but it's counted because she lives in Hawaii. And if she lived in Pennsylvania, she probably wouldn't have been allowed to vote early.
The same goes for the argument above about whether a "straight party ticket" vote includes the Presidential race - it does in some places, and not in others, apparently.
Of course, for European wide elections, each European country uses it's own rules, but then there aren't European-wide elections for a single office, just country-wide elections for local representation in a EU-wide parliament.
Dead people voting
"Contrary to the article Obama's dead grandmother's advance vote will count."
Nothing wrong with the article-- the author's in Iowa, and the grandmother's in Hawaii, where the laws are different.
Nice work, Pete.
Good to know that some people can still find it within themselves to look beyond petty procedural niggles to the overarching principles behind them.
Totally amazing article.
Why weren't you asleep?
Full respect for doing the job and doing it consciensiously, but I do have to wonder whether it was really wise of you to stay awake all night writing an ever-so slightly self-congratulatory account of what you've been doing on the eve of the actual election day, which you knew would be very hectic and hence would require all the energy you could muster to keep your wits about you in assisting as many people as possible to vote and vote properly.
Is an exhasted PEO who didn't sleep the night before really good for democracy? A harsh comment perhaps, but one with a point.
"And there is still vote rigging on a massive scale in the largest democracy."
Although it's probably very interesting, I can't see what relevance the situation in India has to this article...
@ Anonymous Coward
"WRONG!!!!! I do not even live in the US, but I know that most electronic voting machines DO not register vote for the president when you select straight party ticket. Thanks a lot for losing a vote for Obama, if Iowa uses one of those machines!"
For the love of CHRIST, if you are not from the US and don't know how anything works over here, then STFU instead of opening your mouth and showing your ignorance. Laws and procedures vary from state to state, and I trust Pete's knowledge of the system IN HIS STATE a hell of a lot more than yours. And next time, if you feel the need to make an uninformed statement, have the courage to put your name on it. People like you are a waste of oxygen.
Pete, thank you for the well written, informative article. I hope that you will write more in the future!
@Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate
In Hawaii, as long as the dead person's name has not yet shown up on the dead people list by election day, the absentee vote will count. In Obama's grandmother's case, she died on Sunday evening and by Tuesday morning her name was not yet included on the dead people list, so her absentee vote counts. The dead people list is pulled from a database maintained by the state coroner's office. It could easily have gone either way, but, for you conspiracy theorists who enjoy kicking around ridiculously irrelevant notions, it is entirely possible that the state coroner's office decided to withhold publication of Obama's grandmother's demise in the list until after the election so that her absentee ballot would count, to honor her wishes. It certainly made no difference to the outcome, and there is no regulation requiring publication to the list within any particular timeframe.
Great article, Pete.
Thanks for the well written reply. It makes a lots of sense that the dead people list can be slightly out of date.