View Poll Results: Should voting be anonymous?

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33. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, it's set up the way it currently is for good reason

    31 93.94%
  • No, people should be held accountable for their decisions

    2 6.06%
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Thread: Should Voting be Confidential?

  1. #31
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanBeing View Post
    My theory is that less people would vote, and those that did vote would do so after considering how they would justify it. I believe that would have a massively positive outcome. People make better decisions when they know other people will be aware of them.
    Not the case. People would be massively more inclined to vote based on who their boss was going to vote for, who their familly and neighbors supported, who their partner liked and so on. You would see an increase in polarisation of 'red vs blue' within communities. In some senses (sorry, Godwin!), there would be similar effects to forcing Jews to wear the Star of David, especially when there are agitators on both sides screaming "All republicans are racist homophobes"/"All democrats are gun-stealing baby-killers!".

    People should not be held accountable to their leaders actions because many leaders take actions against the wishes of their supporters. Examples: government shutdown, the Iraq war, keeping Guantanemo open, and so on. The leaders are then often punished by their supporters - the supporters themselves don't need to be punished as well.

    If you can find a political system where all politicians are honest and keep their word, and furthermore are diverse enough that there is a politician availiable for each and every different kind of voter to be able to support wholeheartedly, with no policy disagreements whatsoever, and also a populace who are all educated enough to understand the political system and to have a rational debate on the pros and cons of the unforseen consequences of every slight shift in policy that their government might entail, without resorting to partisan tactics, then your idea might have half a hope.


    TL;dr - no, because of partisans.

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanBeing View Post
    The bit I'm still confused about is why you'd think that laws can prevent the government from finding out who you voted for, but that those same laws can't prevent the government from intimidating you if they do know. If you're so willing to believe that they'd break that second law, why not the first as well? And do you at least see any sort of reasoning behind the notion that full transparency can actually help prevent intimidation and discrimination?
    Edit: your mistake is that you assume that the government is the author of every politacal-based intimidation that has ever existed. Do you really want Joe Psycho-killer down the road to learn that you voted for a government which is responsible for enacting a healthcare law that Joe's radio has been telling him, every minute of every day, will lead to the inevitable breakdown of American society and probably a whole bunch of extra abortions to boot? Or Nancy-the-angry-hippy to learn that the candidate who has been forced by his Tea Party base to vote against gay rights is the one who you gave your vote to?
    Last edited by iangb; 12-05-13 at 09:06 AM.
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

  2. #32
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by iangb View Post
    People should not be held accountable to their leaders actions because many leaders take actions against the wishes of their supporters. Examples: government shutdown, the Iraq war, keeping Guantanemo open, and so on. The leaders are then often punished by their supporters - the supporters themselves don't need to be punished as well.
    I understand your reasoning, but I think the examples you gave are poor. Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay as part of his first election win. People who voted for him can say they voted (in part) to close Guantanamo Bay. However, those who voted for him a second time, despite knowing they had been lied to, in my opinion bear some responsibility of the consequences of his other lies. A moment's research would have shown them that he didn't do what he said the first time round, there's no logical or justifiable reason to think he would the second time around, and it's not good enough to just pretend you voted for someone else when things go tits up.

    If there isn't anyone to vote for who isn't a lying, sniveling, corrupt little weasel then the responsible course of action should be obvious; don't vote. That would force the biggest change of all available options.

    If you can find a political system where all politicians .............. are diverse enough that there is a politician availiable for each and every different kind of voter to be able to support wholeheartedly, with no policy disagreements whatsoever, and also a populace who are all educated enough to understand the political system and to have a rational debate on the pros and cons of the unforseen consequences of every slight shift in policy that their government might entail, without resorting to partisan tactics, then your idea might have half a hope.
    For those who want to live in such a society, Voluntaryism would at least give them the possibility. People can co exist (in a geographical context) while living under different political systems, it's just not an option that they give you.

    As for politicians being honest, I think I've already covered that.

    Do you really want Joe Psycho-killer down the road to learn that you voted for a government which is responsible for enacting a healthcare law that Joe's radio has been telling him, every minute of every day, will lead to the inevitable breakdown of American society and probably a whole bunch of extra abortions to boot?
    Joe can already go get the names and addresses of thousands of people who voted for the government he doesn't like. He hasn't done anything to any of them so far, why is he suddenly going to take it out on me?
    Last edited by HumanBeing; 12-05-13 at 09:24 AM.
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  3. #33
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanBeing View Post
    Well, lets give a semi metaphorical example:

    Lets say I have some bills to pay and not enough money to pay them. I apply for a credit card, but as I have crappy credit, I put the credit card in the name of your son, who will be born in a few years. He will be expected to work to pay off the money I used to pay my bills with.

    When he grows up, does he at least have a right to know the name of the person who's bills he's paying, the person who made a conscious decision to place him in debt before he was even born?

    Now take the same example back to a national level: You vote for someone to do these things to other people's children. Do the history books not have a right to even know who you are?
    I think the appropriate response is: Cool Story, Bro.

    Unless the votes of Congress, who actually does the voting, is kept private, then we know who is authorizing all the spending. Do you object to living in a Republic?

    So all this information you want to be made public is for posterity? I still think there could be more sinister motives.

  4. #34
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by AliHajiSheik View Post
    I think the appropriate response is: Cool Story, Bro.

    Unless the votes of Congress, who actually does the voting, is kept private, then we know who is authorizing all the spending. Do you object to living in a Republic?
    I realize that this is mostly an American forum and as such I've centered the discussion around the American system, but the question was with regards to the general concept being applied to any democratic country. I'm from England and have spent about a third of my life living in Cambodia, neither of those countries are republics.

    So all this information you want to be made public is for posterity? I still think there could be more sinister motives.
    It's that I believe people make better decisions when they know those decisions will be made public. It's also that I think if the government gets to a situation where they are willing to resort to intimidating voters (or allowing other groups to do so) then it would be the same situation under which they'd start making records of who everyone votes for anyway, even if they weren't allowed.

    What do you think my "sinister motives" are? I condemn you for voting no matter who you vote for, so in that sense I don't discriminate
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  5. #35
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanBeing View Post
    One of the reasons we are given to vote is that it's a personal responsibility that you have to yourself and to those around you. My position is that the system is set up to absolve voters of any responsibility for their vote from the moment they cast it, by giving voters total anonymity for their choices, thereby absolving them of all responsibility for decisions made by the person they voted for. That being the case, the idea that voting is some sort of a responsibility that people have seems like a complete fallacy.

    When you vote in a national election, you are casting a vote to influence the lives of millions upon millions of other people. If I vote for a man who will send your son to fight in a foreign country that poses no threat to our nation and your son ends up dying as a result, do you not think you should have some right to at least know who I am? If I vote for a man who decides to fix a current financial crisis by committing your unborn children to a lifetime of debt, shouldn't those unborn children one day have the right to at least know the names of the millions of people who voted for these debts to be placed on them before they were even born?
    Interesting, I never looked at voting in that light. But the problem remains that candidates tell their supporters what they want to hear even though they know there is no way they can accomplish what they say they will do. They knowingly lie and the people eat it up. Then many, many times I heard when the promises were brought up that went unfilled, TV news analyst say that was just a campaign promise, they don’t mean anything. Apparently those news analyst are right, we the voters sure do not hold our elected leaders accountable when they fail to keep their promises. We just shrugged it off as if expected and listen for the next promise we want to hear in the next election and re-elect him once again.

    I do not think most voters care if their candidate sends someone else’s son off to die in a foreign war, if their candidate racks up trillions in debt to be paid by future generations, if their candidate is honest or not, if their candidate works for the people or those faces who give him millions upon millions to finance his campaign, and on and on. After all he is their candidate and belongs to their party. Now let someone from the opposite party do the same thing as theirs just did, they are up in arms and hollering, ranting, raving all over the place. Never mind their candidate had done the exact same thing.

    So here is the problem, if the candidate or president, congressman, senator is mine, we don’t care what they promise, what they do, how they act, who they take care of, what wars they start or continue, what legislation they pass or sign into law, he is ours and we back him 100%, good, bad or indifferent. Now if the person is of the opposite party, we raise holy hell regardless if that other person of the other party is true to his word or not, does what is best for the country or not, is overall good, bad or indifferent. We don’t care, he is automatically bad. My politicians are all good, the other party’s politicians are all bad, they are evil, and they are not mine.

    Bottom line, voters never hold themselves responsible for anything.
    Last edited by Perotista; 12-05-13 at 09:49 AM.
    This Reform Party member thinks it is high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first and their political party further down the line. But for way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.

  6. #36
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanBeing View Post
    I understand your reasoning, but I think the examples you gave are poor. Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay as part of his first election win. People who voted for him can say they voted (in part) to close Guantanamo Bay. However, those who voted for him a second time, despite knowing they had been lied to, in my opinion bear some responsibility of the consequences of his other lies. A moment's research would have shown them that he didn't do what he said the first time round, there's no logical or justifiable reason to think he would the second time around, and it's not good enough to just pretend you voted for someone else when things go tits up.

    If there isn't anyone to vote for who isn't a lying, sniveling, corrupt little weasel then the responsible course of action should be obvious; don't vote. That would force the biggest change of all available options.
    Russel Brand says some lovely things. But it isn't accurate. Not voting merely gives more power to the minority of people who are OK with voting for lying weasels, which in turn allows them to be even bigger lying weasels. And there is no such thing as a polititican who hasn't lied at one or more points in their life.

    For those who want to live in such a society, Voluntaryism would at least give them the possibility. People can co exist (in a geographical context) while living under different political systems, it's just not an option that they give you.

    As for politicians being honest, I think I've already covered that.
    PR is a lovely idea, and I love the way that Iceland has recently croudsourced it's constitution. However, in the end you will always have to prioritise your principles. You aren't ever going to agree with someone on absolutely everything.

    Joe can already go get the names and addresses of thousands of people who voted for the government he doesn't like. He hasn't done anything to any of them so far, why is he suddenly going to take it out on me?
    Because you live just down the road, and Joe is lazy? Do you remember the threats - both verbal and actual - that were leveled against various politicians throughout their career?
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

  7. #37
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanBeing View Post
    I realize that this is mostly an American forum and as such I've centered the discussion around the American system, but the question was with regards to the general concept being applied to any democratic country. I'm from England and have spent about a third of my life living in Cambodia, neither of those countries are republics.


    It's that I believe people make better decisions when they know those decisions will be made public. It's also that I think if the government gets to a situation where they are willing to resort to intimidating voters (or allowing other groups to do so) then it would be the same situation under which they'd start making records of who everyone votes for anyway, even if they weren't allowed.

    What do you think my "sinister motives" are? I condemn you for voting no matter who you vote for, so in that sense I don't discriminate
    I don't believe that my disagreement was with regard to a specific country. If the ballot is truly secret, then my true wishes can be expressed at the polls and not the opinion of others. Yes, the US is a republic, but I don't see that being much different in any other form of government. There are leaders who make decisions nominally on behalf of their constituents. The people can always remove those leaders although it is certainly different in some places than in others.

    As for publicly disclosed voting making people make better decisions. I just don't get it. Better for whom?

    If 100 people are voting for a candidate, what good can come to the 1 person who voted No from the 99 people who voted Yes? Make it 51 vs 49, what good can come from it being known who cast the 51st vote. What good is it knowing who cast the deciding vote for any leader, good or bad?

  8. #38
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by iangb View Post
    Russel Brand says some lovely things. But it isn't accurate. Not voting merely gives more power to the minority of people who are OK with voting for lying weasels, which in turn allows them to be even bigger lying weasels.
    No. The legitimacy of government comes from voters. If enough people don't vote, the whole thing collapses. You can't claim to represent a nation based on the results of an election that almost no one participated in, you'd be a laughing stock. Not sure what Russel Brand has to do with anything....

    PR is a lovely idea, and I love the way that Iceland has recently croudsourced it's constitution. However, in the end you will always have to prioritise your principles. You aren't ever going to agree with someone on absolutely everything.
    I'm not quite sure what you mean by this statement, but again, have you considered the possibility of multiple political systems existing within the same geographical area? Sure, you aren't going to agree with someone on absolutely everything, but that's why it makes sense to allow multiple systems to co exist within the same space.

    Because you live just down the road, and Joe is lazy?
    Joe drives past people with Obama bumper stickers every day of the week and has done for the majority of the past decade. The idea that he's suddenly going to flip out at you because you live down the road and support the opposition sounds like good ol' American fearmongering.
    If you hate capitalism so much, then just write everything in lower case. Problem solved.

  9. #39
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by AliHajiSheik View Post
    I don't believe that my disagreement was with regard to a specific country.
    The bit about congress and spending was.

    If the ballot is truly secret, then my true wishes can be expressed at the polls and not the opinion of others.
    Right. My point is that usually in life when you make a decision that affects other people, it's not generally seen as unreasonable if they ask you for an articulable reason for your actions. In fact under most circumstances, you'd be expected to explain yourself. If you're doing something that could negatively impact other people and you can't/won't even explain your motive, one has to wonder whether you should really be allowed to do it in the first place.
    If you hate capitalism so much, then just write everything in lower case. Problem solved.

  10. #40
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    Re: Should Voting be Confidential?

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanBeing View Post
    No. The legitimacy of government comes from voters. If enough people don't vote, the whole thing collapses. You can't claim to represent a nation based on the results of an election that almost no one participated in, you'd be a laughing stock. Not sure what Russel Brand has to do with anything....
    The authority of a government comes from the fact that people are content to be governed by them, even if they did not vote for them themselves. Russel Brand recently made several empassioned speeches about not voting, which were powerful but which ultimately I disagreed with.

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by this statement, but again, have you considered the possibility of multiple political systems existing within the same geographical area? Sure, you aren't going to agree with someone on absolutely everything, but that's why it makes sense to allow multiple systems to co exist within the same space.
    I meant that you have implied that the only people who should be voting are those who are prepared to support the actions their candidate has taken in every single area, because they will be responsible for every action of their candidate.

    Joe drives past people with Obama bumper stickers every day of the week and has done for the majority of the past decade. The idea that he's suddenly going to flip out at you because you live down the road and support the opposition sounds like good ol' American fearmongering.
    I live in the UK. And the scenario you originally gave was that of someone whose child has died in a war being told that their neighbor is partly responsible for that war. No, that's not something I would want.
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

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