Diadem wrote:From all these talks about different states, I gather that each state is free to set its own rules regarding voting.
But how much leeway do they have in that? I presume there are national rules regarding voting as well? States probably aren't allowed to take away voting rights from specific groups (women, or prisoners, people who don't pay income tax). But could states move the election dates? Decide voting can only be done between 03:00 AM and 04:00 AM? What kind of rules are there?
States do in fact have the right to take away voting rights from prisoners/previously convicted citizens(usually felons). This has been upheld at the supreme court, and I believe some states still do.
Sufficiently significant voter restriction would fall to the courts, and would have to be found to violate the 14th amendment(or one of the more specific, later amendments). A probable outcome of reducing the pool of voters would be having electoral seats, etc diminished accordingly. There'd probably have to be quite severe cases to get to this level.
Moving the election date is possible, within reason. Early voting is one such example. You don't have to vote on tuesday from a federal standpoint.
Also, can someone explain all this 'voting before election day' to me? I thought this was just for people who couldn't show up to vote, for example Americans living abroad. But the articles I'm reading talk about people showing up at polling stations to fill in absentee ballots. That sounds ...weird.
It used to be for absentees, but as a convenience, many states allow voting in advance. Nothing wrong with it, really. The concept of a single election day is probably unnecessary.
Diadem wrote:Also, can someone explain all this 'voting before election day' to me? I thought this was just for people who couldn't show up to vote, for example Americans living abroad. But the articles I'm reading talk about people showing up at polling stations to fill in absentee ballots. That sounds ...weird.
Predictable huge lineups the election day, with most of the hours being while you have to work.
So you vote early instead, on a day when you don't have to work.
A great many states mandate that time off be given to vote. Note that this is often just however much time it takes you to vote, not necessarily the entire day. Florida lacks such a law, but Ohio does not. You can find a map here
. It should also be noted that polls are typically open longer than a normal workday, though of course, showing up just after you get off shift might involve a longer line.
Xeio wrote:Of course, then the question becomes, when does it become too inconvenient to vote? Can any level of inconvenience lead to disenfranchisement?
Clearly a single polling place for the entire state of New York would be over the line (to use an absurd example). But changing the rules to reduce early voting oppertunities? Reducing voting hours? Requiring more restrictive ID? Closing the poll place due to it being too busy? Reducing available polling places? Last minute ballot rules changes that could invalidate votes (that are already cast, no less)? All of them in the same election (like is happening now)?
I have no objection to any of those(within reason), save for attempting to invalidate votes that have already been properly cast. That's dirty pool. After the fact rules changes are not something a voter can reasonably comply with.