California Democratic primary voters: don't accept "provisional ballots!"


[Read the post]


Fucking fuckers.


Why is voting in the U.S. so incredibly difficult?


They tried this bullshit here in San Diego county and a the locals got the pitchforks out. We are a strong Pro-Union / Pro-Labor county, so that ain’t happening here.


Because fuck you buddy, I got mine, has been part of the American character since forever, and has been in the ascendancy for decades.


Provisional ballots, like absentee ballots, are rarely counted because they are usually in such small numbers that they rarely make a difference. Provisional ballots are normally used because of clerical errors in the voting rolls or similar exceptional issues, so their numbers are usually very small.

It’s a lot of additional work to verify and count them. If there are 10,000 provisional ballots and the vote is Clinton 500,000 to Sanders 400,000, why bother counting the 10,000 provisional ballots? That’s how provisional ballots don’t get counted.

It’s a bit different in the Democratic primary, where there is multitiered proportional allocation of delegates (there are congressional district delegates (4 to 9 per district, in CA), party leaders and elected officials (PLEOs, 53 in CA), and “At-Large” delegates (105 in CA). If there’s more than about 1% of the ballots cast provisionally, then they will have to be processed to properly allocate delegates. So I fully expect provisional ballots to be counted in CA this year.

There was a similar situation in NY this year, due to a combination of voting roll irregularities in NYC and a court case to force open the closed primary. The judge in the court case told people to cast provisional ballots in case he ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. They did. He dismissed the case. 90,000 provisional ballots cast by the independents were discarded. Sanders supporters cried “foul!”, due to the very large number. What was missed in the uproar was the 30,000 provisional ballots counted, cast by registered Democrats who found themselves not on the rolls properly.


This is another issue that could be abused and needs to be fixed

(… if voting was a real thing and actually represented the people)


It’s still ignoring 1 % of the votes. And I’m not convinced that “too bothersome” is a valid reason in a democratic process.


The thing is voting is a pass/fail system. You might want it to be 500,000:410,000 rather than 500,000:400,000 but that doesn’t change who is elected and therefore counting them is a waste. You only count the hard ones if there’s a possibility of changing the outcome.


For the party establishments it’s a feature, not a bug. Especially for the modern GOP, whose unofficial motto is “if you can’t win, cheat.”


The purpose of a democratic process is, fundamentally, to make decisions based on the collective will of the demos (however the demos is defined for the political body. For the Senate, it’s all the Senators, for the California Democratic Primary, it’s all registered voters who are not members of another political party).

If a process or procedure is cumbersome, and will not effect the decisions made (like validating and counting provisional ballots when even if all those ballots were for one candidate it wouldn’t change the outcome), then doing so does not advance the decision making process.

In the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, the vote was close enough that they sent out and brought in an ailing Senator with considerable difficulty to cast the last, decisive ballot (acquitting Johnson). If the vote hadn’t been so close, if the outcome of the decision wouldn’t have been determined by his vote, would you have faulted them for letting the sick Senator stay home? I wouldn’t.


The thing is, primary voting isn’t pass/fail.

There are 546 delegates at stake, more than enough to swing the pledged delegate count Bernie’s way.

That 1% of the votes may translate to 5 delegates at the Convention, and although it looks unlikely at this point, there’s no way to know for certain if those 5 votes, plus the superdelegates, could swing the whole election.

It’s extremely unlikely, I’ll grant you, but you can’t just discard these votes because “either Bernie is the candidate or he isn’t.”


Not true for proportional electoral systems, or is California one of the winner-takes-it-all states?

eta: @nimelennar already answered my question : )


I don’t think the Dems have any winner-take-all states. The GOP does, I know, but I think that the Dems are all proportional.


Oh good lord. What a load of BS. Yes, they are rarely counted, but they know exactly how many of them there are. If the margin of victory is considerably greater than the number of provisional ballots, then no, there’s no point to counting them, as it’s impossible for them to alter the outcome. If the margin it close enough that the provisionals could conceivably play a part in the outcome, then they are counted.

Anyone who is mad about this, is simply bad at math. If you want to be mad about something, be mad at the process that threw these people off the roles in the first place.

And by the way, the votes of overseas military have been treated pretty much exactly the same way for decades.


I agree with you that if the number of provisional ballots is smaller than the margin to the next delegate being awarded, then sure. Don’t count them. But every delegate counts at the convention, so every (valid) vote that can award another delegate should be counted.


Yet it’s Bernie who thinks he should get super-delegate votes for primaries that he didn’t ever compete in.


So you are arguing that these votes should not be counted because they are often not counted and that it’s somehow ok since military votes are treated in a similar fashion?
But then again, maybe some people are kinda OK in math and know that there are multiple delegates to award not based on the total margin of victory but instead are awarded based on percentage of vote.
It seems to me as though that you have a candidate chosen and everyone who likes a different candidate is spouting bullshit huh?


I was living in Orlando during the 2004 election, and they tried to give me a provisional ballot.

I declined, as all conscientious voters should, no matter what state they live in.

Our “democratic system” of elections has enough duplicitous fuckery in it already.


But isn’t that the problem? If the process is cumbersome then it will affect the decisions made.
Now, I know you’re only attempting to describe how things are, but is it then OK to say that things are OK because that’s the way they are?
Because I think that was Renke’s point:

It almost seems to me like making things complicated is done in order to not count votes, this is not the only complicated part affecting how people vote after all, hence why these practices seem baffling to people like myself not invested in the outcome of these elections.

*Disclaimer: Your math adds up, not questioning the math here, just the general principle of what a democratic process should strive for.