[extropy-chat] Politics: US talks of suspending elections

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Mon Jul 12 23:18:39 UTC 2004

--- Steve Davies <Steve365 at btinternet.com> wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Adrian Tymes" <wingcat at pacbell.net>
> > Umm...Samantha said *the press* are talking about
> it.
> > Do you have a single specific instance of *the
> Bush
> > administration* talking about it?
> >
> As I understand it the head of the US Election
> Assistance Commission floated
> this idea a couple of weeks ago - see
> and for a more recent comment see
> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5411741/site/newsweek/

Ah, okay.  Thanks.

> Knowing the way politics works today I would say
> that this is a trial
> ballon. Time to write a lot of very angry letters to
> make sure it gets shot
> down spectacularly.

Yep.  A couple key phrases from those stories:

> The government needs to establish guidelines for
> canceling or rescheduling elections

> asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal
> Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed
> to permit the postponement of the election were an
> attack to take place.

The question is just being asked.  No proposals have
been made.  A legal review would seem to indicate
that, according to the current laws, the answer is
"you may only reschedule AFTER elections have been
disrupted, and after that elections must happen as
soon as the disruption ceases".  For instance, New
York City was holding elections on 9/11/2001; the
attack shut down elections.  It took a week or so to
coordinate and recover; elections happened two weeks
after the attack.  Comparably, there would need to be
an actual terrorist attack - not just the threat of
one - on each and every election date, with each
attack probably not delaying things longer than a
month at most (trying to delay much longer would land
election officials in jail for incompetence or
corruption, depending on whether or not a deliberate
delay could be proven), and even then a minor attack
might not be enough (if, say, it happened in a state
so solidly pro-Bush that, even if all the disrupted
votes were for Kerry, Bush still would have won that

But, yeah.  I've already shot off letters to the
President and to my state's election officers asking
their positions on this.  Hopefully, the issue either
already has or soon will rise to the level that
they'll add it to their autoresponders, and then at
least we'll have an official response.

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