Outdated Constitutional Laws?

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  1. Nathanville profile image93
    Nathanvilleposted 2 years ago

    As a Brit, from a European perspective, the Second Amendment in the USA Constitution would seem outdated; but most Americans would disagree…

    Notwithstanding that the British Constitution is ‘unwritten’, one of many weird aspects of the British Constitution is that it is illegal for an MP (an elected politician to the House of Commons) to resign his seat.

    To get around this problem, rather than changing the Constitution (which would seem the most logical thing to do) when an MP wishes to resign he is appointed to one of the two ‘legal fiction’ offices for profit; either the Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, or the Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead.  Although both offices are unpaid, they have been considered by a court of law, for this purpose, to be ‘offices of profit’ and as such disqualify the MP from sitting in Parliament.

    FYI:  Legal Definition of ‘Legal Fiction’ in English Law:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_fiction

    The video below explains in more detail:-

    Why it’s Illegal to Resign from the British House of Commons:  https://youtu.be/VG4Rt51ZzSc

    Are there facets of your Constitution, in your country, that you consider outdated?

    1. Nathanville profile image93
      Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      In Westminster, London, each year when the Queen re-opens Parliament the MPs are summoned to the House of Lords by the ‘Black Rod’ to hear the Queen’s speech.     The post of Black Rod was created in 1350, but since the 17th century the Black Rod has the door slammed in his face, and has to knock on the door of the House of Commons 3-times before he’s let in to convey the message that the Queen want’s their audience. 

      The ritual of slamming the door in the face of Black Rod stems back to the failed attempt by King Charles I to arrest five MPs in the House of Commons in 1642; the Kings actions was seen as a breach of the Constitution, and was one of the major factors that led to the English Civil War later that year (1642-1651).

      Video of Black Rod having door slammed in his face: - https://youtu.be/9o65Ap7nC8w

      You will also note in the above video that as well as the Black Rod wearing a sword, the Serjeant at Arms (who carries the Mace) also wears a sword; these days, he/she being the only person allowed to be armed (with sword or mace) inside the House of Commons.

    2. Nathanville profile image93
      Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Also, in the House of Commons, MPs must not stand between the two red lines on the floor of the house when speaking.  The two red lines are two swords lengths in width; and it’s designed to prevent heated debates Government and opposition from becoming physically violent; a tradition dating back to a time when everyone carried swords.

      Tour of the House of Commons:  https://youtu.be/3P3THUM62MY

      https://hubstatic.com/15864268_f1024.jpg

    3. tsmog profile image86
      tsmogposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      I really don't have a solid answer if there is anything outdated in our constitution while leaning toward there is not. It has an interesting history and I believe is well written while formulated by some brilliant minds well educated, logical, and with foresight. That is evident to me as there is provision to amend the constitution. The the history surrounding it is very interesting. There are twenty-seven amendments while the first ten aimed at individual liberties and rights had to be there to be ratified.

      The challenge with being outdated or not goes toward interpretation where there are too views - Orginalism vs. Living Constitutionalism. I have been trying to wrap my brain around that for sometime now, yet I see both have merit and I think our Supreme Court Justices do too, though they stick to their guns at times on their position.

      The following is one link of many on those two views. It is lengthy and I have only skimmed or pre-read it.
      https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/ … ext=facpub

      A short version is following:
      https://www.swindlelaw.com/2017/10/orig … -heritage/

      Opening the door to why do we even have one as compared to the UK there was an immediate need for one after the Revolutionary War to form a federal government that the sovereign states with their wise leadership representing its people would agree to. The bulk of it is based on organization, yet for all to agree it moved toward individual liberties/rights to be ratified.

      As to the U.K. was there ever a need for one? Seems from little I know the government is steeped in history based on a monarchy going back centuries with its many traditions as shown with your recent posts. I see most countries have a constitution while there are some that are unwritten or uncodified including Canada and Sweden.

      1. Nathanville profile image93
        Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks tsmog, fascinated read, and thanks for the links about Originalism vs. Living Constitutionalism; something I was unaware of, so I’ve learnt something new by browsing through your links on the subject.

        I guess in essence the Magna Carta (signed by King John in 1215) which contains 63 rules of rights and liberty (and which is the foundation of the British Constitution) isn’t greatly different to the American Constitution in some respects, except for being a lot older?

        With respect to the UK I guess that perhaps it has to largely be the ‘Living Constitutionalism’ as our Constitution isn’t based on a single document and is forever evolving.  So it must be a challenging task when our Supreme Court is asked to interpret the Constitution.  Notwithstanding that the founding document of our Constitution (the Magna Carta) is just too old and out of date for modern society for Originalism to be applicable.

        What is Magna Carta? https://youtu.be/7xo4tUMdAMw

        1. tsmog profile image86
          tsmogposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks for the video giving enough info to understand the impact of the Magna Carta. I liked how it influenced Jefferson and our Constitution, though from little bit of study on the Constitution I know there was a lot of influence of British law and philosophy impacting the founders of it. Think Locke. Those founders, authors, and who ratified it gave a lot of consideration and debate into the document.

          1. Nathanville profile image93
            Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Yep, as you say “there was a lot of influence of British law and philosophy impacting the founders of it” (American Constitution).” and of course British law and philosophy in itself is based on and heavily influenced by the Magna Carta.

            I often wonder what democracy would be like today if King John hadn’t had been forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215; would we for example have ‘trial by our fellow peers “ (trial by jury), and would concepts like ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom to protest’ have developed in the way they did? 

            In writing this, it makes me think of the ‘Butterfly effect’ (science theory): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

            In browsing the Magna Carta some of the more clauses include:-

            Clause 8:  No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband……

            Clause 12:  sets the concept of “No taxation without representation” e.g. that the people should have a say about laws which affect them.

            Clause 17:  The establishment of a juridical system, separate from the King (separation of powers).

            Clause 20:  Establishes the principle in law of ‘proportionality’ e.g. prevented the King from giving harsh punishments for minor crimes.

            Clause 39:  “No free man shall be seized, imprisoned, dispossessed, outlawed, exiled or ruined in any way, nor in any way proceeded against, except by the lawful judgement of his peers and the law of the land.

            Clause 40:  “To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice.” E.g. the concept that there should be justice for all people and that that legal processes should be free from bribery, corruption and delay.

            Clause 45:  The establishment of the concept of an independent judiciary that applies the law of the land; this clause in conjunction with clause 17 being the beginning of a system of independent courts and judges that many countries have today.

            http://www.magnacartalegacy.org/magnacarta.html

            1. tsmog profile image86
              tsmogposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              As you can see here in California I am not able to sleep right now ha-ha . . . Thanks for the link to the Magna Carta giving me insight. That led me to look at the actual text found at the British Library. I will read one day when I am ambitious, yet as said I see its influence on the founders here creating the Constitution. Of course I am still learning on that.

              I, too, am a fan of the Butterfly Effect. I have forgotten most of what I have read . . . old guy stuff ha-ha. I have a great book titled Connections. by James Burke that offers a lot of information of how one thing led to another and things happening simultaneously on the other side of the globe. I should read it again.

              https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55024.Connections

              I also wonder and have looked into Chaos Theory, the Cusp of Catastrophe, and the also ponder Entropy when thinking "What the heck is on going on" ha-ha

              1. Nathanville profile image93
                Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                Yes, James Burke, I like his work, and Quantum Physics is a subject I find fascinating.

                1. tsmog profile image86
                  tsmogposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  Off topic . . . I just read through the Magna Carta seeing, yes, Liberty is central to it as well as rights. I got lost on some of the traditions/history stuff like the many titles, heirs, and 'fees'. I presume that 'may' mean tax.

                  Reading it it brought a thought . . . what about voting and representation for the common man. Was that something novel much later in history? I think that is a fundamental cornerstone to democracy.

                  1. Nathanville profile image93
                    Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    Heirs and titles are part of the ‘feudal system, and yes one of the central aspects of the Magna Carta related to the issue of taxes in that King John was keen to raise large sums of money from his Barons to pay for his expensive war campaigns in Europe.

                    And yes democracy as we know it today came much later.  At the time the Magna Carta was signed England, as with most of Europe, was under the ‘feudal system’:-

                    The Feudal system was established in England (from Europe) in 1066 when the Normans (French Vikings) from Normandy invaded and occupied England.

                    Essentially, under the ‘feudal’ system:-

                    •    All land belonged to the King

                    •    The King awarded land to his barons (Lords, mainly of Norman descent), as reward for their support and loyalty to the King.

                    •    The Barons employed Knights, as loyal defenders of the Realm.

                    •    The Anglo-Saxons, whose lands had been taken from them, became the peasants, surfs and slaves.

                    The Barons, Lords and Knights were all ‘Freemen’ who had legal rights and were protected by law in the Magna Carta.

                    Most of the peasants were surfs, and were the property of their Lord of the Manor; they had no rights and couldn’t own land, but they rent land from the Landlord in exchange for growing food for the landlord to use and sell.

                    THE FEUDAL SYSTEM:  https://youtu.be/gz0SnpHreIs

                    The feudal system in England began to diminish in England following the Black Death in 1348, after the start of the centralisation of government began; but it didn’t finally die out until 1660.  The establishment of the House of Commons was in 1341.

                    The roots of the House of Lords is much order, that dates back to the 7th century when the Angles, Saxons and Jutes from Germany invaded and occupied England, pushing the Celts to Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

                    From around the 7th century Anglo-Saxon Kings consulted ‘witans’ (councils) composed of religious leaders and the monarch’s ministers; when William the Conquer occupied England in 1066 he adapted the Anglo-Saxon system, which eventually by around the 13th century evolved into Parliament, initially just the House of Lords advising the King, and in 1341 the creation of the House of Commons (commoners).

                    Initially, all the power resided with the House of Lords, but over the centuries the House of Commons gradually took more and more power away from the Lords and King, until eventually it became the more powerful chamber.

                    Also, voting and representation didn’t really come for the common man until the ‘Representation of the People Act of 1918’ when for the first time all men over the age of 21 could vote regardless to whether they owned land or not.  Although the first of several ‘Reform Acts’ in 1832 started to extend the voting rights, it was still limited to only men who owned property until the 1918 reforms.

                    Although ordinary men and women over the age of 18 can now vote for fellow commoners to represent them in the House of Commons (and over the age of 16 in Scotland and Wales for local elections); the House of Lords hasn’t changed a great deal over the centuries e.g. all the politicians in the House of Lords are unelected, appointed either for life or hereditary e.g. there are still 92 hereditary peers sitting in the House of Lords, along with 26 bishops.

                    Another historic big shakeup in British Society was the Domesday Book of 1086.  The Domesday Book being nationwide census of England and Wales so that William the Conqueror could apply taxes across his lands based on who owned what.

                    For example, in Uley (a small village not far from Bristol, where I lived as a child) had 5 landowners in the Domesday Book of 1086; and as an example the details of one of them in the Domesday book reads:-

                    Land of Hugh de Montfort
                    Households
                    •    Households: 7 freemen. 14 smallholders.

                    Land and resources
                    •    Ploughland: 2 lord's plough teams. 1.5 men's plough teams.
                    •    Other resources: Meadow 1 acres. Woodland 8 pigs. 1 mill.

                    Livestock
                    •    Livestock in 1066: 2 cobs. 7 pigs. 100 sheep.
                    •    Livestock in 1086: 2 cobs. 3 pigs. 20 sheep.

                    Valuation
                    •    Annual value to lord: 4 pounds in 1086; 4 pounds in 1066.

                    Owners
                    •    Tenant-in-chief in 1086: Hugh de Montfort.
                    •    Lord in 1086: Hugh de Montfort.
                    •    Lord in 1066: Bondi <of Raynham>.

                    What was the Domesday Book?  https://youtu.be/yRR3M0XIWPY

                  2. Nathanville profile image93
                    Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    Reference your comment “….what about voting and representation for the common man. Was that something novel much later in history?”

                    ROTTEN BOROUGHS

                    In England, from 1432 until the Reforms of 1832 the only people eligible to vote were ‘Freeholders’ who paid at least 40 shillings in taxes per year (equivalent to £2,500 ($3,400) per year).  A Freeholder being men who either owned their land outright or who held it in a lease for the duration of their life, or the lives of other people named in the lease.  Thus during this 400 year period less than 3% of the population had the right to vote.

                    Thus, only men who owned land had the vote; and to keep political control in their favour, the landowners had considerable influence over who would represent their interests in Parliament e.g. voting was by a show of hand (not secret), and a wealthy landowner (Lord of the Manor) could terminate the lease of a freeholder if that freeholder didn’t vote in the way the Lord of the Manor wished.

                    Hence the problem of the ‘Rotten boroughs’, particularly during the Industrial Revolution (prior to the Reform Act of 1832) when newly emerging industrialised cities and towns didn’t have any political representation in Parliament.  For example in 1831, of the 406 MPs elected to Parliament, 152 were elected by fewer than 100 voters, and 88 by fewer than 50 voters.

                    For example, back in 1831:-

                    •    The rotten borough of Old Sarum in Wiltshire, had just 7 voters to elect 1 MP.

                    •    The rotten borough of Plympton Erle, Devon, had 40 voters for one MP seat in Parliament, which from the mid-17th century until the Reform Act of 1932 was controlled by the Treby family.

                    •    The rotten borough of Callington, Cornwall, with 42 voters to elect 1 MP, who was controlled by the Rolle family.

                    If you’ve ever watched the Blackadder TV Series, several of those episodes featured the rotten boughs (seat in Parliament).

                    A Rotten Candidate for a Rotten Borough:  https://youtu.be/Tkb9SIe4WWo

  2. Stephen Tomkinson profile image91
    Stephen Tomkinsonposted 2 years ago

    Just so non-Americans are sure about the Second Amendment:
    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, hall not be infringed."
    Not only outdated but badly stated. At the time, there was no standing army in the US. If the British came back, it would be necessary for the people to fight, so they should keep a weapon at home. But this was to help a well-regulated militia to resist - not allow you to wander the streets with a gun in your pocket.

    1. Nathanville profile image93
      Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the clarity.

      1. Castlepaloma profile image75
        Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        When different of the gun written was about a musket and ball took a minute to reload. To America having more guns than citizens and some military guns at that. It is obviously really outdated. Since America has half of the world's entire offensive war budget. Goes  to common sense of fire fights fire or be a slave from the centralist side. My personal good sense says both side dropped their arms. My uncommon sense say they won't. And I  must live under the radar and grey area of all this nonsense.

        1. Nathanville profile image93
          Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Well yeah, with respect to the 2nd Amendment, from a European perspective most would agree with you; but from an American perspective (right or wrong) the 2nd Amendment is still relevant in today’s American society; Europe and the USA are different cultures with different attitudes and values.

  3. Stephen Tomkinson profile image91
    Stephen Tomkinsonposted 2 years ago

    This rather begs the question as to why?

  4. Stephen Tomkinson profile image91
    Stephen Tomkinsonposted 2 years ago

    As a footnote, the Normans so dominated the Anglo Saxons that modern English was affected. Animals that were expensive to rear and eat used French for the meat - beef, for example, whilst the animal kept its Anglo Saxon name - cow.

    1. Castlepaloma profile image75
      Castlepalomaposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      I let warriors knock themselves out. I only take the good bits from every culture and good value. Just ignore negatives things like banks, wars, stealing and Pharma drugs, let eat their soils. The world is a chamgin.

    2. Nathanville profile image93
      Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Yep, the birth of the English Language:  The blend of languages from the Norman (French) upper-classes and the Anglo-Saxon) peasants; such as pigs are farmed by the Anglo-Saxon peasants, but pork is eaten by the Norman Lords.

      That’s why many words in the English language has two words; for example.

      •    In Anglo-Saxon you “Go”, while in Norman you “Proceed”.
      •    Thinking (Anglo-Saxon) = Pensive (Norman)
      •    Kingly (Anglo-Saxon) = Royal (Norman)
      •    Almighty (Anglo-Saxon) = Omnipotent (Norman)
      •    Brotherly (Anglo-Saxon) = Fraternal (Norman)
      •    Motherly (Anglo-Saxon) = Maternal (Norman)
      •    Fatherly (Anglo-Saxon) = Paternal (Norman)
      •    Sisterly (Anglo-Saxon) = Sororal (Norman)
      •    Ask (Anglo-Saxon) =  Enquire (Norman)
      •    Lord (Anglo-Saxon) = Liege (Norman)
      •    Lovesome (Anglo-Saxon) = Amorous (Norman)

      And the list goes on:  A long and comprehensive list can be seen here: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_E … variations

  5. Nathanville profile image93
    Nathanvilleposted 2 years ago

    Don’t Kill the Messenger
    The Position of the Speaker of the House was created in 1377, and at the time was a thankless job e.g. their original function was to communicate the House of Commons opinions to the King, and potentially faced the anger of the monarch.  Although, no speaker was actually executed by the king for bringing bad news, five were subsequently executed because of their close association with a former king after a new monarch had succeeded.

    Therefore, it’s a tradition (to this day) that when a new speaker is elected that they have to be dragged to the Speaker’s chair.

    Why is The Speaker of The House of Commons Dragged to The Chair?  https://youtu.be/1tNClpaG5Xw

  6. MG Singh profile image74
    MG Singhposted 2 years ago

    This is an interesting aspect of English law and does sound weird. I was not aware that the British MP cannot resign his seat but I think some anachronistic provisions in the unwritten constitution need to be amended. I wonder if there is a provision to amend the constitution by say 2/3 majority of parliament.

    1. Nathanville profile image93
      Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Good question: 

      No there is nothing in the British Constitution to say how the constitution can be amended. 

      In practice, any constitutional amendments of such nature e.g. getting rid of the anachronistic provisions so that MPs can resign would require approval by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

      That being said, as the British Constitution is unwritten and based largely on traditions and customs, and ancient laws, it’s constantly evolving as new traditions are created e.g. the formation of the ‘Salisbury Convention’ in 1948.  The Salisbury Convection being where the House of Lords can NOT block Legislation passed in the House of Commons, if that Legislation was in the democratically elected Governments ‘Election Manifesto’.

      If/when the interpretation of the constitution is in question (as has happened quite frequently in recent years) the Supreme Court has the final say.

  7. CHRIS57 profile image61
    CHRIS57posted 2 years ago

    ... Do you not have to provide proof of residency so that you don't cast a vote in two or more places? ...

    Yes, you are supposed to register. Authorities will not necessarily check if you have moved from one location to another. But your favourite "walking distance " polling station only moves with you, if you register your new residence.

    California 55 / 39,5 mill. = 1,39 / mill.
    Kansas 6 / 2,9 mill. = 2,06 / mill.
    Idaho 4 / 1,8 mill. = 2,22 / mill.

    I understand you need 3 people in California to have the weight of 2 voters in Idaho.  :-) wilderness - lucky guy - so much more influence :-)

    1. wilderness profile image93
      wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      But you need to have 14 Idaho's to have the voting power of California, and as I pointed out we are a republic of states.  Each state is semindependent (which is going down every year) and in theory carries the same weight as any other state.

      So the state of Idaho, with it's 4 electoral votes, cannot begin to compete with the state of California with it's 55.  Personally, I'm satisfied with the arrangement; it gives recognition to the state as well as to every person in it, with a balance of state vs individual I am satisfied with.

      States in the US vote overwhelmingly Republican, while the people vote slightly Democrat.  It would not do to have the vote go overwhelmingly Republican, but neither is it reasonable (IMO) to have a half dozen states control the other 44.  So, a reasonable balance.

      1. Nathanville profile image93
        Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Wow, wilderness, quite a discussion on the issue of voting overnight, while I was away from the computer.  So in reading through all the comments by you and Chris; I’ll try to add my ‘two pennies worth’ below!!!

        The perception I get from across the pond (and it is only a perception) is that since the last Presidential Election a number of Republican States are changing the electoral laws within those States that will disenfranchisement some voters’ e.g. changes to the postal ballot system which will make it harder for (or less likely that) minority groups such as blacks and Hispanic etc., will vote; discourage voting from a group of society that would be more inclined to vote Democrat!

        I understand from your stance that that is not the case, and that it’s a Liberal press to blame for that impression; so it would be interesting (and educational) to hear the views from you and other Americans on the topic.

        Moving onto the other points in these discussions:-

        Where You Ask “Does Scotland Or Wales Have The Same Voice As England”: 

        In the UK seats are based on population size, so with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales having a smaller population than England they have fewer seats in the UK Parliament:-

        The current number of seats (constituencies) in the UK Parliament by Nation:-
        •    533 constituencies in England
        •    59 in Scotland
        •    40 in Wales
        •    18 in Northern Ireland.

        However, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each also have their own Governments, elected by their own people; so laws across the four nations can differ quite significantly e.g. the Scottish Government voted to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 in Scotland in 2015, and in 2020 the Welsh Government did likewise.

        POLLING STATIONS
        Where you say “Should every 1,000 square meters have a polling station?”; well in Britain there isn’t a polling station every 1,000 square meters, but there is generally a polling station within 1,000 meters radius of the vast majority of the population e.g. on polling day public buildings such as libraries and schools are used as polling stations so that just about everyone is within walking distance (5 minutes’ walk) of a polling station.

        MAIL-IN-BALLOTS:-
        While watching the Presidential Election live one common complaint seemed to be the complexities of the mail-in-ballot in some States e.g. having to put the ballot in a sealed envelope inside another sealed envelope that had to then be signed across the seal; and if it wasn’t sealed up properly, even if the ballot paper itself was properly completed, the ballot wouldn’t be counted?

        We do have mail-in-ballots as an option in the UK, but it’s just a simple case of putting your ballot in the official envelope and popping it in the post box in good time for the post office to deliver before close of vote on polling day.

        REGISTERING TO VOTE:-
        Voter registration does seem to be a big issue in the USA, which must disenfranchise minority groups!

        In the UK it’s not an issue, people are registered almost from birth, and when you reach voting age, when an election is due you are automatically sent a voting card through the post reminding you to vote and telling you where your polling station is.  And if you’re a university student living away from home then you get a choice to either use the postal vote to vote in your home town/city or vote in person at your place (city) of study.

        1. wilderness profile image93
          wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          It just is not possible in the US to put a polling place within 5 minutes walk from every person.  Not even from a tenth of them.  The country is too large and the population too spread out; the population density of the US is 35 people per square km while the UK is 275.  I think it would be very difficult to put one within a 5 min walk from everyone even in a city setting - there just aren't than many empty locations to set up a poll, and it would change every year.  I live in a suburban setting, in a housing development, and vote in a church building...that is the closest possible place and is at least a 20 minute walk.

          How do you verify that the ballot received in the mail actually contains the vote of the person it is addressed to?  And how to you verify that that person is legal to vote, and will only vote once (does your mail get forwarded to a new address?)?  How do you verify that the person you are mailing the ballot to actually lives at that address and is still legal to vote?



          It is questions like these that ignored by one side here, with that side screaming that if anyone asks them, or seeks to limit that kind of fraud, they are "disenfranchising" others.

          1. Nathanville profile image93
            Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Yeah, I understand that for a given percentage of the population that making available polling stations within easy reach in the USA would be pragmatic; but to say “The country is too large and the population too spread out”, and then citing how low the USA population density is compared to the UK to confirm your point, doesn’t give a complete picture e.g. according to Wikipedia the population density of London is only 14,670 persons per square mile; while the population density of New York is more than double, at 29,302.37 persons per square miles.

            Yeah, the USA is far larger and sparser than the UK, with a lower overall population density; but a high percentage of people don’t live spread out, they live in high population density urban areas, just like cities anywhere else in the world.

            Although I am mildly surprised that living in a suburban setting that the nearest suitable place for a polling station is over 20 minutes (1 mile) walk away.  But I’m not totally surprised because my understanding and perception of American Urban layout is that it is designed for the car and not pedestrians e.g. it’s easier to drive everywhere rather than just walk, for example kids are famously bussed into schools in the famous American school buses! 

            Whereas in Britain (even in rural areas) there are often schools within walking distance from most homes; so that the kids can walk to school - hence why we don’t generally have school buses in Britain.

            Polling day in the UK is always on a Thursday; so when it comes to polling day, the schools needed for the polling stations are closed for the day – the kids get a day off school.

            As regards your second point “How do you verify that the ballot received in the mail actually contains the vote of the person it is addressed to?”

            In the UK electoral fraud is minimal, and has never altered the outcome of any election; therefore a lot of it is done on ‘trust’ e.g. when I turn up at my appointed polling station to vote, I don’t need to give any proof of ID, I just give my name, and my name is crossed off the list so that no one else can use that name to vote.

            As regards postal votes; to use the postal vote you have to make your request in good time, and your postal vote is sent to the address you give, and your name marked on the electoral role accordingly so that you can’t subsequently vote in person, unless you’ve left it rather late to post your vote and decide to hand it in in person at your designated polling station.

            So to request a postal ballot to be sent to your old house, when you know you’re moving to a new house, you’d have to be a right clutts.  With a postal vote you have to include with your voting paper a simple declaration with your date of birth and signature, reminding you of electoral fraud.   But your signature is only to sign a legal document (declaration), so your signature is not crossed checked, just your date of birth.  But otherwise the postal ballots are accepted on faith because electoral fraud isn’t an issue in the UK e.g. nothing serious enough to alter an election result.

            The short video below shows how the postal voting is done in the UK; I’d be interested to learn how it may differ from how it’s done in USA!

            How to complete a postal vote (UK):  https://youtu.be/OzjqqqyL2OE

            Although since the last General Election the Conservatives have muted the idea of introducing ID as a requirement at polling stations, it’s been met with a high level of political resistance because everyone knows that the more hurdles you add to the voting system the fewer people vote; and in the UK its generally accepted that low voting turnout does generally befit the Conservatives.

            As Chris for Germany said, and as I said previously for the UK, people are registered almost from birth; and in the UK the records are frequently updated e.g. Every October, and whenever an Election is imminent, our Local Government posts a letter to every householder listing all residents in the house, and their date of births; and its responsibility of the householder to report any changes to it e.g. you’ve just moved so you’re the new occupants, or your wife has just come home with a new baby, who needs to be added to the register.  Hence, when you then reach voting age, next time there’s an election you will automatically be sent a voting card informing you of your designated polling station.

        2. Credence2 profile image78
          Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

          I like the idea of automatic registration, where our citizens do not have to constantly burdened with documents when their social security and proof of local residency in on file. The Republicans put up impediments designed to discourage citizens chasing after a problem that exists only in their own minds. This was not even an issue 15 years ago, but with the election of Barack Obama and his extraordinary win in 2008, NOW we have a problem that did not exist previously.

          The attempt by the Republicans will only make the resolve of those that they attempt to discourage all the greater to overcome impediments and cast a ballot.

          The Republicans are going beyond making voting more difficult for those that don't follow them but creating a situation in many state legislatures where they can nullify the popular vote and declare a contrary winner within the state legislatures they control, just this side of total tyranny.

          The state exists only with the the permission of those living in it, there should be a conflict between the objectives of the "State" and the majority of the people in it. People take precedence over territory.

          It is certainly not "liberal bias"......

          You are fortunate that you do not have to deal with anything comparable in your society.

          1. wilderness profile image93
            wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Problem, Credence, is that we have always had a problem with voting and Democrats have consistently ignored it and claimed it wasn't there.

            You don't want to register to vote, meaning that you can vote multiple times because you are registered in multiple places.  That's a problem...but you wish to ignore it and pretend it isn't there.  You don't want the "impediment" to register...meaning anyone can vote any time.  That, too, is a problem that you wish to ignore.

            Finally, your idea of an "impediment" is to take 5 minutes once every few years to verify your ID and residency.  Once more, that is a problem that you wish to ignore and pretend isn't there.  That's not an "impediment"; it's part of living in the world today.

            1. Credence2 profile image78
              Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

              As usual, you equivocate and deliberately avoid the point.

              1. wilderness profile image93
                wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                No - that is the point.  What you term "impediment" or "disenfranchisement) is nothing more than reasonable security procedures necessary to ensure there is no (or very little) fraud.

          2. Nathanville profile image93
            Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Yeah, it does make life easy.  In the UK a National register that lists everyone (virtually from birth), which these days with the Internet makes it easy for you to double check that you are properly listed under the correct address; although I can imagine some on the right shouting ‘infringement of liberty’?

            The National Register isn’t just for voting it’s also used to randomly pick jurors and to ensure that the bill for the local taxes are addressed to the correctly named householder.

  8. CHRIS57 profile image61
    CHRIS57posted 2 years ago

    Is that so?
    Isn´t voter representation per state already misaligned in the Senate? Then why amplify this even more in the house? Doesn´t look fair to me.

    1. GA Anderson profile image88
      GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Butting in . . .  Consider your senate thought from the perspective of our Chambers' design; the House is the representative voice of the people and the Senate is the representative voice of the state.

      Is disagreement with our concept of state sovereignty and our Electoral College the reason you think the voter representation in the Senate is misaligned?

      GA

      1. CHRIS57 profile image61
        CHRIS57posted 2 years agoin reply to this

        GA, I understand the 2 house system. And German system is not that much different in having our Bundesrat (federal council) represent the (Länder) states and the Bundestag the people.

        I am argueing disenfranchising of voters for the house. If it was not, then why all this Gerrymandering?

        As much as the USA can be proud of their founding fathers to come up with a constitution and alongside organisation that was modern for its time and lasts until now. But we are more than 200 years later. You don´t have to finish the crop harvest in October, go to church on Sunday and then ride your horse to a polling station and find out on Tuesday who should be assigned to walk to Washington DC and elect the president. This is outdated. 

        The remnents are that it takes 14 Idahos for 1 California. 25 mill. in 14 Idahos to represent the same as 39 mill. in California. Makes virtual 14 mill. voters disenfranchised me think.

        The issue is, that these boundaries in election systems and voting rights foster certain political stances.

        In the USA it is the conservative stance.

        In Germany we have discussion about lowering the voting age. Going from 18 to 16 will mean that young folks vote mostly green and thus will benefit the environental party.

        What is happening in the USA and Germany is the same: creating structures that benefit not all, but only certain political parties. At least that is how i see it.

        1. wilderness profile image93
          wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          "The remnents are that it takes 14 Idahos for 1 California. 25 mill. in 14 Idahos to represent the same as 39 mill. in California. Makes virtual 14 mill. voters disenfranchised me think."

          The option is to simply allow California, with a vastly different philosophy and culture, to control everything Idaho does.  California can pass laws to satisfy their citizens...but wishes to pass those same laws to control Idahoans.  Do you find that reasonable?

          1. CHRIS57 profile image61
            CHRIS57posted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Pardon me, wasn´t that what the Senate is for? In the Senate Idaho has the same say as California has.

            For us foreigners it is not that interesting how states get along among each other. It is the USA as a whole and its administration that attracts our attention. And for electing the president i have the impression that the coastal, densely populated states are underrepresented.

          2. Credence2 profile image78
            Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Sakes, Wilderness, drop the sagebrush rebellion stuff.

            How does California control Idaho? It is reality the Donald Trump lost in California, yet won in Idaho. Was the entire country to subordinate itself to the wishes of a handful of country people? You exaggerate, there is no solution to your impossible gripe short of secession. But I can see that "small town people" resentment, a brooding, that is part of your argument.

            1. wilderness profile image93
              wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              "How does California control Idaho?"

              How about excessive gun control laws?  How about the murder of innocent children (though I personally disagree)?  How about excessive taxation to give it all away in the form of welfare?  How about bringing in millions of foreign citizens to be supported by Americans?

              C'mon Credence; you have to know and understand that liberal policies (such as some of those being promoted in California) do not sit well in Idaho.  There is a massive difference, growing every day, between the culture of the concrete jungles and that of the prairies and mountains. 

              As I mentioned, California (or any other of the "concrete jungle" states) are welcome to make all the controlling laws they wish...for their own states.  Leave out the other 45 or so that don't want them.  But they won't - instead they make federal laws to impose controls they like on all areas and people.

              "You exaggerate, there is no solution to your impossible gripe short of secession."

              Are you following the footsteps of Esoteric and Valeant now?  I made no mention of secession; that comes purely from you.

        2. GA Anderson profile image88
          GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Gerrymandering is a bad practice, but I don't see its connection to this discussion. And, since House membership is population-based, I don't understand what it is that you see as disenfranchising.

          GA

          1. CHRIS57 profile image61
            CHRIS57posted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Gerrymandering is for house membership, what the electoral college is for the presidential election. Both distort the weight, the personal influence of a voter in a nationwide decision. Yes, i do see a connection.

          2. Nathanville profile image93
            Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            One aspect that I can see, that doesn't sit well with people on this side of the pond is that in the USA it is the 'States' who elect the President, not the people (popular vote)!!!

            1. GA Anderson profile image88
              GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              I understand your point; this concept does show a cultural difference. In your case, (a European view), I think that two cultures are involved. Most basically, I think it is a clash of conservative vs. liberal cultural perspectives, but also, I think the European difference might be our differing views on state sovereignty. I am unaware of any comparable European example to that of our state's sovereignty.

              GA

              1. wilderness profile image93
                wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                Britain may come closest, but even if is pretty far removed.

                Or maybe my own ignorance of European politics is showing and even Britain is completely different.  I just think or such things as Ireland using the Euro while the rest uses the pound that seems similar to what our states sovereignty.

                *edit* Or perhaps a better equivalency would be the 28 countries comprising the EU, with the President being chosen by the council rather than a popular vote of all the people in the Union.

                1. Nathanville profile image93
                  Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  Yeah, I think wilderness has got it; the EU President is a good comparison:-

                  •    The EU President is elected by the EU Council, and approved by the EU Parliament.

                  •    The EU Council being the 27 Heads of States; the 27 Governments of the 27 countries that belong to the EU.

                  •    The EU Parliament is elected by the people of the EU.

                  1. wilderness profile image93
                    wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    Wait.  I'm missing something.  Each country is permitted one official (the "heads of States") to vote on the choice or President; each country gets one vote regardless of the population of that country.  This is hardly "equal representation" for each person; the Swedish person hardly has the same voice as the German or French citizen.

                    But how is the Parliament chosen?  By the people, yes, but are there more Germans in the Parliament than there are Swedes?  Is it apportioned by population (as our House of Representatives is) or by country?

                2. GA Anderson profile image88
                  GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  I think the EU example might be a different thing. But like you, I don't know either. My thought is just a perception.

                  [EDIT] Well, Arthur's reply seems to prove I was right—maybe I don't know. ;-)

                  GA

                  1. wilderness profile image93
                    wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    One of the perks of these forums, isn't it?  Sometimes we learn something new!

                3. Nathanville profile image93
                  Nathanvilleposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  Reference your comment “I just think or such things as Ireland using the Euro while the rest uses the pound that seems similar to what our states sovereignty.”

                  Ireland is the Republic of Ireland (southern Ireland); and independent country that is part of the EU; hence why their currency is the Euro.  The Republic of Ireland won its independence from Britain during the Irish civil war in the 1920s.

                  However, Britain retained rule over Northern Ireland e.g. that part of Ireland is still part of the UK, and hence they use the pound in Northern Ireland as their currency.

                  The problem comes with Brexit e.g. as part of the 1998 peace treaty (The Good Friday Agreement) there can be NO border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; but because of Brexit there has to be a border somewhere between the UK and the EU, at the moment the border between the UK and the EU is down the Irish sea between the island of Ireland and mainland Britain; separating Britain from Northern Ireland, leaving Northern Ireland in precarious situation with no immediate solution in site?

                  Post-Brexit border reignites tensions in Northern Ireland:  https://youtu.be/0WAdB6rSk5s

                  1. wilderness profile image93
                    wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    And I learn something new.  Seems like I had at least some knowledge of that as I questioned the different currencies when we visited a few years ago, but had forgotten what little I knew.

                    Politics is a wonderful tool to create confusion.

                4. CHRIS57 profile image61
                  CHRIS57posted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  wilderness - you have a point. The EU is a mess when it comes to voting power of the people. People do elect the parliament, but the parliament has no real executive influence, not even much legislative power.

                  At the end of the day the president of the EU is the product of Germany and France sitting together, having coffee and bargaining on who is going to take influential positions.
                  Ourcome was German Von der Leyen for president of the EU and French Christine Lagarde for president of the central bank. Imho both ladies are crooks, Largarde having been convicted for negligent misappropriation of public funds.
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honi_soit_qui_mal_y_pense

                  Today nobody is talking any more about the guy who came up front from the election. When it comes to voter disenfranchisement, the EU has its own burden to carry, but the EU only, not the member nations.

                  1. wilderness profile image93
                    wildernessposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    Then it really does very similar, and perhaps even more so when the individual countries of the EU are compared to the individual states of the United States.  Neither the EU nor the US is an homogenous conglomerate; both are a union of states/countries. 

                    It does point out the reasons for the US Presidential voting system rather well, though.  Your countries are run over by Germany and France; if the US operated the same way just a handful of states would control the Presidency.  Instead every state, and to a lesser degree every person, does have a say, with the voices of a few states being the loudest and the voices of individuals in the other states being louder.  A balance that seems to work as our Presidents are almost always elected from the other party every 8 years (incumbents always have a huge advantage at the 4 year mark).  Not always, but usually.

              2. Credence2 profile image78
                Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

                Ga, check out Canada, I have heard that their provinces are a Confederation and may have more independence from the central government than states do here.

 
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