[Marxism] Looking for a "Man Date"?
andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Tue Nov 9 14:10:34 MST 2004
I'm really tired just now, but just quickly:
Neither the US Bureau of Census nor any other organization can define with
complete accuracy exactly how many eligible voters (people legally entitled
to register to vote) there are in the United States.
The term Voting Age Population (VAP), refers to the total number of persons
in US territory who are 18 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship,
military status, felony conviction, or mental state.
The US Projected Voting Age Population is provided by Census in each
election year. These figures are unofficial approximations, including
members of the armed forces where they reside at their duty stations, but
exclude the military and civilian population overseas, and their dependents
of voting age, who would be eligible to vote by absentee ballot in their
home State. These early figures are used primarily to satisfy the needs of
the news media and political strategists.
The US Estimated Voting Age Population is based on a sample survey conducted
in the summer of the election year, and are thus "official" estimates and
are certified as such by the Commerce Department. These figures include
military and institutionalized populations.
US Current Population Survey numbers are generated by Census each month
based on extrapolations from the previous years estimates. These figures do
not include military or institutionalized persons, but are adjusted for
undercounting. For statistical purposes, the US Federal Election Commission
uses the Current Population Survey figures for its report to Congress.
Current Population Survey data are generated by Census each month based on
extrapolations from the previous years estimates. In contrast, these figures
do not include military or institutionalized persons, but are adjusted for
For statistical purposes, the Federal Election Commission has opted to use
the Current Population Survey figures for its report to Congress.
The US population of voting age includes a considerable number of people who
meet the age requirement but cannot register and vote. People who are not
citizens are not eligible to vote. Among citizens of voting age, some people
are not permitted to vote because they have been committed to penal
institutions, mental hospitals, or other institutions, or because they fail
to meet state and local resident requirements for various reasons. The
eligibility to register is governed by state laws which differ in many
respects from state to state.
The actual number of eligible voters in the US, those that are legally
entitled to vote, will always be less than the VAP because of the inclusion
of resident aliens (both legal and illegal), as well as convicted felons who
are either institutionalized or who have not yet had their voting rights
restored under the various State laws, persons declared non-compos mentis by
a court of law, or those persons otherwise ineligible to vote. Non citizens
make up the largest group of ineligible voting age persons. The next largest
group consists of institutionalized felons, who are prohibited by State law
from voting in all but a few States.
Registration is the act of qualifying to vote by formally enrolling on a
list of voters. People who have moved to another election district must take
steps to have their names placed on the voting rolls in their new place of
residence. The number of registered voters is smaller than the number of
eligible voters, since some eligible voters do not register.
In a few states or parts of states, no formal registration is required.
Voters merely present themselves at the polling place on election day with
proof that they are of age and have met the appropriate residence
requirements. Therefore, in these areas people who are citizens and of
voting age, and who meet the residence requirement, would be considered as
being registered. The total number of registered voters, who are by law able
to vote, constitute the electorate.
Lueko Willms argues that proportional representation is irrelevant, better
democracy would require "Increased social activity" as "the key, i.e.
primarily a rise in class conflicts, with a strengthenig of working peoples
self-esteem and self-confidence. Changing technicalities of the election
setup would not do the trick, which is one of the fallacies of the
Nader/Camejo campaign which heavily pushed that theme." It sounds very
The problem is that if the first-past-the-post system means that the chances
of electoral success of third parties are very slim, so that dissenting
votes are wasted, many people will see the "increased social activity" of
third parties as futile. There is no reason why electoral reform and
"increased social activitÿ" could not go hand in hand.
Orthodox Marxmism-Leninists would no doubt pontificate that electoral reform
would sow "bourgeois illusions" and that a good election system could only
be devised "after the revolution". But people who are not committed to
genuine popular democracy now, are unlikely to be committed to it "after the
revolution" either - as we saw in Russia and Eastern Europe.
See also for example http://elections.gmu.edu/
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