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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2006 :  14:56:42  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
Where I live (Lower Alabama), and sizeable percentage of the voting locations are in religious instittutions, all christian and mostly protestant (a sprinkling of catholic).

Is it the same where you live?

How is this legal? I contacted the ACLU in Alabama, but they do not have the resources to persue it.

Is there legal precendent for allowing this? I cannot change where I have to go to vote (it is a Baptist Church) so my only option is absentee. Is that 'separate but equal'?

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2006 :  15:15:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
I don't know if this is a problem, per se, pleco. I mean, presumably the church doesn't have massive signs like "vote for X" or any such, right? When I lived in Baltimore, I voted in a church and never had a problem with it. I have moved, though, and in my new location in upstate New York, I see that I also will be voting in a church. The only other place I've voted-- in the decidedly more southern Oklahoma-- was in the local armory.

I think that voting locations are chosen because they have large enough spaces to accommodate people and equipment. Churches and other religious place fit the bill quite nicely. An added benefit is that no one is using the church on a Tuesday, when most elections are held. Most private businesses aren't likely to turn over valuable retails space to non-paying customers. And while schools are often good choices, when classes are in session there are logistical problems. A university campus might provide options, but few towns have colleges or universities in them!

Where would be a better place for you to vote, pleco?
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Original_Intent
SFN Regular

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2006 :  15:44:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Original_Intent a Private Message
Apparently, it is pretty widespread. I believe it is up to the states to choose the polling places, and to ensure they are accessable to all.

Try to follow me, as I am not sure if I can explain this correctly: My understanding of "seperate but equal" in regards to the church and state is the belief that diests in poltics should not use their religious beliefs to determine their political standing. I find this to be hogwash as it is a belief system they are forwarding just as an atheist is forwarding forwarding thier belief system.......

I could be wrong on both counts, but I don't see where it really matters if the polling place is in a church or not.

Joe

The Circus of Carnage... because you should be able to deal with politicians like you do pissant noobs.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2006 :  17:01:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
Is it the same where you live?



Yep.

I don't consider it to be a big deal.

Its just a space to set up the machines in, with a big parkinglot.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  01:30:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude
Its just a space to set up the machines in, with a big parkinglot.


Indeed. I suggest you adorn yourself with plenty of upside down crosses, Thor's Hammer, and pentagrams before you go to vote. Then you'll learn the level of separation. (Vote absentee before you do this, just in case...)

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  06:33:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
It seems to me that if we truly have separation of church and state, that this should not be allowed. The fact that we (in America) allow these slight trangressions (like In God We Trust on money, etc) shows that we are hypocrites.

Maybe as an atheist/agnostic it doesn't present a problem, but if you are a muslim? Are you even allowed to step foot on such ground?

My proposal would be to not have any governemnt functions, especially voting, at any religious institution. Have them at public schools, etc. Besides, I think that the day you vote should be a "holiday" so schools would be free to be used. This seems logical to me.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
Edited by - pleco on 08/27/2006 06:34:53
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  07:42:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by pleco

My proposal would be to not have any governemnt functions, especially voting, at any religious institution. Have them at public schools, etc. Besides, I think that the day you vote should be a "holiday" so schools would be free to be used. This seems logical to me.


That's how we do over here. Schools & universities.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  09:47:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by pleco

It seems to me that if we truly have separation of church and state, that this should not be allowed. The fact that we (in America) allow these slight trangressions (like In God We Trust on money, etc) shows that we are hypocrites.

Maybe as an atheist/agnostic it doesn't present a problem, but if you are a muslim? Are you even allowed to step foot on such ground?

My proposal would be to not have any governemnt functions, especially voting, at any religious institution. Have them at public schools, etc. Besides, I think that the day you vote should be a "holiday" so schools would be free to be used. This seems logical to me.

I agree that at least major elections should be holidays, though this wouldn't solve all problems entirely. Moreover, I am somewhat turned off to things like "in God we trust" on currency.

That said, I'm still not clear about your objections about polling places. That a polling center is in a church isn't a means of the state sanctioning Christianity over some other religion. I know of no major religion that prohibits a person from entering a worshipping center of another faith, and none of the Islam-practicing voters I know (admitedly just a handful) have complained about having to vote in a church.

Again, it seems clear that it's a logical choice. Indeed, I'm trying to imagine a place in the precinct where I live in Baltimore where a polling station could be set up. If we posit that a national voting holiday isn't going to happen soon and so exclude schools, then there simply isn't another place!
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  11:24:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
My major objection is the appearance of a tie between government (involving the most important function in a democracy) and religion. If we are to have a separation, then it should be total.

To be honest, I'm kinda surprised I seem to be the only one who is bothered by this. I'll have to re-examine my position; perhaps I'm taking an extremist position here.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  12:12:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
Every town has a municipal center, right? Why not just hold elections there?

As for the churches, I don't believe that there can be any legal objection. The churches aren't being recognized by the government, nor is there any law involved. It's simply just that churches are well spread through many communities, and have large areas for hosting such events. That being said, I'd rather have elections in government buildings, as this is a governmental activity.

quote:

Maybe as an atheist/agnostic it doesn't present a problem, but if you are a muslim? Are you even allowed to step foot on such ground?


You may have a point, if such religious beliefs exist. However, if one is to have a religious belief, should everyone else be forced to change to accommodate such a belief? I would have to say no.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  12:17:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
It's a church, not a government building. I don't agree with the practice. But then, I think having a church on every street corner is a big waste of time and money.


I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Orwellingly Yurz
SFN Regular

USA
529 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  13:39:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Orwellingly Yurz a Private Message
YO: To argue for NOT having voting places in Christian churches would cause the same reaction as trying to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Anyone in favor of it would be villified as a commie, secular humanist, probably with sexually perverse tendencies. Although I personally would be more comfortable with citizens casting their secular votes in a secular place, I would fight more vigorously for all major elections being held on Sunday or a specific day set aside for the exercise of an such important process as done in other parts of the world. Most ordinary people have jobs that make it difficult for them to leave work and stand in line for a long time in order to vote; something recently noticed, particularly, in the states of Ohio and Florida.

I once voted in a recreation/community room of an apartment complex in Davis, California. I thought that place was just about right. I don't mind voting in a church, but after all the bullshit of the past several years in 'Merica, I can't help being paranoid about some of the "good" people there who are acting as stewards of a fair of election for the sake of democracy may be quietly thinking THEY know what's BEST for this nation, despite what any plurality might indicate otherwise.

Peaceful Joe above outlines his take on separate but equal as it relates to church/state issues. This is what I suggest is important to remember for folks who believe in an anthropromorphic god: values invoked in politics which bring about a dimunition of liberties for citizens holding dissimiliar values are trumped by the tenets and laws of a liberal democracy. In other words, that means fundamentalistic believers must put up with their fellow citizens who may believe in something else or not ANYTHING. And nihilistics must also allow the religiostic to hold sway with their values, as the nation has so done since its founding. That's why religion has so proliferated across this country, far and wide. It has been free to do so, as it should! But as it has grown so also has its responbility to allow other-believers and non-believers the same latitude. If they don't, we got ourselves another sectarian war or two as they do in so many other places where there is no freedom of or FROM religion; which can also be called a theocracy. If a person knows what the word democracy means, it's all pretty clear....when you think it through.

Can you believe children aren't taught civics anymore?

OY!

"The modern conservative...is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith

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Then what must be,
Must be...
And that is all
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--me

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Edited by - Orwellingly Yurz on 08/27/2006 15:07:22
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  13:57:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Cuneiformist
If we posit that a national voting holiday isn't going to happen soon and so exclude schools, then there simply isn't another place!

Why doesn't this happen already? Lot's of other countries make election day a National holiday. That's exactly what we need. A day for people to gather and talk politics and care about the election process.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  16:46:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
Mab said:

quote:
I suggest you adorn yourself with plenty of upside down crosses, Thor's Hammer, and pentagrams before you go to vote. Then you'll learn the level of separation.


I've gone to vote wearing a shirt that has "F*CK YOU" in bold block letters. (I used to have one that said "FUCK YOU", but FL passed some dumbass law about public display of profanity)

Last year I wore a Skepticfriends.org t-shirt with an anti-ID slogan.

I have worn a t-shirt that has a picture of a large red demon who has jesus in a choke-hold and is gouging out his eyes. (from a hardcore heavy-metal band)

Never had any problems voting.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  17:47:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

Every town has a municipal center, right? Why not just hold elections there?
But Ricky, the point is having places to vote that are near home. If everyone in Baltimore had to go to its "municipal center" then we might as well make elections a week-long process!

quote:
As for the churches, I don't believe that there can be any legal objection. The churches aren't being recognized by the government, nor is there any law involved. It's simply just that churches are well spread through many communities, and have large areas for hosting such events. That being said, I'd rather have elections in government buildings, as this is a governmental activity.
Right. Sort of. But this would mean that we'd want lots of government buidings around. What I really want is a place close by my home that has space for voting machines, lines of people, and whatever else, and isn't going to be busy with people involved in non-voting so as to cause confusion. This limits the options.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2006 :  18:24:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
When I was a child, they actually came to our house to vote. My parents volunteered and they brought the voting booths over and set them up in the living room. I remember the ladies including my Mom counting the votes at the end of the night. Not many men volunteering then. It's amazing when I think back on it because I've never thought of my parents as particularly politically active, though they definitely always voted.

Later it was held at the elementary school. For us it's at a retirement apartment house nearby. The caucuses are at people's homes at first then the county groups meet at a school and the state meeting is at the Capitol, (or somewhere in Olympia, I've never gotten that far in the process).

It's fine being in a church. There are lots of church functions that aren't religious just because they offer their facilities. The Medics here in Bellevue met every month for their training meeting at a local church while their fire station was being remodeled.
Edited by - beskeptigal on 08/27/2006 18:27:44
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