Voting Rights and Photo IDs

Party activists do not trust our election system. This is true on the left and the right. The left worries about voting machines, the right worries about voter fraud. Both have valid concerns — so why can't the extremes agree on solutions? Because in today's political climate "the other party" is pure evil, driven by party over country if you believe the loudest voices.

And in this era of deep distrust and division among the party activists (the general public is nowhere near as divided), facts don't seem to matter.

The Democratic party base claims photo identification requirements for voting are an attempt to limit minority access to the polls. This is nonsense, because these same voters use photo ID to buy alcohol, drive cars, attend school, rent movies, and much more. The voter ID laws won't change much of anything, and would probably only limit a handful of instances of fraudulent voting.

Still, I do support voter ID laws as a way to increase faith in the system. I also support simplified paper ballots, over purely electronic voting. ScanTron voting (fill-in the bubble) still makes sense to me because you can recount without a machine. As a compromise, why not reform voting laws across the board?

Let me present some facts indicating why we need voter ID laws:
Pew study: 1 in 8 voter records flawed
By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY 
WASHINGTON – More than 24 million voter-registration records in the United States— about one in eight — are inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicates. Nearly 2.8 million people are registered in two or more states, and perhaps 1.8 million registered voters are dead. 
- In Wood County, Ohio, home of Bowling Green State University, there are 106% as many registered voters as there were people in the 2010 Census. 
- Nearly 2.8 million people are registered to vote in more than one state. 
The 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the "motor voter" law, made it easier for people to register to vote by, for example, allowing them to register when they get a state driver's license. 
That same law also made it more difficult to remove someone from the voting rolls. Unless officials have a death certificate or written confirmation from the voter that they've moved, a voter must miss two presidential elections — that's eight years — before they can be removed.
Partisan Democrats can scream all they want about voter ID requirements being discriminatory, but you cannot blame Republican voters for wondering about 2.8 million dual registrations and 1.8 million dead voters. This doesn't even count the people ineligible to vote for other reasons, from incapacity to incarceration.
February 12, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's attorney general has notified the U.S. Justice Department of potential voter fraud in primary election voting. 
Attorney General Alan Wilson sent details of an analysis by the Department of Motor Vehicles to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles. 
In a letter dated Thursday, Wilson says the analysis found 953 ballots cast by voters listed as dead. In 71 percent of those cases, ballots were cast between two months and 76 months after the people died. That means they "voted" up to 6 1/3 years after their death.
At the same time, Democrats are right to distrust purely digital voting. Not that paper voting is perfect, though it is a good way to limit problems.

Ironically, it is Democratic strongholds of Illinois, New York, and New Jersey with a handful of serious voting violations. Still, I'm all for anything that helps prevent fraud. I'd also disallow any single vote or lever to mark a "party line" ballot. If you're going to vote, vote by the office. Years ago, it was common in NYC to rig the levers to favor Democrats. I've never liked voting machines after reading historical accounts of the rigging. Rigging a mechanical lever or hacking a computer… both are too easy.

We should never use wireless computing technologies in voting. I've lectured on computer security; I don't use wireless for banking and I don't want wireless used for voting. I do not trust "open source" any more than proprietary computer systems, either.

Like many in the Democratic base, I wonder if voting machine contracts aren't yet another form of crony capitalism. Of course, I distrust most large government contracts. Someone is always gaming the system.

My compromise proposal would likely appeal to most average voters: paper ballots, photo ID, and requiring all elections to last at least three days. I never liked the "all on Tuesday" model and I dislike voting by mail for security reasons.

Of course, the two parties would never admit they both have reasonable concerns about voting.


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