Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Elections are too important to allow voting system insecurities

Commentary by James Shott

With the presidential election just weeks away, some Americans still are concerned about the security of the election process. But don’t worry; America’s always-reliable news media assure us that those concerns are unfounded.

To wit:
~ “No, voter fraud actually isn’t a persistent problem,” says The Washington Post online.
~ “Study Finds No Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud,” states NBC News.
~ “Republicans’ ‘voter fraud’ false flag: Voter ID laws offer imaginary solutions to imaginary problems,” blares a headline.

A great deal of contrary evidence exists, however, some new, some not so new. In 2012 the ACORN voter registration scandal involved Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck turning up on registration forms in Nevada. And, one of the most ridiculous examples of voting irregularity occurred in Washington, DC, in the shadow of the Justice Department where an undercover reporter recorded himself giving his name as Eric Holder, who at the time was the U.S. Attorney General, and being offered a ballot without showing an ID or being questioned about his identity.

The Pew Center on the States found nearly 2 million dead Americans still on the books as active voters; that 2.7 million people were registered in more than one state; and 12 million voter records had incorrect addresses or other discrepancies. All of these are potential fraud opportunities.

The Daily Signal reported on a 2014 Old Dominion University study looking into noncitizen voting and found that “6.4 percent of all noncitizens voted in the 2008 election and 2.2 percent voted in the 2010 midterm elections,” and suggested that this likely helped Democrat Al Franken defeat Republican Norm Coleman by 312 votes for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota in 2008.

The group Minnesota Majority investigated claims of voter fraud, comparing criminal records with voter rolls and found 1,099 felons who had voted illegally in that election. National Review reported: “Prosecutors were ultimately able to convict only those who were dumb enough to admit they had knowingly broken the law, and that added up to 177 fraudulent voters. Nine out of ten suspect felon voters contacted by a Minneapolis TV station said they had voted for Franken.” Since Franken’s margin of “victory” was 312, subtracting the 177 admitted fraudulent ballots could not overturn the result.

New York City’s Department of Investigation sent out 63 under-cover investigators posing either as dead people or people who no longer lived in the city. Of those, 61 were cleared to vote. Confronted with this evidence, the City Council decided not to demand accountability from the Board of Elections, but to prosecute the investigators for impersonating voters, according to National Review columnist John Fund.

Just this month CBS4 in Denver reported on an investigation that found numerous examples of dead people voting and other irregularities. It said a Colorado Congressional race was decided by just 121 votes, and an Ohio tax measure was decided by just two votes.

There simply is no question that fraud exists in elections at all levels, and as previously shown, it is significant enough to affect election outcomes.

Despite these and other “irregularities,” certain factions continue to oppose efforts to clean up the problems in all levels of the election system. And state efforts to impose voter ID requirements, one of the best ways to validate potential voters at the polling place, is perhaps the idea that draws the most vociferous opposition.

Opponents of voter ID and other sensible requirements often fall back on the argument that voting is a right for all citizens of legal age, and therefore it ought to be easy to vote, and they claim that requiring a photo ID to vote places a hardship on some citizens.

This argument is defeated by reality: The Washington Examiner listed 24 routine things requiring photo IDs, such as to: buy alcohol and cigarettes, apply for Medicaid/Social Security, purchase a gun, get married, apply for a job or unemployment, drive/buy/rent a car, adopt a pet, visit a casino, hold a rally or protest, buy an "M" rated video game, buy a cell phone, or apply for food stamps and welfare.

But, if failing to require provisions to make the system more secure makes voting easier, that ought to set off warnings, because while it may be easier for legal voters to vote, it also makes it easier for ineligible persons to vote.
One might think that since voting is a critical right, all Americans would want that right protected from infringement by non-legal voters.

Certainly, the U.S. Supreme Court subscribes to this idea, The Court commented on the need for secure elections in United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 at 329 (1941): “Free and honest elections are the very foundation of our republican form of government. Hence any attempt to defile the sanctity of the ballot cannot be viewed with equanimity,” wrote Justice William O. Douglas.

Rhetorical question: Why would any good and honest American oppose efforts to assure that only legal voters are registered to vote and able to cast a ballot in any and every election?

The obvious answer is that an unsecure election process enables cheating for nefarious political reasons.

Cross-posted from Observations

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