Voting Reform

 

Proponents of voter ID laws argue they are necessary to prevent voter/election fraud. The opponents of these types of laws argue they are discriminatory towards minorities, students, the poor, and elderly. The battle over voting rights can best be summarized in two ways. First, from a non-partisan perspective, there is absolutely a need for election integrity and to make every election as secure as possible. Yet, at the same time, the opportunity to vote should be made easy and accessible to every eligible citizen.

Section 1 of Amendment 15 to the U.S. Constitution provides “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”.

We see only two conditions to this right:

  • A person must be a citizen and

  • Must be of majority age.

Some believe that voting should be tied to some sort of civic duty or exam or the right to vote be only at a higher age. The 14th amendment plainly states that voting is a right and not a privilege and the 15th amendment states that that right shall not be denied or abridged due to numerous equality factors. We therefore shouldn’t mandate some sort of requirement in order to vote. Any restriction to this right would be a constitutional opening to restrict any other right. For example, you can’t vote unless you can read and write, or you aren’t allowed to speak your mind about the President or Congress.

How can we ensure that this is accomplished and that your vote will count and not be diluted by unauthorized voters or voting? We must ensure the integrity and security of our voting system.

The only answer to this is to require a photo ID card to be presented when you go to your polling place to vote. There are many objections to this notion but if you look at the basics it will be evident that this is a must. There have been too many documented incidents of voter fraud, persons voting more than once or persons not eligible to vote voting. Each illegal vote voids a legal one no matter whether you are a Democrat or Republican.

An ID card is required to enter many public buildings as well as many federal and State facilities and to purchase many everyday items. Here are a few examples of where an ID card is required:

• Purchase tobacco

• Purchase alcohol

• Open a bank account

• Apply for a job

• Buy a cell phone

• Get a prescription

• Donate blood

• Rent a hotel room

• Apply for government benefits

• Drive, rent or buy a car

• Get on an airplane

• Buy spray paint

• Rent or buy a house or apply for a mortgage

• Apply for a hunting or fishing license

• Get married

• Purchase a gun

• Adopt a pet

• Purchase cough medicine

All of these are in the name of security. So why wouldn’t we want the same standards of security applied to one of our basic rights? This ID card can be any federally or state issued photo ID such as a driver’s license, state issued ID card, US passport or passport card, or US military ID. Any one of these or others not mentioned here, are easily obtained by any eligible voter prior to any election. Most likely an eligible voter already has one of these forms of ID in their possession so this does not and will not place an undue burden on any citizen who really wants to vote.

The ID card requirement would instill truth, faith, and renewed confidence in the election process.

Voting should also be limited to those who are citizens of the United States and not just merely residents. Some jurisdictions within the United States have allowed non-citizens to vote in their jurisdictional elections but this can cause confusion and avenues for fraud. There are a couple of ways to ensure the integrity of the “citizen” vote.

First, the federal government could restrict the official ballot of federal elections to contain only federal elections and not allow state or other jurisdictions to use the same ballot. Second, the federal government could disallow any federal funds to be used by a jurisdiction that allows non-citizens to vote. By doing this the States and other jurisdictions have the flexibility to allow non-citizens to vote in their elections, but the federal government does not have to be a part of or condone such action.

Another issue that is gaining attention is voter registration and the requirements and timeframes for registration. We now have various preregistrations, same day registration and no registration all in the name of convenience for the voter (or what I call procrastination of the voter). We are making voting just as complicated as our tax system so that you need a lawyer and accountant to know the proper requirements. The same holds true for the actual voting day where you have the Election Day voting, absentee voting, and early voting.

Registration should be far enough in advance so that accurate roles of voters can be established prior to the voting process and any corrections can be made in a timely manner prior to Election Day. This takes time to be done properly, accurately, and fairly. Same day registrations, even with our advanced computer systems, are not capable of handling this. Registration should be at least one week prior to the day of election. This will give all concerned the time needed to accurately compile a voter list.

Voting needs to be done either on Election Day and/or a limited early voting schedule . An election because of “exit polls” should not be swayed by early voting tallies. Those that are not going to be at their place of voting on Election Day should apply for an absentee ballot. Those ballots should be sent out a least one month in advance of Election Day and must be returned (postmarked) by the day of election. Early voting should be held to a minimum of one week prior to the election and those voted not be counted until the day of election.