It is time for real voter reform to ensure honest elections

Poway Roger Poway Roger 32 Comments


I, along with what I hope is many others, want honest elections. The appearance of fraud and corruption in our voting process make us appear like just a second rate country. Is it just a “pipedream” to want and to demand reform in the voting process?

Why do we as a society, as Americans, allow such deception to occur? We used to pride ourselves on our elections and had the belief the process is part of what makes America great. Aside, of course, from what used to be certain areas of the country — Chicago, New York, Boston — where the local “machine” would ensure victory by almost any means, which was something we would joke about. But it is no longer a joke.

Do we really want a candidate who won by vote fraud? If I were a politician, I would feel very uncomfortable knowing that I was elected by questionable votes and a questionable counting process. But, then, that might be the problem — that politicians don’t care as long as they get elected and reelected.

Some might say that fraud in the election process is very, very low. Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t, but if we want fair and honest elections where we don’t question the votes of a candidate, then reform is essential.

At the least, doesn’t something feel wrong with counties having more voters than people?

Here are some of my suggestions:

1) Require a valid ID to vote. The government would pay for the cost of the ID. Some will bring up racism and, for example, how blacks were prevented from voting in the early part of the 20th century, but come on, even the UN observers at the 2012 election were amazed that we do not require ID.

2) Next step would be to canvas the voting rolls and after investigating, remove people that are dead, registered multiple times, and so forth:

3) Next, a deadline to register. There must be time to check the rolls to make sure the person is legitimate. Same day registration doesn’t offer that and is ripe for fraud.

4) When counting questionable ballots, have members of both parties there. If this panel of two cannot agree, the ballot would go to a bipartisan panel that would decide. The local Registrar of Voters would mainly oversee the operation, but because of the politics involved, would stand aside during this process and only be able to offer their professional opinion:

Yes, these measures would cost money, but isn’t a fair and honest election worth it? Blatant disregard of irregularities throws into doubt the validity of the election. Again, if I were a candidate, I would want to know that I was elected because of a fair and honest election. How far will we go to elect our candidate? Are we willing to cross the line to make sure our candidate gets elected?

I’m worried where we are heading. We need to have fair and honest elections, no matter which side is elected. Fraud, or the appearance of it scares me and I hope it scares you into doing something about it.

I ask all Americans to demand real voter reform to make sure that we indeed have honest elections and the only way to ensure that is if we continually pressure our elected officials for change.


Comments 32

  1. Just stop. I am at a loss how our movement’s winning political strategy consists of making it HARDER for people to vote. What I DO know is that if your side is seen as making it harder, people will vote against you.

    Good to see people are forgetting the outcome of the election some 8 days later.

  2. Post

    Erik, it’s apparent you prefer fraud in elections. Why try to finger me into a certain group? If you would open your ears and eyes, you would have heard from all sides that we had fraud in our election process prior to this election.

  3. Post
  4. I was really surprised to read Erik’s response to the election reform blog. It is beyond my imagination to think that any US citizen doesn’t have an ID. Note also that the States that have required one have provided by law provisions to help anyone who needs one, if that citizen can be found. Furthermore, the UN affilliated poll watchers who “kept the evil Republicans from cheating” during the election were surprised that ID’s are not universally required for voting.

    It’s also beyond my imagination to think that Americans don’t care about honest elections. I guess Erik only cares about winning. I suspect that if the election results had been reversed, he would have written the same article that Poway Roger wrote word for word.

  5. 1) Lets start with the “I can not imagine” line. Unless he was lying, Jim Crammer of Mad Money’s dad did not have the necessary ID to vote and it required a celebrity tweeting and an elected official responding to deal with it. Should we all be so lucky to have 5 million followers….

    2) ID laws are not uniform. Some take all driver licenses. Some do not take out of state. Some take copies of birth certificates. Others require it to be notarized. Some will take a drivers licenses with a maiden name. Others require the wedding license to be presented along with the I.D. All done without ANY indication that fraud is widespread or that it is somehow impacting electoral outcomes.

    3) But what is unquestionable is that such efforts royally p*sses off people. Probably not hard to understand as many suffered for three/four generations from poll taxes, literacy requirements and other heavy handed efforts to surpress votes and hold onto power in the face of demographic changes. Frankly I can’t think of a BETTER way to get turnout up to the levels of 2008 than some of the efforts (and the conservative defense of them) in the absence of any credible evidence of widespread voter fraud.

    4) In the end there are also values here. Frankly if the cost of voter participation is some bad apples I am fine with it. Democracy, in my mind, should be about getting THE MOST people to participate and as a party and movement we should want to compete and win on that stage. Electoral strategies that require turnout to be low are, in the end, self defeating.

  6. Post

    “Getting the most people to participate”, I agree, but they have to be legal citizens and can’t be voting more than once. I know of a former co-worker who voted 3 times in a past election (And showed me proof)-He voted for himself, voted again because he had his name legally changed that year, and voted for his dad who had died and which he shared a common name. We also have voting rolls that must be examined. Fraud is ripe in our system. You think I’m complaining because of what side I am on. No, once again, fraud is ripe in the ballot.

    BTW, did you even take the time to look at any of the links I provided??

  7. Post
  8. Warning!! You must put on your tin foil hat before reading the article that Poway Roger linked to.

  9. T.A.,

    Read the comments under the article you linked to. Isn’t The Washington Times a conservative paper with conservative readership?

    Continuing to claim that this election was somehow stolen will do nothing to convince voters to vote Republican in the next election. In fact, the opposite is much more likely.

  10. We so agree on the tin foil.

    Yes, we know that Washington Times is conservative. (Rostra isn’t?) No agenda related to the posting of the Kacer piece; it came across from him and rather than consider it as a guest column we simply posted it under a column already up that seemed similar. Send us anything showing fallacies in the fraud discussion and we’ll gladly link that up too.

  11. T.A.,

    I think you missed my point which simply is if the conservative readers of the Washington Times are ridiculing a piece that claimed voter fraud is the reason for Obama’s victory, then continuing this line of attack is probably not one that is going to help Republicans win future elections.

  12. Can’t disagree. Would also surmise on this end that the kind of Rostra readers who delve into reading the comments, if then linking to the Kacer piece above, are likely to read the comments there too.

    Would love to have someone submit a column here about the voter fraud argument being a non-starter for the GOP. Much like the Birther argument being so successful.


  13. Interesting discussion. I think the main point of my article is being missed – the integrity of the voting process must be improved and maintained. I don’t claim the election was stolen, I don’t know if it was or not. I raise the issue in order to highlight the importance of voter integrity for us as a nation at all levels.

    Relative to the Washington Times, a center-left paper, assuming that the readers are all conservative based on the comments submitted is not accurate. I’ve found most of the comments since I’ve been writing for the WT-Communities have been from liberals, and quite harsh. Conservatives have tended to not weigh in as much.

    Frank Kacer

  14. It’s always interesting how some papers are labeled as conservatives, but if you start to question a left leaning paper, then you are incorrectly considered by some to be a racist or a bigot. It’s interesting how the left has one set of standards for those who are RIGHT, but then refuses to apply the same standard to those that are left.

  15. Hypocrisy:

    Poway Roger says, ” I ask all Americans to demand real voter reform to make sure that we indeed have honest elections and the only way to ensure that is if we continually pressure our elected officials for change.”

    You object. Why do you prefer dishonest elections?

  16. Mole,

    Of course I want honest elections. In fact, I think, with very rare exception, we have honest elections now. I believe the elections of 2000 and 2004 were honest as were the last two presidential elections. I also think most people agree with me and that is why claiming otherwise or claiming that Obama was elected only because of voter fraud is a losing argument. And that is the only point I was making – this is a losing argument that will not help win future elections.

  17. Hypocrisy:

    To say that the problem is that some people are arguing the only reason Obama won is because of voter fraud is to beg the question when some people are saying one of the reasons Obama won is because of voter fraud. To deny that voter fraud is a factor is to deny that ACORN ever existed.

  18. Hypocrisy, I don’t think knowledgeable people are stating that “Obama was elected only because of voter fraud.” That’s a straw man you easily knock over. The margin of victory was too great for such a claim to hold together.

    What IS a legitimate issue is that there IS voter fraud — and that there are significant opportunities for voter fraud. Few could deny that assertion. The DEGREE of voter fraud and the ORGANIZED degree of voter fraud are, of course, more debatable aspects.

    To preclude such opportunities, it’s not unreasonable to include voter ID in the voting process. We demand such ID in almost every other aspect of our lives where “trust” is an issue.

    Voter ID is hardly a Jim Crow law. Canada has required voter ID for generations.

    Apparently the same is true in Mexico.

    Voter ID and other such legitimizing voter requirements help everyone to have confidence in the voting process. To oppose such sensible reforms suggests to many that opponents like fast and loose voting criteria — intentionally leaving the door open for voter fraud — something at which statists the world over excel.

  19. Richard,

    I think most reasonable people would agree that requiring an ID to vote makes sense. The problem that I, and I believe most people, had was the transparently partisan way in which many states tried to enact new voter ID laws. One quick example and I can’t remember whether it was Pennsylvania or Texas, but one state proposed that hunting licenses would be a legitimate form of voter ID while a student ID from a college or university would not.

    There are many reasons why a citizen of the United States would currently not have a state-issued ID, mostly due to not driving or having a car. Also, probably due to the depictions of totalitarian states, there is no national picture ID as few want to be required to “show your papers.”

    I think most people are ready for a standardized election process which includes a free National ID, but as long as the tin-foil hat brigade keeps spouting off that Obama stole the election through voter fraud (as was mentioned in the articles cited on Rostra) many will look at this as just another attempt by the birther movement to delegitimize Obama’s presidency.

    Of course there is still the issue of vote-by-mail…

  20. Hypocrisy, to begin with, you are quibbling. The opposition to voter ID opposes ANY legit ID requirement. That being said, let’s compare hunting licenses with student ID’s, shall we?

    A hunting license is a state-issued permit, subject to standard requirements – and presumably not easy to either fabricate or falsely acquire.

    But student ID’s are issued by hundreds of different school systems — public and private — with no uniformity of requirement, or even a way to tell if it’s home made. Indeed, they probably don’t even include a birth date to verify voting age. Not to mention citizenship status — or even STATE residency status.

    Personally I wouldn’t allow even hunting licenses as voter ID, but the idea of student ID’s is beyond ludicrous.

  21. My original premise had nothing to do with whether or not ID should be required to vote. My supposition was simply that the issue is a political loser for the Republican Party and is a loser because it is perceived by most as an attempt not to make elections more honest but as an attempt to make elections easier for Republicans to win.

    Your claim that a hunting license (which I believe also has neither a birth date or proof of citizenship) is more valid than a student ID simply reinforces my opinion. Pity, because we really should have a non- partisan discussion of ways to improve our electoral system.

  22. Hypocrisy stated (Among other things) “…we really should have a non- partisan discussion of ways to improve our electoral system.”

    I thought my blog was non-partisan. It’s your incorrect perspective, since you’re assuming that only republicans would be complaining about fraud, that only republicans are questioning what happened. Tightening up the system and ensuring very limited fraud (Since zero percent would be unachievable) is non-partisan. I listed where fraud was probably detected and you twisted it around so it looked like only republicans had complaints. I suggest you take a step back and take another look and I’m sure you’ll see that we have been talking about non-partisan ways. Fine-tuning is what we need to do.

  23. Hypocrisy, I think we’ve strayed from the fundamental purpose of voter ID. It is to verify you are who you SAY you are.

    Not residence. Not birth date. Not citizenship. Such criteria are secondary, and can be separately verified if someone wants to poke around and check out voter legitimacy — or we can use the existing three option Canadian law when one registers as a guideline:

    Voter ID is, first and foremost, about verifying that you get only one vote — the KEY aspect of voter ID. Opponents of voter ID oppose this straightforward requirement. You CLAIM you don’t oppose voter ID, but you are defending their position, claiming the GOP is out of touch in supporting such verification.

    A hunting license surely comes closer to that voter ID criteria than a student ID — a CrackerJack box trinket that can be produced by anyone who has a printer and a laminating device — and likely is not illegal to produce.

    BTW, a Pennsylvania hunting license requires “positive proof” of residency address — totally lacking with a student ID. To make a counterfeit hunting license is doubtless a criminal offense.

    The hunter’s license normally requires a drivers’ license to obtain. But I consider the hunting license to be less than adequate as ID by itself, as apparently it does not include a photo.

  24. “Some might say that fraud in the election process is very, very low. Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t,…”
    Fact: IT IS VERY LOW.

  25. Richard – the problem ultimately is that absent the kind of federal control and requirements over ID you get all these pernicious outcomes that are designed to suppress voting.

    Why, for example, require a women who has an ID with a last name different than another form of ID present a CERTIFIED (not a copy, but certified) marriage licenses. There are states that refuse to accept Tribal ID’s from native Americans. In other states if the address on your drivers license was different than the address you registered at required you to go during working hours to the county seat and sign an affidavit and present a certified copy of your birth certificate.

    Showing ID sounds simple – but in practice it can range from the trivial (“Any will do folks – just something with your address and something with a picture”) to high hurdles – which is a function of our federal system for identification and for voting. Absent nationalization of elections, ID laws can (and will) be abused.

  26. Hypocrisy:

    Work for 0, same as fraud, Now back to my question, what percentage of fraudulent vote is acceptable to you?

  27. Zero works for me, but let’s do it in a way that doesn’t appear to be rank partisanship and doesn’t disenfranchise any eligible voters. In other words, if we are going to require an ID to vote, make that ID as easy as possible to obtain and standardize the ID nationwide.

  28. Sure Zero. But if you have 100,000 phone calls (or even 10% of that) to a watchdog group on election day about being denied the right to vot because of roll purging or other challenges that is a HUGE problem.

    Here is the thing. It is an EXCEEDINGLY rare even that an election comes down to any margin in which voter fraud, except on an unprecedented and almost impossible to hide scale, would make a different. This is NOT 1960 Chicago anymore. And so while fraud is an issue, it is highly unlikely to make a dramatic difference in outcomes.

    WHAT WILL, as we saw just a month ago, is heavy handed partisan efforts that use the issue of fraud in a method designed to lower turnout. People were, in a word, p***** and they used their most fundamental right in this polity – the vote – to express their anger.

    As a result we have 4 more years of BHO, Mayor Filner, Congressman Peters, a 2/3 majority in Sacramento, etc. etc. etc.

    Finally, let me offer this. The constituency for “anti-fraud” votes is likely extremely small. Doesn’t make em wrong. Just small. The constituency for “Don’t you ever take my vote away from me again because we fought and died for it” is probably a lot bigger. If you want to win, it is pretty simple math.

  29. Erik,

    Well said. I have absolutely nothing to add except that the Party would be wise to listen to your words.

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