Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is Voter Registration Fraud a Threat to the Secret Ballot?

Is Voter Registration Fraud a Threat to the Secret Ballot?

At this time, we are in the midst of a massive voter registration scandal. Workers hired by ACORN to canvas people and register them to vote have ignored the law and common sense in several ways.

1. They have registered persons already registered. This has resulted in multiple registrations for the same person. One man in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, was registered as many as 73 times.

2. They have falsified the registration applications. This includes entering the names of fictitious persons, deceased persons, celebrities, etc.

3. They have registered persons ineligible to vote, although the persons told them they were not eligible.

4. They have used aggressive tactics in canvassing, in some cases offering incentives to people to register.

According to the testimony of several persons, the canvassers claimed they had to get enough registrations to get paid.

During this time, I have been hearing that the secret ballot, which we have enjoyed in this country, may come to an end. So how does this relate to the scandal?

First, with such a widespread voter registration scandal, in at least fourteen states, so close to the election, it threatens the integrity of the election itself. The result of a vote count controversy in so many states will raise an outcry, a call by the public for some way to prevent this, or at least to cull out the votes of voters who are found to either be ineligible or to have voted multiple times.

One method would be to tag each ballot cast with the voter who cast it. This is easy to do with electronic voting. It can also be done with other voting methods, too. Then after the election, as verification of voter registrations continues for those the officials did not have time to verify before the election, if a voter proves to be ineligible, his ballot can be located and cancelled.

This may sound like a good idea to many, especially with so many late registrations pouring in. But there is a danger. Who has access to the records, the links between the votes and the voters? How secure are they? The past few years, database after database has been penetrated, making sensitive information insecure.

What if those on one side of an issue or for one candidate were able to comb through the lists of votes and voters? Would every union member want the union officials to know how he or she voted? Would every employee want his employer to know how he or she voted? Some people live in neighborhoods where they certainly would not want the neighbors to know how they vote. Would you want your voting record made public?

We see stories in the news of the government and political parties in certain other countries harassing those who vote against them. Elections are won by 90% or more, because voters are afraid of losing their jobs or defending themselves from trumped up charges. Do we want to see that happen here?

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