Articles

 

 

Corrupt
Elections are Undermining  Governance

One of the most surreal experiences of our lives was watching an
unelected bureaucrat pick and choose what ballots she wanted to count in the
closely contested election featuring pseudo-Republican Lisa Murkowski and Tea
Party Favorite Republican Joe Miller in Alaska. Having spent decades watching
ballots be counted in hundreds of elections, and never once have we seen a
situation with such outrageous manipulation of the vote.

But I guess we weren’t in Colorado. Hot off the presses is a
report that documents 5,000 non-citizens voting in that states highly contested
elections. According to a report in The Hill, the “Secretary of State
Scott Gessler, a Republican, told the panel that his department’s study identified
nearly 12,000 people who were not citizens but were still registered to vote in
Colorado.Of those non-citizen registered voters, nearly 5,000 took part in the
2010 general election in which Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet narrowly defeated
Republican John Buck. Colorado conducted the study by comparing the state’s
voter registration database with driver’s license records.”

In state after state corruption is beginning to undermine the
credibility of the fairness of elections. We all remember the election
officials in Florida holding up ballots looking for hanging chads in the
Presidential race between Al Gore and George W Bush. The presidential race in
2000 was sadly decided in the US Supreme Court, and it undermined the
credibility of President Bush until his more convincing re-election victory in
2004. To his day, we still see bumper stickers that say re-elect Gore in 2008.

In Washington State Dino Rossi lost a Governor’s race in 2004 only
after the ballots were counted three times. Every new count featured the
Liberal King County election officials discovering votes that were not counted
the first time. These votes just appeared from nowhere weeks after the election
was over.

All citizens left, right, center, Republican, Green, Democrat, and
Libertarian should be able to have confidence in the integrity of the voting
process. Without faith in the process, the illegitimate election results
undermine the ability to govern.

Let us suggest some reforms.

1. Identification should be required to vote. No American should
be offended for having to produce identification to prove residency and
citizenship. This will give us all confidence in the outcome, and we will be
confident that some activists are not attempting to vote in multiple
jurisdictions.

2. Every time someone votes it should produce a paper record of
the votes cast. Machine tabulation is open to hacking and manipulation by the
individuals running the election. If every vote produces a paper ballot, it
leaves an audit trail that will insure integrity. A laser printer could be
attached to voting machines and the print out could be reviewed by the voter
for errors. Every ballot could feature a control number to keep it from being
miscounted.

3. Write in voting should be eliminated in this era of instant
information. Instead of write in candidates, the actual ballots should adjust
to allow additional candidates on the ballot. Filing deadlines could be
extended to accommodate multiple participants and parties. Systems that limit
the number of candidates in any race should be eliminated. A wide open process
with maximum participation is best.

4. Ballots not entered into the counting process during a
pre-approved voting period would not me counted. Officials could say if a
ballot is not found within a week of the election it would not be valid. This
would keep

Unless elections processes are reformed, bitter partisanship will
linger beyond the tally of the vote. Just the left felt betrayed by the
election of George W Bush after Florida in 2000, conservatives in Alaska are
embittered against Senator Lisa Murkowski and consider her election a fraud.

Only with clear rules and concise audit trails will we all feel
like elections are won and lost, fair and square. In a high tech society that
keeps records of millions of ATM and credit card transactions, don’t tell us we
cannot figure out how to validate voters and the ballots they cast.

 

 

 

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