Tuesday, November 11, 2008

U.S. Electoral System is a Farce!

Rumors of voting irregularities and examples of actual irregularities are fairly common in an election year, but 2008 was a banner year for crazy stuff.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a shining example of all that is wrong with voter registration drives, is the most visible example of why things have to change in the electoral process. ACORN produced hundreds of thousands of registration forms in more than a dozen states, tens of thousands of which were illegitimate or fraudulent, spawning investigations into its activities.

In the U.S. today, some voter registration organizations seem to think it is more important to register people to vote than it is to make sure that they are eligible to vote. They are so worried that someone who is eligible may not get to vote that they turn the system upside down and register thousands of people without regard to eligibility.

These organizations couldn’t care less whether the targets of their registration efforts know enough about their government or the candidates and issues to make a sensible decision in an election; they just want to register them. An excellent example is this one: A woman at an Obama-Biden rally said that if she helped Obama by voting for him, he would help her. “I won’t have to work on puttin’ gas in my car. I won’t have to work at payin’ my mortgage,” she gleefully said.

Radio and TV host Howard Stern sent one of his staff out onto the streets to interview people about the election, and found that most were Obama supporters. The interviewer asked why they supported Mr. Obama, but instead of asking if they supported Obama’s views, the staffer instead substituted John McCain’s positions, such as his pro-life stance and his view that we need to keep troops in Iraq. He even asked one if he supported Sarah Palin as Obama’s vice president. Yes, they said, all of that was OK with them.

Even if the people in these examples are eligible to vote, they don’t know enough about their country, the issues, or the candidates to cast an informed vote.

Haphazard registration efforts dump stacks of forms on state election staffs, clogging the system, making the job of determining the eligibility of thousands of registrants infinitely more difficult and more expensive, and, in the process, making it likely that some ineligible people will vote.

Because our right to vote is so important, and because it is critical that voters know what they are doing when they vote, we must implement some common sense rules, such as:

• Measures must be taken to assure that only eligible voters can be registered to vote, and after eligibility is confirmed, if the voter does not have an existing valid photo ID, one will be furnished free of charge.

• In order to register to vote a person must be: interested enough to register himself or herself, unless physically unable to do so; able to prove where they reside; and able to prove who they are, how old they are, and that they are a citizen of the U.S.

• Eligible persons must pass a test of basic knowledge about the United States and its government, and of the state in which they reside and its government before being deemed qualified to vote.

• Measures must be taken to ensure that eligible voters vote only in the state/precinct where they reside, whether by first-person ballot or absentee ballot.

• When entering a polling place an eligible voter must show a valid photo ID.

Among things that must not be allowed are:

• The mischievous and fraudulent voter registration activities of ACORN, and other similar organizations, which must be regarded as crimes with fines and/or imprisonment as penalties.

• Allowing people to register and vote at the same time. Even though such ballots may be provisional, this inane process is one more opportunity for mistakes and fraud.

• Helping people register to vote who don’t know or care enough about voting to register on their own must be prohibited, unless it is done by state election officials, and is closely monitored.

• Early voting. We set aside specific dates for voting to occur, and all voting with the exception of absentee voting must take place on Election Day. Early voting enables people to vote while the campaign is still going on, and may result in premature decision making on the part of early voters. If we need more than one day to enable all eligible voters to vote without long lines and unacceptably long wait times, then we should have two or more Election Days after the campaign period is officially over.

The liberalizing of America has introduced many negative concepts and behaviors to our culture, and torn down many of our most fundamental and most cherished traditions. Our electoral system has become fertile ground for fraud and manipulation that encourages people who are ignorant about their country and indifferent to the process to participate in choosing our leaders.

We must restore its integrity so that we can have confidence that only knowledgeable and eligible people can vote.

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