Securing Our Elections

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted a story about voting in the Netherlands.

The article reports:

Mickey Kaus notes that the Netherlands is going to go back to conducting its elections with paper ballots. “Dutch go old school against Russian hacking,” he notes, linking to a Politico Europe story. Kaus adds an appropriate shout-out to Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, who has been calling for paper ballots for years.

Going back to paper ballots may strike many people, as it used to strike me, as retrograde. Isn’t it a lot faster to count electronic votes? Isn’t there a danger that paper ballots can be altered, defaced, and burned? Isn’t electronic voting cooler and more up to date?

As I have stated before, technical things mystify me. However, it does seem to me that having a paper record to verify voting totals is a good idea. It may not be necessary to go back to counting paper ballots by hand if we can scan them by machine and have the physical ballots to verify the totals.

The article concludes:

The fact is that sacrificing a bit of speed for reliability is probably a good trade. The strongest argument for paper ballots is that they can’t be hacked. The second strongest is that there is an independent record of each ballot cast, which some computerized systems lack.

It may take a long time to count ballots in some states where they include many offices and ballot propositions, but people can wait. And recounts of paper ballots can result in disputes over hanging chads and the like, but these are difficulties our republic has been handling for over 200 years. My vote is for paper ballots.

Good idea.

It’s A Little Late To Discover This

The Sun Journal in New Bern, North Carolina,(no link–current article available only to subscribers) posted an article today about a state audit of voters in North Carolina that indicates that hundreds of people on North Carolina voter rolls aren’t U.S. citizens — and are ineligible to vote.

The article states:

The State Board of Elections said in a news release late Friday that it found 1,425 registered voters who are likely non-citizens in an analysis of data from the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the federal Department of Homeland Security.   

The announcement comes less than two weeks before an Election Day that features the close race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger Thom Tillis. The contest will help determine which party controls the Senate.   

“We are working to ensure that no ballot cast by a noncitizen will count in this or any future election,” Kim Westbrook, the board’s executive director, said in a statement.   

The board is preparing instructions for local elections officials to challenge ballots under a process that would give the voters a chance to prove their citizenship. The board says it’s a crime for a noncitizen to register or vote.

The article further reported:

On Friday, a coalition of voting rights groups expressed concern about the audit in a letter to state elections officials. It cited laws regarding maintenance of voting rolls and urged caution when comparing voter rolls to data from the DMV and federal immigration officials.

 The letter was signed by Project Vote, Demos, Fair Elections Legal Network, American Civil Liberties Union, NALEO Educational Fund, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and Action NC.

 “Our organizations are deeply concerned about maintaining access to the polls for all of North Carolina’s voters in keeping with the requirements of the NVRA,” the letter said, referring to the National Voter Registration Act.

There are requirements in the NVRA that voter lists be periodically audited and purged of people who have died, moved out of an area, or for some reason are ineligible to vote. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice under Eric Holder chose not to enforce these laws.

Judicial Watch is an organization that has worked tirelessly in recent years to ensure the integrity of the vote in America. Their latest victory has been in Indiana, where 700,000 voters were moved to “inactive status” as a result of a May 2014 statewide mailing to all registered voters. This mailing was the result of efforts by Judicial Watch and True the Vote. They had been advocating in court for two years to get this mailing to take place. Statistically, nearly 1 in 5 Indiana voter registrations are for people who have moved and no longer live at the address associated with that voter’s outdated registration. That is a scary statistic.

We Need An Honest Election In 2012

 This article has two sources–GoLocalWorcester and Judicial Watch.

The article at GoLocalWorcester lists some basic facts about the integrity of recent elections and the impact of voter ID laws:

A study by the Colorado secretary of state found that nearly 5,000 noncitizens voted in Colorado’s closely contested 2010 Senate race.

According Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, after a photo ID law in 2008, the number of African-American voters has increased more than ten percent. Additionally, all voting demographics have grown at the rate of population growth. Moreover, prior to the passage, they investigated and penalized hundreds of people guilty of election and voter fraud every election cycle.

An article in the in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette tells us that of 1.3 million new registrations ACORN turned in 2008, election officials rejected 400,000. Do you suppose they caught all of the bad ones?

1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.

And in our City of Worcester, when the Worcester voter census was finally brought in compliance with state law in 2011, some 45% of voters were classified as “inactive”.

Judicial Watch reports:

As the presidential election approaches, the potential for voter fraud is dangerously high nationwide with nearly 2 million dead people still registered to cast ballots, about 3 million eligible to vote in two or more states and millions more that are inaccurate, duplicate or out of date.

The alarming figures were published this week in a report issued by the non-partisan Pew Center on States. It reveals that approximately 24 million active voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or have significant inaccuracies. The problem, apparently, is an outdated registration system that can’t properly maintain records.

…Preserving the integrity of the election process has been a huge issue for Judicial Watch over the years. Just last week JW launched the 2012 Election Integrity Project to pressure states and localities to clean up voter registration polls in order to comply with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). A lengthy JW investigation of public records indicates that voter rolls in numerous states have more registered voters than voting-age population.

Among the states that appear to contain names of individuals who are ineligible to vote are Florida, California, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana and West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Missouri. This month JW sent warning letters to election officials in Indiana and Ohio as well as letters of inquiry to Florida and California officials as part of the probe into their problematic voting lists.

Meanwhile, in its February 2012 newsletter, Judicial Watch reported that through records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), they have learned that there has been extensive communication between the Department of Justice and Estelle Rogers, a former ACORN attorney currently serving as Director of Advocacy for Project Vote. This close relationship is not healthy for our democracy or for our next election.

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