Chicago is not known for the integrity of its elections. There is an urban legend that is probably true that Chicago allowed John F. Kennedy to become President through creative voting methods. Keeping that in mind, I suppose I should not be surprised at the latest wrinkle in the election process in that city.
On Friday the Illinois News Network posted an article about a new ID card that will be available primarily as a municipal identification card for illegal immigrants. I have no problem with issuing identification cards to anyone who wants them, but unfortunately these cards can be used as valid identification to register to vote.
The article reports:
The CityKey will be a government-issued photo identification card available to all Chicago residents regardless of immigration status, criminal record, housing status, or gender identity, according to the city clerk’s website.
State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich says the final call on what documents to accept rests with local officials.
“There are 109 local election authorities in Illinois,” Dietrich said. “They’re the ones who actually handle the registration, the checking of IDs, and keeping the documentation. We maintain an electronic database of voter registrations that we get from them.”
Dietrich says there is no state requirement to prove citizenship while registering to vote. He’s not expecting a surge in potential voter fraud cases because the process will remain the same.
“When you go to register to vote, you do check a box that attests to your citizenship,” Dietrich said. “You are signing a legal document that says, ‘Yes, I am a citizen.’ But no one who registers to vote is required to bring in, for example, a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. That’s something that you check the box, and you attest to it.”
Dietrich believes the penalty for illegally registering to vote is steep enough to discourage those who might be considering it.
“The main thing that would happen is deportation,” Dietrich said. “If you’re not a citizen, and you have any thoughts of ever attaining citizenship, registering to vote is almost an instant trigger that when you apply for citizenship, you will be deported. That’s one of the first things they check.”
I don’t mean to argue with Mr. Dietrich, but I am not convinced that voter fraud (from illegal aliens or dead voters) is not a problem. Why am I not convinced? Let’s take a look at some voter registration statistics from North Carolina. In early November of 2016, North Carolina had 6,864,841 registered voters. On January 2017, North Carolina had 6,733,025 registered voters. What happened to those 100,000 plus voters? Is it possible that at least some of them were fraudulent voters removed from the voter rolls before they could be investigated?
At any rate, we have an integrity problem with our elections, and the ID card that the city of Chicago is issuing is going to exacerbate that problem. The CityKey is another really bad idea from a city that has been poorly governed for a very long time.