(This Op-Ed appears in the July 14 edition of Florida Today.)
“U.S. voting system should be uniform for all”
Marshall Frank, Community columnist
Apart from state laws that vary across state lines, federal laws are a national standard. Criminal and civil matters, federal law enforcement, income taxes, military and international issues are guided by laws under one umbrella in the United States. Federal laws are no different in California than in South Carolina, Alaska or Maine … with one exception: voting.
It’s no wonder federal elections and states administering them are in such a quagmire about voter identification. Consider this:
- There is no uniform system across America for establishing identification of prospective voters. The state in which people live determines how voting is administered. Five independent systems currently exist that may or may not require identification, with and/or without photo.
- Eighteen states, including New York, California and Pennsylvania, plus Washington, D.C., require no ID at all. Anyone can walk into a voting station and assume any name, be a convicted felon or an illegal immigrant, yet be provided the opportunity to vote — illegally. Without ID, there is no way to establish their eligibility.
- The U.S. Constitution requires voters to be U.S. citizens, but those 18 jurisdictions are not required to validate voters. Imagine hiring criminals as police officers without first checking to see who they really are.
- A Pew Research study determined that 1.8 million people remain registered to vote who are deceased. Three million more are registered in two or more states, presumably because they’ve moved. Any of those 3 million can conceivably vote in states like Nevada and Arizona in the same day.
- Photo IDs are currently required for a myriad of safeguards in America, i.e., boarding airplanes, entering federal buildings, drivers licenses, bank accounts, applying for welfare, unemployment and jobs, etc. — but not voting.
- Voting methods vary from state to state. Three states use vote-by-mail-only methods, while others states provide early voting systems. Ballots at the polls vary based on equipment, i.e. optical scans, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE). which is tallied by computer, or punch cards.
The feds will tell us that the actual numbers of illegal votes cast in each election are minimal and not a major problem. But how is one to know? If no one is validating voters in those 18 states, then the count for fraudulent votes is anyone’s guess. The opportunity for stealth illegal voting is wide open.
Opponents of photo ID cards may call me a racist for suggesting such a thing. They say it’s the poor, mostly black rural folks who will be affected and therefore,deprived of their right to vote. Such rhetoric has won supporters via demonizing and intimidation. But it’s simply not true.
The vast majority (70 percent) of black people in this country live in urban cities and many millions more live in suburban areas outside the cities. According to a study by the Brookings Institute (2010), well over half of American cities are majority non-white while 35 percent of suburban residents are minorities.
There is plenty of transportation available to all of any ethnicity who live anywhere near American cities. Those folks, minority and non-minority, who reside in remote areas, still manage to collect welfare, get treated in hospitals and handle other affairs requiring photo ID, so the argument is pure bunk.
No different than laws for tax returns, banking or collecting welfare and unemployment, federal laws should be uniformly and equitably applied to the voting process throughout America. Federal systems should be the same in California as in Vermont or Hawaii. Requiring valid ID with photo is the only method by which to guarantee election fairness and integrity across the country. Legal voters of America deserve that.
Allowing unregistered and/or unqualified people to vote in so many states leaves the door wide open for abuse. Whether violations are few or many, supporters of “no ID” only serve to corrupt the system in favor of one party over another.
Of course, we all know that would never happen.