Voter ID should be mandatory
Despite not being wealthy, I have acquired 22 domiciles throughout Philadelphia. And that real estate prowess has afforded me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of all citizens. I can vote 22 times.
Unfathomably, with the exception of first-time voters, Pennsylvanians aren’t required to show any voter identification whatsoever at the polls. Don’t believe it? Here’s the exact wording from the Department of State’s Voter Identification Requirements page: “Voters do not need to show photo identification at the polling place. Poll workers should not ask every voter for photo identification.”
But don’t worry. Everything is just peaches because of the mammoth safeguard in place to prevent fraud with first-timers: Their Herculean task is “proving” who they are by furnishing a non-photo ID — yes, no photo required — such as a utility bill, paycheck or bank statement. And even that’s a stretch, since some poll workers allow people who have never produced any ID to vote. So voters whose “address” is a park bench or condemned house are regularly pulling the lever.
This system has made “voting-early-and-often” remarkably easy, affording a vote to the unregistered as well as some illegal immigrants, since most states aren’t checking citizenship status either. That’s courtesy of a federal government that routinely refuses to comply with states’ requests for citizenship verification. What a country.
On his swing through Pennsylvania, Donald Trump reiterated his claim that the system is rigged while stating there was “no way” he was behind in Pennsylvania.
The entire election system needs an overhaul. Early voting, already well underway in numerous states, should be eliminated, as should the disenfranchising system of “super-delegates.” Same for straight-ticket voting. Americans have become far too complacent when it comes to voting and, as a result, we are reaping the consequences of our corrupted system. Good policy should never come down to just a “Democrat” or “Republican” one-second pull of a lever. Instead, making citizens vote for individuals over party may yet inspire them to take a more avid interest in who will represent them. The Electoral College system should remain, but the electors themselves should be dumped. Only half the states require electors to vote the way of their respective state, allowing individuals to ignore the will of the people and, potentially singlehandedly, decide the presidency. Additionally, with all due respect to states’ rights, federal elections should fall under federal law. Instead, we have 50 states with 50 different sets of rules.
But above all, we need to better secure Americans’ right to cast their ballot in corruption-free elections. Every person voting illegally nullifies the vote of a law-abiding citizen. Yet the fraud continues, and our failure to act is a slap in the face to the countless Americans who fought for the right to choose our own destiny.
Make no mistake: Unregistered citizens and illegal immigrants are voting in significant numbers. Put another way, citizens from other countries are quite possibly deciding the outcomes of American elections.
Just look at Florida in the 2000 presidential election. George W. Bush won by a mere 537 votes out of 5.8 million. Given that Florida has a large illegal immigration population, and Bush was a Spanish-speaking politician popular with Latinos, it is not unreasonable to think that at least 537 illegals voted for Bush over Al Gore — the difference in determining the presidency. But since there were so many “sanctuary cities” — places where it is prohibited to ask one’s immigration/citizenship status — there was no way to determine who was an American citizen, let alone who was validly registered.
A 2014 report, utilizing data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, estimated that 6.4 percent (that’s over 700,000) of non-citizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election and that 2.2 percent voted in the 2010 midterm congressional elections – more than enough to swing a close congressional race or hotly contested state Legislature battle. And a trip down memory lane reminds us that the 1960 election was, in fact, stolen from Richard Nixon due to voter fraud in Illinois and Texas. Bottom line: While voter fraud cannot be entirely eliminated, technology has given us the tools to minimize it. So looking the other way — sanctioning a system that encourages such corruption — is inexcusable in a society built on the rule of law.
In a society where one must show ID to enter office buildings, airplanes, trains or even buy antihistamine, it’s time to give the same level of importance to voting.