Friday, October 13, 2006

Photo I.D. for Voting: It's Time

We absolutely have to begin requiring that voters prove their identities when they vote. Requiring a photo I.D. to vote (and providing such I.D. free of charge to the poor) is an obvious and inexpensive solution.

Voter fraud will destroy our democracy if we let it. Voter fraud has already worked insidious damage in some close races. Here's more:

With its hanging chads, butterfly ballots and Supreme Court intervention, the Florida recount fiasco of 2000 compelled Americans to confront an ugly reality: We have been making do with what noted political scientist Walter Dean Burnham has called “the modern world’s sloppiest election systems.”

How sloppy? Chillingly so.

At least eight of the 19 hijackers who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were actually able to register to vote in either Virginia or Florida while they made their deadly preparations for 9/11.

Ironically, Mexico just held a national election that offered far more safeguards against ballot error and voter fraud than anything we have in the U.S. Indeed, in its successful efforts to overcome its old reputation for corrupt vote-counting, Mexico has a lot to teach the United States.

Take voter fraud. The growing use of absentee ballots in the U.S.—some one out of five votes are now cast that way—has dramatically increased the potential for fraud. In 1997, the mayor of Miami was removed from office after it was learned 56 absentee-ballot “vote brokers” had forged ballots.

Particularly now that illegal immigration has become a national epidemic and more and more absentee ballots are cast by people who never even appear at a polling place, we cannot rely on blind faith.

If we are to remain a democracy, there's no legitimate room for debate on this: Photo I.D., fingerprinting, retina scan. Whatever it takes, we absolutely must protect our elections against voter fraud by reliably verifying the identity of each voter at election time.

1 comment:

Dr. Melissa said...

Amen, Gina! Vote with an I.D. or don't vote.

Thanks for posting! I'll be home late tonight. Your stories are awesome.