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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Voting Rights... a sane approach to an insane problem...

As we say in Spanish… Ya! Basta!

Enough is enough!

I am talking about all this blathering about voter registration, curtailment of rights, political gain, and disenfranchisement of folks, primarily those who are older or poor.

As I understand it, conservatives are saying there are potentially thousands of people voting in elections who have no right to vote because they are here illegally.

Liberals on the other hand are saying that requiring people to have a government issued ID will be a financial or logistical hardship on elderly and poor people and potentially college students as well.

Can we all agree that maybe, just maybe, both sides are a little bit right here? And then look for a sane middle ground solution?

Libs, get over it!  What can possibly be wrong with requiring everyone in our country to show proof of legal residence as a prerequisite to voting?  The idea that requiring people to show ID to vote is not some rogue plot to disenfranchise enough voters to steal an election.

And you conservatives, is it too much to ask that you acknowledge that there are in fact some people who have lived here legally for years, who just don’t have any form of ID that you would accept?  I am thinking 87 year old Aunt Clara who doesn’t drive and has lost her birth certificate and has been voting since the Eisenhower Admin.

So, what should we do? Here is where I would start.

First, for the integrity of our election system, we should set a goal that every registered voter must show proof of legal residency.  In Mexico, where I work, every single person of voting age must have a valid federal election identification card.  If Mexico can pull this off, so can we.

Second, let’s understand that for some people, this really will be a hardship and come up with a system that both gets us towards our stated goals, but takes into account some very real world issues.

We should not be denying Aunt Clara her right to vote.

Let’s pick an arbitrary age, perhaps 55, and say everyone below that age better get on board.  If you are older than 55, there will be no change in your status.  In just a few short years, we will get to 100% compliance without denying anyone their right to vote.

Then we make getting a state ID free if you do not have a driver’s license.  The system is already in place for doing this, so the cost would be negligible. 

For little Johnny who is in college, he should be able to show his drivers license or hs free state issued ID and his college ID card.

By grandfathering in the people who are over 55, we take the issue of senior citizens who might have lived under a more lax system off the complaint board.  By providing free state issued ID’s if you do not drive, we eliminate a potential problem for the extremely poor.  By accepting a combination of both state and college issued ID, we are making it easier for non-resident students to vote.

By designing a system that allows all legal residents the opportunity to vote, and prevents those who are not registered from tampering with our voting system, we will be insuring that our elections will not be subject to manipulation by people with no right to vote.

Finally, and this is huge, these provisions should be enshrined in federal law so that we have one standard across this great country. 

A fifty state country with fifty different electoral laws is election fraud in the making.  Only with a single policy, with broad agreement across party and state lines will we solve this issue equitably.

Your thoughts are welcomed…

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Comments on "Voting Rights... a sane approach to an insane problem..."


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:36 PM) : 

who determines what is adequate "proof of legal residency?"

and legal residency doesnt mean they are citizens of the U.S. of A. with all the rights(like to vote) and privileges of a citizen.

just curious, does a "legal resident"(if there is such a thing in Mexcio) of Mexico get to vote in national elections.

just thinkin....


Blogger dmarks said ... (3:10 AM) : 

Sounds good to me. Those who categorically reject any and all efforts to reduce voter fraud can only be assumed to be those who benefit from fake votes.

I recently found out that we have one man in the senate, Al Franken, who was put into office on fake votes. There are many elections with a close margin, and for these people to say that a small rate of voter fraud is OK is unacceptible.

And I welcome also any efforts to tweak the anti-voter-fraud laws to make 100% sure real voters are not kept out.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:14 AM) : 

Anon... perhaps the term legal resident was unclear... I meant citizen...

Legal residents in Mexico do not have right to vote in that country... the same that we have here.

In Mexico, everyone must register to vote upon reaching 18 years of age. You get a national elector card that includes your finger print.

And then when you vote, your finger is inked in a way that it lasts for almost three days.

that card must be updated every time you move, or you must return to your original residence precinct to vote.

If you are on vacation, too bad. If you are a student studying in another state, too bad. You either reregister, a cumbersome task, or you return home to vote.

I do not think we would ever do anything like that here in the US. I doubt that either party would support a national ID/voter registration card that was mandatory in a way that the Mexican card is.

You cannot do any kind of real business in Mexico as an adult without that card.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:18 AM) : 

Sorry Dmarks... you response sounds a little partisan to me... mentioning the foibles of only one side in a negative way is not the way we will get to real solution.

But as friend of mine said elsewhere when he read this, "It's balanced and makes sense... so it won't happen..."

Sadly, I have to agree with him... neither party is really interested in giving up the rhetorical hammer they use on the other...


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (5:23 PM) : 

It appears that Dmarks is a bit
partisan. He stated that Franken's election was fraudulent, yet in an
identical court decided case he
stated elsewhere,
" However, time and again in elections (including the Presidential one in 2000, and again in 2004) the voters happen to decide to choose Republicans.

Not Jeb Bush. Not Kathleen Harris. In fact, they would have been shirking their duties if they had not approved of the actual vote counts in Florida. And they did.
This is allowed under our Constitution. Sit down and shut up and stop whining and making up stuff because your lose elections and you can't deal with it."


Blogger dmarks said ... (5:58 AM) : 

In regards to "mentioning the foibles of only one side in a negative way"

I did say that I wanted to make sure "real voters are not kept out." either. That addresses the concern of the "other side" doesn't it?

BB: A large number of felons voted in the Franken election. These are illegal votes under Minnesota law.

And... I am not being inconsistent at all. I do not think that the vote in Minnesota should be undone. But that we need to continue with voter fraud elimination efforts to prevent this in the future.


Blogger dmarks said ... (5:59 AM) : 

Also, in contrast, there was no such fraud in the Bush election in 2000. There was attempted fraud: the Gore team filed frivolous court actions in an attempt to get voteless ballots counted as Gore votes.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (2:55 PM) : 

Dmarks... also in 2008, there was attempted voter registration fraud through ACORN, but only in a few locations...

Yet, the GOP partisans were all over the media claiming real voter fraud.

Also in 2010 when Sharron Angle was beat in Nevada by Harry Reid, her campaign was quick to place the blame for that loss on voter fraud, and she has continued to this day in that line of attack.

This in spite of no evidence, a GOP Sec. State who certified the election and past Republican Governors who supported the idea that there was no voter fraud.

Everyone can play the blame game on this... the real question is do we really want to solve the issues equitably or do we want to keep our cudgel with which we can beat the other side?

I noticed neither you, or BB responded to my ideas to fix the problem...

You guys have any ideas?


Blogger dmarks said ... (2:34 AM) : 

" fifty state country with fifty different electoral laws "

Ask Obama. It's even worse, with the 58 states he counts...


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:41 AM) : 

Come on Dmarks... that's part of the problem of both sides... do you think he really meant that? Do you think he really doesn't know there are only 50 states?

If we decide to live in a world where a speaker cannot make a mistake from up front, where are we headed?

Are we prone to live in a place where people choose to live in a gotcha world?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:54 AM) : 

The Penn. court got it right.
Not for this election
Voter ID laws should not be used to suppress 100's of thousands of voters.
I have no problem with voters showing ID's, unless 100's of thousands don't have ID's and would not be given time to get ID's before election day
Make sure everyone has a FREE ID, OK.
If you have those kind of voter laws, I see no reason to exempt any vote block (seniors) in fact that would be unfair, that one group should not have to follow the law.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:01 AM) : 

Anon, you may be right. And then after this election, the people most at risk of disenfranchisement have two to four years to get what they need.

Seems like a decent compromise.

I still don't see why we can't have a federal standard for our federal elections.


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