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PJM Lifestyle

by
Timothy Imholt, Ph.D. and David Forsmark

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July 17, 2013 - 2:00 pm

iraqi-woman-holds-up-her-purple-finger-indicating-she-has-just-voted-in-southern-iraq

One of the more iconic images to come out of the war in Iraq was that of an Iraqi woman proudly showing the camera her purple ink stained finger, indicating that she had voted.  This picture was taken in Sadr City, the epicenter of unrest and violence against the coalition forces.

Of course, since the election had taken place in a Muslim country, this became a cause célèbre centered on new voting rights for Iraqis in general and women in particular.

But the purple finger was also a sign of civilization and democracy on another level, that of not only a free election where all adult citizens are allowed to vote, but also a fair one.

It boiled down to this—one finger, one vote.

Elections are a good thing, but for years, Iraq (like the Soviet Union) supposedly had elections with statistics reported at 100% turnout and Saddam garnering voter support in the high 90s.  The purple finger was a sign that the election was monitored, regulated properly, and that, most importantly, everyone was able to vote, but only once.

Now lets go to the epicenter of the 2012 election, Ohio. Election worker Melowese Richardson proudly told a local TV station that she not only voted twice for herself, but that she also voted on behalf of several other people.

Keep in mind that this was not an illiterate random person, but a trained election worker.  Yet MSNBC regularly proclaims that efforts toward voter ID and claims of voter fraud are canards designed to “suppress” the vote.

Co-author David Forsmark spent a year and a half working for a county clerk and can affirm there are areas where local clerks belligerently refuse to enforce voter ID laws, acting as though denying anyone access to the poll is a violation of voting rights.

Even where clerks are vigilant, people who try to vote but can’t prove their identity are still allowed to vote.  No one is turned away.  Those votes are set aside as provisional ballots for the conflict to be resolved later.

We have seen precincts that report more votes than are registered, but there are no provisional ballots ever reviewed.  Statistically, this is impossible.

The ACLU attitude that it’s better that 1000 guilty people go free than 1 innocent person be convicted is applied to voting “rights.”  But in this case, those 1000 people have a direct consequence on 1000 other people—in effect, they steal their vote.

In the meantime, MSNBC and Eric Holder keep ranting about voter suppression.

al-sharpton

Yes, Rachel, we should suppress the votes of the dead.  Yes, Al, we must suppress the second, third and fourth time people vote.  (And yes, Eric, when someone shows up to vote in your name, the clerk should be able to confirm their identity.)

And the answer is as simple as the solution in Iraq, just more high-tech.

One thumb, one vote.

We recently wrote an article for PJ Media, “Thumbs Up for a Tech Solution to EBT Fraud,” that explained a concept of how fingerprint technology should be used to reduce or eliminate EBT fraud.

Among the responses (that didn’t call us Big Brother or racists) was one from a company that already make this technology. There are several companies that make that type of credit card today (at about 1% of the cost we proposed).  We also uncovered there are a host of other ways in which companies are solving these types of issues in Europe.  Interestingly, some of these companies are based here in the United States.

Why would a U.S. anti-fraud company only market their product in Europe?  Why is this not already being used to combat fraud in welfare programs?  Could it be lack of political will to solve the problem?

What about stopping people from voting multiple times on election day by using a thumbprint scanner?

How, you ask, can that be done without violating the civil rights of voters?

Easily.

shutterstock_62157175

When a voter enters the polling place in Massachusetts (offered merely as an example), the election monitor asks their name and address.  The voter registration is then checked, and if everything checks out a ballot is handed to the voter.  Unlike states like Michigan, no picture ID is required in Massachusetts.

In recent years, after the 2000 election gave us “hanging chads,” thousands of dollars have been spent per precinct converting voting booths to optical scan and other electronic methods of voting in an attempt to eliminate human error.  The results have been positive but mixed.

But it turns out a USB interface high-quality fingerprint scanner that can ensure one thumb/one vote can be purchased commercially today for less than $75. Undoubtedly a huge purchase by state government—or the feds—could bring that price way down.

As an additional step to voting, we should add these scanners.  As the voter is giving their name and address, they could place their finger on a scanner.

Once the computer gets that fingerprint it should be stored but NOT associated with a name, voting record, or Social Security number. Therefore we would have a database of “fingers that voted today.”  This database could be stored in a central web location (securely).

The software can then quickly and accurately check to see if that finger has voted anywhere else that same day (or in early voting).  If the software finds a match, a human election monitor can be alerted electronically by some means such as text message.

The same would apply to early voting, and eliminate the problem of someone voting early under his name at a clerk’s office where there is more scrutiny and professional workers, and later at a busy precinct with day workers, usually well-meaning retirees.

Simple.  Non-intrusive.  Foolproof.  Cost-effective.

We must ensure our vote  be counted properly. We should not allow any voting bloc to feel as if his or her vote is being suppressed or cancelled out in any way such as occurs when someone votes twice.

That’s a large part of what separates our elections from “elections” in, say, Syria.

Ironically, the Obama administration has been trumpeting the idea that any form of additional vote security is the next thing to Jim Crow (which is where the MSNBC  chorus gets their music).

But on his $100 million Africa trip (while White House tours are still denied to American school kids for “budget reasons”) President Obama extolled the virtues of national voter ID cards, complete with picture… in Kenya!

Hey, Mr. President, we deserve secure and fair elections here in our country too—even if you think that may disadvantage your party.

*****

images courtesy shutterstock /  italianestro /

Timothy Imholt PhD is a veteran of the US Army (enlisted soldier), has a PhD in experimental physics, and currently works in the defense industry as an engineer. He is running for the United States Congress in the 3rd district of Massachusetts in 2014. He can be followed on Facebook under the name Imholt For Congress. David Forsmark writes regularly on books and culture for PJ Lifestyle.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The technology you describe is required for me to gain entrance to my gym each morning.

My gym. Where I lift weights. That I pay $19.95 a month to belong to.

Clearly it's too expensive and esoteric to be used for something so frivilous as ensuring the integrity of the voting process.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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"But it turns out a USB interface high-quality fingerprint scanner that can ensure one thumb/one vote can be purchased commercially today for less than $75. Undoubtedly a huge purchase by state government—or the feds—could bring that price way down."

You'd think so...
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you think Gladys`s story is inconceivable,, last week my friend basically made the small fortune of $8916 working thirteen hours a week from their apartment and the're roomate's half-sister`s neighbour done this for 10-months and errned over $8916 parttime online. apply the guidelines on this page....... http://www.wep6.com
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35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ink on thumbs should be a very bright idea, though low-tech (or because of that). Never thought of it. Dems now are complaining that they are so poor that they don't have an ID card. What will they complain about then? That they don't have soap to wash away the ink from their finger?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The technology you describe is required for me to gain entrance to my gym each morning.

My gym. Where I lift weights. That I pay $19.95 a month to belong to.

Clearly it's too expensive and esoteric to be used for something so frivilous as ensuring the integrity of the voting process.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thumbprints definitely should work. As long as no one lost their hands, at least. We could also use ocular biometrics as a secondary measure, in the event that they don't have hands. It should cut down voter fraud, and not even require an overdose of legislation as well. It's definitely not going to be a Jim Crow method, either, as the only ones who might be disadvantaged are those who lack hands for some reason. It wouldn't have any real negative impact on civil rights. I'd say we should go the route of printing biometrics. At the very least, it should significantly cut down on voter fraud in terms of repeat voting/graveyard voting (you know, casting votes from people who had in fact died by the time of the voting process). We'll still need a way to cut down on voter fraud in terms of switching ballots without the voter's consent, though, especially seeing how that's strongly suggested to have been responsible for Obama winning several states. Let's hope we implement it by next year, especially seeing how that's a voting year.

Oh, and since you mentioned the ACLU, we probably should shut down that group as well.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those thumbprints SHOULD include other personal identification. A singular vote, should belong to a specific person. And just as when you use an ATM, you should receive a receipt. No more "sudden discovery of extra votes", to put some Democrat candidate over the top.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, I agree that they shouldn't have identifying data attached. Do you really trust the government to not abuse a database that details who voted and how? I sure don't.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Undoubtedly a huge purchase by state government—or the feds—could bring that price way down."

If you can type that with a straight face, you obviously don't understand how government works in the United States. The more units of a product the US Government wants, the *higher* the price goes, because the vendor will pay everyone off in order to ensure a higher profit for himself.

When I got to that line, I have to say I stopped reading. If you actually think bulk sales bring the prices down for our government, I don't think you can suggest anything intelligent in the way of gov't. reform...Sorry, I just don't see it.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
David, not surprised to hear you "stopped reading," from the quality of your response, I bet that happens a lot. In our last column we surmised that it would take $10 per EBT card to include a fingerprint scanner. A manufacturer contacted us to say if they were printing that many, they could do it for 10 CENTS and still make a profit. But I bow to your undoubtedly long history in government purchasing.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do $600 dollar hammers ring a bell with you or perhaps the cost of the shuttle that was done by the "lowest bidder".

The rule of thumb when evaluating any government programs is to multiply by the estimated cost by a factor of 4. That is the starting point, costs just climb from there.

No need to be impolite, it undermines any point you might have been trying to make.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have no problem with what you're proposing but what happens if a given thumb votes multiple times? And maybe at multiple places in different races? For instance, if they vote in one congressional district for one ticket and in the next congressional district over (or the next state over) for a different slate? Which of their votes get counted? The first? The last? Or none at all, on the grounds that since they voted more than once, NONE of their votes should count at all?

I'll bet the lawyers have a jolly old time trying to decide that question. It might have to go to the Supreme Court to be settled....
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is identical to looking for a given number on a list, something computers do very quickly. For example, I just searched for the word "the." Google was able to scour the billions of webpages it has indexed, find the word, sort those pages by relevance, and provide me with the ~25,270,000,000 results in less than 1/4 of a second. There is no reason that this couldn't be a real-time operation: Give your name and ID to the clerk, put your finger on the scanner, if you haven't voted yet a green light comes on and you get your ballot. Otherwise you get a red light and sent to an election official to figure out what happened.

The only problem is that you could defeat the system described by altering the image of your fingerprint. Depending on the sophistication of the readers this could be done simply by drawing dots on your thumb with a pen. A better idea would be to seed the database when the individual registers to vote. At registration, when they have their picture for their ID taken, they have their fingerprint scanned. The computer checks to make sure this finger hasn't already registered, then if the number is unique it is stored without any identifying information.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
This. It removes the ability to complain about "people not being able to get an ID" (Because we have many hermits who live in the mountains and make hundred mile hikes into towns to vote. We must, given that everyone living in modern society and doing just about anything legal or financial needs an ID). You've got to register in order to vote. That means you'll also need your thumb scanned.

Additional point, however. For this to work we really need to remove same-day registration uniformly. Otherwise the already-noted trick about dots on the hand or etc. would still bollocks things up... you'd just have to register again as a new dead person of your choice each time.

However, since this article more or less assumes that we've chucked mail-in ballots... unless someone is planning on mailing in their thumb... that's probably not the relatively biggest political hurdle.

One concern I do have is... who manages the database? Because if the people doing so were malicious, then theoretically all they would have to do is clear all the entries quietly. Our side wouldn't be attempting to vote again. But if the people already involved in cheating for Democrats (Hi, ex-ACORN workers!) got passed word that the entries would all be cleared at some point, then they could potentially run their people through as often as they liked. Possibly you could cross reference number of ballots cast with number of thumbprints in the machines at the end of the day. Granted it might still be possible to game if you could access the database to enter random information to the tune of a certain number of thumbs. But getting a specific number, no more, no less, rather than just shoveling as many Democrat ballots as possible into the system, would make fraud much trickier, at least.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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