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.
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?
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 /