This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published December 14, 2012 on The Washington Times website.
If you think the left is resting on its laurels after Barack Obama’s re-election and the Democrats’ retention of the U.S. Senate, think again.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who halted photo ID laws in South Carolina and Texas before the November election, suggested on Tuesday in Boston that the United States should consider adopting “automatic” voter registration.
This essentially would mean that millions of people who sign up for government benefits but don’t bother to register to vote will be given the franchise. Think of it as Motor Voter on crack cocaine.
It’s the perfect way to grow Big Bird’s Food Stamp Army into an unstoppable force and move America toward the Chicago model of dependency and one-party rule.
Liberals also are talking about getting rid of the Electoral College, which would give vote fraudsters a huge incentive to stuff ballot boxes where their candidates were going to win anyway, such as deep-blue California, Illinois and New York.
Apart from their destruction of the Founders’ idea of self-government by an informed citizenry, “automatic” registration and direct popular vote would damage the states’ constitutionally appointed role of conducting elections. The automatic registry also smacks of authoritarianism.
If Obamacare’s individual mandate violates the Constitution (and it does), how about the government requiring automatic registration whether you want it or not? The logical follow-up is a future requirement to vote. That’s the case today in several nations, including Cuba and, more alarmingly, Germany.
Liberals have been successful in getting around voter-integrity safeguards because of collusion among outside groups, government officials and a compliant media. Last year, while Mr. Holder was invalidating voter ID laws, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a 54-page lawsuit against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over a photo ID statute. The law, which Mr. Walker signed in May 2011, was halted when two state courts issued permanent injunctions.
Following the script of race hustler Al Sharpton, who never saw a problem that couldn’t be turned into a circus of bigotry, the ACLU contends that requiring Wisconsin voters to present one of many photo IDs is the equivalent of a “poll tax.”
Nobody knows better how to turn hard cases into bad law, so the ACLU dug up 17 plaintiffs, including hapless students, homeless people and an 84-year-old legal citizen whose birth certificate is misspelled.
Another major concern is the expansion of early voting and absentee balloting without excuse, which a majority of states allow. In Colorado, 8 in 10 votes were cast before Election Day 2012. In Iowa, early voting began 40 days before Election Day, and 10 percent of the votes were cast in “satellite” voting places, which can be erected if petitioners turn in 100 names from any given county.
The booths can be as close as 300 feet to a campaign rally, which was convenient for Michelle Obama, who concluded her speech at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Sept. 28 by telling students to go vote, which many did on the spot.
Petitioners also can request certain hours of voting. A satellite booth was in operation from 6 p.m. to midnight at Iowa State on Oct. 18 when Bruce Springsteen gave a pro-Obama concert. Does this mean vote fraud occurred? No, but it illustrates how Election Day has morphed into an amorphous Election Month — or even two.
All this elastic voting arguably offers easier access, but it also facilitates fraud. When voting was limited to Election Day, lawyers and poll watchers could be on the job, but it’s a lot to ask people to stay on temporary watch for 20, 30 or 40 days.
Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, a national watchdog group devoted to cleaning up voter rolls, said monitoring elections is getting more difficult and her group is adjusting to the new realities.
“I’m convinced that the biggest problem facing our elections right now is not the fraud you can immediately see. It’s the fraud inherent in our existing electoral process: the loopholes, the confusion, the void of accountability, that has been institutionalized and exploited for partisan gain.”
On Nov. 6, an international delegation of election observers from more than 60 countries was “amazed” that so much of America’s electoral system operated without IDs and with few poll watchers, according to the Foreign Policy. Writer Josh Rogin noted that by contrast, in the West African country of Gambia, voting is carefully monitored. Each voter gets one marble each to be deposited in a jar for each candidate.
“The poll watchers are listening because when the marble goes into the jar, there’s a ding. And if there are two dings, maybe somebody came in with extra marbles in their pocket, so they call the police,” said Cindy McCormick, a consultant with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
Given that counties in several states reported more than 100 percent voter registration and that President Obama got 99 percent or more of the vote in more than 100 precincts in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and 59 precincts in Philadelphia, maybe it’s time to break out the marbles — or at least their electronic counterparts.
Conservatives tend to win a victory or suffer a defeat and then go home to real life in the private sector. Liberals, whose lifeblood is government red ink, work around the clock to move America closer to one-party rule.
Since 2011, a total of 11 states (Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) have passed voter ID laws in order to protect the integrity of the ballot box.
Conservatives finally are rolling up their sleeves to do battle in an arena that they long had taken for granted — the conducting of honest elections.