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Writer's Block: Secret Ballot 
4th-Nov-2008 05:03 pm
No line, filled out my form/oath (which used to be sufficient, but now I have to show ID, as well, unfortunately), received my ballot sat down and voted.  Turned in the ballot, got my "I voted" sticker, went home.  Total time:  20 minutes at the poll, most of which was my indecision about two of four proposals.
4th-Nov-2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
Why is it unfortunate that you had to show ID to vote? I didn't, but I had mine with me and it would have been trivial to do so, had the law required it here (rather than apparently making it illegal to ask for it, as the election judge told me some years ago when I presented it to her).

Of course, by now, she remembers me. :)
4th-Nov-2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Because I am against requiring photo ID to vote. I think it puts undue burden on too many eligible voters to the point of effective disenfranchisement.

The voter fraud this is supposed to prevent is such a minimal problem (it only really works when the election officials themselves are part of the machinations) that I see no need for it. The little that does happen was punishable by law -- given that one signs an oath that one is registered and eligible to cast *this* vote.

No, I won't go so far as to say this is exactly the same as a poll tax, but I think it comes close enough that I was much against it. Unfortunately, my view of things isn't the way it goes.

And yes, the poll workers certainly know me -- I live in a rural enough area that there aren't that many of us, and I have been a poll worker often enough that we all know one another. But yes, they still *must* ask for and I *must* present both my oath (the old way) and my ID.

The first time I had to do so, I (loudly) proclaimed my objections. After that, I don't think it's fair to pound away at it at the expense of the poll workers. They have a hard enough time on election day.

("loudly" not in the sense of yelling at them, but in the sense of making sure my voice could be heard by everyone in the room.)
4th-Nov-2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
I'm not convinced that vote fraud of this type is a small problem. Here's an article by John Fund talking about it. Note the section about Milwaukee about halfway down.

The vote fraud unit of the police was told to stand down for today's election.

It gives me a warm, comfortable feeling to know that our elected officials are looking out for the sanctity of the voting process in our country.
5th-Nov-2008 08:10 am (UTC)
I've worked the polls in two states, accompanied relatives working polls in two others. I can say in those states it simply is not as easy 1) to get registered inappropriately in the first place and 2) vote with an inappropriate registration should you manage it. Even before computer databases, as long as the poll workers and election officials themselves were honest and followed the procedures, voter fraud simply is not the problem it's been hyped to be.

I give further information in my response to anonymous below.

Yeah, it gives me a warm, comfortable feeling to know that elected officials, career officials and volunteers are looking out for the integrity (did you really mean "sanctity?") of our voting process. Seriously. It's just that they were doing so before changing from not requiring the ID to requiring it, too. Just as efficiently.

I'd have an even warmer feeling if I could believe that every elected official is working as hard, or harder, to increase (eligible) voter participation. Right now, I don't. (I think that non-partisan career staff, for the large part, do.)

As an aside -- You want to talk about warm, comfortable feelings, work an election as a poll worker. If you get a lift from voting, you'll get a mind-blowing high from working a poll.
5th-Nov-2008 03:17 am (UTC) - voter ID
My son moved 6 weeks ago and registered in New York. At the polling place today, there was his name in the book, just above mine. I had to show no ID. Anyone could have appeared and said he was my son and not been questioned.

Any political party monitoring recent registrations in other states could clearly find a way to cast fraudulent votes in the "old" state. I think it is a disgrace.

I recently rented a PO Box in the town where I live. I get mail delivered to my house but wanted a PO box for secure deliveries. I had to show two forms of ID - a license AND another form of ID- to rent the box!

Now, what is more important?
5th-Nov-2008 08:29 am (UTC) - Re: voter ID
Now, what is more important?

Vote integrity is vital to a democracy. Absolutely. No argument.

However, voter fraud simply isn’t a problem.

Just how prevalent is voter fraud nationally? Well, the Bush Administration’s DOJ conducted a study of this very question, looking at charges of voter fraud brought to election officials between October 2002 and September 2005. This period covered one mid-term election and one presidential election, among others. Results:

Total number persons charged: 95
Total number convictions: 55
Total number dismissed by the government: 8
Total number of acquittals: 5.

In a 3 year period, the national incidence of voter fraud charges was less than a hundred. Keep in mind that “charges” does not include only indictments, but any incidence of “information” or lodged complaints. Only 17 of the convictions were cases of individuals attempting to cast fraudulent ballots. 32 of the convictions concerned voter suppression, not fraud. A smattering were for vote buying.

You can read it for yourself here:


Another source of the report, together with a summary analysis can be found here:


While Media Matters is self-identified as “progressive,” the report itself is straight from the Bush DOJ. If you doubt MM’s analysis, count up the incidences for yourself.

At one point, I found another url providing a DOJ update to this report extending it to 2008. (Obviously not the current election, however.) The total number of charges (still from 2002, mind you) had risen to something on the order of 140. However, I have now lost it. I’m tired, I’m going to bed. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the interested.

So, yes, I think making it more difficult for people to vote is not only unnecessary, but counter to the very meaning of a democracy. The number of votes suppressed by things such as requiring picture ID is powers of magnitude higher than any fraudulent votes they prevent. Just one of many ironic examples: my voter registration card, issued by the election officials themselves, is insufficient for me to vote. Even though I had to register in person, prove my address with post-marked mail or utility bills and provide picture ID to both register and get my driver's license.

For those of us with drivers’ licenses, the requirement may seem trivial. To the thousands of eligible voters without such picture ID, procuring it is, in my opinion, an unfair hardship that effectively suppresses votes.

Which do you think is the larger problem?

Can we at least agree that the most serious problem with voting in the US is how few people do it at all?
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