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Ending voter fraud

By Bruce Walker
web posted October 25, 2004

Voter fraud is an unnecessary problem. Not only is voter fraud easy to solve, but ending voter fraud forever would actually make it easier for people to vote and end the need for poll watchers, election lawyers, and vote registration campaigns. How? Abolish the secret ballot.

The stakes could not be higher for America. Democrats steal elections all over the Republic from mayoral races in cities like Philadelphia and gubernatorial elections in states like Maryland and senatorial races in states like Louisiana to presidential elections themselves.

Almost all serious historians agree that the shenanigans of Democrat bosses stole the 1960 presidential election for John Kennedy. The risk to America, however, was slight. John Kennedy was an imperfect man but a decent president, certainly a patriot and someone who sought to inspire American greatness, whether it was in defending freedom or in landing on the Moon.

Venal, pampered Leftist politicians like Gore and Kerry are not Kennedy. Stealing elections for men like that is simply business as usual. This risks making the American Republic the equivalent of any of the myriad other Democrat machines - Tammany Hall, Boss Daley, Boss Hague or the KKK South - which have corrupted state and local governments within America.

The Australian ballot (or secret ballot) was when the dominion democracies of Australia adopted it in the 19th Century. Even at its inception, there were obvious problems with a secret ballot. When representative democratic bodies, like Congress, state legislatures or city councils vote, we rightly insist that the votes be public, not secret.

Part of the reason for that is so that our representatives can be held accountable, but another equally important reason is to make sure that voter fraud in those assemblies does not occur. Consider how Democrats would react if Senate votes on cloture for judicial nominations were all cast secretly and Vice President Cheney, as President of the Senate, announced cloture had passed by a margin of 62 to 38. Does anyone doubt Democrats would cry "Foul!"?

The key to voter fraud: the secret ballot
The key to voter fraud: the secret ballot

What makes it certain that votes are not stolen in the United States Senate, the Nebraska Legislature or the Topeka City Council? Votes are publicly cast. Votes publicly cast can be publicly counted and publicly accounted. That certainty is vital to a healthy democracy.

Many parts of America, those dominated by Democrat machines, produce results that reflect crimes much worse than stolen votes. Assume the Vice President Cheney, after a secret ballot vote of the United States Senate on cloture for judicial appointments, announced that cloture had passed by a margin of 75 to 50, the requisite third thirds majority.

Because there are only 100 votes in the Senate, but 125 votes were cast, there was obviously fraud, but the fraud was not stolen votes but invented voted. Places in key states now have more hypothetical "voters" registered to vote than citizens in the area. Who doubts that the same Democrat operatives who register fictitious persons will cast those fictitious ballots for Democrats?

If there was no secret ballot, then hanging chads, dimpled chads and the like would all be irrelevant. An individual could simply be asked, if there was any question at all, what he intended by a particular vote. More to the point, each registered voter could have his vote available as a matter of public record and correct it, if it was not properly recorded.

Eligibility to vote could also be much easier to determine. Assume, for example, that a state had a thirty day residency requirement and a mailing address requirement and nothing more. If someone registered to vote and voted in violation to those requirements, not only could the illegal voter be prosecuted - along with any party hacks who aided him - but the particular illegal vote could also be identified and cast out as well.

What about the great dread of intimidation? That did not prevent the United States from having a very vigorous, closely competitive system of elections during the decades leading up to the gradual adoption of the secret ballot. Intimidation works very poorly when it is difficult to predict who which candidate or party will have power. The very close division of party power in America, and the vigorous two party system in every state, make genuine voter intimidation a very bad gamble.

Not only are their many more laws to protect voters against intimidation or discrimination than when America had a flourishing democracy and a public ballot, but actual voter intimidation would also certainly backfire catastrophically into the faces of those who tried it. What are Democrats doing right now? Preemptively alleging voter intimidation!

Consider that already the vast majority of Americans voluntarily chose to register as a member of one of the two major political parties, rather than as independents. Are they not effectively and publicly declaring their political allegiance?

Consider that everyone considers that secret campaign contributions are a corrupting influence in politics, and that supporting a party or a candidate with contributions is considered essential to be public.

Consider that any good statistician can predict with about ninety-five percent probability how a particular individual will vote based upon his race, his sex, his religion, his income, his residence and one or two other factors.

Now consider the alternative to abolishing the secret ballot: elections by fraud, election results by litigation, elected officials operating under a cloud of doubt. Most people, wrongly, assume that the secret ballot is guaranteed in the Constitution. It is not even guaranteed by federal law. If the is a mess in Florida and in Ohio, those two states - both of which have Republican legislatures and Republican governors - should enact genuine election reform in January 2005: make the registration and recording of votes simple, clear, easy - and public.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.

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