There are a lot of states coming out with enhanced voter registration bills. These bills stated goal is to reduce voter fraud by verifying that the person voter is
- who they say that they are
- are qualified to vote
- have not voted already
The opponents of these bills state that the ID requirements are effectively a tax on voting and an unnecessary burden on some voting groups.
All that, from both sides, is just talk as far as I can see.
What I’m interested in, is the data. Will the number of voters be reduced by these new ID requirements? Will there be less voter fraud? Can anyone actually identify voter fraud in practice?
That last is a particularly difficult question to answer. Some groups say that voter fraud is occurring constantly all over the place. Others say it occurs in something like less than 2 incidents per election. Neither of them actually have a clue what’s going on.
Unfortunately, part of that is the inherent voting system that we have. It is designed to be as anonymous as possible, which means that it is effectively impossible to track votes or voters. One voter has one vote. What does he know of the thousands of people who voted with him… or against him? By definition, he cannot. And that’s a fatal flaw in the system.
Because there is no way to hold voting officials accountable, there is no motivation for them to be accurate (recent incidents in Wisconsin for example).
I was one of the ones watching the proceedings of a vote. It was quite instructional and somewhat frightening.
I arrived to the polling place at about the time the polls closed. So, all over the voting marshals or whatever they are called were pulling the hard-drives from voting machines for transfer to the polling place where I was.
There was no paper involved in this entire process. With these machine, a recount is entirely useless because the computer is just adding up the numbers… again. Here’s a hint, they won’t change.
These hard drives were plugged into a laptop and the votes downloaded and tabulated.
That’s it. It doesn’t sound like a big deal. But there wasn’t a single person (not the county officials, nor the company reps) that could answer any questions about the encryption of the data on the drive or the physical security of the drive. Given what I know about computer security, I suspect that with prior access to the drives, it would take an intelligent hacker about two weeks to break the system and write a script that would allow any laptop to connect to them and view and alter the files.
As far as I know, there were no security systems or internal or external checks and balances in the system. I’d actually rather vote over the internet than using a voting machine.
Anyway, the point is, that there is no possible way for either side to verify their claims with actual data.
Which, I guess is the point of politics. Sigh.