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Author Topic: Universal Voter Registration??
Morbo
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quote:
The solution [to problems caused by county, state and private 3rd party voter registration] is to take the job of voter registration for federal elections out of the hands of third parties (and out of the hands of the counties and states) and give it to the federal government. The Constitution grants Congress wide authority over congressional elections. The next president should propose legislation to have the Census Bureau, when it conducts the 2010 census, also register all eligible voters who wish to be registered for future federal elections. High-school seniors could be signed up as well so that they would be registered to vote on their 18th birthday. When people submit change-of-address cards to the post office, election officials would also change their registration information.

This change would eliminate most voter registration fraud. Government employees would not have an incentive to pad registration lists with additional people in order to keep their jobs. The system would also eliminate the need for matches between state databases, a problem that has proved so troublesome because of the bad quality of the data.

http://www.slate.com/id/2203138/

This initially seems like a great idea to me, if it can be done effectively without too much cost and if privacy concerns are addressed. But I'm not sure, I worry about unintended consequences...

This poster at the DailyKos makes a good case for it:
quote:
This is the supreme blowback resulting from the GOP's ACORN smear. By so vigorously highlighting the very real problems with third-party registration model, the GOP has unwittingly provided the best argument in favor of having the government step in and facilitate a universal registration system. And so, the irony is that in trying to suppress voter turnout by calling even valid registrations into question, Republicans have opened the door to a long-overdue discussion on how best to reform our inherently flawed voter registration system in order to ensure that every American who has the right to vote may do so without redtape barriers.

Universal registration is one of the top items on what we're can call a Voter's Bill of Rights that should be embraced by Congress after the election (more on this in the weeks to follow, but it would include, among other things, ballot simplification, auditable paper trails, etc.).

What do others think?
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Blayne Bradley
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I am 100% in percent agreement.
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ElJay
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I think that it's unnecessary if all the states just go to Minnesota's system. We have a 2-pronged approach, first, the Motor-Voter law means that if you go to the DMV to change your license you can automatically update your registration as well. Second, we have same-day registration at the polling place. Bring a driver's license with your current address on it, or a utility bill with your name and current address, or a registered voter who lives within the ward and will vouch that you do, too, and you can vote. The registered voter can be someone who is doing same-day registration. . . there was a couple ahead of me in line this morning who did that. They didn't have their new licenses yet, and the utility bill was in his name. So he registered using it, and vouched for her, and they both voted and were registered for next time. Simple, easy.
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Blayne Bradley
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That also works. Sorta like in Canada I think, thought I get osmething in the mail telling me where to vote.

It cannot be denied.

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Morbo
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Hmmm, good point, Motor-Voter laws + same-day registration would be pretty equivalent to universal registration, without too much added bureaucracy. [Smile]
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PSI Teleport
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quote:
The registered voter can be someone who is doing same-day registration. . . there was a couple ahead of me in line this morning who did that. They didn't have their new licenses yet, and the utility bill was in his name. So he registered using it, and vouched for her, and they both voted and were registered for next time. Simple, easy.
This seems like it would be easy to abuse. Do the registrations always follow the DL number then?
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Olivet
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Not to hijack your thread, but Morbo, I have some books for you. I've owed you like, forever. Could you email me?
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ElJay
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Actually, they have nothing to do with the DL number. They don't write down the number off your license, it's just one way to prove that you live in the ward where you're trying to vote.
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PSI Teleport
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So, then, could they not also vote in the precinct of the address on their license?
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ketchupqueen
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Yeah, I have a LOT of problems with the "someone can vouch for you" thing.
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ElJay
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You have to fill out the registration form. If you're already registered and you vote, you sign off in a book at your name and address. So if you go to where you were registered before and vote, and then go register in a different ward and vote, it will show up that you voted twice and you will be arrested for voter fraud. If you're having someone vouch for you, that person has to be a registered voter in the ward. So if you vote twice, you and the person who vouched for you will be arrested for voter fraud. We haven't had a problem with the system, and it's been this way since before I started voting.
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ketchupqueen
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But it would be so easy to use a false name and have someone vouch for you (a different person in 2 or more wards.) By the time it was discovered that that type of fraud had been perpetrated (if it was) it would be too late and would have seriously screwed up results if enough people did it. Is there some other kind of ID required when you do that?
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Morbo
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Olivia, just now I tried to email you to the addy in your profile and it failed. Email me to my profile addy and I will reply tonight.
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ElJay
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You would have to have an awful lot of people involved in order to seriously screw up results, don't you think? And why would anyone vouch for someone else using a false name if they knew their information was being recorded and they would be liable for voter fraud after the election? It's not exactly a crime you could think you could get away with. I don't see how it's any more likely that someone would abuse this system than that they would fill out a registration card with a false name and address in multiple wards in other states. And it means that everyone can vote -- people who's licenses have been revoked, people who's houses have been foreclosed and they're living with friends, people who's names have been purged from the voter rolls because someone ran a check against the SS database and there was a typo in their address.

It seems pretty rare for people to use the vouching option. Most people have a license or a utility bill with their current address. But it's there if people need it, and I'm glad it is.

If I was going to try to commit voter fraud, I wouldn't do it that way. I'd show up early and use someone else's name and address who was already registered. You don't have to show ID to vote, just sign the rolls. I'd check the last few elections and find people who hadn't voted in years and bring in a group to impersonate them. Much easier, and less likely to get you caught. If that person didn't try to vote later in the day, no one would ever know.

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