November 2 is not here yet, but polling problems have begun. From possibly malfunctioning ballot gear to potential fraud, the 2010 midterm vote has been marred even before Election Day has dawned.
Some Nevadans who tried voting early for Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle instead saw Democrat Harry Reid’s name appear on their electronic voting machines. Some voters complained about this apparent glitch, but how many others have unwittingly miscast their ballots? Intriguingly, these machines are maintained in Las Vegas by members of the Service Employees International Union. SEIU gave 95.3 percent of its 2008 campaign contributions to Democrats. SEIU president Andy Stern was last year’s most frequent visitor to the White House.
Daytona Beach city commissioner Derrick Henry and Genesis Robinson, his campaign manager, are facing voter-fraud charges for allegedly completing 92 absentee-ballot applications with the names of Floridians who never requested them or who had moved away.
The return address on 250 absentee-ballot applications in Bridgeport, Conn., is 1238 North Avenue — a vacant lot.
Officials in Bucks County, Pa., are investigating 500 apparently fraudulent absentee-ballot applications. Also, the so-called Pennsylvania Voter Assistance Office sent citizens letters encouraging them to apply for absentee ballots, but no such office exists. The letter says it was financed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee. The committee sees “no evidence of any irregularity or problem.”
“‘Would you like to vote a straight Democratic Party ticket’ is something being uttered all over Houston in early Texas voting right now,” according to former Justice Department prosecutor J. Christian Adams. It’s Texas poll workers who are asking that question, Adams wrote Wednesday for Pajamas Media. They should avoid such partisan suggestions.
A federal appeals court in Arizona has rejected a state law requiring voters to demonstrate their citizenship at the polls. Somehow, it’s too much to ask them to prove who they are. Civil-rights advocates bellow that voter ID somehow oppresses minorities, especially blacks. If so, may black voters drive to the polls without licenses?
America’s promiscuous use of absentee ballots has become problematic. These once were reserved for people who were traveling on Election Day, bedridden, or otherwise unable to reach the polls. But voting has slouched from a dignified civic activity into something else to do at home in sweat pants, with all the solemnity of microwaving popcorn.
As absentee ballots proliferate, so too will opportunities for repeat voting. Absentee ballots make it easier for non-citizens, non-residents, felons, and even dead people to vote. Nursing-home staffers have voted absentee “on behalf of” demented elderly people who believe that JFK occupies the White House.
Physically voting at the polls is a vital exercise in self-government. It also gives election officials a chance to deter or catch cheaters. Voting at home while clad in a towel prevents such scrutiny.
Sadly, America’s increasingly Third World voting system fits the nation’s trajectory. The Land of the Free is mired in the effects of nearly a decade of Washington-led socialism — “compassionate” under the free-spending, entitlement-launching (albeit tax-cutting) Bush-Rove administration and now aggressive under the freer-spending, entitlement-launching, and tax-hiking Obama-Pelosi government. The result? Economic stagnation, mounting debt, a sabotaged currency, class-warfare rhetoric, and growing corruption. (Transparency International this week ranked the U.S.A. as earth’s 22nd-most-honest country, America’s worst showing ever.)
Step one is for the American people to march valiantly to the polls Tuesday and dislodge those who have brought the country to this point. Then, with a new Congress rededicated to limited government, public integrity, accountability, and the rule of law, the American people should demand photo-ID requirements at the polls, serious jail time for vote fraudsters, a rollback in absentee ballots and early voting, and other steps to establish voting norms worthy of the Home of the Brave.
— Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.