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.
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.