A Democratic voter conspiracy?
"The only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on. I really believe it." "The only way they can beat it, in my opinion, and I mean this 100 percent, is if in certain sections of the state, they cheat." Thus spoke Donald Trump, who is currently behind Hillary Clinton in the latest Pennsylvania polls by about 9%. Clinton doesn't need any shenanigans to win, Trump does.
But let's not focus on The Donald's newly-discovered distrust of polls, his tragi-comic disjointed syntax, or even his deliciously absurd delusions. No, let's look at the Big Picture, the Republicans' long-standing, deeply ingrained obsession with the specter of election fraud.
Republicans have focused time and again on the alleged importance of photo voter I.Ds. With I.D. zealots, it doesn't seem to matter that tens of thousands of legitimate voters would be denied their Constitutional right to vote, so long as one irrational person is kept from voting twice. Republicans call this "voter integrity" or "truing the vote," nice-sounding terms to be sure, but what they are actually trying to do is not so nice, steal elections by eliminating large swaths of Democratic voters.
It would be simple to satisfy the demands of both political parties: When voters come in to vote, take their digital photo and add it to the voter database for that county. Thereafter, when people come in to vote, poll workers can check their faces against photos on their computers. There are no cards to get, misplace, or forget; no inconvenience, cost, or wasted time; no faked or altered cards; and nobody is denied their right to vote. The computers can use facial recognition and similar name and address programs to locate double-dippers and, if any were discovered, prosecutors would have a good chance of obtaining convictions.
I'd be willing to bet that this simple, inexpensive solution will not be good enough for the Republican agitators, even though it conforms to their demand that every voter have an identifying photo. Why? Because it ignores their main concern, it doesn't eliminate any Democratic voters. It's worth noting that fourteen out of the fifteen states that currently require a voter photo I.D. have a Republican-run House and Senate.
A real concern for potential voting fraud is "black box" voting, where you put your complete faith in a computer and vote with no way to verify that your input is the same as the computer's output. There are five states with complete "black box" voting and ten more that have "black box" voting with only a partial paper trail. Thirteen of these "black box" states have a Republican-run House and Senate and two have Democratic legislatures.
When I vote in Fairfield, California, I fill-in the little circles beside my chosen candidates and feed my ballot into a machine that keeps score. When the polls close, these machines connect with a central computer and results are instantly available. If there is ever any question, paper ballots are available for actual human beings to check. It's both quick and verifiable.
There is one thing that those on both sides of the political spectrum agree on, the area that is most ripe for fraud is the mail-in ballot. No photo I.D. can stop someone from filling-out and mailing-in a ballot for someone else. If you can figure out how to stop people from using mail-in ballots to vote twice, please, give us your solutions below this article. Thanks.