You don’t need papers to vote
This was a pretty boring election for me. I’m not in the 50th, and so I received practically no junk mail. I am glad to see that the tax on rich bachelors failed. Someday I’d like to be one.
I hadn’t even seen the Busby “you don’t need papers for voting”, until I went to look for the results of this primary in the news. From the transcripts I’ve seen, it doesn’t look like Francine Busby was encouraging anyone to vote without papers. Her “you don’t need papers to vote” is just a quote taken out of context.
Toward the end, a man in the audience asked in Spanish: “I want to help, but I don’t have papers.”
It was translated and Busby replied: “Everybody can help, yeah, absolutely, you can all help. You don’t need papers for voting, you don’t need to be a registered voter to help.”
This sounds to me as though she was saying that you don’t need voting papers to help out with her campaign. But whether she misspoke or not, it is true: you don’t need papers to vote. At least, not at my precinct. You do have to know your name, or, more specifically, a registered voter’s name. Or something close to a registered voter’s name.
When I vote, I normally provide my voter’s guide so that it’s easy for them to look me up. So I had no idea what was actually required. Because of the general immigration controversy this time around, I thought I’d see just what was needed. So, I deliberately left the voting guide in my purse when I went in to vote.
- “Which street do you live on?” I told them the street, and was directed to another room.
- “What’s your name?” I told them my name (Jerry Stratton) and was shown my line on the list of registered voters (Jerold M. Stratton). Yes, that’s me.
- And then (because I’m registered as Independent) they told me my options for voting, I chose one, they gave me my ballot, and I went behind a cardboard box to vote.
I volunteered no information. I was questioned only for my street (in the hall), and my name (in the next room). If my street had “changed” after being directed to my precinct’s room, I don’t think anyone would have noticed.
- November 11, 2012: A non-invasive alternative to voter id: on-site photo signatures
I just had a thought about voter id. The fact that you voted is public information. The list of people who voted is out there and available to anyone who wants to look. When you vote, you sign in where your name is, and that sign-in sheet is public.
Someone who votes in your name isn’t likely to get caught, because signatures aren’t traceable. But if the fact that you voted is public information, why not require a “photo signature” in addition to the written signature? Digital cameras are cheap nowadays, certainly compared to the more and more complex voting process. Why not take a photo with each signature, and allow campaigns to identify people who were voting under a name not there own?
Vote fraud is rarely prosecuted today and everyone knows it. It is easy enough to get a list of names that never vote, and impossible to police stealing votes under those names. That’s because it is impossible to positively identify the fraudulent voter in order to prosecute them for their crime.
A photo signature would change that. It would be a fairly simple technique that would make vote fraud more complex rather than making the policing of vote fraud complex. We would then have positive proof that vote fraud occurred and a photo of who committed it.
This would probably have the effect of moving most fraud to absentee balloting; ubiquitous absentee balloting is a fraud problem on its own.