Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unintended Consequences

There's a lot of kerfuffle over the old news from the Milwaukee PD about alleged voter fraud in Milwaukee in 2004. It's pretty clear that the report doesn't say what some people are trying to make it say.

It does have this little nugget within its pages:
"The one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of fraudulent voting
in any given election is the elimination of on-site or same-day voter
registration systems."... "As an alternative, if On-Site registration is to
continue in its present form, then the presentation of a government issued
identification card that includes that includes the voters name, address
(including city) and date of birth should be presented before that person is
allowed to register and vote."

Now, I'm not surprised that a Police Department report would call for a quick fix that makes their lives easier. Doing away with same-day registration would cut down on the clerical errors which this report found responsible for most of the instances which some are calling fraud. But the people of Wisconsin, through the actions of the Legislature, have decided that making voting as easy as possible is our goal. Democracy works best when the most people have access to it.

Mitra Jalali says in The Daily Cardinal:
When Wisconsin instituted same-day voter registration in 1976, voter turnout
jumped significantly. In the 2006 election, states with same-day registration
averaged a 48.7 percent turnout, compared with 38.2 percent in states without
same-day registration.

But let's just play along with those who want to end same-day registration altogether. What happens then? Jalali, again:
The National Voting Rights Act (popularly known as the Motor Voter Act) lets
people register to vote when they apply for/renew their driver’s license or
visit any public assistance office, something Wisconsin currently doesn’t allow.
But 16 year olds can’t vote, half of Wisconsin’s blacks don’t have driver’s
licenses, and discontinuing the practice of same-day registration leaves
everyone else to flock to increasingly popular and privately conducted voter
registration drives. Traditionally, these drives have even higher rates of
clerical error than government-administered registration on Election Day.

Is it the goal of the right-wing sqauwkers to build the base for ACORN? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a better trained, less likely to err cadre of poll workers as the last line of defense than giving the task of voter registration completly over to private groups?

Even the MPD ackowledges that the Voter ID proposals currently being floated in Madison would do little to end the errors it identified. That's why they didn't call for a "papers, please" election protocol. It's time to end the sham of HAVA and get on with fixing the problems in the system.


Anonymous said...

Where in the World is Jessica McBride?

What we have here is truly, “Failure to Communicate”

She seems to have gone the way of fellow right wing activist mover and shaker Todd Robert Murphy.

Remember Todd (my mother named me Todd Robert)?

Kingmaker, avid fund raiser for political insiders, panel member on the Belling Sunday morning show, a non indicted associate of many involved in the Bielinski “affair.” Some believe he was NGRR (Not Guilty by Reason of being Republican).

But back to Ms. McBride. I wonder what reason she gives the fertile young minds she fills with unbiased knowledge for her sudden cessation of blogging?

This, an election year, ripe with topics for columns full of her wit, wisdom, wishing, wondering and whitewashing but little from the Mistress of Spin but an occasional Henny Youngman one- liner accompanied by a link to someone else’s work.

John McCain goes from impossible recipient of the Republican nomination to the man that lost to the first African American President of the United States and Ms. McBride is not to be heard?

No comment on voter fraud & voter ID from next Ann Coulter?

Truly, the silence IS deafening.

Anonymous said...