The Trump Administration’s “Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity” is one of the most pointless wastes of taxpayer dollars and time in decades. There’s a simple common-sense solution to the “vote fraud” problem that would also address the liberal boogeyman of “voter suppression.”
The solution is for the federal government to issue a national ID card with a photo to every person that has a Social Security number. This would solve vote fraud and voter suppression, because the card can be presented when the person votes.
Federal law can even be changed to make every citizen a registered voter at least for federal election purposes. This would reduce or eliminate vote fraud by requiring ID and make voter suppression more difficult by eliminating the main tool corrupt election officials use for voter suppression: challenging IDs.
A National ID Card is the Solution
Since almost every American has a Social Security number adding a card would not be that difficult. Existing government offices like the DMV can be used to take the picture. Citizens can be encouraged to get the card by requiring it for benefits like Social Security or Medicaid.
Such a card can also alleviate the problem of employment of illegal immigrants because one would be required to work in the U.S. All an official looking for illegal workers would have to do is ask them for the card.
In other words the United States should join almost every other developed nation and issue a national ID. Logistically and technologically issuing such an ID would be fairly easy.
In France the government issues an ID that can be used to access your medical records via chip. One company alone Visa (NYSE: V) had 726 million credit cards circulating worldwide in first quarter 2017, Visa also had 334 million credit cards in the US in the same period, Statista reported.
If Visa can keep track of 726 million credit cards, Uncle Sam should be able to keep track of cards for 325 million Americans. After all this is the same federal government that was able to conduct surveillance on tens of millions of phone calls at once through the National Security Agency (NSA).
If voter fraud is such a problem, the expenditure on such cards seems a rational solution. Such a card would also be a logical national security and administrative measure because an estimated 21 million Americans do not have a government issued photo ID according to The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Giving those people an ID would solve a lot of problems and make life easier for a lot of officials.
The potential solution is so simple and straight forward it lends credence to allegations that the real purpose of the commission is voter suppression. Even if the allegations of vote fraud were true, a national ID card is the logical solution.
Progressives come in for criticism here because proposing such a card is the logical means of exposing the commission as a scam. Ask the commission why it is not proposing such a card. Simply call the Republicans’ bluff, say there is vote fraud then create a national ID card to deal with it.
The sorry truth is that neither Republicans nor Democrats want such a card. Republicans want to keep it easy to suppress votes. Democrats want to keep it easy to raise allegations of voter suppression. Some cynics would say that Democrats might want to preserve the ability to suppress votes so they can use when they take power.
Either way Americans lose a sacred and basic right because of a cynical political game.
Voter Suppression and Hatred of Hillary may have elected Trump
There is evidence that it was voter suppression and hatred of Hillary Clinton, that handed last year’s presidential election to Donald J. Trump (R-New York). Russian tampering may have had nothing to do with it.
Up to 45,000 votes might have been suppressed in Wisconsin because of voter ID laws, Mother Jones reporter Ari Berman alleged. Trump won Wisconsin by 22,748 votes, The New York Times reported. Final vote numbers collected by The Times indicate that hatred for Hillary not Trump may have been the real determining factor in the election.
Another factor in Trump’s victory in Wisconsin was clearly third-party candidates. Green Party standard bearer Jill Stein received 31,072 votes in Wisconsin and Libertarian Gary Johnson won 106,674 votes in the Badger State. That means third parties or protest votes against Hillary might have been the determining factor in Trump’s election.
Neither the mainstream media nor the parties want to see such numbers. Largely because they indicate Trump’s victory might have been the result of factors he had no control over. As far as I know Trump had nothing to do with either Wisconsin’s voter suppression effort or the Democrats’ decision to nominate Hillary.
Discrediting Democracy for Fun and Profit
The most frightening aspect of voter suppression, rigged primaries like the one foisted on Democrats last year, and vote fraud is that it discredits the election process and democracy itself.
History shows that there are two strategies that a would-be oligarchy or plutocracy can use to destroy the electoral process. Disturbingly both seemed to be present in last year’s U.S. election.
The first and most common means of corrupting and controlling elections is to limit the voter franchise. This what the Jim Crow establishment did in the South before 1965, and it was the Apartheid regime did in South Africa. It appears to be what the Republicans did in Wisconsin, and are now trying to do nationwide with the misnamed “Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity.”
The second and more effective means of destroying the electoral process is to make it meaningless. The masters of this were the various Communist regimes; they held “elections” but only party members could run for office. By transforming elections into a meaningless farce, the Communists effectively discredited democracy, and any democratic opposition.
The plutocracy in charge of the Democratic Party practiced a less subtle version of that last year by using super delegates; and other administrative tricks, to nominate Hillary against the wishes of a wide segment of their base. The plutocrats paid the price for that when many of their voters simply went over to Trump.
Some sort of national ID might be necessary for the integrity of our democracy. Hopefully somebody in Washington will have the brains to propose one and the guts to fight for it.
A slightly different version of this article appeared earlier at Market Mad House.