(Suggested Laws for Election Reform)
Who should be allowed to vote
Verifying that the only people who vote are those that are legally allowed to vote
Ballots and Voting Machines
Who should be allowed to vote
1. Under no circumstances should immigrants be allowed to vote.
This may seems obvious, yet it isn't obvious to many people. There several key advantages that a citizen has over an immigrant, and one of them is the right to vote. We must not dilute that advantage of citizenship.
2. Only those persons with a reasonable fluency in English should be allowed to vote.
If you don't understand English, then you can't understand what you are voting on.
What happens then is that these people are told how to vote by others. Lies about candidates and issues are told to these voters. The person's vote has no real meaning, because they do not understand, and yet we must count their vote as legally binding.
(See the section on Ballots and Voting Machines for more details)
3. A literacy test should be required.
Many states used to have a literacy test. Unfortunately, this was made illegal with the passing of the Voting Rights Act, under some claim of discrimination.
Recently, in 2006, this Act was renewed, including the prohibition on literacy tests.
I believe that literacy tests are effective requirements for voting. As I have stated elsewhere, if you can't read English well enough, then you wouldn't have been able to read about what you are voting on.
What happens then is that these people are told how to vote by others. Lies about candidates and issues are told to these voters, and because these voters cannot read, they must simply accept what they are told. The person's vote has no real meaning, because they do not understand, and yet we must count their vote as legally binding.
4. Anyone who has committed certain crimes should be prohibited from voting.
In many states this is already established. Yet it is principle we must keep.
There are always people who wish to allow felons to vote. I believe we must think carefully before allowing them to vote.
Scholars, police officers, and other such legal observers will tell you that most criminals remain criminals. A thief continues to be a thief. His methods may change, but he will continue to steal, and lie regarding his theft, throughout his life.
Thus, this type of a person will naturally vote for laws which favor his criminal behavior. The votes might result in a more dangerous community.
More importantly, if criminals are allowed to vote, then they will elect corrupt officials. Some corrupt officials will bribe criminals to vote for them. Once in office, the corrupt official and the criminals will work together, scheming and stealing from the good citizens of the community.
Therefore, for these reasons, individuals who have committed serious crimes, even if they have completed their prison sentence, should not be allowed to vote ever again.
The question to be discussed is: Which crimes fall into this category? This is a more subtle discussion, and should be discussed in detail by the people of each state.
There is one remaining question: Can a felon ever be allowed to vote? In general, the answer should be "no." However, we can put in some laws to allow for special situations. For example, if the Governor gives a pardon, then the individual may be allowed to vote. Also, if the people of the state change their mind about a crime falling into the "not allowed to vote" category, then individuals of the past who committed that crime, and have been clean since that time, might be allowed to vote again.
Verifying that the only people who vote
are those that are legally allowed to vote
1. Voters must officially register with the County election office at least 60 days prior to the election.
This is one of the most significant forms of election fraud today. In some cites, there are people who vote yet who are not registered.
Registering to vote is a serious business. If people vote who are not registered, then perhaps they shouldn't vote (for a variety of possible reasons). The resulting vote could be skewed; the vote would not represent the actual wishes of the citizens of the community but of other groups who fraudulently pushed their way in.
For example, if an individual is not registered to vote, then he might be registered to vote elsewhere. He would then vote twice, in two areas of the state. This is essentially a type of ballot stuffing.
Therefore, each state election department must sort out all the names, to verify who is legally a citizen of that community, and who is not.
The county election office must verify many things including: a) you are a citizen of the United States, b) you live in that particular county, c) you are not a felon, d) you are not registered to vote in another county of that state, and e) you are not registered to vote anywhere else in the United States.
In addition, if the county election office runs smoothly, then they will notify any county where you previously lived to take you off their register.
All of this investigation takes time. Yet the integrity of the vote for each community is very important. Therefore, there must be sufficient time for the county to investigate before anyone is allowed to vote.
If you miss the deadline for registration? Sorry, you should not be allowed to vote in that election. You will have to wait until the next time.
Note that many things in life have deadlines. College applications, scholarships, grant applications, and contests each have deadlines. If you miss it, none of these authorities will extend time to you. Why should it be any different for the important act of voting?
2. County election offices must clean their records annually.
Between elections, at times of the year when voting is not near, every county should look over its records to ensure that only those individuals who should be registered are registered.
In recent years some counties throughout the U.S. have had incorrect voting lists. Sometimes a person moved, yet the voter is still registered at the old address. Sometimes people who are deceased are still listed as eligible voters.
It is important that these records be cleared up. In the past century, this might not have been such a problem, but with the election of 2000, and the illegal immigration crisis, it is important that each county's voter registration is accurate for each election.
3. In order to cast a ballot on election day:
a) your name must be listed on the roll of registered voters
b) you must present your voter registration card, or
c) you must present a photo ID, such as drivers license.
4. Computers should be set up at each voting location, where workers can check off your name after you vote.
I have seen some of these computer systems in use. The computer is networked from the election location to the county election office. After you are approved for voting, the guy puts some type of "X" by your name, indicating that you have voted.
This is an effective method of making sure that an individual does not vote twice. (At least, this ensures that he does not vote twice in the same county.)
Campaigns (as related to election reform)
Ballots and Voting Machines
1. All ballots must be printed in English.
If a person cannot read English well enough to read a ballot, then there is no way that he can be an effective voter.
Understanding the issues on a ballot requires investigation, discussion, and analysis. Similarly, learning the details about a candidate (his voting record, his agenda on important issues, and his record of ethics) also requires investigation, discussion, and analysis.
In other words, making effective decisions on a ballot requires readings and discussions in the language of the United States, which is English.
If a person cannot understand English well enough to read the ballot, it would be impossible for him to do the necessary readings and discussions to make a decision, even the final ballot was printed in his native language.
2. Electronic voting machines should have a paper trail. This can be simply accomplished just as is done for numerous business transactions. The essential elements are:
a) voter is allowed to see his selections on the screen
b) voter is allowed to change his selections before giving his final commitment
c) a paper copy of the vote is printed out, with a voter ID number, and put automatically into a locked container.
d) The voter is given the option of having a paper receipt printed out. This is essentially a receipt, listing the voters ID, with the specific votes made.
Why Paper Trail
It is important that we have a paper record along with the computer voting in case the tally is in question.
Computers are excellent for counting votes. This makes the tally faster and more accurate.
However, machines can be tampered with. In addition, there are other means of voter fraud, such as immigrants voting or people voting in two locations. Therefore, we need other means of ensuring the integrity of the choices made by the community.
Paper plus Computer, just as is done in business every day
All of this integrity using computer plus paper be accomplished very simply. (I do not know why people make this such a complicated issue.) We accomplish this task every day in dozens of electronic transactions.
Consider all the purchases we make.
Consider the most simple of situations: a simple cash purchase for items. The cash register is an electronic machine which tallies the total price owed. The customer sees what's on the screen, and if there is a problem, the cashier can change it. Then, after payment is made, the customer gets a receipt, which lists everything he purchased. In addition, in many business, a paper receipt is also made, for the business to keep.
Again, think of all the business transactions we do every day. At the gas pump, we can use a credit card to purchase; we see the amount; when done, we are offered a receipt.
In a restaurant, we get the final bill. This is usually a simple printed receipt. If there is a problem with the bill, our server can change the amount before we pay. Further, if we pay by credit card, there will be two copies, one for us, and one for the restaurant.
All of these business transactions are exactly what we need in the voting system. If we can do this already in thousands of locations, satisfactorily for millions of Americans, then why can't we do the same simple system for our voting machines?
That is why I say, this is much easier than people make it to be. I do not know why people make this such a complicated issue; it is so easy to solve.