The Electric Commentary

Thursday, October 14, 2004

More vote fraud stuff.

Building on what I wrote in this post, Stephen Green has an essay today on how the process is bigger than the outcome:

The system, the trust, is far more important than anything else. It's more important than the White House, or Congress, or Social Security, or jobs, or even the Terror War. Our Constitution is rigged to make it hard for any party to screw things up in the short time of four years. There's always another election around the corner, if you think the current crop of office-holders is screwing things up – that's the beauty of our system.
But maybe there won't be another election, if you cause the people to lose faith that elections work.

(Note: This essay is based on a Drudge Report article, and so the specific premise should be taken with a rather large grain of salt.)

I think it would be an excellent idea if some intrepid bloggers went out to polling places on election day with digital cameras and just snapped photos throughout the day, trying to catch people repeat voting. I suspect that this would be a very successful endeavor, especially around college campuses. One central blog could link to all of the results, call it the Carnival of the Vigilant. While I would be more than willing to provide this service, it would be nice if someone with more than 40-something hits a day participated. I believe that this would have several positive effects.

First, it would deter fraud, as people tend to get skittish when they see cameras. And there should be no legal logistical problems as you can legally hang out at a polling place all day so long as you don't lobby for a specific candidate on the premises.

Second, it may actually catch a few people in the act. The benefits of this are self evident.

Third, there is an outside chance that it would expose a larger problem. Voting in this country should require (at least) a photo ID. Think about everything that you do that requires a photo ID, and how much less important those things are than voting.

This is an area where people can make an actual difference. Isn't technology grand?

So, if you are a student with time on your hands on November 2nd and you catch someone voting twice, or being denied the right to vote improperly, or being allowed to vote improperly, post it. If you send me the link, I'll post it, and my 40-odd readers will at least be the wiser. And who knows, maybe someone more high profile than me will pick up on it.


Just to clarify my position, I believe that this will be a huge election issue for both parties, perhaps big enough to decide the election. And while Stephen is tough on the Democrats based on the Drudge "memo" (Drudge has burned me a lot lately, so I'm waiting for confirmation on this) I don't think any one party is responsible for this.

I view this as a problem of power. I have expressed my desire to require a photo ID for voting, because I think that it is too easy to vote, and because of that, the parties have a lot of power to manipulate things if they give in to temptation. Usually when you present partisans with power, someone will break down and abuse that power.

I think that both sides put forth plausible scenarios for vote fraud by the other, but I also think that the way we treat voting made this behavior inevitable. When I urge people to take their cameras to polling places, it is not only with the intention of exposing fraud, but also of exposing those who would make false accusations of fraud. Watching the watchers, if you will.

Just so everyone knows where I am coming from.

Update 2:

The DNC responds.


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