Monday, October 20, 2008

Trying to Prevent Voter Fraud

Perhaps you have seen recent stories in the news about a group known as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Some of ACORN'S employees have been accused of submitting false voter registration forms; some were signed "Mickey Mouse" and some listed Dallas Cowboys players’ names, even though none of the players lived in that particular state. Agents acting on behalf of ACORN employees were also caught filling out voter registration forms using names and addresses copied from the telephone book. In a number of states, fraud investigations are underway.

While these events are mostly occurring in presidential battleground states, I believe that Oklahoma's election system is also susceptible to fraud.

The voter identification cards used by the election board could be easily forged. Especially during low turnout elections, there is absolutely nothing to stop people from voting under different names in different precincts. If a group with the wherewithal and the power of ACORN decided to manipulate our elections by registering out-of-state voters or by registering the same person multiple times in different precincts under different names and addresses, there would probably be very little to stand in their way.

Right here in Logan County, according to election board records, in just one precinct preceding the 2004 elections, there were four hundred and fourteen people who registered to vote in September and October and who are still listed on the rolls of eligible voters. Of those four hundred and fourteen people, only eighteen of them showed up to vote at the next major election in 2006. One can only imagine how susceptible that precinct is to corruption when of all of the people who registered in September and October, only four percent of them turned out to be voters who would be still be voting at that precinct two years later. It would be next to impossible for a precinct official to recognize that person when he/she basically only registered to vote for one election.

In an e-mail update in May, I wrote about
Senate Bill 1150 which would have provided for a required list of identification options prior to voting. The constitutionality of the bill was reinforced by a recent Supreme Court decision which ruled in favor of an Indiana voter ID law that requires photo identification at the polls, citing the need to reduce voter fraud.

I also included this bill on my constituent surveys and over 80% of my constituents responded by supporting the idea of required voter identification.

Unfortunately, I also wrote about the fact that some in the Senate leadership were able to kill the bill.

While the Senate's decision to kill the bill was discouraging, I believe that a strong voter photo ID law can be passed in the future. The Speaker of the House recently announced that this will be a major agenda item for next year. Hopefully with more conservative leadership in the Senate, and with all of the national attention being given to voter fraud, the efforts of those who appear to keep our voter system susceptible to fraud will be defeated.

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