November 2 is not here yet, but polling problems have begun. From possibly malfunctioning ballot gear to potential fraud, the 2010 mid-term vote is marred even before Election Day has dawned.
• Like jurors who deliberate before a trial concludes, some Nevadans who have tried voting early for Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle instead have seen Democrat Harry Reid’s name appear on their electronic voting machines. Some voters have complained about this apparent glitch, but how many others unwittingly have miscast their ballots? Intriguingly, these machines are maintained in Las Vegas by members of the Service Employees International Union. SEIU gave 95.3 percent of its 2008 campaign contributions to Democrats. SEIU president Andy Stern was last year’s most frequent visitor to the White House.
• Daytona Beach City Commissioner Derrick Henry and Genesis Robinson, his campaign manager, face voter-fraud charges. In an apparent re-election tactic, they allegedly completed 92 absentee-ballot applications with the names of Floridians who never requested them or who had moved away.
• The return address on 250 absentee-ballot applications in Bridgeport, Connecticut is 1238 North Avenue — a vacant lot.
• Bucks County, Pa., officials are investigating 500 apparently fraudulent absentee-ballot applications. Also, the Pennsylvania Voter Assistance Office sent citizens letters encouraging them to apply for absentee ballots. No such office exists. The letter says it was financed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee. The committee sees “no evidence of any irregularity or problem.”
• “‘Would you like to vote a straight Democratic Party ticket’ is something being uttered all over Houston in early Texas voting right now,” according to former Justice Department prosecutor J. Christian Adams. Texas poll workers are asking, Adams wrote Wednesday for Pajamas Media. They should avoid such partisan suggestions.
• A federal appeals court in Arizona rejected a state law requiring voters to demonstrate citizenship at the polls. Somehow, it’s too much to ask them to prove who they are. Civil rights advocates bellow that voter ID somehow oppresses minorities, especially blacks. If so, may black voters drive to the polls without licenses?
America’s promiscuous use of absentee ballots has become problematic. These once were reserved for people who were traveling on Election Day, bedridden, or otherwise unable to reach the polls.
Just as grooming and grammar slide toward the state of nature, voting also has slouched from a dignified civic activity into something else to do at home in sweat pants, with all the solemnity of microwaving popcorn.
“Wanna vote absentee? Cool! No excuses needed, man.”
As absentee ballots proliferate, so, too will opportunities for repeat voting. Absentee ballots make it easier for non-citizens, non-residents, felons, and even dead people to vote. Nursing home staffers have voted absentee “on behalf of” demented elderly people who believe that JFK occupies the White House.
Physically voting at the polls is a vital exercise in self-government. It also gives election officials a chance to deter or catch cheaters. Voting at home while clad in a towel prevents such scrutiny.
Sadly, America’s increasingly Third World voting system fits this increasingly Third World nation. The Land of the Free is mired in the rubble of nearly a decade of Washington-led socialism — “compassionate” under the free-spending, entitlement launching (albeit tax-cutting) Bush-Rove administration and now aggressive under the freer-spending, entitlement launching, and tax-hiking Obama-Pelosi government. The result? Economic stagnation, mounting debt, a sabotaged currency, class-warfare rhetoric, and growing corruption. (Transparency International this week ranked the U.S.A. as Earth’s 22nd most honest country, America’s worst showing ever.)
Step one is for the American people to march valiantly to the polls Tuesday and dislodge those who have brought America to her knees. Then, with a new Congress rededicated to limited government, public integrity, accountability, and the rule of law, the American people should demand photo ID at the polls, serious jail time for vote fraudsters, a rollback in absentee ballots and early voting, and other steps to establish voting norms worthy of the Home of the Brave.
Deroy Murdock is a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.