It's the vote INTEGRITY that Matters
Or how our voting system became corrupted almost beyond hope.
Back in the day when elections were taking seriously in this country, a ballot, to be considered had to possess a number of characteristics that rendered it legitimate. We arrived at that point through trial and error for, let's face it, corruption has always existed.
From the shady dealings of the Democrats of Tammany Hall to the over enthusiastic ballot box stuffing partisan to the violence and intimidation in areas where an opponent was expected to do well, every election was marred by attempts both crude and sophisticated to affect the results.
These safeguards developed over time had a strong foundation on logic:
1. The voter had so be vetted somehow.
Thus, voter registration was born. A useless procedure in small towns where everybody knew everybody else, it became a necessary process as our cities grew, to ensure that that fellow walking into the polling station was, indeed, entitled to vote. States developed procedures that generally involved the prospective voter to show up in person at the courthouse armed with the documents that proved his eligibility and receiving, in exchange, some kind of Voter ID card that would assuage the elections officials. Alas, abuses were committed and otherwise eligible voters would be turned down through an ever more complex web of filters that gave rise to the Voter Rights Act.
Alas, the law of unintended consequences kicked in, and by the 1990s, this new system was a charade. When I first registered as a Florida voter, none of the documents I had carefully brought with me to the West Broward Courthouse were examined. After completing my application, a disinterested bureaucrat asked me to raise my right hand, swear that whatever I had scribbled was true and presto! a voter card was issued.
Nowadays, that trip to the courthouse is no longer required. People register online or by adding a checkmark in a Driver's license application without the benefit of any vetting at all. In fact, even the checkmark is not required. The dimwit on the other side of the DMV counter will press for the option or just do it by themselves. Many are thus registered without even understanding the have been so inscribed in the voter rolls.
There is no longer any vetting of prospective voters. We have destroyed this safeguard.
2. The ballot had to be in person.
Once registered, the voter had to appear in person to cast his ballot, ensuring that he and only he was entering his choice of candidate. Now, tens of millions of ballots are cast across the country and in some states, in no other way, by mail. There is no mechanism, existing or to be devised, that can prove that the voter and not a third party actually filled that ballot, much less, if that voter made an unencumbered decision.
My wife's grandmother, a lovely 93 year old with several years of suffering Alzheimer's under her belt and incapable of remembering anything of significance, routinely receives her absentee ballot that neither she nor anybody else in the household requested. Only my mother-in-law's honesty prevents it from casting two votes. Alas, if she were not honest, and did not receive the absentee ballot, she could still vote twice, legally, by abusing the next fault.
Oh, yes. My eldest daughter has been living in Dubai for nearly five years. Last month I received her absentee ballot in Virginia, unsolicited and now unused, for I shredded it immediately. I "missed" my own chance to power-up my own vote without fear of discovery.
Indeed, we have obliterated this safeguard, too.
3. The ballot had to be cast in SECRET.
Once the voter was in the polling booth, no-one but the voter could know how he voted. No one. He was free, of course to advertise his choice afterward, but nobody could prove or disprove the accuracy of the boast.
This was extremely important. From antiquity, it was common to BUY votes, and so it was amongst us. But how could the payor know whether hid recent purchase had obtained the desired results.
We have completely destroyed this safeguard. If we are talking absentee ballots, the answer is obvious: Thousands of "helpers" across Florida, from nursing homes and assisted living facilities to in-home care, family or not, routinely "fill" those ballots for defenseless citizens we have abandoned in their crooked hands.
Alternatively, it takes but a few moments at any South Florida polling station to see the parade of elderly citizens assisted by their mostly illegal alien "helpers" going into the booth, where the aid will cast the ballot and return moments later with another "patient." This is a well oiled organization that can produce tens of thousands of votes on request.
Finally, an inordinate number of states now allow cameras and selfies at the polling station and, more ominously, at the polling booth. What better way to prove the deed and collect the crack fix, $15 bucks or whatever the payment du jour than to produce a picture of one casting the ballot for the intended party?
We have destroyed that safeguard, too, and in multiple ways.
4. There was ONE voting day.
If all the safeguards weren't enough. All votes had to be cast on the same day at the appointed hours. This allowed all interested parties, from the government officials, to law enforcement to the political parties participating in the event to field inspectors and observers ready to catch violations as the occurred.
How do we destroy this? Early voting. The extension of voting over a period of weeks, makes it all but impossible for candidates and their parties to have observers at every polling stations at all times. And since cell phones are now mostly unrestricted, all it takes is a brief call and a horde of unqualified voters can swing in and out without anybody present to challenge their illegitimacy.
Good job. The last rampart against voter fraud has been demolished.
If all of this was not enough, we have allowed political correctness and an almost fetishist reliance on technology to replace common sense, allowing canvassing boards stuffed with partisan hacks to run wild, generally unsupervised (witness Palm Beach county's refusal to allow cameras into their recounts,) discarding or manufacturing ballots at will to obtain their desired outcome.
Democracy is now officially dead.
Be it ignorance, incompetence, lack of intellectual acumen or cowardice (as in fear of conflict,) our elected officials have failed us miserably and over the past 30 years have allowed our once wonderful democratic processes to deteriorate to the point that even Chavistas in Venezuela would love to emulate.
I said in the heading it is almost beyond hope. Certainly, in the states and counties where only mail-in ballots are allowed, it will be a cold day in hell before the "representatives" so elected voluntarily give up their source of power. The West Coast is lost. It will take nothing short than a popular movement to impose the change through Constitutional amendments through referendums where those are allowed.
In the rest of the country, if the handful of decent representatives still around do not grow a pair and find the testicular fortitude to oppose the inanities of political correctness with a strong and spirited defense of our representative Democracy, both in the halls of state parliaments and in Federal Court, we will see the last vestiges of legitimacy disappear from our system of government.
The time for platitudes, vacuous posturing and bumper stickers is long past.