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Scott McCallum: Voter ID will restore election integrity

Original Article

Did George Bush win fairly in 2000? According to a USA/Gallup poll, 48 percent of Americans thought so. While that number increased to 74 percent in regard to the 2004 election, it still leaves a sizeable group with doubts.
And there are equal doubts on the flip side. Did John Kerry really carry Wisconsin?

As lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, I led a national monitoring team for the first elections in Nicaragua. I can now report that the system utilized in the Nicaraguan elections was less open to fraud than what I witness in our own country. If I were to take the same non-partisan monitoring team to review our system, our report would paint a dismal picture.

The following documented incidents have occurred in Wisconsin. At the very least, these provide a strong incentive to enact photo identification to help clean up our process.

In Wisconsin, cigarettes were given in exchange for votes. Voters were registered living in what turned out to be vacant lots. In a home for the developmentally disabled, absentee votes were exchanged for snack foods.

In the most recent election, a cross-check of the Milwaukee registered voter list found no fewer than 5,512 non-existent addresses for residences and no fewer than 30,000 additional for apartments. The Milwaukee County district attorney, investigating newly registered voters at non-existent addresses, could not find 500 of 900 checked. The other 400 were believed to be clerical errors.

Milwaukee failed before Election Day to add up to 20,000 “new” registrants to voter rolls. These “new” registrants were allowed to vote even though no one had verified their registrations. In Racine County, several people were implicated in illegal voter registration scams. In Milwaukee County, it is reported that felons were made “deputy registrars” so they could sign people up to vote.

In other counties as well, volunteer “deputy registrars” operated as a part of massive statewide voter drives. On the surface, this may appear to be an exercise in democracy. However, if a new voter is registered by a deputy registrar, their “identification” is presumed and they could not be asked for identification when they came to the polls even though it was known that some deputy registrars were felons or illegal aliens, or were paid for each person they registered.

I personally saw, as I voted, ballots handed out to people without any regard to whether their name had been checked off on the voter list.

Many people went to the polls expecting to be able to vote, only to find that their names had already been crossed off. Of course, this could be nefarious someone voted in their place or just an error because there is no identification requested. We’ll never know because it is illegal to ask for identification.

Remember, the only time identification even hypothetically is required is when someone first registers. But, if the deputy registrar fails to get that identification (and we know that happened often from the reports), this requirement is never enforced.

At the same time, absentee ballots for members of the military stationed abroad were mailed late due to Democrat attempts to keep Ralph Nader’s name off the ballot. And when they came back late, they were not counted. So, we don’t count the votes of our servicemen and women, but we allow felons to vouch for voters.

The Help America Voter Act guarantees a reasonable period to get ballots to military members overseas usually 30 days but in Wisconsin, that did not happen. How many of the roughly 17,400 eligible military personnel did not have their vote counted?

The cheating makes a mockery of our electoral process and dilutes the vote of every honest citizen.

Wisconsin should enact voter identification laws. We require photo identification to drive, to embark on a plane, to cash a check, to rent a video. It is not too much to ask someone to identify themselves in order to vote. And it is not too much to ask that someone vote only once in an election. Computerized registration systems to cross-check identified and registered voters among polling jurisdictions is as important as an accurate voting machine.

Democracy was built upon faith in people and their right to decide. It is time to restore the integrity of the process by which we exercise this right.