01.31.2010 0

Stay On Top of Electoral Manipulation

  • On: 02/23/2010 09:32:45
  • In: Elections
  • By David Bozeman

    After being pummeled in ’06 and ’08, Republicans are regaining their footing. With the potential for huge gains this November — including the possibility of retaking the House and Senate — the base isn’t going to let anything as mundane as electoral manipulation dampen their spirits.

    It is not merely the registering-of-the-dead style of which ACORN has been accused that should keep Republicans alert. Open legislation, primarily by Democrats, and court rulings could add millions of new voters to the rolls and change the dynamics of elections well into the future.

    A new bill before Congress, the Voter Registration Modernization Act, would require all state to allow voters to register online by 2012. Arizona pioneered the practice, which other states are considering, and numerous others, including the electorally vital Michigan, New Jersey and New York are debating their own pending legislation.

    Universal voter registration is a vital plank in the liberal agenda. According to WorldNetDaily.com, Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) and Representative John Conyers (MI), both Democrats, are planning to introduce a universal voter registration bill. Details are sketchy, but author John Fund (How the Obama Administration Plans to Undermine Our Elections) writes that Obama and the Democrats would like to see every eligible citizen automatically and permanently registered, using DMV records, income tax returns, welfare rolls and unemployment lists.

    Putting it under federal control, according to the left’s reasoning, would streamline the process and reduce instances of local corruption (and one always hears of ‘convenience’ for Internet-generation voters). According to The Nation, between two and four millions people were denied their voting rights in 2008. Editor Katrina Heuvel and other leftists routinely tout the 90% registration rates in Canada, France, Venezuela, Russia and other progressive nations.

    In the U.S., the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit Court recently cleared the way for inmates to vote from prison, ruling that a denial of their rights (in Washington state) is unfair to those groups with higher incarceration rates.

    One might ask why the concern with bringing new voters into the process. The concern is less with numbers than with mindset. While conservatives and liberals cherish voting as a fundamental right, conservatives tend to stress the inherent responsibility to make reasoned, informed decisions on what is best for the community, state or nation. The Michigan online law, by contrast, would reportedly allow procrastinators and the idle to register up to 4pm the day before an election. Spur-of-the-moment voters also enjoy same-day registration in nine other states, including Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

    Are these really the most informed, passionate citizens among us? Yet through them, Democrats seek to swell their numbers and seal permanent majorities. While conservatives certainly work within electoral realities, they tend to recognize voters not as blocs but as autonomous citizens with a distinct duty to keep their governments small and accountable.

    Streamlining and simplifying the electoral process is fine, but not to cater to the civic-ally lazy. If registering and voting takes a little extra effort, then maybe citizens will give each vote the weight it deserves. Our republic need not buckle beneath the will of the uninformed if we insist that electoral reform serve the needs of an enlightened citizenry and not replace it.

    David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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