What a year 2016 was. Everyone is going to have something to say about it, and especially the election. Only time will tell, but I believe we got a reprieve, a final chance to right some wrongs and turn away from our national sinful decline.
I don’t know how long we’ll have to maintain this reprieve, but one way I’ve considered and shared for a while is a major change in the voting infrastructure. Many years ago, long before most of us alive today were even born, Joseph Stalin was famously quoted as stating something along the lines of “it’s not the vote that counts, but who counts the votes.” I don’t know for sure if he said it or not because not everyone had a smart phone in their pocket back then, but it is never the less true and plays out in almost every election, both here in America and abroad.
I also know this, before, during, and after every election there is what has become the normal spate over cheating and voter fraud. I might add, much of it is warranted.
I suppose I could add to the fray of those bitching about it, but instead, I have come up with at least two viable ways that I believe would drastically reduce it.
What we have now…
To the best of my knowledge, every voter jurisdiction in the United States, be it a county seat, parish, territory, or whatever, has a singular Supervisor of Elections, or SOE. That singular SOE controls everything to do with voting in his or her jurisdiction. That includes maintaining and updating voter records, relocations, deaths, absentee and provisional ballots; making certain that all polling places are compliant with all voting laws, all machines are operating correctly, training of staff, etc. In short, the veracity of the vote falls squarely on the shoulders of the SOEs and quite frankly, many, if not most of them are far from being paragons of virtue and ethics. For my money, some of them should be in prison.
Case in point is during the 2012 election it was reported that 59 voting divisions in PA reported 100% for Barack Obama which is not only impossible, they didn’t even try to hide the bad cheating. I might grant one or two, or even three precincts with such stunning results, but not five dozen. Let’s not forget that one of the most egregious areas for voter fraud in the nation, Palm Beach County, (aka Corruption County”) has an SOE who very publicly sides with democrat candidates and issues whenever possible. Look her up..! I might add that her counterpart just to the north in St. Lucie County is almost as bad. For help in proving this out, please review the election results of 2012 when Congressman Allen West was cheated out of his bid for re-election in the 18th Congressional District of Florida and I had the following to say.
So by now you must be wondering what exactly my “solutions” are. Glad you asked. I came up with two thumb nail sketches for scenarios. Both are very simple really; in the first scenario we need to privatize and centralize the voting system on a national level and turn the SOE offices into a different operation. The centralization is necessary in both scenarios for tracking purposes and to ensure there is no plurality in the voting. I.E., if an individual has multiple residences, he/she can only vote in their main residence; and the centralized system would be aware of that, absentee ballots, deaths, etc. Additionally, a centralized system requiring IDs would ensure that only eligible, registered voters were allowed to vote, and only one time each per election.
Once the centralized system is in place, the current SOE offices could then become satellites of it and work in sync. Additionally, there would be no need for elected, very partisan SOEs and poll workers would become employees of the new privatized system. Certainly, this now private company would be subject to the scrutiny of citizen inspectors general.
The second scenario would as stated above, keep the centralized system and the SEOs, except that to ensure proper checks and balances, instead of only one SOE in each jurisdiction, we need to have a board of at least three, and probably four equally responsible co-SOEs, all operating under the watchful eyes of a pre-selected citizen over-sight committee made up of an equal number of registered voters from each party, and the SOEs should be put under pressure of severe penalty for any wrong doing by their offices and staff. These co-SEOs would also be made up of one from each major party, one independent, and one other from a viable party approved by the citizen over-sight committee. I believe that since the co-SEOs would share equally in the responsibility of integrity of the vote, the incentive for a true vote would increase exponentially. Additionally, and to be perfectly clear, my system does not allow for anyone from a subversive foreign party.
Personally, I prefer the privatization of the system across the board and remove the political influences from it entirely. A generic system that simply ensures the veracity of the system and counts the votes makes more sense to me. That is to say, it could be run like a business with no political influences using similar technologies as the credit card companies to track voter eligibility, etc. Such technologies would certainly eliminate voter abuses such as “voting early and often,” or voting at both residences for those with multiple homes. In short, there is no reason that we can’t tighten things up, and quickly.
We also need to have voting standards nationwide so that things are not different from one state to the next. For example, some states allow for NPAs to vote in primaries; while all should have Voter ID Laws in effect, some don’t. There are lots of other major differences as well. My thinking is that we should employ a “best practices” model and implement it across the board.
Finally, something like this needs to be done now, before the 2018 mid-term elections, so that it is in place and already working, and then fully streamlined before the 2020 election cycle.
Lastly, any legally registered voters choosing to view the tallying process should be welcomed and encouraged to do so.
At very least, I think everyone would agree that we can do a whole lot better than we are doing under the current system.