Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting Reform

I'm reading various reports about voting from around the country, paying close attention to those which document long lines at polling places. Delays in voting are a discouragement to vote and are anti-democratic.

There's really no excuse for these lines as every precinct has a count weeks before election day of how many people are registered in that precinct, even if there has been a surge in new registrations. Every precinct knows that there are predicatable high and low times for voting volumes. Every precinct knows what the average voting time is given voting method X, Y or Z.

Until variance in voting methods is corrected, valid votes will go unrecorded and fraudulent votes will find ways to persist. Here's a few suggestions:
  1. Enough with the crap about having to reregister every time you move. Your registration should be your SSN, and you should be allowed to vote wherever the hell you like. No more arguments about ACORN paying drunks to fill in fake registration cards for money. If you are legally prevented from voting (currently sitting in jail, dead, etc.), that will be traceable via your SSN
  2. Mail-in or drop-off ballots in a standard format, readable by scanners. This provides an easy-to-read paper trail for everything, yet takes advantage of automation for counting.
  3. Lost your ballot? Pick one up at a precinct drop-off location.
  4. Use SSN to determine if a person voted. Remove double votes by retirees and students. Also a way to track the "cemetary" votes. Too bad for the Chicago Combine.
  5. Move election day to the weekend and make it a full weekend for dropping off your vote, getting problems straightened out, etc.
  6. What about state and local elections, where district is important? Your last recorded ZIP code will determine what ballot you get. Have you moved? Bring in your mailed ballot plus proof of residence (bills are best) and exchange your original ballot for one that is appropriate to your new ZIP.
  7. A Federal standard for ballot layout. No more butterfly ballots.
  8. Automatic manual recounts on randomly selected precincts, enough to provide a manual review of 0.5% of primaries and special elections, 1% of regualr elections.
  9. Any precinct where a reasonable allegation of fraud/bad procedure has been filed gets a manual recount to three election cycles or until there are three clean elections. This is on top of the regular manaul counts of #8.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head and all are in need of work, but I have three basic goals: reduce barriers to voting, provide checks on common modes of vote fraud, perform regular audits of vote reporting accuracy.


1 comment:

prabhata said...

Anglachel, not all those who possess a valid SSN can vote. All legal residents have valid SSN, but do not possess the right to vote because they are not citizens. I'm also against using the SSN for another reason: we already have put too much information under the SSN, and I'd rather have a unique id number for voting that it's not associated with credit and other sensitive information. The closer the government is to the people, the more responsive, hence I want the states to have control of our voting process.