Carter and Baker Make Electoral System Recommendations

By  | 

Jimmy Carter and James Baker have been leading a panel in studying how to improve confidence in the US electoral system. Among the panel’s recommendations are ‘electronic voting machines should have paper trails’ and ‘all voters should present photo IDs.’

The call for paper verification of votes on electronic machines drew praise from election reform advocates, but the call for photo identification was criticized as an invasion of privacy and something that would discourage some voters.

(I am sure there are also probably election reform advocates out there who would praise the call for photo identification. And probably Diebold representatives who would decry the need for paper verification.)

The voting process should be as transparent as possible to the voter. I think paper trails are a giant step in that direction.

How transparent do voters have to be to the system?

What role will the photo ID’s play? Will they simply to be used to verify ones name matches what’s on the rolls and that one’s face matches one’s picture? Once Real ID becomes implemented, will magnetic cards be scanned to verify one hasn’t voted multiple times or in multiple voting places? If ID cards are scanned, will there be a check for outstanding parking tickets to be settled up before one can vote?

Does an individual who doesn’t require or desire a license or state photo ID have the right to participate in society through work, residency, obeying laws, paying taxes, and voting? (As a society, we’ve already crossed driving, banking, air travel and purchasing certain products off that list. Is voting to be next?)

What does say… Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office have to say about the potential ID requirement?

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office, said the photo ID provision “will disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly, who may not have drivers’ licenses or access to a location where they can obtain IDs.”

That would be problematic. Still, I’m not hell-bent against an ID requirement, but there are serious questions to be answered first.

I reckon this bi-partisan effort is a good step toward shoring up our electoral system. Will our leaders in Congress and the Administration act on the recommendations?

The President had some words on the panel’s report, but didn’t really say anything:

“It is critical to maintain America’s trust in our election system, and I look forward to reviewing this report and working with Congress on the recommendations,” [Bush] said.

So, will our leaders in Congress and the Administration act on the recommendations?

Reuters: Bipartisan panel recommends U.S. election changes

  • http://vernondent.blogspot.com/ Callimachus

    I frankly don’t understand the yowl of “discrimination” about this. Especially if even Jimmy Carter supports it. Of course an individual who doesn’t drive has a right to vote. He also has a right to drink. But ideally, he needs to hold some sort of ID before he can do either.

    Getting an ID, dealing with that bureaucracy, is a royal pain in the ass for everyone. Especially with all the post-9/11 red tape. I can understand why people want to avoid it. And of course it will be imperfect; underaged kids still manage to drink, too. Though if a lot of us cared as much about thinking and voting as we did about getting a buzz we’d be better off.

    Tough. A government that makes no effort to hold legitimate elections is not a democracy. If the price of that is somebody wasting an afternoon in the DMV, that’s the price of it.

    Allowing a legally disqualified voter to vote in an election has the same impact as denying a legal voter the right to do so. The different flow of the national concern about those two issues is telling. In each case, you deny a legitimate expression of political power — in the one case directly by denying the right to vote, in the other indirectly, by erasing the expression of one who voted other than the illegal voter via a false counter-vote.

  • Alan

    Diebold fulfilled its obligation to hand Ohio to GWB. This is good for America. Criticism of Diebold is unAmerican.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    Please Alan. Either provide evidence or take the conspiracy stuff elsewhere. This is a place to discuss issues, not push rhetoric.

  • http://www.stumplane.us Montag

    This is from a letter regarding the 2004 election in Ohio, written by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich:

    Glitches in electronic voting in the Columbus area should move all legislatures to demand paper receipts for voting machines. Without such a paper trail, no true recount can ever be done. Note that no Diebold electronic voting machines were employed in Ohio.

    A Note On The Presidential Election in Ohio

    Reform is important. The argument for reform is weakened when we don’t have our facts straight. Thank you.

  • http://www.stumplane.us Montag


    Is the problem with legally disqualified people trying to make one vote, or other vote fraud where people vote multiple times under different names? I haven’t seen information on how pervasive either of these problems are, but I agree that such problems should be addressed.

    The discrimination argument makes sense to me. The ID requirement would have a greater effect among poor and elderly people who may not be able to afford to buy a state ID or afford to take time off to go navigate the motor vehicle department. (Yes, I got the talking points today.)

    Will there be funds to provide IDs to people in this situation? Can the process be streamlined enough to allow for same-day voter registration? (For the states that currently allow it that is.)

  • http://ergosphere.blogspot.com Engineer-Poet

    If you can’t provide documentation to the state once in your life to get an ID, what assurance does a poll worker have that you’re the person whose name is on the registration list?

    People sometimes spend hours waiting in line to vote.  Spending some time ONCE to get an ID… which is also necessary to buy liquor, cash a check or board an airliner… and whose fee is waived for those of lesser means seems like a trivial burden compared to making it harder to commit voter fraud.

  • http://vernondent.blogspot.com/ Callimachus

    Actually, at least in Philadelphia, the problem is people who’ve been dead for five years still “voting.” I’d think the process of getting an ID card would be particularly discriminatory against the differently-brainwave function-abled segment of our great nation. That’s part of the reason I’m for it, heartless bastard that I am.

    Waive the fee, if there is one in the first place, for anyone below the poverty line. A non-driver ID card in Pennsylvania only costs $10 anyhow.

    My caveat is that I have minimal confidence in any level of government to do this with sufficient efficiency to be a measurable improvement over the current situation. That’s nothing to do with classical conservatism and everything to do with personal experience.

  • http://www.stumplane.us Montag

    You start down a slippery slope when you disallow dead people from voting. Who’s next?

  • http://vernondent.blogspot.com/ Callimachus

    You know, the more I think about this, the less enthusiastic I get.

    What about the Amish, who don’t allow their pictures to be taken (but do vote)?

    What about Muslim women who don’t show their faces on ID cards?

    Look how easy it is to get a fake ID in this country. And if, as the example of Philadelphia reveals every four years, the principal corruption is in those who oversee the polling places, not in the individual voters, this won’t do anything to change that.

    It will just be another layer of bureaucracy to the country. Change my tentative “yes” to an “undecided.”

  • danny

    “differently-brainwave function-abled”