I will be away from the office on Friday, March 26. My weekend Train Blog will be posted a day early.
NEWS BLOG (WSAU) The Government Accountability Board reported that there are 70,000 names on Wisconsin’s voter rolls that don’t match. The addresses and names on the voter lists don’t match information in other data-bases. A name gets flagged if the voting record shows “John Q. Smith, 110 Main Street, Wausau” but a driver’s license or a telephone record shows “John Q. Smith, 45 Elm St, Stevens Point.”
In most cases, there’s no mischief going on here. John Smith may have moved to Stevens Point and hasn’t updated his voter registration information. Or he moved to Wausau and hasn’t updated his driver’s license. I’ve moved a half-dozen times in my life, and I’ve never notified City Hall of the change. Packing up and getting the electricity turned on are more top-of-mind when moving than registering to vote. I suppose it’s possible that I’m still registered to vote in White Plains, New York or Laconia, New Hampshire, or Fairfield, Connecticut, even though I haven’t cast a ballot in any of those places in years.
None of this is a problem until someone has it in their heart to commit election fraud. I’m not talking about cases where someone votes twice. Think big scale, where corrupt party bosses are in cahoots with unethical poll-workers where large blocks of the dead and the moved away mysteriously cast ballots. We’ve seen some districts, usually in inner-cities, where voter turnout is miraculously high. When you hear of 80 and 90-percent voter turnout from certain neighborhoods, be suspicious. The number of move-aways is much higher than the 10 or 20-percent who didn’t vote.
We’ve made it much easier to get onto the voter rolls than it is to take people’s names off it. And accurate voting rolls are part of the architecture that needs to be in place for fair elections. States that have 70,000 unmatched names that could potentially cast fraudulent votes are an invitation to tampering.
This problem is about to get worse. State lawmakers are debating an expansion of the ‘motor voter’ bill, where people would automatically be registered to vote when they have contact with state agencies. The end result will be many people on the rolls twice, and lots of confusion on Election Day as addresses and names don’t match up. Showing photo ID at the polling place would solve most of these problems. Or having county clerks only handle voter registration. But both of those ideas have been fought as being unreasonable barriers to voting.
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau