Former President Jimmy Carter has finally done something really constructive. He is taking the lead, along with former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, to clean up the massive U.S. election frauds.
They are responding to the widespread public realization that we do not have a system of "one man, one vote." Voting in the United States can be more accurately described as "one man, many votes" or as "dead or illegal man, one vote."
Carter and Baker have presented 87 solutions to these frauds, of which the most important are three new requirements: that voters present a government issued photo identification, such as a driver's license; that states clean up the frauds in their registration rolls; and that electronic voting machines have a verifiable paper trail. The big majority of members of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform signed on to these reforms, and they must be mostly good ideas because former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., (still smarting from his defeat in 2004) doesn't like them.
Since Sept. 11, we have become accustomed to presenting photo ID when we board an airplane, but the need for positive identification of voters is even more important. Already 24 states require that voters prove their identity at the polls and 12 more are considering it, so it should be no big deal to make other states do likewise.
Registration rolls are a national scandal; some cities have more registered voters than people. Those who have died or moved away are retained as registered voters for years and years, and the commission reported that 46,000 New York City voters were also registered to vote in Florida.
The New York Times reported in 1998 that the percentage of registered voters who are ineligible because they have died, moved or registered at multiple addresses is 16.8 percent. This allows plenty of opportunity to vote the graveyards, the nursing homes, absent students, and homeless who can be enticed with beer or cigarettes.
In their book "Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics" (Crown; $14), University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato and Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn R. Simpson asserted that 2 million to 3.4 million "phony registrations" were on the voting rolls in California.
The potential for cheating in the counting of provisional ballots is very great.
Unfortunately, the Carter-Baker commission recommends phasing out this mischievous practice only by 2010.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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