Pawing through the ashes of the Romney defeat, it’s clear that if the Republican Party wants to compete nationally, it has to do several things, such as re-message timeless traditional values, attract more young and minority voters, particularly Hispanics, and do a better job of getting out the vote.
But this will be moot if the integrity of the voting process is not restored.
From Republican Rep. Allen West’s improbable recount loss in South Florida, to reports of voting machine irregularities, to the hundreds of precincts in Ohio and Pennsylvania that reported a virtual 100 percent vote for Barack Obama and zero for Mitt Romney, something is clearly wrong.
“It’s kind of a weird coincidence that, in Philadelphia, where more than 50 precincts reported no votes for Romney, that Democratic officials kicked GOP poll watchers out of the polls,” Heritage Foundation scholar Hans von Spakovsky told me in a phone interview. “They went to court, and that took a couple of hours, so what happened while they were gone?”
One of the biggest problems is the increase in early voting and mail-in ballots without a photo ID requirement. As the leftwing Brennan Center points out, there are relatively few examples of vote fraud reported on Election Day itself. That’s partly because the media are not interested, and because it’s far easier to cheat during extended periods of mail-in balloting.
Ohio’s Wood County, in the northwestern part of the state, has a population of 126,355, with an estimated 21 percent younger than 18 who can’t vote. That means that only about 100,000 residents can legally vote. Yet the secretary of state reports that 104,461 people are registered to vote. To make a long mystery short, consider that Wood County is home to Bowling Green University, which has 20,000 students.
“When those students graduate or leave school, many don’t cancel their voter registration, which leaves the Wood County Board of Elections facing a bit of a conundrum: How can you tell when a voter is no longer a voter?” the Columbus Dispatch asks in an article, “Vote Fraud in Wood County?”
The director of the Wood County Board of Elections told the paper that the operating policy is to wait two national election cycles and then try to contact the voter to see whether they still live in the county. This means that students who voted in 2004 and 2008 and left campus long ago could have voted there anyway in 2012 as well as wherever they went.