The most provocative line in the Democratic national platform adopted in Denver is: "We oppose laws that require identification in order to vote or register to vote." Since it's routine to show an ID in order to board a plane and do dozens of other very ordinary things, what's the big deal about showing an ID to exercise the most important privilege of citizenship?
That question is answered in the new book by John Fund called "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy." Honest elections absolutely depend on preventing the stuffing of the ballot box by people who are not eligible to vote.
Among those who are not eligible to vote are those who are dead, who are not residents of the precincts where they vote, who are registered to vote in another state, who are underage and especially those who are not citizens. Votes cast by any of those can cancel out your vote and, in close elections, decide the winner.
Fund describes how easy it is for unscrupulous politicians to buy voter impersonators with a little cash and get them to cast illegal votes. The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals explained "the extreme difficulty of apprehending a voter impersonator. He enters the polling place, gives a name that is not his own, votes and leaves. If later it is discovered that the name he gave is that of a dead person, no one at the polling place will remember the face of the person who gave that name."
The National Voter Registration Act (known as the Motor Voter Law), the very first law signed by President Bill Clinton, imposed fraud-friendly rules on the states by requiring them to offer registration to anyone who applies for a driver's license, to offer mail-in registration with no identification needed, and to make it very difficult to purge dead and moved-away voters from registration rolls. The voter rolls in many U.S. cities now contain more names than the U.S. Census lists as residents over age 18.
The Motor Voter Law, according to Fund, "has fueled an explosion of phantom voters." In the four years since passage, nearly 26 million names were added to the voter rolls nationwide. One investigation in Indiana showed that hundreds of thousands of names were people who had died, moved away or gone to prison.
Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt's report on the 2000 election showed how the Motor Voter Law facilitated fraud in one district. He reported that votes were illegally cast by 14 who were dead, 68 who voted twice, 79 who were registered from vacant lots, 62 who were federal felons, 52 who were state felons and an undetermined number who were registered from drop-sites where multiple fake names were registered to one person.
Fund's book makes fascinating reading because of his descriptions of many specific examples of vote fraud that actually determined the outcome of elections. Fund describes in detail some of the more outrageous examples of recent vote fraud in Chicago, Indiana, St. Louis, Seattle, Milwaukee, Mississippi and Georgia.
Fund believes that the biggest opportunity for vote fraud this year is the registration tactics of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). ACORN is a classic Saul Alinsky-style community-organizing group, and it has received hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars as well as corporate donations.
It's no surprise that ACORN is closely associated with Barack Obama. Right after graduating from the Harvard Law school, Obama was recruited by ACORN to run a successful voter registration drive for an ACORN affiliate, Project Vote.
ACORN claims that, along with Project Vote, it registered 1.15 million new voters in 2004 and deployed 4,000 get-out-the-vote workers on Election Day.
The job of handling legitimate voters is tremendously complicated by phony registrations and by the tactic of filing new registrations on the last possible day when there is not adequate time to verify them.
In 2008, Obama was a major supporter of a Democratic housing bill that provided $200 million to community groups (such as ACORN) that are counseling homeowners facing foreclosure. ACORN is pledging to spend $35 million this year registering persons who will vote.
With the 2008 elections as close as they are predicted to be, Obama's best chance to win is to flood new names on the registration rolls who may or may not be eligible voters. It is more important than ever that voter ID be used in order to make sure that ballot boxes are not stuffed by voter impersonators.