Those of us who thought U.N election observers would be completely worthless or unhelpful today, were wrong. U.N. observers are expressing their surprise at how much trust Americans put into the election system without verification and cannot believe Voter I.D. isn't a national requirement to vote.
"It's an incredible system," said Nuri K. Elabbar, who traveled to the United States along with election officials from more than 60 countries to observe today's presidential elections as part of a program run by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Your humble Cable guy visited polling places with some of the international officials this morning. Most of them agreed that in their countries, such an open voting system simply would not work.
The most often noted difference between American elections among the visitors was that in most U.S. states, voters need no identification. Voters can also vote by mail, sometimes online, and there's often no way to know if one person has voted several times under different names, unlike in some Arab countries, where voters ink their fingers when casting their ballots.
The international visitors also noted that there's no police at U.S. polling stations. In foreign countries, police at polling places are viewed as signs of security; in the United States they are sometimes seen as intimidating.
As we all know by now, those opposed to an identification requirement at the polls believe Voter I.D. laws disenfranchise minority voters. As I observed earlier today when I voted in Virgnina, a state with a Voter I.D. requirement, minorities in line with me had zero issues complying with the law and they all had photo I.D. Also, 75 percent of registered voters believe Voter I.D. should be required at the polls.
While the Obama Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, uses its authority to block some state voter ID laws (Texas), and investigate others (Pennsylvania), a newly-released poll shows overwhelming public support for laws requiring voters to present identification before casting a ballot. That support crosses party lines, racial lines, economic lines, educational lines, and just about every other line in the electorate at large.
In the survey, the Washington Post asked, “In your view, should voters in the United States be required to show official, government-issued photo identification — such as a driver’s license — when they cast ballots on election day, or shouldn’t they have to do this?” Among all adults, 74 percent said voters should present ID, versus 23 percent who said they should not. Among registered voters, the numbers were 75 percent to 23 percent.
When something has the support of 75 percent of the voters, plus the approval of the Supreme Court, which by a six-to-three vote in 2008 upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, one might think the Justice Department would give up trying to stop it.