The Supreme Court today backed the petition of the Ohio Secretary of State ‘s position that they did not need to verify the records of about 200,000 new voters this years whose ID information did not match government records. That’s more than 25% of the new voter registrations in Ohio.
Although it’s a fairly partisan confrontation, it highlights something that is becoming more endemic across our fruited plane: in our attempts to ensure that people are able to exercise their right to vote, we are becoming more and more at risk of exposing a larger segment of ballots to fraud.
The problem extends beyond just the sublime attempts to cast ballots in the names of the dead or those not inclined to bother voting. Lacking stringent controls at many levels, we can find people registering multiple times with different names, casting ballots numerous times before and on election day, requesting and intercepting absentee ballots on behalf of others without their consent, and evening assisting others in casting their ballot without casting their wishes.
We have a system based on trust. Trust that people, at many levels, will do the right thing, that they will obey the law, that they will respect the rights of individuals enough to that they act to ensure the integrity of the voting system instead of making our vote valueless by manipulating the results.
Unfortunately, the moral bonds that have helped maintain the integrity of this system, along with other aspects of our society, are slowly breaking. The loss of our voting rights, and our faith in the system to be fair and accurate, is just one set of many symptoms.
To bring any true rigor to this system, such as was sought in Ohio, will be costly in dollars, flexibility and in the assurance that all will have the opportunity to particpate. No such rigor is likely.