The debate over voter fraud is one that has been going on for decades. We have all seen the old adages about the number of people in Chicago that have voted from the graveyards. We have all heard the saying “vote early and vote often” and chuckled.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly made the claim that he would have won the popular vote if not for the “fact” that over 3 million illegal immigrants had cast votes. This has been disputed and now the President has suggested that he would call for a nationwide investigation into the issue of illegal voting. Personally I don’t think it will show much. We know it will show that some people moved from the last election and may still be registered in two places but they don’t vote twice. It will show that a lot of people die between elections and are still on the rolls and hopefully they are not voting.
Last year I registered to vote in the state of Utah. I did this when I changed my driver’s license. To get the license I had to show multiple forms of identification. Just showing up and giving them my Virginia license was not sufficient. I had a copy of my Social Security card but that was not accepted. Only originals. How many people have their original Social Security card? I guess you can get a replacement but I never really thought about it. Medicare card was not acceptable. What I provided that was acceptable was a valid Virginia license, a passport and a SSA 1099 form. (That got me passed the ID part, which required two visits, and now I had to take the test. It is an open book test in front of a computer. I suggest anyone taking the Utah drivers license test use the book and read the correct answer before you respond on the computer. The exact answer is in the book. I failed the first time.)
So now I was registered to vote in Utah and on Election Day I showed up at the polls and they required me to show photo identification. This is the same requirement that they used in Virginia. I believe that if I had voted early in Utah, which you can do in most states, and was present in Virginia on Election day I probably could have went to the polling place, showed my passport as ID, and voted again. That would have been illegal and so I certainly would not have done that. But theoretically it was possible and the chances of getting caught were pretty slim.
But the fact that we are using state DMVs to register people to vote can become a problem. It raises the question about whether people would just check the box when applying for a driver’s license, many times innocently, and not realize that as non-US citizens they should not be checking the box. Perhaps that is where the focus of any investigation, which I think is wasting time and money, should be placed. Maybe we should go back to the practice of registering to vote separately from any other governmental action.
I don’t believe that Trump would have won the popular vote if all “illegal” votes were subtracted from the totals. I do believe that there are a few illegal votes cast in elections and to be honest just one illegal vote is one to many. But I don’t think it is a widespread problem and most reputable studies have concluded that while there are isolated instances of illegal voting it is not the problem that some on the right have tried to insinuate.
So my advice to President Trump is quit trying to win a campaign that you already won. The election is over and you were declared the winner. I know it bruises your ego to think that Hillary Clinton got more actual votes than you did but it does not matter. In truth, if you take away California you won the popular vote in the rest of the country. California gave Ms. Clinton a 4 million-vote majority. So what!
This is exactly why the Founding Fathers instituted the Electoral College that the liberals now decry as outdated and no longer needed. James Madison, the architect of the Electoral College, feared the “tyranny of the majority” and realized that we as a nation had to represent all of the country and not just the major populations centers. For that reason we have a popular vote contest in each state. So President Trump, quit trying to have the last word, don’t bother with a costly investigation that will only prove what we already know. Just say you won the popular vote in more states than Hillary Clinton and leave it at that. Get on with being the President and quit campaigning because issue like this don’t mean anything and only detract from the real issues.
As a quick aside I would point out that one of the ways small amounts of voter fraud could occur is with absentee ballots. There have been some isolated cases where nursing home attendants have filled out ballots for those under their care, even when the patient is not capable of knowing what was being done. Perhaps some attention could be paid to that issue but overall I still maintain that it is not the major issue some like to pretend it has become.