Accuracy in Media

Not surprisingly, the struggle to assure an ocean of honesty in the November 4, 2008 Presidential and other Federal elections is beset by numerous ripples, from fraud to lesser manifestations of irregularity.  We discuss some of these phenomena in the column reprinted herewith, “Voter Fraud and ‘Activist’ Connivance.”  Note the fact that there are some 44.3 million immigrants, predominantly Hispanic or Latino, of which an estimated 12 million unlawfully are here.

A major ripple of potential irregularity, if not outright fraud, is manifesting itself – namely, the chance to vote in Spanish, not English (as though the United States of America merely were an extension of Los Estados Unidos de Mexico or elsewhere).  That ripple may become an expansive ocean wave. 

There will be referenda on the November 4 ballot in California (by far the most heavily populated State, immigrant and otherwise), Missouri and Oregon.  These referenda relate to usage of English, educational and otherwise.  However, they indirectly relate to the issue of voter qualification for two fundamental reasons because there are two basic criteria which affect the integrity of the ballot.

The criterion probably most often considered is the lawfulness of the voter.   Citizen?  Resident of, and voting in, the correct precinct, ward or other district?  Voting only once? 

The criterion the lesser evaluated is knowledge.  Does the voter understand spoken and written English?  It is bad enough – and sad enough – that  millions of  voters   whose   only  language   properly  is   our  national language, English, yet are ignorant of issues.   And often of identity of candidates:  How many voters can name the two principal candidates for, and any incumbent in, the offices for which they are voting?   United States Senator?  Representative in Congress?  State and local offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State legislators, so forth?

Even more troubling, how many people whose only fully functional language is Spanish will be voting? To what, generally much more constricted, level will they have some knowledge of candidates and issues?

The fact that many immigrants whose English is nonfunctional or drastically limited will be voting is an unheralded, and largely unseen, ripple upon the election ocean.  Long after November 4 experts will be attempting to measure the size and efficacy of the ripple.  Neither the Founding Fathers nor any responsible American citizen has envisioned, much less effectively weighed, the momentum of the Spanish-voting ripple.  Whatever its force and affect, the need is imperative for broader, more effective and mandatory education in English as the national tongue.  The necessity is real:   Adios, “Para Español, marque ‘dos’” and all the duplicative signage in Spanish. 

This comment should not be interpreted as limited to Spanish, inasmuch as other languages compete for sanction, including ballot usage.  Ballots, governmental forms, signage, all should be in the national language. To some people one is bolden to remind:  Guess what, in this country that language is English.  (That more Americans, especially those serving our government abroad or doing business abroad, should learn one or more foreign languages is a separate subject, and no way hostile to the view of English as the mandatory United States of America national language.) 

Voter Fraud and “Activist” Connivance

The Department of Justice (DOJ) does little to attempt to assure that a voter is qualified to vote.   DOJ should do little because the States, not the Feds, ought to undertake major efforts to assure the integrity of voter identification and also because DOJ is inundated with other clearly Federal demands – criminal felonies, tax litigation, all manner of Federal litigation, investigations, advice by opinions, so forth.  Were it that little or no DOJ intervention were necessary to help prevent the nonqualified voter from voting.  Unfortunately that is not the situation in many voting districts, particularly in some large urban areas heavily populated by immigrants and by transients (sometimes transient within the urban area).

For rather obvious reasons, nobody knows with any measure of accuracy, even a widely ranging estimate, how many million illegals are in this country.  In May 2007 the Census Bureau calculated – maybe estimated? – that there are some 44.3 million immigrants, predominantly Hispanic or Latino.  Further, it is obvious that in many areas, especially large cities, residents whose citizenship is not questioned do not own or long-time lease the property in which they live.  That alone unfortunately opens many doors to unauthorized voting – in the wrong ward or precinct, in two different polling places, so on.

There are under way in many parts of the country what probably are voter-registration drives so massive as to be unprecedented – e.g., Virginia, in its unusual role as a State in play for the November 4, 2008 elections, in this year alone has increased its registered-voter count by about 211,000, to almost 4.8 million.

In this context DOJ should be commended for initiating a limited effort to reduce voting rights violations by deploying several hundred personnel around the country.  However, “activists” – the common media word for leftist agitators – are challenging, complaining, claiming discrimination.

The ideal voting booth quite obviously is manned by one’s neighbors so that many people lined up to vote are known to an election judge or clerk or pollwatcher and all have thorough identification of their name and residence that the (often a volunteer) poll judge, clerk or watcher convincingly can identify the individual seeking to vote by name, relevant local address and prior recorded registration.

Why, then are Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, whose experience and objectivity cannot seriously be challenged, and other relevant DOJ personnel challenged – aye, attacked, insulted (by mostly leftist and/or alleged civil-rights groups)?  

The predominant reason is beyond question.  These groups want to herd, directly or indirectly, as many nonqualified individuals as possible to the polls, in the hope and expectation, not infrequently fulfilled, that those folks will vote for candidates running as and/or espousing leftist causes.

Studies about the subject of unauthorized voting, not unexpectedly, are infrequent and not very authoritative.  Those who conduct them rather disproportionately are liberal academics or political organizations.

Our Founding Fathers never envisioned the great masses’ voting. Voting generally required land ownership.  Drivers’ licenses and similar identification did not exist.  Familiarity and land records did exist.  Today we have a plethora of drivers’ licenses, some substantively accurate and some not; vastly less familiarity or personal recognition within many cities; and readily accessible land records.   However, the totality is that an inaccurate driver’s license or some phony identification too often suffices to admit an individual to the voting booth.

The solution is not yet – and perhaps never may be – politically acceptable.  Two possibilities come to mind.  One would be a Federal or State identification card, driver’s license or otherwise, which displays not less than full name, home address, voting situs (township, ward, precinct, etc.), date current residence acquired, photograph.  Another would be a document created and certified under State law evidencing that the holder owned the property of his or her residence, fee simple or condominium, or rented pursuant to a written lease.  Simplest of all, State law also could require advance registration of six months, preferably one year, perhaps with an exception for active-duty military personnel and their spouses.

The foregoing solution, or most of it, is not politically attainable in the foreseeable future.  Meantime – a long mean time – let us commend the Attorney General and all others in Federal and State public office who seek to assure that voters are American citizens, voting only once per election day, and voting in the voting place applicable to their residence.

Might one be suspicious of the motives of those who denigrate that effort?

Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff.

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