Ed Driscoll » General Electric Spokesman Advises Liberals to Stay Home in November
Who should be given the franchise to vote? Saying "it is a right" as if doing so ends the discussion, is not enough. The ability to vote like the ability to carry a weapon is not an emotional celebration of inclusiveness but a real conference of power and acknowledgment of sovereignty. As it is far to few of those with the ability to vote take the responsibility seriously and far to many people who lack any sense of civic responsibility have the right to vote. Here are a few modest proposals to rationalize the voting roles and restore community engagement in the election process.
1. No one should be allowed to vote without being positively verified. At this time that would mean with a tamper proof ID card. The technology exists to electronically read such cards and connect to a database that could store a photo and pertinent information. The vote is the most powerful and important act that most people can perform to control the government and establish its legitimacy. All of the arguments against using a secure ID system to ensure the validity of the voter are frankly unimpressive. Some of them, like the claim that it would be an "undue burden" on people to stop by an office like Motor Vehicles and get an ID are simply silly. Every person who enters the United States gets their Passport scanned and fingerprint checked in just a few seconds. We can do this and the only people who benefit from not doing it are those committing or benefiting from fraud.
That does not mean that I believe that outside of certain voluntary activities, such as boarding an airplane or entering a polling station, the government should be able to stop and demand ID. However I have also proposed that either the State or Federal government should be able to go to a Magistrate, and offer reasonable cause to believe that for a defined geographic area a significant percentage of the people present may be fugitives from justice or illegally present, in order to get a writ declaring the locality to be in a state of 'Civil Rebellion.' Under those circumstances the government should be able to identify all persons present and detain those who either have outstanding warrants or are illegal aliens.
2. The apportionment of representatives and state legislators should only be according to the number of citizens eligible to vote as recorded in the decennial census. All Citizens and Nationals should be identified along with their place of residence every ten years. All Lawful Permanent Residents should have to identify themselves annually. The XIVth Amendment should be amended to change the apportionment of Congress from the number of "persons" counted to the number of citizens eligible to vote. Convicted felons should be denied the vote subject to a legislature granting them amnesty. No legislator should be permitted to submit more than one name for consideration for such an amnesty during each day that the legislature is in session.
3. The XXVIth Amendment should be repealed and the voting age restored to 21. The XVIIth Amendment should be repealed and the selection of Senators restored to the States. The United States Department of Justice can properly devote its energies then to uncovering and prosecuting corruption in State legislatures. The popular election of Senators, like the transfer of powers and responsibilities to the central government in the 20th century, only served to spread local corruption into a raid on the entire nation. Similarly the lowered voting age has demonstrably subjected the election process to increased manipulation and made it more vulnerable to media influence and the money that controls that messaging. Any system that produced Bill Clinton's boxers and Obama Girl can be judged a failure.
4. No person should be eligible to vote unless they make a net positive contribution to the public treasury at the level of the office for which they are voting. In the United States there are two levels of government, the state and the federal. The local or municipal is considered a creature of the state. If a person or household derives over 50% of their income from the federal treasury, either as a government employee or as a contractor, then they should not get to vote for the Representative who allocates that money. The only exceptions that I would make for that would be enlisted members of the Armed Forces and officers called to extended active duty in time of war. Similarly if someone derived over 50% of their income from the state treasury then they should not get to vote for the state legislator who approves their salary.
Every W-2 or 1099 form could indicate what percentage of the funds described came from the public treasury and at what level. Each voter could be informed within 100 days of filing their tax return if they would be eligible during the following 12 months to vote at that level of government.
Remember that despite the efforts of some the President of the United States is elected by the State Legislatures who select the Electors. The efforts to predetermine the selection of the Electors as has been done by Massachusetts will hopefully be struck down as unconstitutional. If the Electoral College is preserved, and I have proposed that it be strengthened and made a permanent standing body, with three members ex officio heads of the executive most numerous branch of the legislature and the head of the state judiciary from each state and others selected for extended terms, empowered to fill any vacancy and act as a Court of Judicial Review, taking that political power away from the Supreme Court and possibly other duties, then it would make sense to encourage every citizen to vote, excepting convicted federal felons, in what is essentially a national advisory opinion poll on who should be POTUS. My proposal also includes having each state submit a list of up to five potential candidates for each office to the Supreme Court no later than four months before the selection of Electors, along with proof of each candidates eligibility for the office. The SCOTUS would be responsible for verifying the candidates.
5. The duty of overseeing the election process is now left to a handful of often superannuated workers selected for their loyalty to a political organization. In many parts of the country while the law states that there should be two inspectors of different parties overseeing the process at each step that simply does not happen. My proposal is to treat election inspection like jury duty. Once every seven to ten years a person should expect to be called to work an election. If people ask how the voters of Palm Beach could have cast their votes for Pat Buchanan then they should ask who supplied the election workers there who oversaw the voting. In that case the polls were controlled and largely staffed by the local Democratic Party. Younger and more energetic poll workers may have proven more effective at seeing to it that people understood how to vote.