Monday, July 10, 2006

Mexico Election Safeguards Better Than United States

Really? What can we learn from Mexico? Read John Fund in his July 10, 2006 Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal article How to Run a Clean Election What Mexico can teach the United States.
John Fund points out:
Ø “Mexico's nonpartisan National Election Commission has built up a decade of credibility in running clean elections and international observers have certified the count as fair.”
Ø “Mexico has developed an elaborate system of safeguards to prevent voter fraud. Absentee ballots, which are cast outside the view of election officials and represent the easiest way to commit fraud, are much harder to apply for than in the U.S. Voters must present a valid voter ID card with a photo and imbedded security codes. After they cast a ballot voters--just like those famously pictured in Iraq last year--also have a finger or thumb dipped in indelible purple ink to prevent them from voting again.”
Ø “in the three presidential elections Mexico has conducted since the National Election Commission reformed the election laws ‘68% of eligible citizens have voted, compared to only 59% in the three elections prior to the rule changes.’ People are more likely to vote if they believe their ballot will be fairly counted.”
Ø “But in the U.S. a growing percentage of people have doubts their votes are recorded properly, whether those doubts stem from concerns about new electronic voting machines or old-style political machines with a reputation for corruption. Residents of cities such as Philadelphia, where there are more registered voters than the number of adults over the age of 18, routinely note that "voting early and often" is a time-honored--and all too real--tradition.”
Ø “Photo ID laws are considered one of the most basic and necessary election safeguards by a host of countries including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Britain, India and South Africa. But less than half of U.S. states have any kind of photo ID laws.”
Ø “Last year, the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker proposed a national photo ID requirement. They noted the importance of clean election rolls and the usefulness a photo ID law could provide in ensuring that the person arriving at a polling site is the same one that is named on the registration list. They also proposed that all states use their best efforts to obtain proof of citizenship before registering voters.”
Ø “Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell … proposed an amendment to the immigration bill that would have included a grant to ensure that states could afford to provide a free ID to anyone who needed one. … A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in April found that 80% of Americans favored a photo ID requirement, with only 7% opposed. Nonetheless, every Democratic senator lined up in opposition”

Ø “In the 1960s, Americans fought a civil rights battle to ensure the right of everyone to vote. But every American also has an equal civil right not to have their ballot canceled out by someone who shouldn't be voting, is voting twice or in some case has long since died.”


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