TCS Daily


The Alternative to Universal Voter Registration

By Jon N. Hall - February 15, 2010 12:00 AM

In his recent talk at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, The Wall Street Journal's John Fund performed a public service in warning America of Democrats' plans for universal voter registration, or UVR. It may sound like a just and decent thing to advocate, but UVR is nothing less than a means for Democrats to pack the electorate and facilitate election shenanigans. I know this to be true because I'm a computer programmer, and it's the job of guys like me to ensure the integrity of information, a.k.a. data. For the Information Technology professional, voter registries are nothing but data.

Voter registration is a problem with a purely technological solution. UVR is not a technological solution. UVR complicates what is a very simple problem. The problem with UVR is that it creates yet another mandate on the states, involving several state agencies; entails much work, much of which is duplicative; and uses multiple sources of data, which any I.T. pro will tell you is nutty.

But Mr. Fund's jeremiad would never have been necessary had America decades ago adopted "automatic registration," or AR. AR is the anti-UVR. Both AR and UVR seek to register everybody, but AR actually does it, and does it cleanly, without duplicate registrations, and with far, far less work. UVR is hit and miss, and cannot by its nature ensure that all citizens will be registered correctly, or even at all, whereas AR can.

For some time now, I've been writing about AR and other election reform ideas. Even though softened for non-technical types and sprinkled with liberal doses of what I call "humor," my articles probably suffered from terminal tediousness and might have been a wee bit longish. So, here's the gist of AR in one sentence:

Computer programs read through the Social Security Administration database, extract the data of age-eligible citizens, then send that data to the states.

Voila! Why make mandates on all those state agencies and dragoon all that manpower entailed by UVR when a computer program can register everyone? A competent programmer could write the extract program in his sleep.

But, there's a little more to AR than just an extract program. For what the states would receive from the feds would be raw voter registries, and a state might need to update its raw voter registry for it to be consistent with state election laws. This would consist only of deleting registrations, not adding them. Under AR, the only responsibility left to the states in voter registration would be in maintaining ineligibility lists. If states kept such ineligibility lists as computer files, they could apply those files to their raw registries and be ready for an election in no time.

But the progressives pushing UVR want nothing to do with ineligibility lists; they want everybody to have the vote, including felons. Voter eligibility, however, is partly a matter of state election law. Currently, only two states allow incarcerated felons to vote, Vermont and Maine. So, UVR tramples all over states' sovereignty.

With AR, voter registration is reduced to nothing more than keeping the feds updated about one's address. We already do this when we file our income taxes and remit our quarterly payments. So we're already automatically updating the feds' databases in our other interactions with the feds. And there are means to update one's address directly at any time, such as Form 8822. The Social Security Administration even allows folks to change their addresses using the Internet.

Conservatives may worry that with the entire citizenry registered to vote, AR might well spell the end for them. This fear is unwarranted: America remains a center-right country. Even Massachusetts, the bluest of states, will elect an advocate of limited government like a Scott Brown. The bigger threat to conservatism comes from election fraud and behind-the-scenes theft, which UVR (as well as the current system) makes possible. Correct voter registration is the single most important factor in eliminating fraud.

UVR stinks on ice. Even if one were to be charitable about the motives of those pushing it, UVR is still a prescription for election chaos. Its potential for error (not to mention the work involved) is actually worse than what we have. AR is the way to go.

(This 2-minute video is an excerpt of John Fund's talk at the Horowitz center. For all four videos, click here. The fourth video is the source of the excerpt.)


Read more about AR here, and then click on the link at the end.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

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17 Comments

Lets do it
Despite all the partisan hackery, slanted point-making, conspiracy flinging, and the fact John Fund and David Horowitz are nothing more than partisan robots out to win elections and culture wars for their chosen ideology...

Despite all that BS in this article and much of the articles you can read about AVR, I think AR is a good idea. And thats absent much information about it. There is really little difference between AVR and AR. The only difference seems to be where the registration info comes from (fed vs. state). I feel better about SS databases being accurate versus DMV databases.

I read in American Thinker that 40% of citizens with HH income
Note to author: it hurts your credibility a bit to claim to have written a lot about AR and claim of being an IT guy, when one can find scant information through an internet search on AR.

Motor voter and the Dem machine
Those who don't think much or care about politics are clearly underrepresented at the polls, But why should anyone encourage them?

Also, I believe Motor voter has about played out for its benefit for the Dem party and the illegal alien vote as well as getting the strays out there, so the next step is to make it universal to register. I don't believe the Dem machine can hold out much longer without it.
Perhaps getting all those who believe in political mysteries and miracles such as Obama's great victory in Iraq to vote will work, but I doubt the country would benefit from these guys exercising the franchise.

Yeah, let's do it!
...as long as all those multiple-wages as reported in the W-2s filed by illegals using my SSN are counted as a registration for me.

That means I'll get to vote at least five times!

Go AR!

Time to bring back the poll tax!
$10 to vote. Or, if one prefers, two hours of community service in lieu of having to pay. No means testing necessary -- the citizen gets to choose which option whether he/she is dirt poor or Bill Gates.

Then, only the Civically Serious will vote. That will destroy about 60% of the current Dem voter base while simultaneously improving the types of people who run for office.

The Dems will adapt, but only by cleaning house and getting off the class-warfare demogoguing bandwagon.

Oh yes, bring back the poll tax!

No Subject
Government workers voting for more government does seem like a sword of Damoclese hanging over all our heads, or perhaps a huge swinging bladed pendulum coming ever closer to our necks.
Perhaps just banning them from campaigning in elections (except for voting) so they cannot push for suicidal Obamanomic solutions would be enough.

Nope, violates their First Amendment rights
Even I will concede that.

I agree
Unions and the government are in bed together nowadays... a cooperative affair incorporating a takeover of GMC and leading to a great deal of doubt as to the Obama regimes neutrality and objectivity in the Toyota affairs. Socialism or what progressives have jerry rigged that passes for it promises to be a formidible force of special interests and government coercive and regulative conflicts of interest.

Wow, thanks for the reminder
I was beginning to forget how delusional you idiots are.

Because yes, its the Demoncrats that demogogue class warfare! You could hate your mother if you so chose to rationalize it.

What you need is get Reps with real backbones in Congress to...
...levy a 100% income surtax on union dues, payable by the union member right out of his paycheck via withholding.

Couple that with granting the option for the worker to bail on the union in order to avoid the tax and within a month every union (including the public sector ones) will be toast.

Yes, it is the Dems who demogogue class warfare
The Reps, as a rule, don't believe in it ideologically.

The Dems need to split Americans off into groups in order to survive. Poor vs. Rich, blacks vs. whites, etc. That is why they invented Hyphenated Americans.

The only things Reps hyphenated was snotty blue blood surnames like "Reinhold-Smythe".

Union dues for political payoffs made optional
Unions ought not to be able for force members to pay for their leadership's monolithic political membership in the Democrat Party. Outta be an easy checkoff box on the member's union documents when he signs up to join. It should be explicit and publicly verifiable, and thereby enforceable of the member's wishes.

I see, so thats how it works
As a rule, just say you don't believe in it and expect that will somehow override your actions, and make reality invisible too.

"The Dems need to split Americans off into groups in order to survive. Poor vs. Rich, blacks vs. whites, etc. That is why they invented Hyphenated Americans."

And how are Republicans any different? Other than: Rich vs. Poor and whites vs. blacks (and latinos).

You're nothing more than a cheerleader, Z.

On that, I have to disagree
Unions need to be destroyed, not 'reformed'. Especially public sector unions.

Do you see Reps demogoguing the rich to get poor votes?
Or vice versa?

Oh, the RINOs like McCain might do it, sure. But, it is not in the Rep playbook like it is for the Dems.

That's not 'cheerleading' but simply stating established facts.

Facts that you just can't acknowledge because they torpedo your trolling.

In spirit I am with, but government unions first
Unions will be dealt with on a case by case basis... Order of threat...
Government unions seem the worst threat to the country's solvency and are such a gargantuous conflict of interest in their political advocacy,(not as individuals of course) I am convinced they can be made an obvious reform target when scrutinized by any and all who oppose corruption and unbiased government service workers orgs. Clean government can be a big reform issue and may even enlist the media once it is explained and illustrated.

reforming the unions
I agree about how rotten they are but I wonder if they can be reformed at all. To me it sounds like somebody recommending that if we just reformed the mafia, they would be OK, or if we reformed the Hell's Angles, they would be more like real angels, or if we just reformed governments they wouldn't be corrupted by power.

In other words, the Roy Approach.
eom.

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