Why Don't We Have Universal Voter Registration?

News & Politics

As the last of the lawsuits against ACORN gets laughed out of court, and as Republican Secretaries of State grumble about having to reinstate voters to the rolls, it's clear that, no matter what happens in the election, this insanity around voter registration and zombie lies about voter fraud has to stop. Exhibit A is the fact that John McCain's own head of his "Honest And Open Election Committee" can't name any evidence of voter fraud.

But Ronald Michaelson, a veteran election administrator and member of the McCain-Palin Honest and Open Election Committee, said in an interview that he could not name a single instance in which this had occurred.

“Do we have a documented instance of voting fraud that resulted from a phony registration form? No, I can’t cite one, chapter and verse,� he said [...]

Asked for specifics about the dangers of fake registration, Ben Porritt, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, provided links to 13 news clips and a 2003 Missouri state auditor’s report. Eleven of the cases did not involve registration fraud. Two recounted how felons appeared to have cast illegal votes under their own names. The lone example of a forged registration leading to an illegitimate vote comes from The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund, who in April 2006 wrote that a community organizer had improperly registered a noncitizen, and “someone eventually voted in [the noncitizen’s] name.�

Michaelson, who served for 27 years as executive director of the Illinois Board of Elections, said the sharp exchanges over registration fraud have undermined voters’ confidence in the electoral system.

“The fact that so many of these illegal registrations are being made public raises a perception in the minds of people,’’ he said. “That’s more of a general concern. You don’t want to perpetuate the idea that our election process is lacking integrity.�

Asked whether his own party was responsible for fostering that perception, Michaelson said, “Well, it doesn’t help. It has captured the attention of a lot of people.� Why do it, then? “Maybe it’s because there’s nothing else to talk about,� he said.

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