Maryann Tobin

If there is one thing that the 2012 elections have had in abundance, it is confusion. If America is serious about free and fair democratic elections, there should be minimum national standards for voting.

It became apparent this year that different voter ID laws in different states are part of the problem. In the past two years, Republican state legislatures began enacting voter ID laws. They claimed the laws were needed because of in-person voter fraud.

There is little evidence to suggest that in-person voter impersonation is a problem. What we did see as Election Day moved closer was voter registration fraud.

Voter registration fraud has been discovered in five swing states in connection with the Republican National Committee, who paid Strategic Allied Consulting $3 million for their services.

“A GOP-backed consulting firm may have submitted "hundreds" of faked voter registration forms in Florida, according to the Florida Department of State,” according to ABC News.

NBC News reported, “A campaign worker linked to a controversial Republican consulting firm has been arrested in Virginia and charged with throwing voter registration forms into a dumpster.”

This type of fraud cannot be stopped by showing an ID at polling places and has clearly presented itself as more of an issue than in-person voter impersonation.

These problems create an urgent need for federal standards in voter registration.

Similar to the way Social Security numbers are issued, every citizen could be issued a voter registration number at birth, regardless of which state they are born in. When that person reaches the national voting age, a voting ID card could be issued.

No system is perfect, but a national standard is better than 50 different ways to achieve the same thing. It may also help deter those who might want to commit voter registration fraud.

Most Americans agree, voting is a fundamental right in a democracy. And in order for any democracy to survive, elections have to be free and fair.

In 2012, voter ID laws and early voting rights became a tool for voter suppression, and it is virtually impossible to sound nonpartisan on this issue because the changes were all made in states controlled by Republicans.

There is a reason for that.

In 2008, Barack Obama won the White House with a lot of votes from demographic groups that used early voting. Therefore the Republican logic was, if they can stop those people from voting, they have a better chance of winning.

Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and dozens of other states, have all changed their rules by voter ID requirements, or by shortening or eliminating early voting access. Every single limit on voting in 2012 has been pushed by Republicans – and only Republicans.

In what is now a well-known YouTube video, Republican Mike Turzai actually admitted that the reason for Pennsylvania’s new voter ID laws were to make it easier for Mitt Romney to win the traditionally blue state.

States have proven that they cannot be trusted to view elections as an American right, and not a tool for partisan manipulation of the voting process, particularly in light of 2012 voter suppression efforts, the effects of which may never be fully known.

This has got to stop.

National voting standards are common in other countries, so there is no excuse for the US to not catch up to the rest of the civilized world.

The federal government must set a uniform standard for early voting in all 50 states.

Problem solved.

Elections can’t be controlled by one political party. And attempts by politicians to control the outcome of elections through unethical means, makes them traitors to the Constitution they vowed to defend.

If you like writing about US politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.


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