by Brian Wheel
Before I explain what happened I would like to just say that everyone at the polls were courteous (probably more so than I was) and, in the end, I was able to vote for my choice of candidates.
This is of course assuming voting is what you call feeding your choices into a machine that is a black box, programmed by someone from NH*, made with components from China**, assembled by a company with questionable employees***, questionable security practices****, with a name that means control over a country or people*****, that is almost never double checked by a Vermonter.
I went to cast my vote in the Vermont Primary this afternoon. Upon arriving I was asked for my name, and I notice that I know one of the poll workers to my right. When the young lady who was at the station serving my last name was flipping through the book, I noticed a check next to my name, and my uncle’s name underneath it. I said mine is on top as there were only two with the same last name. She replies saying that it looks like you have already voted. Without thinking I looked at my friend and said, “Well there’s an affidavit” (probably not the best reaction, but my initial one considering the open nature of the system and everything we have seen in the last 6 years).
I quickly looked back at the books and realized what probably happened. They simply checked off the wrong last name. A clerical error is something any one of us could do, but something there is little if any safeguard against.
I grabbed my phone and said to the worker, “I’m going to go potentially save you a lot of trouble” as I walked out the door. I called my uncle who answered and found out that he had indeed voted earlier that day. I went back in and explained what had happened and they checked off his name and let me vote with nothing more than a quick conversation with the town clerk who was also pleasant.
Let’s think about this though:
If the other poll worker didn’t know me then would I have been able to vote? They can’t ask for identification per the law. Sure, I could provide it, but then according to main-stream media and the Democratic and Progressive parties that would be racist and against my rights. I don’t want to be racist, and I sure don’t want to make the poll workers racists. Why should my rights be violated and the person before me not violated? How exactly could they validate that my uncle was the one that came in before and voted. In this situation, I’m the only one that knew that for sure.
Simply asking for identification to ensure you are who you say you are would help to prevent this and other odd situations from happening. For one, having a visual reference of the person on the picture ID helps to ensure that it is that person. For two, having a visual as well as audio reference of the voter’s name would reinforce that the poll worker checks off the correct name on the list. It would ensure that spelling isn’t an issue especially with these ridiculous plastic barriers that Zuckerberg paid for, as those make it even more difficult to hear the other person, in my case when bending down to see the list.
Quick side note and this doesn’t apply to just elections, if you’re going to use these ridiculous barriers please mount them at the correct height, I’m tired of having this barrier in the way only to see and breathe directly over them, what is the point?
If I didn’t know someone in that room, would I have been able to vote today? I don’t really know the answer and a quick look at the voting manual doesn’t cover this particular scenario.
It seems to me that not providing identification leaves room for fraud while providing it helps to ensure accurate elections. This is something we are required to do at a store to buy things that require us to be over 18, something that is required at banks, bars, government offices, and something that the police fine you for or even take you to jail for not providing when simply asked according to state statutes.
We should be shoring up our election systems against all types of fraud and not leaving anything up to chance. Just because we don’t know it’s happening doesn’t mean that it’s not happening. After all, we purchase antivirus for our computers even though we don’t know that it has or will get a virus. Many people recently lined up and even demanded that others take an experimental concoction to protect against a chance that they might get sick.
How is providing Identification to prevent what might happen any different?
I believe our right to vote and accurately elect our leaders is significantly more important than whether a teen gets alcohol, a bank gets ripped off, an officer knows who you are, or a small part of the population gets sick. With the simple fact that, somewhere between 170 and 360 million people have been killed in the 20th century alone by their own governments******, and that this has occurred mostly under authoritarian regimes which in America has been directly prevented by voting the authoritarians out of office.
I am willing to bet that none of the countries that ended up being authoritarian either had a chance to vote it out to begin with, knowingly voted for it in the first place, or weren’t defrauded out of their vote.
Vote like your life depends on it – because it literally does.
References since I know some of that is triggering to some:
The author is a Williston resident and election integrity advocate.