I don't know if this is the perfect timing for my (first ever) diary, but with the actual election now less than 48 hours away my attention is on the voting process - and the fact that my #1 hope for an Obama led administration, more than the economy, more than the war, more than anything, is to improve the voting process so that citizens can rightly expect a fair outcome. I'm curious for feedback on a couple suggestions for how the registration and voting process could be simplified and could become more insulated from potential fraud:
1. Vote By Social Security Number
So much of the suppression and fraud takes place at the ID/eligibility level. Do you have the right ID with you, is your name spelled correctly on the roll sheet, is your listed address current or are you at the wrong polling location? This is the 21st Century, folks. Why not go to the following system:
To register as an eligible voter, you go to any department of justice, show ID proving you are at least 18 years of age, and register your Social Security Number (along with your name) in the state's voter database and you are now eligible to vote once, in any election, anywhere in the state. To ensure that voters submit their own Social Security Number, registered voters could be mailed a voter card, showing their name and Social Security Number, to take to the polls on Election Day (or voters can be asked to bring their Social Security card, which serves the same function).
When you show up to vote on Election Day, your Social Security Number is entered into the system, first confirming that you have not yet voted, and then confirming that you are now voting in that state - this ensures that no one can vote twice (and that only living people can vote), and makes it unnecessary for every precinct to have an exact updated list of who lives in the precinct - because you can actually vote anywhere in the state where you live. Absentee ballots can easily be set up with a place for you to confirm your Social Security Number (to be entered into the data base so you cannot show up and vote in person).
If you move across state lines, you have to re-register your Social Security Number in your new home state, and when the department of justice adds your Social Security Number to a state database it is automatically deleted from any of the other 49 states. Laws about how soon before an election you can move to another state and vote can be the same as they are now - this issue is not impacted by going to a "Social Security Number" instead of "precinct roll sheet" system.
2. Who Can Vote?
KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Anyone over 18 should be eligible to vote, period, as long as they have put themselves into the "eligible voter" data base. Alcoholics are allowed to vote, bad parents are allowed to vote, liars are allowed to vote - heck, they're even all allowed to be President of the United States - so why not convicted felons, too, if it allows us to stop purging voters from the rolls for reasons besides you're too young or you never registered? Just let people vote; it's a constitutional right.
I don't know if these exact ideas are the answer, because people aiming to perpetuate fraud will always find a way. What I do know is that one of my very biggest hopes for an Obama presidency is to take back voters' rights and to enact laws that will make it far more difficult for votes to be purged, suppressed, changed, or not counted. It is the hill I want to die on, because our right to vote is that important.