Skip to comments.The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA 1993) - The Source of Modern Democrat Vote Fraud
Posted on 06/03/2004 1:01:00 PM PDT by jmstein7
This problem of voter fraud in the United States has been significantly exacerbated by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (the NVRA). Given the importance of voter participation, the NVRA was enacted to make the voter registration process as accessible as possible to United States citizens. Congress initially considered mandating same day registration, as it found that states that allowed voters to register on or around Election Day, when voter interest is at a peak, had higher overall turnout rates. However, concerns over voter fraud and administrative difficulties prevailed, and same day provisions do not appear in the final law as enacted. Instead, Congress decided to mandate that voters receive a registration form attached to state drivers license applications; this is popularly known as Motor Voter.
In New York, the Motor Voter laws require the attachment of voter registration forms to non-driver identification cards. Non-driver identification cards are issued, by the state, to anyone who does not, or cannot, apply for a drivers license those are the only restrictions on obtaining a nondriver identification card. Thus, it is not implausible that, wittingly or unwittingly, an alien who applies for a non-driver identification card might fill out the attached voter registration form, not realizing that a special, color-coded form is necessary. And,because of the passive nature of New Yorks voter verification laws, the mistake might go unnoticed and uncured by the Board of Elections.
Recently, there has been a drive in some states, such as California, to issue drivers licenses to even illegal aliens. The stated interest in enacting laws that enable illegal aliens to obtain drivers licenses is public safety. If such a scheme were to be enacted in New York State, absent a new, companion voter fraud prevention statute, it is likely that untold numbers of illegal aliens might, wittingly or unwittingly, be entered into the voter rolls.
But for the NVRA, a system such as New Yorks special color-coding system and special local voter lists might be more effective at striking the delicate balance between safeguarding citizens rights and fulfilling the Plyler obligations. Aside from the obvious confusion caused by the NVRA, some critics question whether the whole Act wasnt a partisan sham to begin with.
The most tantalizing question pondered by the opponents of the NVRA was why proponents would have proposed such a bill in the wake of an election that boasted the highest voter turnout in the twenty years preceding the bills introduction. A similar bill, S. 250, was introduced in the preceding Congress, only to be met by President Bushs veto. Yet, within a matter of months after President Clinton took office, a strikingly similar bill, H.R. 2, was reintroduced. H.R. 2, the original version of the NVRA, had other problems and oddities aside from timing. While the mandates contained in H.R. 2 would have entailed tremendous administrative costs imposed on the states, H.R. 2 did not contain any federal subsidies to offset the inherent financial burden. Coincidentally, or not, states could, under H.R. 2, escape regulation by either adopting same day registration laws or no formal registration laws.
It is often asserted that same day registration laws, or election day registration laws, lead to rampant vote fraud because people can easily go from polling place to polling place, registering and voting multiple times, sometimes without even having to show any photo identification. Widespread allegations of vote fraud are common in states that have same day registration laws, such as Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Maine has been plagued with allegations of vote fraud, particularly in connection with ballot referenda, i.e. where citizens get to vote directly on legislation. In Madison, Wisconsin, common allegations included college students voting multiple times, which some claim is easier than rent[ing] a movie at Blockbuster.
Amid concerns of fraud, the impact of same day registration laws on the electorate can be dramatic. In 1996, 16% of total registered voters in Minnesota, where photo identification is not required, registered on Election Day. This alone was sufficient to put Independent Jesse Ventura, a former professional wrestler, into the Minnesota Governors mansion. Thus it is likely that these types of voter registration laws could lead to significant, unconstitutional alien voting in federal elections. In states with large numbers of aliens, such as California, substantial vote dilution would be a strong possibility e.g. in 1996, there were allegations that illegal alien voting caused the illegitimate defeat of a nine-term incumbent Congressman. Further, the illegal voting facilitated by same day registration could also potentially change the actual outcome of federal elections, affecting the electoral representation of United States citizens. Thus, it would seem that H.R. 2 would have forced states that were in financial distress to adopt voter registration systems that potentially invite massive, election altering fraud to avoid the new financial burdens H.R. 2 would have imposed. This provision was eliminated in the final conference bill. H.R. 2 also designated several traditionally Democratic dominions, e.g. welfare and unemployment offices, as mandatory voter registration locations while traditional Republican dominions, e.g. fishing and hunting license bureaus, were optional voter registration locations to be designated at the states discretion. This provision was also modified in the bill that came out of conference, tempered by a bipartisan Senate.
The Congressional minority of the period was also particularly concerned about unconstitutional voting by illegal aliens. Section five of the original H.R. 2 contained provisions that automatically registered anyone who filled out a drivers license application or renewal to vote, unless they affirmatively chose to opt-out. If that provision had passed Congress, any alien, legal or illegal, who applied, legally or illegally, for a drivers license would have ended up, unconstitutionally, on the federal voter rolls. Neither H.R. 2, nor the subsequently enacted legislation, did anything to effectively protect citizens rights or proscribe voter fraud in effect, the legislation made it more difficult to purge bad data from the voter rolls.
Cynics might aver that the drafters of the NVRA were, indeed, hoping to promote and facilitate voter fraud. Democrats, the majority party at the time and drafters of H.R. 2, have had a long, intriguing, history of voter fraud allegations, from conjuring the dead from the grave to swing Chicago for John Kennedy in 1960, to bribing homeless men with cigarettes in exchange for Al Gore votes in Milwaukee in the 2000 election. More recently, the party has been accused of buying votes on Indian reservations in, e.g., South Dakota to swing a Senatorial election.
While there is no Constitutional provision or amendment equating voter turnout and registration levels with the ultimate fairness of the system, it is well established that the prevention of voter fraud is a compelling state interest, without which there can be no fundamental fairness in the system. A particularly troublesome feature of the NVRA is that it allows potential voters to register by mailing-in a voter registration form as an alternative to registering in person. Opponents of the bill were concerned that this provision limited the state's ability to confirm independently the information contained in voter registration applications. This concern is justified, especially in states like New York, where there is no affirmative check on voter qualifications to begin with. The mail-in registration requirements are exceptionally lax the mail-in registration application does not even require notarization. Concerns over potential voter fraud resulting from mail-in registration were bolstered by independent studies of the matter. For example in 1982, a New York grand jury reviewed widespread vote fraud during a 14- year period and concluded that "the advent of mail-in registration [in New York] in 1976 made the creation of bogus registration cards even easier and less subject to detection. . . . Mail-in registration has become the principle means of perpetrating election fraud."
Mail-in registration also provides an alternate means for illegal aliens to subvert federal immigration and naturalization law. A Chicago grand jury [in 1982] . . . reported that many aliens register to vote so they can obtain documents identifying them as U.S. citizens. . . . These aliens used their voters' cards to obtain myriad benefits, from Social Security to jobs with the Defense Department.
After the NVRA went into effect, the hypothetical flaws outlined by its opponents became reality. In Broward County, Florida, for example, an 8-year-old girl successfully registered to vote. The error would not have been caught if the girl had not been called for jury duty her mother then called the Election Supervisor to report the mistake. An INS investigation in 1996 into alleged Motor Voter fraud in Californias 46 Congressional District revealed that 4,023 illegal voters possibly cast ballots in the disputed election between Republican Robert Dornan and Democrat Loretta Sanchez. Congressman Dornan lost that election. Pundits pondered the number of illegal voters the INS failed to identify in their investigation.
Some of the illegal registrants taking advantage of the NVRA mail-in provision bordered on the absurd. In San Diego, for example, an elephant at the San Diego zoo was successfully registered to vote! It is no wonder that Motor-Voter has earned the nickname Auto-Fraudo. Cries for reform of the NVRA have been countered, predictably, by the race card. The NAACP claims that the use of photo ID or documents for voting could be a form of discrimination for those who do not have such documentation or are colored Americans. In 1998, when House Republicans proposed a measure to verify the citizenship of potential registrants, they were accused of trying to frighten away Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters from the polls. Republicans countered, saying that an American citizen's right to vote is one of their most precious rights . . . [h]ow can we cancel out an American citizen with a noncitizen and not feel that we are somehow cheating the essence of freedom in America? It is clear that, in our increasingly racesensitive society, it is difficult to strike a balance between the integrity of the electoral process and the perception of discrimination.
Amidst increased complaints and the reality of undesirable voter fraud, and the burdensome costs to the states, there is little evidence that the NVRA has actually achieved its stated goal, i.e. increased voter participation. Even after September 11, 2001, during a period of fervent patriotism and despite the NVRA, only 13% of New Yorkers turned out for the Mayoral primaries, and only 25% voted in the general election, which put Michael Bloomberg in the Mayors office. In 2002, nine years after the NVRA was adopted, only 45% of voters in states such as Massachusetts turned out to vote in national elections. While more Americans have indeed registered to vote, the NVRA has failed to increase the number of people who actually pull the lever and vote on Election Day. Therefore, it is arguable that there is little, if any, correlation between increased registration and increased legitimate participation.
So, the NVRA, while failing to achieve its goal of increased participation, is apparently nothing more than an expensive experiment that adds expensive deadweight to the voter rolls. It also, simultaneously, facilitates voter fraud, particularly illegal alien voting. Some countries have instituted compulsory voting to remedy the problem of voter apathy. After the Australian voting rate fell below 58% in 1922, Australia instituted a system of compulsory voting. Non-voters in Australia are fined up to $35, and national voter participation now hovers at around 90%. However, an American analog of the Australian system would be unconstitutional, as U.S. Courts have held that citizens have the right not to vote. Thus, schemes to increase voter participation that are more effective, albeit onerous, than the NVRA could potentially face constitutional challenges. The NVRA and less onerous schemes are apparently ineffective at achieving their stated goal. They are, however, expensive and troublesome.
Perhaps it would be more effective to repeal the NVRA, freeing funds and resources that could be used toward programs that actually work without facilitating fraud.
FYI, The High Road's Jim March has done quite a lot of work documenting electronic vote problems: