CHICAGO, IL- What could possibly go wrong?
Alarm bells have been raised over the years about government officials trying to “dumb down” the voter registration process.
From using so-called “motor voter” initiatives where people could register when renewing their license and/or registration to automatic voter registration programs conducted at the same times, the system is rife for abuse.
In Illinois, it is being reported that a technical error has resulted in more than 500 non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote in the state, sparking criticism of the state’s automatic voter registration system.
State lawmakers and election authorities were understandably angry over the news, Republicans in particular.
Republican Representative Rodney Davis, along with other Republicans in the state legislature are working to address the “integrity of Illinois elections,” according to a tweet by the Illinois State House GOP.
Matt Dietrich of the Illinois State Board of Elections said:
“We view it as a significant problem.”
Thank you Captain Obvious.
Dietrich said that individuals should not have been able to register as voters after they checked the “non-citizenship” box.
“The way that that’s supposed to work and the reason that box is there is that if someone checks that, they are instantly excluded from the automatic voter registration system.”
Apparently, not so much.
There has been a call among state lawmakers to have the auto-registration system suspended. They have further demanded a “zero tolerance policy” for voter fraud, as well as an investigation into the Secretary of State’s office.
In a letter, Secretary of State Jesse White’s office said that a “programming error” in a signature pad at driver services facilities let to hundreds of non-U.S. citizens accidentally being registered as voters.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the problem had been fixed last Tuesday, however lawmakers are only now raising questions about the incident.
The “Automatic Voter Registration” bill was signed by former governor Bruce Rauner in 2017. The law requires eligible Illinois citizens to be automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or ID, unless they opt out. Knowing Illinois, they are probably also automatically registered as Democrats.
“For whatever reason that technological programming error did not properly remove the individuals,” the letter said. “The individuals who are applying for driver’s licenses were inadvertently pooled into the automatic voter registration.”
You see, this is the problem with trying to idiot-proof things such as voter registrations.
While Democrats in Congress worry about voter fraud caused by invisible “Russian bots”, the real fraud is caused by programs such as automating registrations and electronic game playing with voting machines.
According to a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, non-citizens who were registered to vote are here legally. They are not undocumented immigrants, and they did not lie on their forms; it was the state error that signed them up to vote.
I mean, that would “never” happen.
“We discovered an error, and we fixed it. And then we notified the State Board of Elections and the local election authorities and the individuals that were impacted,” they said in the statement.
While the scale of the problem is relatively small, it does highlight the possible glitches that can happen when you dumb down the process. It has been reported that of the 574 people who could have been registered, only 16 actually cast ballots.
The State Board of Elections said three of the non-citizen ballots were cast in Chicago. They are working with local election authorities to make sure anyone who was mistakenly registered is taken off the rolls.
“Even though, in the grand scheme of our election registration numbers and the voting numbers, the figures that we’re looking at are very small,” said Dietrich. “This issue is significant in terms of we want to make sure there is complete integrity with our automatic voter registration system.”
Republicans have long been concerned over potential voter fraud with the system and says that the error undermines the integrity of state elections.
“I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Secretary of State’s Office right now,” said Illinois State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield).
He is demanding a House investigation into the secretary of state’s office.
“He may or may not have known about this, I have no idea. But he needs to be held responsible for it; it’s his operation that allowed this to happen,” Butler said.
In a written statement, the state Republican chairman said that people needed to be held accountable:
“It simply is inexcusable that non-citizens voted in Illinois and potentially affected the outcome of elections across the state. Those in the Secretary of State’s Office who allowed this to happen should be terminated from their employment with the State.”
In response to the glitch, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity firm, has requested records from the State Board of Elections. The group complains that Democratic politicians are pushing automatic voter registration at the expense of election integrity.
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The same type of program that was implemented in Illinois has also been implemented in 18 other states, plus the District of Columbia. The group feels that the issues highlighted in Illinois make it possible that non-citizens in other states are also making their way on to voter lists nationwide.
“States have no business experimenting with automatic voter registration until they can zero out the risk of ineligible noncitizens passing through traditional Motor Voter,” said Logan Churchwell.
He’s the communications director at PILF.
“This is not a new problem for Illinois. That state’s Motor Voter system made national news in 2017, well before policymakers foolishly installed automatic voter registration,” Churchwell said.
“States like Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Georgia, Florida and more have demonstrated how foreign nationals can and do enter voter registries through the Motor Voter process, regardless of automation.”
“The Foundation fully expects there are mor eforeign nationals still registered to vote in Illinois—and some of them voted in 2018,” he said. “We just don’t know who they are yet since they haven’t felt the need to self-report—but their time will come.”
Perhaps Adam Schiff and the other headhunters in the Congress would be better served by looking for collusion and voter fraud where it really exists—in the Motor Voter programs nationwide.
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