Over the last few days I’ve been describing some of the major problems with our elections which I cover in The Voting Wars. Too many U.S. jurisdictions allow our elections to be run by political partisans. Local officials have too much control, and often lack adequate training and resources. Political rhetoric has been ratcheted up and mistrust has been building thanks to spurious and exaggerated claims of voter fraud (and in some cases voter suppression) by political provocateurs. Social media inflames partisan passions and could push the next election meltdown into the streets. What can be done to end the voting wars? We might begin by asking about the goals of a fair and effective election system. Most people of good faith considering this problem likely would agree with this statement: an election system should be designed so that all eligible voters, but only eligible voters, may freely cast a vote which will be accurately counted. If we were able to design our system of running elections from scratch, the best way to achieve this goal would be to use a system of national, nonpartisan election administration. The people who run our elections should have their primary allegiance and owe their professional success to the fairness and integrity of the political process and not to a political party. This is how it is done in Australia, Canada, the U.K., and most other serious democracies.
We could choose the head of a new national nonpartisan election agency by making the position one nominated by the president and subject to a 75% confirmation in the Senate. Whoever can meet that requirement will be a person of unquestioned integrity and fairness. Both parties should have access to all aspects of the election process to make sure that the election agency is acting fairly and competently. As the references to the President and Senate suggest, we should also nationalize our federal elections to insure greater uniformity. People should be able to walk into a polling place anywhere in the country and see the same machinery and the same form of ballot. Diversity of approaches is great in many areas, but not in election administration. Discretion also is problematic because it leaves the process too open to partisan manipulation and subconscious bias. While there are many local election administrators doing an admirable job, and a handful of local election administrators doing innovative and important things, it only takes one Kathy Nickolaus to bring down a presidential election.
We could eliminate all the problems with voter registration fraud, double voting across state lines, noncitizen voting, and onerous state voter identification requirements by tasking a national independent election agency with registering all eligible voters and providing all voters a national voter card free of charge (including charges for secondary documents needed to verify identity). Voters would have the option of sharing a thumbprint, which could be used to verify identity if a voter loses or forgets the card. The government would register new voters when they turn 18, graduate high school or drop out. When you fill out a change-of-address card at the post office, your voter registration automatically moves with you. Is all of this a pipe dream? Absolutely.
Full Article: Ending the Voting Wars | TPM Editors Blog.