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Reply #83: oh dear [View All]

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iverglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #78
83. oh dear
when you vote, you show your driver's license,
and they record your name and SSN
(or your DL ID #)


As I recall, non-citizen residents (temporary or permanent) are entitled to drivers' licences in US states -- in some cases, even illegal residents are.

So that just doesn't seem to work as evidence of entitlement to vote. Kinda like how it was being said, a while back, that it wouldn't work for firearms purchase purposes, now that California is apparently going to issue drivers' licences to illegal residents.

Drivers' licences are issued, and records of licence-holders kept, for a purpose. That purpose has absolutely nothing to do with voting. The criteria for the issuance of drivers' licences have absolutely nothing to do with the criteria for voting. Specifically, drivers' licences are not evidence of citizenship.

Up here, temporary legal residents have social insurance numbers starting with "9". So one can distinguish between permanent and temporary residents based on the first number of the SIN. (Except for people who have recently become permanent residents and not yet received their permanent SIN.) But there's no way of distinguishing between citizens and permanent residents that way. How 'bout down there?

We could try birth certificates. Nope, they're not proof of citizenship (let alone residence). People born with one nationality often change it to another. A current passport is at least proof that someone had citizenship in the recent past; but it isn't proof of residence, either.

Of course, if you get a passport, you end up on a list. Just like you do if you present your driver's licence in order to vote. (Surely you're not suggesting that that paper trail should be destroyed.)

So ...

Afterwards, they run a simple comparative check. if you voted more than once, they prosecute you.

... yeah, but if you were a non-citizen and voted, they'll never find out. For instance.

And I'm not sure how prosecuting a fraudulent voter is going to restore the outcome of the election to what it should have been absent the fraud. It being the purpose of elections, after all, to ascertain the will of eligible voters, not of whoever wanders into a polling station with ID in hand -- and the purpose of voters' lists to ensure that an election is decided only by people who are entitled to decide it.

To my mind, as in many things, it just makes sense to take effective steps to prevent a problem from occurring, rather than to be content with blaming and pointing and prosecuting and punishing post facto, none of which does anything to solve the problem.

Deterrence is dandy, but prevention is much sounder public policy.

And what the hell is wrong with voters' lists, that one's just beyond me.

You shouldn't have to be on a government list to exercise a civil liberty.

Well, if the government actually had some authority or discretion to keep qualified people *off* the list, that might be meaningful. As it stands, it isn't.

The "government list" in question is composed of everyone entitled to be on it, absent mistake or fraud. There are undoubtedly instances of mistake or fraud. But I can't imagine how they could be more numerous than they would be if people could vote by presenting a driver's licence.

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