David Barulich writes on Constitutional and Election Reform at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Federalist, Education Week, LA Daily News, and other publications covering fiscal policy, immigration, and education. He resides in Pasadena, CA.
The only way to settle the intractable controversies surrounding Election Reform is to create a National Voter Registry (NVR). It is the only tool that could simultaneously remove the three obstacles to bi-partisan election reforms: Jim Crow, Jim Croaked, and Jim Alien.
This National Voter Registry (NVR) would contain the current name and past aliases, current and prior addresses, date of birth, place of birth, and sex at birth of all living US Citizens. In addition, it would contain the Social Security, Passport, or other identification numbers that could affirm US Citizenship. It would not contain any information regarding political party affiliation. That information would be held by local voter registrars in separate systems.
This NVR would be updated every day. When a voter moves and reports their address change to the Post Office, DMV or IRS, then these agencies would notify the NVR Agency so that the voter’s address would be automatically changed in their record. When someone is born, then their birth certificate would be reported by the local government to the NVR Agency, and they would be entered as a new record into the system so that 18 years later, they will be automatically registered to vote.
When someone dies, then the local government would send the Death Certificate to the NVR Agency to remove that voter. That delivers the voter-roll clean up that Republicans are demanding to remove dead persons, and non-residents remaining on voter lists – the Jim Croaked problem.
The NVR Agency would interface with the Social Security Administration, the US Citizens and Immigration Services, and the State and Local agencies recording Birth and Death Certificates to ascertain age and US Citizenship. That delivers another Republican demand to ensure that only living US Citizens over the age of 18 are voting – the Jim Alien problem.
With a continuously-updated NVR, the NVR could sort its voter files by precinct in every State. Then it could deliver these sorted files to every Voter Registrar throughout the nation prior to the first Tuesday of November. This way every eligible voter is automatically registered to vote in the correct precinct for the upcoming Federal Election.
Under the Constitution, State and Local Registrars are free to operate a parallel voter list for State and local elections without input from the NVR, but it hardly makes sense to do this unless they wish to register non-Citizens. This should placate Republicans concerned about a Federal takeover of their State and local elections.
Prior to the first Federal Election utilizing the NVR, the NVR would reconcile its database with lists of registered voters already compiled by State and local governments. Persons on the State and local lists not appearing on the NVR lists would be contacted to ascertain if they are Eligible Voters missed by the initial compilation using information contained in government databases. Those not responding shall be presumed to be persons who have died, moved, are Non-Citizens, underage, or fakes.
The NVR should contain supporting documents attached to each voter’s record: birth certificate, name-change documents, passport, SSN, etc.
The voter sign-in list at a polling place could have the voter’s month and date of birth, last four digits of their SSN, and zip code so that the poll worker could ask the voter for that information in lieu of a photo identification. This easy-to-remember 13-digit voter identification number (VIDN) could also replace the signature and printed name and address on Mail-In Ballots to facilitate greater secrecy, faster processing, and fewer rejections of Eligible Voter ballots resulting from the imprecise protocols of signature verification.
Republican anti-fraud proposals at the State level rely upon the energy and initiative of the voter to bring all the documents to a government representative to authenticate age, Citizenship, and residence. Lower-income voters are less likely to store these documents at home, they are more likely to move, and they are more likely to vote Democrat. What was once considered to be an irreconcilable conflict between security and ballot access has now been resolved by the NVR and the VIDN. With the NVR, the voter doesn’t have to worry about whether they are registered in the correct precinct on Election Day, and with the VIDN, they don’t have to present photo ID.
Republicans can bask in the knowledge that this system of automatic voter registration will delete tens of thousands of dead, illegal, and non-residents’ names from voter registration lists, improve the security of Mail-In Ballots and undermine Democrat arguments for same-day registration. All these measures will significantly reduce the opportunities for fraud.
Democrats claimed that Republicans’ demands were insincere and were not based upon any evidence of substantial fraud. If that is true, then these reforms would net far more additional voters for Democrats than Republicans. Therefore, both sides should gain from the adoption of the NVR.