CALIFORNIA November 20, 2012 – Voter fraud is a common accusation in extremely close elections. The Obama-Romney race is no exception, with fewer than 400,000 total votes from four battleground states being the deciding factor.
Although fraud accusations are usually ignored as sour grapes, numerous polling and historical indicators suggested Romney could have easily won. While some irregularities proved false (e.g., military ballots arriving one day late), other “official” results defy both statistical probability and reason (e.g., more votes than eligible voters). Was the Presidential election stolen? We will probably never know, particularly since the current administration has no incentive to investigate potential wrong doing.
With the 2012 Presidential decision settled, we should challenge for future elections the claim that every vote is so precious that it must be accepted without rigorous scrutiny or challenge of any kind. The fundamental tenet of one person, one vote is crucial since it reflects the fact we’re all created in God’s image and have intrinsic worth (Gen 1:27; 9:6). But why would any vote be counted that isn’t backed by credible identification and accountability consistent with the worth attributed to it?
If elections are the bedrock of our democratic republic, why are absentee ballots, voting by mail, drive by voting, same day registration and provisional ballots so aggressively promoted? It’s a fact of life that the more complicated a process, the greater the opportunity for abuse, particularly when so many elections are decided by a small percentage of votes. With our existing pain-free process, we already see the following: multiple or non-existent addresses used to vote more than once; voting from prison; proxy voting for the homeless, shut-ins and the mentally disadvantaged; voting by non-citizens; and even dishonoring the dead by stealing their identity (Exodus 20:15-16).
These tactics reflect a mindset willing to use deceitful means (Deuteronomy 25:15-16; Proverbs 20:23) to steal what’s not rightfully earned (Proverbs 18:9). No one should be disenfranchised, but if people can’t prove who they are and establish that they have a right to vote, why should the benefit of the doubt be given to them? This doesn’t happen with any other official transaction in our daily life.
Verifying the legitimacy of the voter is half the problem. Correctly tabulating votes is the other. A little manipulation can be the difference between winning and losing. How many times have we read about these: finding uncounted ballots in the trunk of a car; or an overlooked ballot box at a polling place; or ballots being rejected because of some previously overlooked irregularity (e.g., the “hanging chad” fiasco); or vote counts far above the number of registered (or even eligible) voters in a district; or even some votes “unknowingly” lost?
Do we tolerate tainted food in our food supply or defective parts in automobiles? Why would we tolerate any opportunity to manipulate our nation’s future by weakening the integrity of the voting process? If any political party embraces an ends-justify-the-use-of-any-means mentality, why should we as citizens trust any push to make voting as easy (and corruptible) as possible? Why would we trust electronic voting machines when they have been shown to be unreliable? Why should we accept a ballot from a person we can’t be certain hasn’t voted in any other precinct, or even some other state during Presidential elections?
If we don’t have confidence in the way we select those entrusted with enormous power, not only is our citizen-rule compromised, but a cynical attitude will develop towards our nation and the founding principles that used to guide it. We then cease to be a nation governed by its citizens and more like nations subject to a tyranny that will stop at nothing to use power for its own purposes.
As citizens, we have the obligation to demand integrity throughout the voting process to gain assurance the person voting has the right to do so; and that each vote is counted correctly – nothing more, nothing less. Only then will those who are elected actually represent the will of those that voted (Proverbs 3:27).
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