[FoRK] Newsroom score: American Taliban

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Aug 29 11:14:44 PDT 2012

On 8/29/12 11:05 AM, Damien Morton wrote:
> You know, generally my proposed solution to the whole voter
> disenfranchisement issue is to propose mandatory voting, as practised
> in Australia. In general though, the concept of mandatory voting does
> not sit well with Americans for some reason, even though it arguably
> leads to a more democratic democracy.
> See http://www.seattlepi.com/local/opinion/article/Compulsory-voting-means-ignoring-Election-Day-is-1160329.php
> for a passionate advocacy of mandatory voting.
> The thing about voter ID disenfranchisement isn't to prevent people
> from voting so much as preventing them from registering to vote. Or
> rather, asking people (without the required ID) to spend time
> gathering the records required to get an ID.
> Would it be too hard to have automatic and/or mandatory voter
> registration, so that the vast majority of voters wouldn't have to do
> anything in order to vote. You would broaden the sources for the voter

The most obvious choices for this:

  * DMV - Done to some extent in many states, although it is not
    mandatory in California.
  * Census takers - just register everyone, or at least semi-register
    everyone pending citizenship review / proof. Census takers could
    probably make summary positive judgment calls on at least 90% of the
  * Schools - preregister every student in High School and register
    every college student.  Mail them a voter registration card on their
  * Work - Require a voter ID card to work.
  * Public assistance - Require a voter ID for assistance.
  * Social Security Card - Preregister everyone getting an original or
    replacement card.  They already have proved citizenship.
  * Future potential: Every cell phone customer.  The NSA already knows
    who is a foreign national and what phones they use.  ;-)

> rolls from the motor vehicle board, to other sources, including banks,
> rental agreements, house ownership records, utilities and such.
> Basically any time a person interacts with a government,
> quasi-government, or ubiquitous private organisation, and provides
> them with a SS#, they would be registered to vote based on the SS# and
> address they provided.
> Obviously there are going to be times when a SS# comes up duplicated,
> or used by multiple people, or fraudulently used or whatever, and for
> these cases you would need some system of resolution.
> A national-level organisation would be responsible for ensuring near
> 100% registration. Hell, you could outsource the job, paying bonuses
> for each basis point above 90% registration.
> You'd provide a national database of names and social security numbers
> for states and local organisations to uniquify their lists against,
> and you'd provide access to DHS immigrant lists.


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