Support Jim Webb
Support Jim Webb
for President 2016
Click to visit Jim's site

The best man or woman
for the job! I support
Jim Webb for President.
Paul Lillebo
Click here and
I'll tell you why.
Visit HPL'S site of
Outstanding Poems
Blue Ridge Journal
"A Potpourri of Good Sense"
presented by H.Paul Lillebo

F-8 by Lou Drendel
Salute to the F-8 Crusader
Asheville, NC, USA Wikipedia supporter Updated September 26, 2015
  Education     International     Language  
  & Media
  Religion     Science     Society      U.S. Politics  
            A musical
New Trix
a cappella Quartet

All essays by topic

Recent essays:
The Real population problem
Democrat Presid'l Candidates?
The Georgia Guidestones
Islamist terror & Islamic culture
Unconstitutional amendments
Nationhood & Multiculturalism
Good Friday
NSA, Snowden, national security
Nebulous cosmology
Another Washington disaster
Bye-bye privacy
U.S. states as power centers
Asteroids, meteors, and us
World peace - regional security
A New Year's wish list
Israel and Palestine
No Emancipation Celebration?
Presidential debates again!
The "Roberts trick"
The sins of The Fathers
NC vote on same-sex marriage
Updating the U.S. Constitution
Reforming a moribund Congress
A Civilization built on hot air
The "Occupy Wall St." protests
Arguing about God
The irrational stock exchange
The danger of belief
Obama's asteroid boondoggle
Presidential MQ's
"Don't ask, don't tell"
The Second Coming
Glob. Warm'g - western guilt?
Rot of campaign finance
Health care debacle
Cities in the sea
On human population
Education for democracy
Are 3 gods better than 1?
Stupid is as stupid does
A new economics
Immediate energy solution
A Public Stock Exchange
The Dawkins delusion
Viceroy of the carpenter?
Charisma and Democracy
US missile shield for Europe
Eve of Eden
A fable of fools
China's cheap labor
Memorial Day: an addition
Congress & representation
On doing stupid things
The Calendar & diplomacy
Science & Religion
The American President
The spark of life
Liberal & Conservative
Real campaign issues
Evolut'n/Creat'n conundrum
The toy kings of Europe
The disease of militarism
The Supreme Court...
Reps, Dems & coup d'état
On going to Heaven
"Creationism" in school
Mars Madness
Global warming
Free public transit
Lotto: a new poor tax
EU: the new imperialism

    Leave a comment

And just for fun:
Some odd tales

For your mental delectation:
(Click the puzzle to solve it)

The world's current top chess players:
(I'm left out again...) for more details and full list

Suggested Related Essays:
"Rot of Campaign Financing"
"Charisma and Democracy"

Current essay:

The political flap about Voter ID

A straight answer

August 2015
An American minor movement, supported by the Democratic party, makes the claim that state laws requiring voters to positively identify themselves at the voting booth are prejudicial against those who find it difficult to obtain ID documents. Their simple solution is to not require positive ID of voters; but this would lead to worse problems than it would solve.

Norway, where I'm writing from, is in the midst of a parliamentary election campaign. The election is in a couple of weeks, and by agreement of the parties the campaign started just a couple of weeks ago. That's all. Although I've experienced a good number of similar Norwegian elections, the scene is a revelation for an American: It is possible to say everything you have to say in about a month. The people hear what you have to say, they decide, and they cast their vote. What's so hard about that? It doesn't take a year and a half, and it doesn't cost millions of dollars. Here private money donations are strictly limited, and TV and radio appearances are limited to formal question periods that give each of the leading candidates equal chances to speak. The rest of campaigning is found on the internet and at stands here and there in the city, where you can get brochures outlining the party platforms. The format seems quick and fair, with no particular bias. I ask – if you'll pardon the digression – what has made such a grotesque monstrosity out of the American election system in recent years? What has dragged the presidential election campaign out to the better part of two years, and has required the would-be candidates to corrupt themselves to those willing to give them the most money? The answer is both money itself (especially given the Supreme Court's recent decisions that the Constitution requires that your freedom of speech should be proportional to your bank account), and the lack of meaningful regulation of the election process. But returning from my digression...

This morning I passed a small, temporary building put up in a neighborhood park here in Oslo, which announced itself as a place to cast advance votes, to avoid the crowds on election day. But what caught my eye was a poster on the side of the building that said (in Norwegian) "Don't forget to bring your ID." Indeed, how obvious: you can't be identified as being who you say you are if you don't bring an identification document. This requirement is certainly not considered odd in Norway, and in no way an abrogation of anyone's right to vote. But in the U.S. at this moment, there are law suits against my home state of North Carolina complaining that a requirement to positively identify the voter as a citizen registered to vote is a partisan state plot against the destitute and others who for whatever reason have been unable to secure an ID card. (Whatever the facts of the case – i.e., how many voters have been prevented from getting ID cards – the partisan element is clear: Republicans control the legislature, while Democrats believe that most of those who have failed to secure proper identification are their own voters.)

I'll jump directly to my conclusion: Of course it's necessary to properly identify as legal voters persons who present themselves to vote. Voting is the defining function of a democracy; if it is not safeguarded from fraud or corruption, the democracy itself is not safeguarded. The requirements for voting in the U.S. are elementary: Be a citizen of the U.S., and be at least eighteen years of age. By the Constitution, no additional restrictions may be imposed. While the opponents of the requirement for proof of identity at the voting booth argue that this constitutes an unconstitutional additional requirement, this argument is specious. The voter must already have presented proof of both age and citizenship when registering to vote; without this check the requirements in the Constitution would be meaningless. And if these verifications do not constitute an "additional requirement" for voting, then clearly the check on identity at the voting booth – being equally necessary for a fair vote – does not either.

I came of voting age in Chicago, Illinois in the 1960's, and there's no better illustration of the effect of voter manipulation. The state of Illinois may have the most corrupt state government in the nation. Starting with the early 1960's, four of the next seven Illinois governors spent time in prison for corruption in public office, including the most recent inmate, Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is still incarcerated. Three of these are Democrats, but it didn't help to get a Republican in office – he wound up in jail, too. Chicago in the 60's was ruled with an iron hand by Mayor Richard J. Daley and his Democratic "machine", as it was always called. Voter identification rules were very slack, and it was well known that one of the duties of the Democratic ward captains was to find "voters" who would vote in several wards, on behalf of deceased or emigrated voters still on the rolls, or for voters who the ward captain was sure would not be voting. The popular motto in Chicago was "Vote early, vote often." (When Richard Nixon barely lost Illinois – and thereby the presidential election – in 1960, he declined to ask for a recount. While everyone knew there was fraud, Nixon knew that the fraud wasn't in the counting, it lay in the failure of voter identification.)

For those inexperienced or misguided souls who believe that the basic honesty of man provides sufficient guarantee against voter fraud, look to Chicago and Illinois. In the political quest for power, honor is an undependable commodity. The strange thing in the U.S. is that some states still do not require positive identification of voters. It must be implemented throughout the country to ensure that at least the balloting portion of the election procedure is fair and uncorrupted.

Having said this, there remains the question of whether some citizens who wish to vote have been or might be prevented by their circumstances from obtaining one of the acceptable identification documents. I don't know what the incidence of this has been; I expect it would be quite low. The North Carolina legislature has just amended the election laws to provide alternative documentation for voters in this situation; perhaps this will resolve the complaint in that state. But in any case, having in place a positive action program to ensure that no one who wishes to vote is denied that opportunity is a far better choice for a government than the alternative of risking fraud by failing to require positive identification of voters at the ballot box.

H. Paul Lillebo

Send a Comment


Previous essay: 
The Real Population Problem

... and a false solution

European populations (and some others) are aging. Pensions for the old and health care for all are draining national budgets, since there aren't enough younger tax payers to pay for them. Some countries think they have the solution: make more babies! But that's a deceptive and naïve short-term "solution" which will exacerbate their problem.

Next previous essay: 
Democrat Presidential Candidates?

Where are they?

True, we're still twenty months from the next U.S. presidential election, but by this time the field of candidates is usually overflowing. The present candidate pools are: Republicans about 20, Democrats about 2. What's up with the Dems?

2016 Election News

Visit Hillary's Page:
"Thanks for the Memories"

Sep 26, 2015. Sanders rules New Hampshire
The latest poll by WMUR/CNN shows Bernie Sanders from neighboring Vermont with a decisive lead among Democratic voters in New Hampshire. To the question, "Who would you vote for today?" Sanders got 46%, Clinton 30%, and Biden 14%.

Sep 23, 2015. Biden up, Hillary down
A new nationwide Bloomberg poll of Democrat voter preferences shows the not-yet-running VP Joe Biden closing quickly on Hillary Clinton, who continues to lose voter support.

Sep 19, 2015. Fiorina wows NH Republicans
A flash poll by "Votergravity" among New Hampshire Republicans following the second Rep. candidate debate, shows voter support shifting to Carly Fiorina, who led the poll with 22%, followed by Trump 18% and Carson 10%. The career politicians followed, with Kasich and Bush at 9%, Rubio at 7%, and Cruz and Christie at 6%. Jindal, Graham, Santorum, Pataki, and Gilmore were last with 1% or less, and are (we can hope) reviewing their participation in the campaign.

Sep 15, 2015. Latest WP-ABC poll:
Hillary's base collapsing

9/10/15 ‐ The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll of Democratic voters shows that Hillary Clinton's support among Democratic women, her strongest base, has fallen from 71% to 42% in the past eight weeks. Among white Dem. women, her support is a mere 37%, while she still holds a majority at 60% among non-white Dem. women.

Clinton received TOP SECRET emails on home server

The NYTimes reports that just-published reviews by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and by CIA have concluded that at least two emails received by Hillary on her home acount were "Top Secret". It can be assumed that her home email account was routinely tapped (hacked), and that the Top Secret material fell into the hands of foreign agents.

Latest poll: Not trusting Hillary

This week's nationwide Quinnipiac University poll (PDF) of eligible voters shows Biden with a greater advantage over the main Republican rivals than Hillary Clinton, as well as further slippage in voters' trust in Clinton.

The poll posed hypothetical matchups between the Democrats Sanders, Clinton, or Biden against the Republicans Trump, Bush, or Rubio. Among the nine posed matchups, the Democrats would now win eight.

  • Sanders would beat Bush by 4% and Trump by 3%, but would lose to Rubio by 1%.
  • Clinton would edge Bush by 2%, beat Trump by 4%, and squeeze by Rubio by 1%.
  • Biden would beat Bush by 6%, Trump by 8%, and Rubio by 3%.
So as it stands, Biden would do better than either Clinton or Sanders against any of these three Republicans.

To the question, "Would you say that [candidate] is honest and trustworthy?" – asked about six candidates of both parties, four candidates (including Biden and Sanders) elicited a majority of positive responses, while Clinton led the negative responses with 61% "no", and Trump elicited 54% "no" replies.

To the question, "Would you say that [candidate] cares about the needs and problems of people like you?" asked about the same six politicians, four elicited positive responses, while only Clinton (51% "no") and Trump (60% "no") elicited negative majorities.

In an unprompted word association question, the words most often immediately associated with Hillary were 1. "liar", 2. dishonest, and 3. untrustworthy. Most frequently associated with Donald Trump were arrogant, blowhard, and idiot. So it could be an interesting election.

Interesting election footnote:

The Washington Post reported on August 5 that Bill Clinton had a phone call with Donald Trump a couple of weeks before Trump's declaration as a presidential candidate. Aides to both men say that the former president urged Trump to get more involved in politics, and that Trump's ideas could be a valuable addition to the Republican party's discourse. No one says Mr.Clinton urged Trump to run, but he knew Trump was near the moment of decision. Was Clinton sowing the seeds of tumult in the Republican camp? Setting up a perfect foil for his wife's barbs? Dangerous sport, exchanging barbs with Trump.

All content © H. Paul Lillebo