Voter Rights, Voter Suppression, Voter Fraud

Two Reads, and a Modest Proposal

Henry Olsen, The Democrats’ voting rights bill is an assault on election integrity

The first six paragraphs make a plausible case that some of the provisions of H.R. 1 would make it easier for voting fraud to occur. Yes, friends and neighbors, you read the preceding sentence correctly. A plausible case.

Then, Mr. Olsen goes on:

It would be easy to create an election system that satisfies people concerned about voter fraud and voter suppression. Our smartphones now have fingerprint- and face-ID systems that protect our devices from unauthorized use. We could easily create a national voter database and attach pictures or fingerprints to every registration. This would even be compatible with same-day registration, provided each polling place had a computer with a camera that could snap a picture and immediately upload it to the database. Australia’s vote-by-mail system requires each applicant to create and answer a personal security question, thereby ensuring that the person who casts the mail-in vote is the person they claim to be. Millions of Australians use this each election, and there is no history of voter fraud or suppression.

Olsen, it will be noted, does NOT argue that it’s “unfair” for Republicans to lose elections, therefore ANY reform that makes it easier for Democratic voters to vote is ipso facto “unfair.” That would not be a “plausible” argument. That would be an argument so ridiculous as to emblazon an indelible blot on the escutcheon of anyone who might make it. That, however, has not deterred a great many Republicans. See, for example,

Paul Waldman, The GOP argument against election reform is even worse than you think

So, Here’s a Modest Proposal

As for the voting-by-Democrats-is-inherently-unfair argument, progressives should mercilessly hang it around the neck of anyone who makes it.

As to Olsen’s quite different argument that some voting reforms would make fraud easier, progressives should either refute those arguments with logical, factual rebuttal, or they should accommodate Republicans who have these kinds of concerns.

To illustrate: maybe there is a compromise to be had on voter ID. Or maybe the Olsen solution, borrowed from Australia might work.

But it’s an entirely different matter if you forbid early voting on Sunday, because folks who vote on Sunday are especially likely to be Democrats.