Now that we have seen in real time how an election can be stolen or distorted by high tech, it is time to update an antiquated process. We have heard of stuffing ballot boxes for years in addition to voting the dead, registering non-existent people, etc. etc.
Why is it that there are are so many ways to register citizens, protect their identity and allow them to move freely in society, make secure transactions, travel the globe and safely purchase goods on-line, even signup for the ACA … but voting is still in the 19th century?
The big take away in this election is that there needs to be a quicker, safer, more honest and transparent way of voting. Ever since the Democrats lost the civil war and instituted Jim Crow laws to keep blacks, who were all Republicans, from voting, there has been fraud at the ballot box.
We need to plug that hole for future elections. An easy solution would be to tie voter registration to the Social Security card. Everyone has their own unique number and a ballot would be accessible by that person using that number and it would be as safe as filing taxes. It would be sort of like a debit card. Once you vote … and fill in that ballot … it is registered and counted and can only be accessed in an archive, by the owner. Like getting a statement from a credit card company, you can see exactly who you voted for if there is ever a challenge. And like a debit card, once you have voted your account is zero until the next election.
Every citizen, by age 18, would have an account, sort of like Pay Pal that you could go back and refer to for years on how you voted and who won. It would be as secure as on-line banking. And, it would prevent people, who aren’t citizens, from voting.
If someone is here illegally, but registers for a SS number, so they could legally pay taxes, they could get a SS number with a code on it that prevents them from voting. Once they become a citizen, that code would be changed. It is similar to a distinct drivers license given to the 16 year old that alerts a bartender that they are underaged. They can drive, but they can’t drink. And in the case of an undocumented alien, they can work, but they can’t vote.
With a procedure like this, you could vote from your home, on-line, any where in the world, and never even have to go to a poll. You would not need absentee ballots or mail-in ballots. You would not have to rely on the mail or other delivery groups to make sure your vote arrives on time. I know four people who asked for absentee ballots that never came even though their requests were sent out in plenty of time.
All voters would get a receipt, instantly, showing that they voted, and how, so if there are any attempts to reject the vote or say they didn’t vote they would have proof. There would be no need to have polls open for weeks.
If people want to go some place and vote in person, getting an instant receipt, they could authorize their bank, for example, to handle that “transaction.” You could go into the lobby of the bank, as though making a deposit, put your card into an encrypted credit card type machine, just like in any store, see a ballot on the screen, make your selections, register them, and immediately get a copy of your ballot.
These tallies would go to three different Federal agencies, that would have to be synced at all times to ensure there are no discrepancies. The time code would be registered for each voter and if questioned, the voter could produce their ballot with the same time code to prove it was them. The logical agencies would be the FEC, DHS and DOJ, but there would be very strict conditions on them and people assigned to work there to prevent tampering collusion.
There could be a non-governmental group, like a reputable accounting firm that would monitor the results to prevent deep-state cheating, similar to how they tabulate the votes for the Oscars.
In order to protect everyone’s SS number, an encrypted code could be inserted that is password protected … very much like a pin to use in the ATM machine. We have advanced so far in the tech world, that it is only logical to hold elections utilizing the technologies that the world now enjoys.
And registering to vote by party should be done away with. It is too easy to disenfranchise someone if you think you have an idea of how they will or have voted. Why does it matter what party someone belongs to? In some states it means you can’t vote in the primary of a certain party. In Virginia, for example, you can vote in either party’s primary, no matter what party you identify with, but you can only vote in one of them, not both.
I was a precinct captain in Northern Va. and the assumption was that every precinct did the same thing across the country. Both parties were represented when the tallies were announced. There was a back-up tally and those two had to match. And the tallies had to match the manual list of the number of people that voted. Within about 30 minutes of the polls closing, we could call in the tallies to the state election officials who would be gathering all those tallies to be able to announce the final vote count and winners.
A system like this would be designed to be as safe as a bank account, an ATM machine, on-line payment platforms and even your social security account that this could be tied to. Redundancies and back-up security protocols could be installed into the program.
The election results would be known instantaneously … as the polls close and all transactions made past that time would be rejected. All three agencies would verify their tallies … much like a bank does at the end of a day, getting reports from the tellers tabulating all their transactions. This tallies must match the bank’s daily tally or a recount is done automatically.
If three systems are closed simultaneously, the totals should all match. If there is a discrepancy, the time code would identify when, and all personal codes are tied to precincts, so they would know immediately, within a few votes, what the problem is.
The key to this working is that there would need to be micro securities, in addition to macro securities. The micro security check is tied to the addresses that are assigned precinct numbers. So, if there are 1,000 people in every precinct, and there is a problem in that precinct, the voters could instantly show their receipts to prove they voted. And, if it was not them voting, they would see that immediately as well and we would know that was a case of fraud.
If someone steals your credit card, and runs up charges, the credit card company, working with the holder of the card can triangulate and isolate that fraud and move to address it. But the built-in security to prevent fraud would be for each person to have a pin that they create themselves. They would be encouraged to change that pin after each election, or just before it, to prevent hackers from accumulating access to those voting cards.
Also, at the very least, there has to be a national standard in presidential elections that are coordinated at the federal level. Since it is a national race, all rules concerning it should be uniform throughout all the states. There needs to be a date specific for everyone to vote either in a personal transaction or with this digital process. There would be no need for additional days to vote or additional ballots to be mailed. One bite at the apple, which makes a digital option the most logical.
It’s something to think about and start working on so that all these different state rules don’t create inconsistent realities. And, think about how much money it would save.
The great thing about tying it to your social security number is that everyone knows theirs, they are guarded and protected by the holder and the federal government makes it a crime to fraudulently use it or confiscate someone else’s for use. That voter card would have the same protections.
With the new enemy of voter confidence being high tech, it seems only logical to update an outdated system and protect the right of each person to fairly cast their ballot in all elections. If someone can’t get on line, they can do it on the phone. You wouldn’t have the excuses that are now used against photo IDs being used to vote. A photo is not tied to the SS card … only to the drivers license which has been used for a long time to identify voters. But, with that being challenged, the excuse of voter disenfranchisement for lack of photo ID would be a moot point.
So, in summary, the fail-safe assurances of a system like this would be that all voters would have an account, like a Visa or bank account. Every voter would use their SS number as their identifier. A safeguard redundancy to prevent fraud would be that three agencies of the Fed. gov. would receive tallies in real time, and discrepancies could easily be pin-pointed and cured. A receipt and archive would be made available to every voter and they would be encouraged to change their pin after, or just before, every election. There would be no need for absentee ballots because you could make this transaction from any where in the world either on-line, on the phone, in a bank lobby, or any place that takes regular credit cards.
What are the downsides to trying this? It would not hurt to have this discussion, especially in light of this latest fiasco of an election process. And at the very least, there need to be new laws governing the way a national election is conducted to prevent fraud and abuse.
There should not be this battle we are watching in real time to either count or discount every vote. There is no confidence in the system as it is and it begs to be changed. Those who scream the loudest against creating a more logical, streamlined, technologically viable system are probably those who have a vested interest in the existing system. And finally, all deployed military votes will be counted and not have to wait for bags of absentee ballots to be picked up on foreign docks.
Let’s get this thing under control, otherwise the voting process will have no credibility and voters will have lost all confidence in the system. Imagine if the economy and business transactions had that many holes in them and no one trusted technology. We would be an all cash society which is as antiquated as paper ballots.
Nina May is the Founder and Chairman of the Renaissance Foundation, an international leadership organization with offices in the US and the Republic of Korea. The Renaissance Foundation hosts international seminars, exchanges and events that bring business and political leaders of different countries and cultural backgrounds together. Nina is also a notable film maker, writer, commentator and contributor to many conservative news organizations and sites.