The Secretary of State’s office sent out a press release last week letting the media know about possible voter fraud involving two of the initiatives on last year’s ballots.
According to the press release three signature collectors, who garnered 8,000 signatures between them for Initiatives 1-517 and I-522, produced signatures that didn’t match names and addresses on file.
Initiative 517 was Tim Eyman’s initiative which deals with the “initiative process” and I-522 deals with genetically engineered food.
According to the Secretary of State’s office a high percent of signatures collected by these three should be considered fraudulent.
Thank goodness these petitions didn’t effect the initiatives’ certification due to the fact that the number gathered far exceeded what was mandatory.
“This kind of disrespect of the voters and our cherished initiative process cannot be tolerated, and I want these cases fully investigated, and if, appropriate, as it certainly appears, I want these people prosecuted,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman said. “I’m sure that sponsors of ballot measures demand that their solicitors be accurate and honest, but we’ve always feared that use of pay-per-signature encourages bad behavior. The good news is that we do have rigorous fraud-check procedures and law enforcement that takes this seriously. I am glad that we are reviewing petitions with a very careful eye, setting aside questionable petition sheets for additional signature checks.”
So, what do we do now? How do we ensure that voter fraud doesn’t exist?
Well, that’s probably not going to be easy and most likely will always be a problem to some extent. People are still questioning voter fraud in the 1960 Kennedy election.
Bill Frezze, a contributing writer to Forbes online suggested in August 2012 that each voter gives their fingerprint before they vote.
“Dipping a finger in indelible ink to show that you have voted may sound primitive, but it’s quite fitting given the deplorable state of our politics. Sure, it may not stop ineligible voters from filling out a ballot—at least not right away—but walking around with a blue finger for the three or four days it takes for the ink to wear off will give the wider community plenty of opportunity to identify voters who really shouldn’t have. All it takes is a hot line to tip off prosecutors and you’ve empowered 300 million people to keep their eyes and ears open for cheaters,” Frezze writes.
He also suggests that voters with that blue finger could wear it as a sort of badge of honor saying to their peers, ‘I voted, what’s your problem.’
Using peer pressure tactics to encourage people to vote may not be a bad idea.
How would that work here in Washington where we have a mail-in ballot system?
This would force voters to get off their butts and vote at a polling station where I.D. can be checked at the door and fingerprints taken.
Because most folks who work at polling places do it voluntarily, this may even save the state money on postage, paper and staff time.