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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dumb Question: Voter Identity in USA, Easy to Cheat?

As you may know, I've never voted in American Elections. We made aliyah a couple of months before my first possibility. In those days, voting age was twenty-one 21. I turned the age in May, got on the boat late August, and Elections were in November. It never even crossed my mind to apply for an Absentee Ballot. And over the almost half a century since then, I've gotten no further than mulling over the issue.

Here in Israel voting is very organized and it's pretty hard to cheat, other than those who arrive with an Identity Card of a similar looking dead person who hasn't been registered as dead, or the same sort of thing with someone hospitalized. As long as nobody in the polling station staff realizes it or "squeals," it can be done.

Yes, in Israel we have Identity Cards, with pictures. Some of us have very old ones, which can be problematic, since we don't look much like the photos. That's why there's usually a lot of pressure on the staff in the Ministry of the Interior to produce new cards for many in the weeks before an election. 

In Shiloh and other small communities, there's pretty much always a neighbor on the "staff" who can easily vouch. Also, we're all sent notices telling us exactly where we are supposed to vote. And we must vote there. If there was a mistake by the clerk in the Ministry of Interior, which happens --such as sending someone to Shilat, rather than Shiloh-- one can get free public transportation.

There's no "absentee ballot/voting" in Israel. The closest is the voting by soldiers, diplomats stationed abroad, etc. And those ballots are in multiple envelopes to preserve secrecy. On the outer envelope is the name and ID number of the voter. After polling station votes are counted, then those envelopes are checked to see if that ID number had voted in person. If so, the envelope is voided, ripped, destroyed whatever.

Now, in the United States, there aren't required Identity Cards, and from what I've read, there is no longer an assigned place to vote. So how does it work? Besides just trusting people...


Sammy Finkelman said...

>> there is no longer an assigned place to vote. So how does it work? Besides just trusting people...

Theer is an assiged place to vote.

Where there isn't, is with absentee ballots, and in some places, starting maybe with California around 1978, no excuses absentee viting has grown to tremendous numbers. Of course in that case, theer is an official ballot, but who knows who marks it? It's mailed and deliverd. In the sattes of Washington, Oregon and now pretty much colorado, theer is only or almost only voting by mail.

Some states also have "early voting" where people go to alimitede number of places before election day, and they get handed a ballot for their voting address.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I read of two cases of voter impersonation in Israel.

Picture ID maybe isn't all it's cracked up to be.

One was in 1999, by a religious party, in elections to the Knesset. This party, not trusting or not counting on its members to bother to vote collected a lot of ID cards from I guess stdents in yeshivah and so on. Then they hired peole to vote.

Maybe 50 "voters" would be aseembled, and somebody would match a person to picture, and they'd tell them to memorize the ID number, because voters get asked for their ID numbers, and every person uses it so often they have it memorized.

The voters voted several times. This worked because, being a religious party, people trused them with their IDs, and proportional representation meant they on;y needed a limited number of votes.

The other case was in the mayoral electipon for Beth Shemesh.

Batya Medad said...

OK, thanks
Arabs cheat terribly, and the inspectors are terrified if they report it.