Massachusetts is a state that is politically controlled by politicos that are ignoring the desire of the majority of the electorate in wanting to see improvement in election procedures. Failure of the Commonwealth’s leadership creates an environment where good people look to take steps at a local level.
As an active participant in Massachusetts elections through the efforts of Show ID to Vote, a Massachusetts based effort to improve voting, I am familiar with the rules and procedures in the state. I have observed polling operations during many elections and in dozens of communities. In general, Massachusetts has pretty reasonable regulations designed to protect the integrity of the ballot in addition to other objectives. I personally, and Show ID to Vote as an organization, does not favor a state making it a requirement to present a photo ID prior to voting. Photo ID’s can be a great tool to help polling officials to do their job of verifying who is eligible to vote, but as a flat requirement it creates new issues for some members of the electorate. I believe we can improve election activities and avoid creating barriers for legitimate voters.
I would suggest changing the wording of the proposed question to something like: ‘have polling officials request all voters to present acceptable identification as defined by Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 54) before being allowed to cast a vote in state and federal elections.’
These changes would continue to allow the voters to use the very same legally acceptable forms of identification they currently are mandated by law to have in their possession when voting, while requiring officials to ask for the ID as a matter of course. If a voter is not prepared to show identification the officials may continue to function the very same way as they currently do, allowing a voter to proceed by just verbally giving their address and name, or if the voter has given any cause for suspicion, further request the identification. Provisional ballots would still be available for all those who do not have the identification available at the time of voting.
The immediate benefits of doing so who be clear to anyone who has observed a polling place. The check in and check out for almost everyone voting would be made easier and more efficient. Fraudulent voters, would stand out in a crowd of legitimate voters. Officials would find it much easier to do their jobs while not living in the fear of being accused of discrimination.
All of this would result in less fraud as well as improved efficiency. And yes Virginia, there is voter fraud by impersonation even in Northborough.
Additionally, I am somehwat concerned by your reporting ‘Dowd said he has never asked a voter to show ID through the law, and doesnt plan to.’ The largest problem I have observed in Massachusetts is with lax officials not following the rules or regulations. This is the largest risk factor in making fraud so easy. Officials are not empower to ignore regulations they do not think necessary. It may be a good thing that Dowd claims not to be aware of a single instance of voter fraud or that may due to a failure to follow the rules. Perhaps our officials in many cases may not be doing the job we think they are. I find most people think that officials are concerned about stopping fraud rather than the actual environment in the state where potential fraud is ignored.
For more information on election day activities and how we can best participate in our representative government, see Show ID to Vote on the web at www.ShowIDtoVote.com or find us on facebook, twitter and other social media.
Co-Founder, Show ID to Vote
These comments are based upon the efforts in Northborough where the Town Meeting will be considering a local resolution to require voters to show a photo ID for all elections. The link to the article is:
My comments on behalf of ShowIDtoVote are posted following the article.