In last week’s “Democratically Speaking” column, two things were mentioned that caught my eye. One was that Republicans didn’t create the coronavirus but have tried to weaponize it against voters. The other was that Republicans don’t want everyone to vote. That first one is wrong but the second one is correct, and for the same reason.
The Republicans have not changed their stance on voting since the virus arrived in the U.S. It has been the same for 150 years. We do not want everyone to vote.
We do not want illegal immigrants to vote. We do not want dead people to vote. We do not want someone who has already voted in a different precinct to vote again. We do not want someone harvesting 50 ballots at a nursing home, which is legal in some states. We do want all citizens to vote after proving their identity.
The liberal left is fighting the requirement to show a photo ID in order to vote. They claim it disenfranchises lower income people. A Colorado State ID card is $11.50 for five years. This card is required in order to buy cigarettes or alcohol, to attend an R-rated movie, and to do many other things.
You can’t get a glass of wine with your dinner at a restaurant without a photo ID, but requiring it to vote disenfranchises people? I don’t think so. Two dollars and thirty cents a year is not a hardship.
There were problems in Wisconsin when the governor proposed postponing the primary election and the state legislature refused to allow that. An effort was made to extend the period provided for mail-in voting, but that too was rejected by the courts. We must remember that we do not have pandemics every election year, so the circumstances surrounding all of this were pretty unusual.
You hear much talk about having mail-in voting legalized across the country. We do have that in Colorado, but let me explain how that works.
Every ballot envelope, whether dropped in one of the box locations or sent via USPS, has its signature confirmed. Every envelope, not just one in 10, or even one in four. Every envelope is checked before being opened.
A Republican judge and a Democratic judge sit together in front of a computer. The bar code on the envelope is scanned and the computer presents the two judges with several samples of that voter’s signature. These have been scanned in from voter registration, driver’s licenses, land purchase documents, and other legal forms.
Both judges must agree the signature on the envelope agrees with the samples on the computer screen. If they do not agree, that envelope is set aside and an effort is made by the county clerk’s office to contact that voter.
The voter must come in and confirm it is their vote before the envelope is moved to the accepted pile. All accepted envelopes are then opened and the ballot removed while in the secrecy sleeve. The envelopes are saved for evidentiary purposes and the ballots are then run through a scanner to be tabulated.
This process requires budgeting in advance to pay the judges that sit in the election office for the two weeks of early voting. It requires purchasing the software for the computer to be able to compare the signature on the envelope with historical signatures. It requires advance purchasing of equipment to handle all these processes and envelopes.
If Wisconsin suddenly went from a normal 5 percent mail-in ballot receipt of all voters, for example, to suddenly an 80 percent mail-in ballot total, I doubt they would have had the people and equipment in place to be able to process the votes.
Republicans will be willing to accept mail-in voting for all voters across the country once locations like New York City and Chicago have procedures to enforce voting integrity.
And by the way, as of April 22, 15 days after the Wisconsin primary, only 19 people who were at a polling place as a judge or voter have tested positive for the coronavirus. We know the reported numbers don’t represent all cases, as many people will survive COVID-19 without medical care, but it certainly did not turn out to be the disaster some predicted if Wisconsin didn’t relax its voting standards.
As we finish talking about citizenship and numbers, let me please beg you to complete your 2020 Census if you have not already done so. Ten years ago we only had a 40 percent response rate. Based on our estimated population of 18,000 in Park County, and approximately $2,300 per person in government funding, a 60% percent non-response would be about $25 million per year that we would miss out on.
I think that would fix a few of our roads and improve our schools. This takes less than 10 minutes and can be done by calling 844-330-2020 or visiting www.my2020census.gov.