Some of you may have heard that we have an election coming up. It's possible you've noticed one or two news clips about voter fraud as well.
OK, I know we're kind of political junkies here. That's why I'm linking this plea from a woman in Illinois who's fighting an uphill battle against voter fraud in one of the most straightforward and uncontroversial ways possible: by recruiting Republican election judges for 500 precincts in a deep-blue state.
If you're not in the habit of working the polls on election day, you may not realize that there are supposed to be election judges from both parties present at every polling place. In areas where one party is particularly demoralized, it can be hard to find a judge from the minority party. We have a constant problem in my precinct, for instance, finding a Democratic judge to serve. Luckily for the Democrats in my precinct, I wouldn't dream of countenancing any shady behavior at my polls and would deputize armed fellow citizens to nip it in the bud. Sadly, that is not the case for all precincts in America. Even where there is no entrenched, deliberate corruption, we live in an imperfect world: some people need the constant presence of those with opposing political viewpoints in order to avoid drifting into slipshod practices on election day.
All of this is to encourage each of you to consider volunteering as a poll worker on November 6. If your precinct is traditionally well-staffed, the precinct judge positions may go only to workers with a proven history of volunteering and training as lower-level poll workers. Don't be surprised, though, if the election judge position goes begging where you live, especially if you're in the minority. In that case, please look into becoming a precinct judge. Just check with your party's county chairman. The position usually pays a little bit, and the training is not difficult.
Speaking of voter fraud/voter suppression, Pennsylvania has been struggling with the issue this season. I read yesterday that someone in that state noticed belatedly that the proposed new voter i.d. law permits nursing homes and universities to issue voter i.d.'s to any resident of their counties, regardless of whether the voter resides at the nursing home or attends the university. There have been reports that the primary intended issuer, the DMV, was slow or unreasonably nitpicky about minor variations in name. I'm all for privatizing government functions, of course, in order to ensure better service, so although some Pennsylvania Republicans are squeamish about what they consider an unwise loophole, I don't really share their concerns -- at least not as long as we don't witness over-enthusiastic issuance of voter i.d.'s to people from the citizenship-challenged or differently animated communities.