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Mexico's Voter System is Better than Ours

Published:

Memo From Mexico, By  Allan Wall

January 04, 2003

Why Is Mexico’s Voter Registration System Better Than Ours?

Mexico has a better voter registration system than the United States.

That may come as a shock to those who believe nothing in Mexico could be superior. Nevertheless, it is true.

My wife is a Mexican citizen. I’ve accompanied her when she votes. (Being a non-citizen here, I don’t, of course, vote.) Every registered Mexican voter has a Voter ID card, complete with photograph, fingerprint, and a holographic image to prevent counterfeiting.

At the Mexican polling station, there is a book containing the photograph of every voter in the precinct. This book is available to the poll workers and observers from various parties. If there’s a doubt as to someone’s identity, the poll workers can simply look up the person’s name and see if the photo matches up.

The Mexican voter’s thumb is smudged with ink. That way, if he shows up at another polling site to vote, they know he’s already voted elsewhere. (The ink wears off after a few days.)

It’s a good system. Sure, Mexico has many problems. But hey, they solved that one!

Mexico’s 2000 presidential election elected Vicente Fox with a plurality of the vote. Some were happy, others weren’t. But there was no significant dispute over who had won the election. And that was a great accomplishment.

In contrast, U.S. voter registration is a joke. Thanks to the “Motor Voter” regime, not only is it unnecessary for a voter to prove citizenship, it is also unnecessary to prove identity. Registrars have been instructed not to be inquisitive about applicants’ citizenship - or lack thereof. It should come as no surprise then, that the last few years have seen more and more examples of voter fraud coming to light, including the casting of ballots by non-citizen voters.

But now–help is on the way–or is it?

I refer to the “Help America Vote Act,” recently passed by Congress and signed by President Bush on October 29th, 2002, scheduled to take effect in 2003 and 2004 (if funds are appropriated). The Help America Vote Act was opposed by the Hispanic Caucus, MALDEF and Hillary Clinton (who voted against it). But it was supported by the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus.

(Some would argue that voter registration should be the responsibility of states and not the federal government anyway. It’s a valid point. I hope they are working in their own states to improve voter registration standards there.)

In the meantime, what is there about this new federal law that could possibly improve our voter registration system?

Well, it does authorize funds for computerized voter lists. And everyone registering is required to provide a driver’s license or social security number. And election officials are actually supposed to try to verify the numbers.

First-time voters registering by mail have to provide proof of identity (a photo ID, utility bill, paycheck, bank statement, or government document with name and address) when registering or voting.

That’s good as far as it goes. But what about everybody else? Why not, like Mexico, require a permanent voter ID, with photo, for everybody, all the time?

Reason: Hispanic pressure groups like MALDEF and National Council of La Raza wouldn’t like it. Every time the suggestion of a photo ID comes up, some so-called Hispanic activist or defender attacks it as discriminatory. In Massachusetts, a federal judge struck down a municipal regulation requiring voters to show an ID before voting on the grounds that it “unfairly burdened Latino voters.”

Photo ID is inherently discriminatory against Hispanics? That’s funny - it works here in Mexico, where almost everybody is Hispanic!

As for “discrimination,” isn’t electoral law supposed to discriminate between citizens and non-citizens?

Well, you can’t expect MALDEF and NCLR to care more about common civic values than the advancement of their own agenda, now, can you?

Besides, there is a simple solution to the “ID Discrimination Problem.”

I suggest we follow Mexico’s example, where the government pays for the photo IDs. Why not? The government wastes money on so many things already. What’s better than spending money on improving our voter registration system? Then maybe someday we could bring it up to Mexican standards.

I hope the new Republican Congress proves me wrong, but so far, I don’t see the new law as a panacea. If the money is appropriated and IF the registration provisions are enforced, such provisions would be a step in the right direction.

But what will it really do to prevent non-citizen voting? Oh, it has a real tough provision for that! The Help America Vote Act requires the mail-in registration forms ask the question, “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?”

It even supplies handy boxes where the applicant can answer “yes” or “no.”

Don’t worry MALDEF! Senator Christopher Dodd, the Act’s principal Senate sponsor, reassures you with these words:

“The check off box is a tool for registrars to use to verify citizenship. Nothing in the legislation requires a check off or invalidates the form if the box is left blank.”

Yes, the U.S. has a long way to go to get up to Mexico’s standards.

American citizen Allan Wall lives in Mexico, but spends a total of about six weeks a year in the state of Texas, where he drills with the Texas Army National Guard. VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at allan39@prodigy.net.mx


Entry #109

Comments

1.
TenajComment by Tenaj - February 7, 2008, 8:02 am
This article is dated a few years but I found it interesting since the holdup on who won the Democratic Nomination is hung up in an area where the population is largely the Hispanic vote. There are problems with voter count and other issues like running out of voter forms, etc. Their excuse is - unexpected turnout. That’s crap. They turn out. They knew that.

When we’d have the Latin America Festivals every year it will be 15-20 thousand Hispanics, when the other festivals we would be lucky to get 1000 people. I know you can’t compare festivals to voter turnout but we knew they turned out because we had seen it for 12 years. There's no excuse for those kind of problems. And with the influx they knew.

We’ll have meetings to tweak how we can better handle and serve the crowd. If a museum can do it with the budget we were on, they could have done it.   

One year it rained all day. I mean rain, rain, soaked through your shoes and it didn’t stop anything. Biggest turnout ever.

Unexpected turnout - yeah right.

It makes me wonder how we handle the voting process period and how much of the hold up is crap. I don’t have to show ID when I vote. I think they knew it was going to be a huge turnout and wanted to throw a monkey wrench in it.

Most links in this article are no longer available except these.

http://www.maldef.org/
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Authors.aspx?GUID={706E76EE-2A76-4938-88F4-DAEA5068648C}
http://www.nclr.org/
2.
jarasanComment by jarasan - February 7, 2008, 11:54 am
Here in MD. I threatened with legal action by the election board when I moved here because they accused me of being registered in two states, that didn't go far for them. In mD. you must present ID.
3.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 7, 2008, 3:29 pm
I've had problems several times and refused to leave the polls without voting. My mailing address and my residence are different, but I am registered legally and only in one place. My voter's card has the right address. This time he swiped my license (looked exactly like a credit card machine) and I signed the screen. My residence appeared on it, so at least they have their records straight.

I want to add that when I voted this time, I couldn't tell if I marked the correct box. The names were not positioned well on the screen. Fortunately at the end I was given a chance to review my choices. If this is the way the screen looked to the people in Palm Beach 8 years ago, I completely understand why so many liberal Jews ended up voting for Pat Buchanan. At least 1,000 votes for Gore were not counted in that one county in FL alone. Most people don't know the whole story. Many say Bush would have won anyway, but it wasn't just the elderly who were targeted. There's an area of Miami that is mostly Black (Opa Locka) and people were being told they couldn't vote for a number of reasons. No kidding, but one was that a man was wearing baggy pants!! At that time Al Gore was getting 9 out of 10 of the Black votes in FL. For some reason (never explained) they had police guarding the polls in Black areas, some in riot gear which intimidated voters as they approached the area. I had to search, but here's an article explaining some of the crazy events from the Nov 2000 poll. I know this was the past, but now it's deja vu all over again..only now they're doing it to the Hispanics.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E0D9133DF933A05752C1A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

4.
TenajComment by Tenaj - February 7, 2008, 4:44 pm
I read the article Justx. People do stuff to you because they can. The only way you can fight something like this is for voters to take accountability and double-check (if you are a newly registered voter/or changed addresses, name change (married) etc.) and make sure that their precincts have the correct information before voting time on all forms and databases. Databases are wrong when stuff print out differently.

Campaign workers who get people registered and get them to the polls should stress how important it is to make sure it's going to be right when they get there. You can check in advance. Anybody can check. It's public information.

Or the campaign workers can go the extra mile and put together a database of all they register and have volunteers keep up with whether the precincts have updated information. Find out the process of voter registration once the card is filled out, stuff like how long it takes, where does it goes, who puts it in the different databases, how long does it take, how long does it take to get to the precincts etc. I would grill them. Make sure all information is the same in all places, so that it won't print differently. And when you get to the booth all information is correct. And there should always be more staff and way more voters cards etc. and always backups to handle problems. And the campaign worker should make sure all of this is happening in their precincts.

It's all about accountability. It seems that getting people registered and getting them there is not enough.

I know it's a lot of work but the heads do these type of things at the polls "BECAUSE THEY CAN"
5.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 7, 2008, 5:29 pm
I do agree with accountability, but there are stories about people being intimidated at the polls. I;m still shocked that so many people showed up on Tues to vote. The comments on local blogs are calling these people morons, but I'm not so sure something else is going on. Now I'm the one posting about conspiracy theories. LOL
6.
Rick GComment by Rick G - February 8, 2008, 9:37 am
The voting system is the very heart of democracy. It is unconscionable that any registered US citizen be denied that right. And cops in riot gear at the polling place? What were they expecting??? I've never heard of violence in or around polling places...unless the voter is not allowed to vote. Is that what the cops were expecting?

I'm sorry to say, Nancy, I lost all respect for your state and Ohio after that election. It sounds like the shenanigans continue in Florida elections.

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