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The Illegal Immigrant Motor-Voter Plan By: Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq.
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, April 02, 2009

The original “Roget’s Thesaurus,” St. Martin’s Press, 1965, updating from the real original of 1852, includes among definitions for “claptrap” the words “false reasoning,” “sophistry,” “empty talk,” and “fable.” One can apply whatever opprobrious words one chooses.

The facts have become more obvious, even if discussion goes every which way. Staggeringly large numbers of people are driving with materially false drivers’ licenses and voting with that same level of ineligibility.

Sometimes there is a dramatic example. The most recent probably is that which The Washington Post last week reported. In Rockville, Md. there is “a modest Parcel Plus store...” legitimate on its face and likely fully legitimately planned and operated.

However, at least 42 “undocumented” -- translate, “unlawful” -- immigrants living in states other than Maryland have used that address “to fake a Maryland residence” to obtain a driver’s license in another state.  It is estimated there are around 300,000 unlawful immigrants living in Maryland -- itself an alarming total.

To worsen the phenomenon, if one may characterize it so gently, the Maryland motor vehicle administrator, himself not a party to the problem, calculates that the State of Maryland since 2006 has issued about 350,000 drivers’ licenses to people (as quoted by the Post, probably wholly accurately) “using foreign documents without U.S. visa stamps.”

State voter registration requirements hardly are rigid. North Dakota, amazingly enough, does not even have voter registration -- quite a dare even in a jurisdiction with a tiny population, no big city, few immigrants lawful or otherwise. Registration requirements in the other 49 States and the District of Columbia simply are some (but not all) of, or some variation of: U.S. citizenship, state residence, local residence, minimal age, absence of conviction of certain crimes and/or other related criteria, not adjudicated mentally incompetent.

What is pervasively, if not quite 100 percent, missing is authenticity and reliability of proof.

Registration to vote ought to require solid proof of residency. The following would be meaningful: a certified copy of title to the registration applicant’s residence, of his or her lease, or sublease or current realty tax record.  Further, there ought to be a serious duration-of-residency requirement -- e.g., 90 days; whereas presently some states have none, an invitation to multiple voting, while none has more than 30 days.

Registration also ought to have solid proof of citizenship.  A current passport or certified copy of a birth certificate are readily available to anybody not trying to fake citizenship.

Not surprisingly, many liberals support yet greater requirement relaxation.  Among many others, a Brown University study, The Washington Post and the New York Times, as might be expected, are complaining about alleged disenfranchisement.  A scholarly (and evidently quite liberal) group posting its work as the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey estimates that four million allegedly eligible voters were precluded from voting on Nov. 8, 2008, due to alleged registration problems.  Some four to five million are said to have complained.

The founding fathers had few proof problems. Landowners voted. In our transient and rental society that simple requirement obviously would be grossly unfair. However, if our elections are to be decided by lawful citizens voting only once in one election and voting in the ward, precinct, parish or other local jurisdiction in which they live, much more is needed than claptrap and dubious-to-phony drivers’ licenses.

Further, the jurisdiction historically has been, and should continue to be, that of the states -- even though almost all states, however well intentioned, are offenders. Congress at most might hold hearings. However, given a general, and among liberals almost pervasive, view that anybody, qualified or otherwise, should vote, the foreseeable outlook is not remedial. Thus, a troubling burden falls upon local registration office personnel who are conscientious.  Amelioration will come, if at all, by the efforts of concerned citizens in their home areas.  Meanwhile, there might be more claptrap about denial of the right of vote.

Marion Edwyn Harrison is President of, and Counsel to, the Free Congress Foundation.

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