While making calls for Hillary the other day from a list of what was supposed to be registered voters I was surprised that I ran across an unregistered voter. He was purposely unregistered and was not planning to vote. Hopefully, I was able to convey the importance of voting this year. The choice is between normalcy and some sort of crazy experiment in what a megalomaniac can do to the US.
That call made me wonder if people across the country are assuming that they are registered when they are not. Iowa should not have as much trouble as some, but no one anyplace should assume they are registered. Some states had voter restriction laws passed and in other states there have been voter roll purges done by the state secretary of states based on faulty data from Kansas SOS Kris Kobach.
The data is processed through a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is being promoted by a powerful Republican operative, and its lists of potential duplicate voters are kept confidential. But Rolling Stone obtained a portion of the list and the names of 1 million targeted voters. According to our analysis, the Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states with tight Senate races.
Like all weapons of vote suppression, Crosscheck is a response to the imaginary menace of mass voter fraud. In the mid-2000s, after the Florida-recount debacle, the Bush administration launched a five-year investigation into the allegedly rampant crime but found scant evidence of wrongdoing. Still, the GOP has perpetuated the myth in every national election since. Recently, North Carolina Board of Elections chief Kim Strach testified to her legislature that 35,750 voters are “registered in North Carolina and another state and voted in both in the 2012 general election.” [Editor’s note: This quote was taken from the power point that accompanied Strach’s testimony. In a subsequent letter, she informed us that during her presentation she “stressed that we were not suggesting that 35,750 voters had committed any type of fraud. My testimony was that the data we received from the Crosscheck Program showed that in the 2012 general election, there were 35,750 people who voted in North Carolina whose first and last names and dates of birth matched persons who voted in the same election in another state.”] Yet despite hiring an ex-FBI agent to lead the hunt, the state has charged exactly zero double voters from the Crosscheck list. Nevertheless, tens of thousands face the loss of their ability to vote – all for the sake of preventing a crime that rarely happens. So far, Crosscheck has tagged an astonishing 7.2 million suspects, yet we found no more than four perpetrators who have been charged with double voting or deliberate double registration.
So don’t assume you are registered. Anyone from any state can check their registration by using this handy website: http://www.canivote.org/
Simply enter your state and you will be connected to your state’s SOS database of registered voters. I did it the other day and it only took about 2 minutes total. It is also a chance to check and make sure the data is correct. In my case I am registered as “David” whereas I do most things under the name “Dave.” That may come in handy when we vote.
While we are talking voting, why not vote early? What if you are sick or suddenly called out of town on November 8th? Early voting starts in Iowa September 29th this year. If you are in Iowa it is fairly easy.
The rules for voting absentee in Iowa are here. You can download an absentee ballot request form here. Then take it or have someone take it or mail it to your local county auditor. Information to do all this is on Iowa’s Secretary of State’s office.
If you don’t want to vote by mail, but still want to vote early you can go to your county auditor’s office during normal business hours and vote. In some counties there may be satellite voting stations prior to the election. Check with your county auditors on to find out if any are scheduled in your county.
Elections have consequences. This year the consequences could be catastrophic. We have never needed everyone to vote more than this year. Straight ticket voting is available in Iowa. We humbly suggest a straight Democratic ticket this year.