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Tag Archive | "federal government"

Michigan SOS recommendations to strengthen elections system


 

Five-point plan seeks to eliminate voter fraud vulnerabilities in states

N-VotingSecretary of State Ruth Johnson has sent a list of recommendations on strengthening the integrity of the elections system to Vice President Mike Pence and Michigan’s congressional delegation asking that the federal government provide state and local officials with the tools they need to ensure election integrity.

Pence is expected to head a special commission to investigate election issues.

“I believe the most critical parts of election administration are getting eligible citizens registered to vote and ensuring that only those individuals who are eligible to vote appear on the voter rolls,” Johnson said in her letter to Pence. “The United States as a whole must strive for the cleanest voter lists to eliminate vulnerabilities to voter fraud. To allow an ineligible person to cast a ballot is to disenfranchise an eligible citizen.”

Johnson has made election integrity and the accuracy of Michigan’s Qualified Voter File a top priority since she took office in 2011. Her department has removed 1.1 million ineligible people from the voter rolls, including 482,427 deceased voters, 104,126 who were registered in two states and 3,359 noncitizens. Her office also has performed 1,400 post-election audits and sends out a reminder to Michigan residents when they turn 18 years old and asks people who aren’t registered when they visit a Secretary of State office. Michigan has been named the top state for registering people to vote at motor-vehicle offices.

Her five recommendations:

Make Social Security Administration data available – The federal government should help states remove the names of deceased voters from the voter rolls. The Social Security Administration holds this data and it should be made available at no cost to all state election officials and updated at least once per month.

Remove those registered in more than one state – Congress, with the support of the administration, needs to pass a law that allows a voter to be efficiently removed at state motor vehicle offices from the voting rolls if that voter registers in their new state of residence. There is no process, system or law to prevent people from being registered in more than one state. This needs to be an automated system for all states. Former Congresswoman Candice Miller worked hard on a bill that would have accomplished this but it never passed.

Share noncitizen info – The federal government should allow states to verify noncitizens are not on the voter rolls. For years, the federal government required motor-vehicle agency clerks to ask customers—without regard to their citizenship—if they would like to register to vote. As a consequence, many noncitizens registered in error. Johnson met with Homeland Security officials in 2012 and asked for assistance in removing noncitizens from the voter list but never heard back or received any information or cooperation despite numerous attempts.

Create an election crime database – A comprehensive, national database or repository of election-related crimes needs to be created by the administration or Congress with the participation of all states. It would be invaluable to have a federal repository of election crimes categorized with information easily retrieved to help quantify and qualify problems. This will help identify vulnerabilities and fix them.

Require a voting paper trail – Voting machines or tabulators across the U.S. should be required to have some form of a verifiable paper trail that allows officials and citizens to review the results instead of having to blindly trust electronic devices. Voting machines or tabulators that don’t provide election officials with a paper record do not instill confidence in our elections systems and lack the accountability needed. Additionally, voting machines should not be connected to the internet.

A copy of Secretary Johnson’s letter to Vice President Pence is available online at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Letter_to_Vice_President_Pence_551502_7.pdf.

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Look Up, Americans—it’s not as bad as you think 


V-Lee-Hamilton-webBy Lee H. Hamilton

We are one glum country.

Trust in the federal government is at historic lows, according to Gallup. More than half of the respondents to an October Rasmussen poll think our best days are behind us. And just a few weeks ago, an NBC/Wall St. Journal poll found that the one thing Americans agree upon, whatever their race or circumstances, is that the system is stacked against people like them.

I have just one thing to say to this: could we all take a deep breath?

We deal with our challenges from a position of strength. We have friendly neighbors to the north and south, oceans to the east and west, and a growing, relatively young population. We possess abundant natural resources, the world’s most capable military force, a nuclear arsenal second to none, and a deterrent power envied by every other country on earth.

We’re doing better economically than any other major industrialized nation, and have put more people back to work since the recovery began than the rest of the industrialized world combined. Our people possess strengths in abundance. We have a remarkable reservoir of talent and a strong entrepreneurial tradition that nurtures inventiveness and draws countless people from abroad eager to make something of their future. Does that sound like a once-great nation on its knees?

I’m not blind to our shortcomings or to the severe challenges we confront. If you read this column regularly, you know that. But in the face of extraordinary difficulties, we adapt, persevere, and eventually emerge stronger. In the end, government may act slowly, and it’s often well behind where you’d wish it to be, but it does act.

All these things give our society a resilience to keep in mind the next time you see a news story or commentary hyping a pessimistic view of our future. We have a long way to go, there’s no doubt about it. But I’m reminded of a young woman a few years ago who asked me, after a bleak speech I’d given laying out the problems of the world, “Is there any hope?” My answer now is the same as it was then: Yes, of course there is.

Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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Roger on Main StreetDeadline

The federal government has borrowed all the money Congress has allowed. If we don’t raise the debt limit, we can’t pay our bills and down goes America’s credit rating. Sounds like my VISA account.
The federal debt situation shouldn’t be a surprise. The U.S. started two wars “on the cuff.” The previous Congress didn’t even include those tens of $billions in the budget (so as not to bother our pretty little heads about it, I guess). But didn’t anybody think the bills might come due? Instead of raising tax money, we got the “Bush tax cuts,” the first time in history our country has gone to war while also cutting taxes. Ignoring the bills does not mean they go away. Every family knows this problem.

Drive-in service

The elderly priest, speaking to the younger one, said, “It was a good idea to replace the first four pews with plush bucket theater seats. It worked like a charm. The front of the church always fills first now.”
The young priest nodded, and the old priest continued, “And you told me adding a little more beat to the music would bring young people back to church, so I supported you when you brought in that rock ‘n roll gospel choir. Now our services are consistently packed to the balcony.”
“Thank you, Father. I’m pleased that you are open to the new ideas of youth.”
“All these ideas have been well and good,” said the elderly priest, “but I’m afraid you’ve gone too far with the drive-through confessional.”
“But, Father,” protested the younger one, “my confessions and the donations have nearly doubled since I started that!”
“Yes,” said the elderly priest, “and I appreciate that. But the flashing neon sign, ‘Toot ’n Tell or Go to Hell’ cannot stay on the church roof.’”

Too much work

A friend claims his son is so lazy he won’t empty the trash in the computer bin.

Call 911

Joe sets up his friend Mike on a blind date with a young lady-friend of his. But Mike’s a little worried about going out with someone he’s never seen before. “What do I do if she’s really unattractive?” he asks. “I’ll be stuck with her all night.”
“Don’t worry,” Joe says. “Just go up to her door and meet her first. If you like what you see, then everything goes as planned. If you don’t, just shout ‘Aaaaaauuuggghhh!’ and fake an asthma attack.”
So that night, Mike knocks at the girl’s door and when she comes out he is awe-struck at how attractive and sexy she is. He’s about to speak when the girl suddenly shouts: “Aaaaaauuuggghhh!”

Makes sense

“Mary,” asks Dawn thoughtfully one day, “what would you do if you caught your husband with another woman?”
“Another woman with my husband?” Mary thinks it over. “Let’s see; I’d break her cane, shoot her guide dog, and call a cab to take her back to the institution she escaped from.”

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