We must restore confidence in our voting system

To the Editor:

I am confused. I went to the doctor and they asked for an ID card. The same happened at the bank. I guess it was done to stop fraud.

I went to get on an airplane, and I had to show an ID card; the same happened when I was applying for a federal job. I guess it was done in the name of security.

I went to vote, and no identification was asked for. 

A relative moved from New York to another state and registered to vote there. Yet she is still registered in New York. She did not vote in both places, but it was possible as there are no checks and balances.

The solution: Both parties sponsor a national voter registration bank. We have a national gun check, so it is possible.

We must restore confidence in the system if democracy is to survive. If either party is not in favor of such a system, it only makes one question their motives and enhance the theory, true or not, that voter fraud is determining some elections.

David Erickson


Editor’s note: We asked the state’s Board of Elections to respond to David Erickson’s concerns. Here is what Records Access Officer J. Conklin about verifying a voter’s identity:

“The signature in the poll book/voter registration record is the main means of verifying the voter’s identity in the poll site.

“Since 2006, when New York implemented the state’s requirements under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, only new registrants have had to provide either a Department of Motor Vehicles ID, the last four digits of the Social Security number or some other ID that showed their name and current address (a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or some other government document that shows your name and address) when submitting their registration form. 

“If they failed to do that, when they went to vote for the first time they would have to produce one of those forms of ID before they could vote on the machine in the poll site.

“There would be a notation in the poll book stating the voter needed to produce additional ID because they failed to meet the ID requirement when they registered.  Which is why you occasionally see a voter produce ID at the polls. But, once they meet that requirement, they should never need to produce ID again. All they will have to do is sign the poll book when they voter after that.

“Voters registered before 2006 were grandfathered in and have never had to produce ID to register, only their signature confirms their identity.”

Here’s what Conklin said about voting in two states:

“It is not illegal to be registered in two states, but it is illegal to vote in two or more states during the same election. 

“When Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act in 1994, also known as the Motor Voter law, in an effort to assist the states to keep clean and up-to-date voter registration lists they established a procedure for the states to send each other cancellation notices for voters that have moved from one state to another.

“The process is not instantaneous and is dependent on the voter telling the new state information about where they previously voted, which not every voter does. In addition, not every state is diligent in sending the notices. As a result, some voters can remain registered in two or more states for some time.

“If the new state never sends the cancellation notice to the old state there are other procedures in statute that will eventually cancel the voter in the old state that are dependent on mail being returned or tracking through the National Change of Address system run through the Post Office.

“Once mail is returned to the county board of elections the voter is placed in inactive status. If they remain in inactive status for two federal general election cycles they can then be cancelled. In addition, the voter can take the initiative and send a letter to their old board of elections requesting to have their registration cancelled because they moved.

“The question of preventing a person from voting in two or more states is a much thornier problem. There is no national database that tracks voters between states so the system is largely dependent on the honesty of the voter and the fact that is it a felony if caught.”

“Then it is up to the county district attorney in either state to bring a prosecution.  In most cases someone with knowledge of the situation would have to report the voter, it is not something that is routinely tracked.”


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