Time for a National Voting Standard

Image: Time for a National Voting Standard New Jersey Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan votes in Tuesday's special election primary.

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 05:37 PM

By Bradley A. Blakeman

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You would think that after the boondoggle of the Florida Recount in the 2000 presidential election that there would have been legislation passed that insured uniform standards for federal elections.

Today we are seeing lawsuit after lawsuit in states that are requiring I.D.s and other requirements that affect a person’s right to vote in their home state.

As a result of these state lawsuits it insures different standards in different states that have a direct consequence to federal elections.

In an effort to create order out of chaos it makes sense that there be uniform standards in federal elections that insure all Americans are treated equally and fairly when exercising their most valued right as a citizen.

In federal elections there should not be 50 different standards. There should be one. If it is good enough for New York it should be good enough for Florida and vice versa.

Uniform federal election law should include:
  1. I.D.: A citizen 18 years of age or older shall produce a valid photo I.D. from an approved federal or state agency to register to vote, or to vote. Photo-I.D.s have become a necessity post 9/11. You need one to enter a federal building, get on an aircraft, obtain government benefits, etc.
  2. Registration: An eligible citizen may register to vote up to two weeks prior to a federal election by appearing in person at an authorized federal or state office and making application.
  3. Voting: An eligible voter may appear at their designated polling place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the day of a federal election.
  4. Early Voting: An eligible voter may vote no earlier than 2 weeks before a federal election at their designated early voting location between the hours of 10 a.m.to 4 p.m.
  5. Absentee Voting: An eligible voter upon the showing of good cause shall be entitled to vote by absentee ballot provided they petition for an absentee ballot in person at the designated place no more than 1 month and no less than two weeks before a federal election.
  6. Voting Machines: Voting machines shall be uniform in federal elections. A uniform standard shall be established to insure one voting machine for X number of registered voters at a polling place.
  7. Voting protocols: There shall be uniform federal rules and protocols for voter I.D.s, registration, voting, poll watching, voting machines, eligibility, timing, locations, tallying, reporting, challenges, recounts, certifications, candidate eligibility, forms etc.
By establishing fair, just and equitable federal voting standards it will force the states to follow suit. Although states will not be required to follow federal rules in state or local elections it would be costly and inefficient not to do so.

Federal standards would only be required for any ballot that contains a federal office election.

The federal government has a paramount interest under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution to insure that all Americans are treated the same when exercising their most important and valued right as a citizen — the right to vote.

As such, the federal government has the affirmative duty to insure that all aspects of voting in federal elections are uniform. It makes no sense that states have the power to make their own rules and requirements with regard to federal elections that could change the outcome, disenfranchise, confuse, prevent or discourage voting.

The goal should be that voting is fair, understandable, convenient and trustworthy. That is not the case today.

It is not fair or equitable for 50 states to have 50 different rules for federal elections.

Voting should be not be so easy as to invite fraud or abuse. If you can take the time to wait in a DMV line for a license or automobile registration than you can certainly can do the same for voting.

Driving is NOT a right — but voting is.

My vote is for national voting standards that will eliminate state lawsuits, confusion and inequities to registration and voting nationwide.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.







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