One of my greater fears about the upcoming election in Missouri may well come true. Just read in detail the voter registration story on today's front page. It illustrates that the potential for voter fraud and abuse is at a very high level and with nearly 66,000 inactive voters in St. Louis city alone, look for a long election night.
I've written before about the bogus claims of voters being denied the right to vote. The Democratic party in particular has pledged to disrupt the elections with lawsuits over voters "disenfranchisement." But that same party remains silent when it appears likely that illegal voters may have an opening to cast a ballot as well.
But enough partisan moaning.
The real issue in Missouri - and across the country - is the inability of elected officials to accurately and effectively monitor the registration of potential voters. We've had four years since the controversial 2000 election to clean up this mess. And yet the problem has actually grown. It seems we've tried to put our focus on improving the election day voting process itself. We've added new technology and increased monitoring at the polls. But we've ignored the problem of tracking voters to assure they are eligible to vote, vote in the proper place and at the proper time, etc.
We harbor this notion in America that the right to vote is so important that we don't seem to hold the voters themselves responsible for helping the process. Two states have now ruled that if you show up at the wrong polling place and your name cannot be verified, you can still cast a provisional ballot. Mark my words, that decision will delay the outcome of the Nov. 2 election and open it up to fraud like none in our history.
It should be the voters themselves who hold the responsibility to protect their voting privilege. It should be the voter's responsibility to remain informed on where and when and how to vote. But the attitude that makes many in this nation lazy and unable to follow simple rules is the same attitude that flaws the election process. And we quickly point the finger of blame at the political parties when it's truly the fault of the individual voter.
It's far too late now but our elected officials must revise the system of voting in this nation and mandate a level of cooperation and involvement on both government and voters alike. Inactive voters should be required to follow the laws and abide by the same rules as the remainder of the population. Only by tightening this process will we assure fair and accurate elections.
Unfortunately, two weeks is not enough to accomplish this goal.