Carter-Baker Commission: “Building Confidence in U.S. Elections”

Perhaps President Trump should convene still another Commission on Election Integrity… or better yet, nudge Barr to name another Special Counsel to investigate election “irregularities”.
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Anybody remember Bush versus Gore?

There was understandable concern when Florida vote-counting labored on for more than a month after the election and Bush ended up winning by a couple of hundred votes when the SCOTUS ruled “no mas”.

Eventually, in 2005, a Commission on Election Reform was convened, led by former President Jimmy Carter and former GOP Secretary of State James Baker.

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The Carter-Baker Commission Report  covered many of the election issues that have arisen in the 2020 election…

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Among the topics covered in the Carter-Baker Commission Report

Registration Lists

The report states:

Invalid voter files, which contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, or deceased voters, are an invitation to fraud.

All states should have procedures for maintaining accurate lists, such as electronic matching of death records, driver’s licenses, and local tax rolls.

To eliminate duplicate registrations, which are a source of potential fraud, voter databases should be made interoperable between states tp take account of citizens moving from one state to another.

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Voter IDs

The Commission called for nationwide voter ID standards:

To ensure that persons presenting themselves at the polling place are the ones on the registration list, the Commission recommends that states require voters to use a REAL ID card that includes:

  • a person’s full legal name
  • date of birth
  • a signature (captured as a digital image)
  • a photograph
  • the person’s Social Security number

This card should be modestly adapted for voting purposes to indicate on the front or back whether the individual is a U.S. citizen.

States should provide an [Election Assistance Commission]-template ID with a photo to non-drivers free of charge.

Today, states have a patchwork of voter ID laws, with 36 states either requiring or requesting voters to present identification at the polls.  Source

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Mail-in Ballot Verification

The report stated: “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”

Voting by mail creates increased logistical challenges and the potential for vote fraud, especially if safeguards are lacking or when candidates or political party activists are allowed to handle mail-in or absentee ballots.

Specifically, the report called on states to prohibit third parties or political operatives from collecting ballots—a practice commonly known as “ballot harvesting.”

But, noteworthy, the report was silent on the verification of mailed-in ballots.

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Election Observers

The  report stressed “the need for election observers to maintain the integrity of the ballots.”

All legitimate domestic and international election observers should be granted unrestricted access to the election process, provided that they accept election rules, do not interfere with the electoral process, and respect the secrecy of the ballot.

New procedures are required to provide observers with meaningful opportunities to monitor the conduct of the election and counting of votes.

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Voting Machines

On the subject of voting machines’ reliability, the Commission suggested that:

Machines print out paper receipts for voters to verify their vote was accurately counted.

States should adopt unambiguous procedures to reconcile any disparity between the electronic ballot tally and the paper ballot tally.

The report was silent on certifying the machines and their software to ensure accurate recording and tallying of votes

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Unfortunately, the report was long on problem identification, but short on actionable recommendations and enforcement “teeth”.

And, since it recommended universal voter IDs, it fell into the predictable partisan chasm.

Accordingly, nothing much has changed from 2005 to 2020.

As the old adage goes: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Perhaps President Trump should convene another Commission on Election Integrity before he leaves office… or better yet, name another Special Counsel to look into election irregularities.

That might restore confidence among the half* of the country that suspects “Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win.”

* For source & details, see Survey: Was the election free of widespread fraud?

 

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