Some serious efforts at ID verification…

May offer some ideas for upping election integrity.
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Regular readers know that I’ve been attentive to to issues surrounding election integrity … especially voter registration lists and ballot verification.

With those issues top-of-mind, I had a couple of relevant experiences in the past couple of days.

First, I got a carpet-bomb email from a friend who was updating his Christmas card list.

He was reaching out to make sure that everybody on the list was still alive and that he had current addresses.

Obviously, he didn’t want to waste postage sending cards to former addresses … and, he didn’t want to inadvertently send cards to anybody who has successfully concluded their earthly tours of duty.

I suggested that he might want to start helping election boards clean up their registration lists.

He politely, but emphatically declined.

So, I’m left with his idea: Why not mail out verification letters to everybody on the voter registration list … to their address of record … mark them “do not forward … include a postage-free return postcard … require them to send the signed postcard back … if they don’t send it back (signed)  flag them on the voter rolls.

Then, if or when they try to vote (or request an absentee ballot), make them re-register to vote — with some legit forms of ID, of course.

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The 2nd experience was a real life case of identity verification done right.

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My wife had some routine blood tests drawn at a local LabCorp.

We wanted to see the results online, so we decided to set-up a “patient portal”.

Step 1 was to set-up an account.

All it took was the usual stuff: full name, date of birth, social security number (last 4 digits) contact info, self-selected user ID and password.

She hit enter, and got a message that she’d get a 2-stage verification code emailed.

She did … and entered the code.

We expected to get a “success” message.

Instead, she got informed that she needed to be “authenticated”.

We chuckled — expecting something farcical — and she clicked “get started”.

Seconds later, she was asked “In what state were you living when you first applied for your social security card?”

A tricky question … with multiple choices including a couple of states where we have lived … and some where we haven’t.

Answering correctly, another question popped up:

“In which of the following cities have you lived?”

Again, some choices were legit, some were close but not correct (e.g. the next suburb over from the one where we had lived), some were way wrong.

Could choose some, all or none of the answers.

Hard to guess on that question, right?

Got it correct and got another question:

“On which of these streets have you ever lived?”

Same drill as the cities question: Some choices were legit, some were close but not correct (e.g. the next street over from the one where we had lived), some were enticing, but way wrong.

Again, She could choose some, all or none of the answers.

Really hard to guess at that one.

Whew.

Authenticated!

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It was easy to deduce that LabCorp had gotten the info in real time from one of the credit reporting agencies.

Hmm.

So, why can’t election boards do the same that LabCorp does?

When a voter registration application or mail-in ballot is received, bang up against the voter’s credit file.

Immediately, you’ll know if the person is dead or alive … and, where they currently live.

Mismatches get put into a suspicious file for follow-up.

If it’s a ballot and doesn’t get “cured” via exception processing, it gets tossed.

Boom!

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So, why won’t election boards do it?

Yeah, it would cost something to link with the credit bureaus … and would add a couple of seconds to ballot processing.

But, those aren’t show-stoppers.

Voter suppression!!!

Give me a break …

The real reason: Election Boards don’t want to do it.

They like things the way they are, especially the loopholes.

Too bad.

Voter registration lists are a mess…

Face it: Mail-in ballot verification is a sham!

Part 2: Mail-in ballot verification is a sham!

One Response to “Some serious efforts at ID verification…”

  1. ELAINE HAMMERS Says:

    Those of us in the healthcare industry take privacy and HIPPA violation fines very seriously while the government treats voting like a joke and doesn’t enforce any rules let alone common sense. Verifying voter records could easily be done through a credit bureau.

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