Sen. Warren’s Plan for Election Security Is a Good Start [OPINION]
There are problems with our elections. There are always problems with elections. Most of the problems are unintentional and the kind of problems that any large system involving the public encounters.
America holds an election once or twice a year. We vote in local elections and we vote in state and federal elections. Elections are important, but the logistics of voting and tabulations of the votes is an afterthought to most people. We go to vote once or twice a year and we are confident the local election officials, our neighbors in most cases, have the process down to a science.
Senator Warren has come out with a plan to change how America conducts elections. I don't agree with her whole plan, but it is an important conversation to have and for this she deserves credit.
I disagree with her idea to have the federal government take over the management of elections. She wants the federal government to run elections that have candidates for federal office on the ballot. In Massachusetts, we have federal elections on the same ballot as state elections. We also have county elections for sheriff, district attorney, and other important local county elections on that same ballot.
Would the federal government overtake these elections for state and county offices, or would we have a hodgepodge of local, state, and federal officials overseeing the voters and counting the ballots in Massachusetts? And who would decide what the process is in each state? This has the potential to be in court for years.
I also don't know who exactly we should be concerned about when I read the senator's plan. She is concerned about foreign interference in our elections. She is also concerned about racist local election officials interfering in our elections. When reading her plan, it is clear that she is more concerned with Americans cheating other Americans at the ballot box more than she is with foreign interference.
I completely agree with her on who has the motive, means, and opportunity–and it is us. At the present time, it is much more likely that an American political operation will try to interfere with an election successfully than a foreign government. Being successful is key. It doesn't matter if someone tries but fails to interfere in the short term.
The easiest way to secure elections is to require a qualified form of identification to register to vote and a qualified form of identification at the ballot box. There are problems with that requirement, but we can overcome those minor issues and ensure that all qualified voters have the ability to exercise their right.
This is an important conversation, and while Sen. Warren isn't 100 percent correct in her solutions, she has offered an important plan for discussion.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.