Sunday, November 2, 2008

Comment On Election Law

Again, Matthew Yglesias's post (itself a reaction to Rick Hasen)

I think having a national standard of elections is a good idea. A few issues:

1) The Legal Issues: I think the Civil Rights Act of 1960 sets a legal precedent that the Federal Government can regulate elections of local elections. But that law really is only a negative law: it says what states can't do. Again, standardized state and local elections might come under a lot of legal battle, but I think overall the Constitution will back it up, and the Supreme Court (which, although Republican leaning, tends to be very pro-Federal) wouldn't really strike it down.

2) Political Issues: There are interested parties who will stand up for states' rights and such, but I think it'd be a hard battle to convince people that making our elections cleaner, simpler, and less open to fraud is somehow a good thing.

3) How to do it: The posts I pointed at talked about having every interaction with the government interface register you. They talked about a voter registration ID number. I think I would like to take it one further. A Citizen's ID Number. I mean, I think we should have National Identification--not one that stores all your information in a central database: all it has to verify is three things: 1) Name 2) Address 3) Citizenship status. That's all. This amalgam of drivers' licenses, passports, state IDs, birth certificates, social security numbers, etc. does not work.

I went to get a job once I turned 18, and I discovered that although I had been naturalized at the age of 8, the Social Security Administration had not received notification from the INS that I was a citizen. Thus, my Social Security Number indicated to my employer that I was a legal alien, not eligible for work. Rather than using a SSN as my identifier, I'd like to have some administration, I don't care whom, have a name, address, and my citizenship status. Then, whenever I try to do something with the government, they just look up my name, and go, "Ah, he lives there and he's a citizen." If they need more info, they can ask me themselves, but those three facts are, at this point, public knowledge.

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