Voter Fraud - A Serious Issue In Any Election Process

    Voter fraud is a serious issue that seems to always make it to the mainstream of conversation during election years but somehow seeps back into the apathetic crevices of society after the act of voting has been completed.  Election ink, or electoral stain as it sometimes is called, has been a seemingly important tool used to help prevent voter fraud during the general election of a sizable number of countries.  The United States voters, however, generally only receive a sticker saying "I Voted" and a smile from a poll worker as they happily drop their ballot into a hat or worse yet into some Diebold voting machine black box with no real way to tell if the vote has been counted or virtually torn up in modern voter fraud.  The latest incident occurred during the 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary where James O'Keefe disguised himself in an undercover video documentary to show his viewers just how easy it was to obtain a ballot under the name of a dead person.  While there was later evidence showing that the person that James O'Keefe impersonated may not have been dead after all, it still highlighted the ease in gaining a ballot under someone else's name - one of many problems and inconsistencies in the current voting system which can lead to such voter fraud.  The nation must go a great ways further to restoring the integrity to the election process and increasing transparency so that there will be built-in checks and balances at all polling places to ensure against fraudulent behavior.  Election ink is one possible tool towards that end.

 The election ink is the reason that you will often see news footage from countries other than the USA with citizens holding up their ink stained finger to show that they just participated in a free election.  Election ink can come in either dipping bottles or election ink marking pens which apply a certain amount of ink to the finger - usually including the fingernail and cuticle as well.  The special election ink includes a dye that leaves the the finger discolored.  This ink shade is usually in the range of a violet or dark purple to brown or black.  While that pigment portion can usually be washed off somewhat quickly, there is a silver nitrate component of the election ink solution which can last quite a bit longer and is visible using an ultraviolet light source.   One such system is the Rest Assured UV Verification System by Spectroline which fluoresces blue under the ultraviolet light source.  Depending on the grade and percentage of silver nitrate in the ultraviolet solution the invisible component of the election ink can remain until the cuticle and fingernail outgrow it or around 2 - 4 weeks. The ultraviolet ink is the same type that is used in blood plasma donation centers across the country to insure that a plasma donor only donate the regulated amount of times which is usually twice per week.  Despite the ultraviolet election ink's longevity, there have still been quite a few cases of voter fraud as well as methods to undermine the integrity of the process.  For example, a person looking to game the system could apply a thin invisible coat of glue or similar substance to his finger and then this might theoretically prevent the silver nitrate from reacting with the skin and cuticle allowing for easy removal and ballot stuffing or excess plasma donation or whatever else protection that the election ink was providing being bypassed.  It is certainly not a foolproof program but indelible election ink can be used in combination with other safeguards to assist in preventing voter fraud in municipal, state, or federal government elections or any other type of voting contest.


Election Ink To Avoid Voter Fraud
Credit: photo by tmsean on Flickr

  Another issue is the hotly debated voter id regulations that are becoming increasingly more prevalent in this 2012 election cycle.  Critics may claim that such requirements will ostracize poorer voters, minorities, or elderly voters who may have more trouble obtaining a photo id such as a driver license, passport, or other state-issued document.  This may be the case, but it is certainly better than allowing voting with no identification and simply trusting the public.  Provisions might be made for those who cannot obtain legitimate identification.  It is not a Republican or Democratic only issue but rather a broader problem of voter fraud that entails everything from ballot stuffing, voter payoffs, absentee ballot  fraud, machine manipulation and more.  I suggest that all voting processes should be somewhat open like is the case with the caucuses so that at least every voter who remains until the end will know the final tally of the votes in their precinct.  This, in combination with other measures, allows checks to be made so that no machine, computer, or human error would be able to foul the system.  It would seem that the powers in charge would rather not worry about the system and perhaps it is too far gone to resuscitate now.  What with around 20% of the delegates in a Republican primary it would seem that even without voter fraud the system is quite heavily stacked against any outsider in order for the party elites to maintain their power and position over the mere people of the country.  It is noble to imagine a time when vote were fair and government officials simply public servants that strictly followed the constitution and served their respective electorate.  Perhaps we can get back to that before it is too late.

Perhaps we can return to a state of government that people believe in and one where there are leaders that people are willing to do things for out of passion for the cause and nothing else.  It would be a system where the goodwill is evident in every action and one where leaders can be trusted to promote the collective ideals.   It would also be a system where the actions or voting patterns of the leaders would be predictable because you would know their stance and therefore easily be able to determine their decisions.  Hopefully, we have not strayed so far that liberty has eroded and all of this is meaningless.