If you thought the spenders in Washington have already devised every possible way to spend our tax dollars, you are wrong. They are working overtime to establish a brand new bureaucracy called the Voter Registration Administration whose principal function would be to mail postcard registration forms to 90 million Americans prior to every federal election, even though most of them are already registered. Quite apart from the waste, the red tape, the cost, and the unnecessary extension of federal control involved in such a scheme, there are two major kinds of problems it would cause: the honest problems and the dishonest problems.
Among the many types of honest problems would be those caused by the fact that registering voters requires positive identification of the exact location of each voter’s residence. James C. Kirkpatrick, formerly the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and now still the Secretary of State of Missouri, pointed out in a recent statement that a voter who completes a postcard giving his proper mailing address, as, for example, “Rural Route 1, Harrisonville, Missouri,” simply cannot be registered to vote because that is not enough information to assign a voter to a precinct. Rural Route 1 is 84 miles long and passes through five different precincts.
This situation is not unusual. Nearly 33 percent of Missouri households are located on rural routes or in small towns without street addresses. Outside the metropolitan areas of the two largest cities, more than 60 percent of all households have mailing addresses which do not locate them accurately enough to be assigned to election precincts.
If rural election authorities are swamped with postcard registration forms, it will be impossible for them to complete the necessary follow-up without massive federal assistance and funds — which will in turn bring more cost and more federal control.
The endless administrative problems would also include the in evitable duplicate registrations, the illegible handwriting, the paperwork involved in catching up with people who have moved, and the confusion created by dual registration systems.
The dishonest problems that would be spawned by postcard voter registration would be infinitely worse. In areas of big-city machine politics, where the dead vote early and often, the postcard voter registration bill would create more ghosts in every ward than there are in the haunted house at Disney World.
A study made by Professor Richard G. Smoika of American University for the American Enterprise Institute, based on the postal registration experience in Maryland and New Jersey, discovered a wide variety of nonelection misuses of voter registration cards, such as illegal aliens registering to vote and then using the voter cards as proof of citizenship to obtain jobs, under-age youths using the voter cards for the illegal purchase of liquor, and prostitutes registering under different names in order to avoid records of multiple arrests.
The certainty of administrative confusion plus the immense potential for election frauds, especially of the types that are very difficult to detect, make it imperative that the postcard registration bill be defeated.