Voter photo ID is a rule in Europe and elsewhere


Democrats and many media are calling for a permanent pandemic-led measure to relax voting rules during the 2020 elections. But democracy in Europe and other countries has learned another story about the benefits of tightening voter identity requirements after learning rigorous lessons.

According to a database of voting rules around the world compiled by the Crime Prevention Research Center I run, election fairness measures are widely accepted worldwide and countries that have experienced fraud under a loose voting system. Often used in.

Of the 47 countries surveyed in Europe, all but one of the countries where American progressives are often the envy of all but one that requires a government-issued photo-voter ID to vote. is. The exception is the United Kingdom, which requires a voter ID in all elections in Northern Ireland and in some local elections in the United Kingdom. In addition, the Boris Johnson administration has recently introduced legislation for other countries in the country to imitate it.

Criticism of voters’ ID promotion by British leaders is similar to what is heard in the United States. The Scottish National Party said his push of voter IDs was aimed at “low-income, ethnic minorities, and young people” who were unlikely to vote for Johnson’s Conservatives, thus representing “voter oppression like Trump.” Claims to be.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and partner Carrie Symonds leave Methodist Hall after voting in a local election in central London on May 6, 2021. (Getty Images via AFP)

However, despite this backlash, the UK plans to introduce stricter voting systems in Europe and other countries, with few countries temporarily relaxing their voting rules during the pandemic.

74% of European countries have completely banned absentee ballots for citizens residing in the country. Another 6% are limited to those in hospital or in the military and require third-party verification and a photographed voter ID. An additional 15% require photo ID for absentee ballots.

Similarly, government-issued photo IDs must be voted on in 33 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which consists of 37 member states. This mechanism overlaps quite a bit with Europe. Currently, only the UK, Japan, New Zealand and Australia do not require an ID. Of those outliers:

  • Japan will provide each voter with a ticket with a unique barcode. If a voter loses a ticket or accidentally brings in another family’s ticket, the voting staff will use a computer with access to the city’s database to verify the voter’s name and address. Voters may be required to present government-issued photo ID.
  • Strictly speaking, New Zealand requires an ID with a unique code, but searching for identification information takes time, but you can vote without an ID.
  • Australia has the loosest rules to date and requires a photo ID to register for voting, but upon arriving at the polling place, voters simply report their name, address and whether they voted in a previous election. You can do it.

There were some exceptions to the general evasion of emergency voting measures by developed countries during the pandemic. Poland, like two Russian cities, allowed everyone to vote by mail last year as a one-off measure, but Poland’s rush plan didn’t work so well that other countries would follow suit. Discouraged. France has made more restrictive exceptions to allow individuals at temporary illness or risk to vote for absenteeism.

In some countries, even a driver’s license is not considered a sufficiently reliable form of voter identification. The Czech Republic and Russia require a passport or military-issued ID, while other countries use national ID cards. In addition, Colombia and Mexico require a biometric ID to cast ballots.

Many countries in Europe and other countries have learned the rigorous ways that loose voting systems can cause fraud and have introduced stricter voting methods to address them directly.

In Northern Ireland, where fierce denominational confrontations extend to fierce election plots, voter fraud has been described as “extensive and systematic” in all respects. Both the Conservative and Labor governments have suppressed it. Implemented reforms to do so. In 1985, the United Kingdom began requesting identification before issuing ballots. This turned out to be inadequate. The 1998 Northern Ireland Special Committee reported that medical cards used as IDs after the 1985 law could be “easily counterfeited or fraudulently applied”, allowing non-existent people to vote. I found out that there is. By 2002, the Labor administration made forgery of voter ID cards much more difficult and used more secure IDs and other rules to prevent people from registering for multiple votes. These fraud prevention clauses immediately reduced the total number of registrations by 11%. This suggests to the Labor Department the degree of previous fraud.

People leave the polling place
People leaving the polling place after voting for the European Parliament elections at the Presbyterian Church in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, on May 23, 2019. (Paul Faith / Getty Images via AFP)

In one study of fraudulent elections in Northern Ireland prior to the 2002 reform, we interviewed former IRA Belfast commander Brendan Hughes. Hughes had a fleet of taxis to carry fraudulent voters from one polling place to another, and they “decorated volunteers with wigs, clothes, and glasses, and this practice lasted for decades.” Young women were usually “used to impersonate voters because they are more likely to be discouraged when suspected.”

In a 2002 Northern Ireland survey conducted by the British Election Commission, it was conducted after the rules were passed and before it came into force, but voters were 64% to 10% different, and the vote was “to change the election.” Is sufficient for cheating in several areas. ” result. “

There are also significant fraud cases related to absentee ballots elsewhere in the UK. In 2004, before the recent photo ID requirements, six Labor lawmakers in Birmingham were elected in what the judge later described as a “large, organized and organized” postal voting fraud campaign. Did. The scam was apparently carried out with the full knowledge and cooperation of the local Labor Party and involved a “widespread theft” of absentee ballots (probably about 40,000) in Muslim-populated areas. I did. The scam reflected some Labor members’ concerns that dissatisfaction with the Iraq War made local Muslims unreliable in voting for the party.

In mainland France, voting by mail was banned in 1975. Massive fraud in the area of ​​Corsica has stolen, purchased, and posted mail ballots in the name of the dead.

In Hungary, which has Europe’s most generous mail-voting restrictions, including no ID requirements, the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who criticized authoritarian tendencies, won 96% of mail-voting in the 2018 elections. Excessive half of parliament by a very small margin. The concern is that there is potential for fraud because “there is little room to verify your identity or whether people are still alive.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks in front of the media on May 28, 2021 at Downing Street in London. (Leon Neal / Getty Images)

Without a tamper-resistant photo ID, fraud is difficult to prove. If hundreds or thousands of people vote in polling stations, how do you know if someone has voted in the guise of someone else? A criminal conviction is that people go to multiple polling stations. Instead, it only tends to occur if you try to vote multiple times at the same polling place. However, polling place employees often work in different shifts, which can put them at risk in the same polling place.

Let’s take a look at what happened in the UK in 2016.As the Election Commission explains, “That day, the same voters attended again, this time trying to vote in their own name, depending on the particular physical characteristics of the voters. [he was very tall and wore distinctive clothing] And the caution of the chairman, who has already voted and is suspected of officially disagreeing. “

In another case in the United Kingdom in 2017, police arrested a person who voted multiple times. The most common consequence of being arrested in multiple votes is a “caution” notice from the police.

U.S. progressives may pay attention to Mexican elections stolen from left-wing voters, partly due to loose voting requirements that encourage fraud. It has long been believed that Cardenas’ defeat to the long-running institutional revolutionary party Carlos Salinas de Gortarii was the result of election deception. ..

And as a result of the fraud, Mexico required a voter photo ID containing biometrics, banned absentee ballots, and required face-to-face voter registration in 1991. Despite making registration much more difficult and banning absentee ballots, voter participation has risen after Mexico implemented the new rules. In the three post-reform presidential elections of 1991, an average of 68 percent of qualified citizens voted, compared to only 59 percent in the three elections before the rule change. As people became more confident in the election process, they were more likely to vote. Eventually, in 2006 Mexico returned to allow absentee ballots, but restricted them to those living abroad who requested ballots at least six months ago. In later years, there are occasional allegations of voting fraud, but they focus on voting and do not impersonate others or force non-existent people to vote.

Nomination of Cuauhtemoc Cardenas Solorzano
Zapatista Army of Liberation Guerrerero dances to celebrate the nomination of Democratic Revolutionary Party candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas Solorzano (not shown) for the general election at a camp in Chiapas, Mexico, on March 16, 1994. Via Getty Images)

Despite the majority of records in Europe and other developed countries, the Democratic Party of Parliament is pushing to remove the requirement for identification to vote. The House of Representatives recently passed the 2021 For the People Act. It replaces the state’s voter identity rules with a voter-signed statement and permanently votes the pandemic by mail. Mailing a blank absentee ballot in bulk will be a staple of American elections. The Senate Rules and Administration Commission has made the bill a senator, but a pure 9 to 9 party. I didn’t pass the vote. However, the Democratic Party has recently changed Senate rules so that bills can be brought to the Senate chamber to vote.

Meanwhile, in Republican states, efforts to require voter IDs for face-to-face and absentee ballots have triggered boycotts from Major League Baseball and other businesses. Georgia’s new absenteeism has caused turmoil, even though it is far less restrictive than the rest of the world. Anyone who wants an absentee ballot is available. You don’t need to be out of the city, but you need an ID to get an absentee ballot. This pattern is similar in developed countries around the world.

The Mexican case undermines the idea that stricter voting rules lead to vote suppression, as does some of the evidence from the United States. In recent years, many states have taken photo and non-photo ID measures. We introduced it, but there was no statistically significant change in the participation rate of voters. Other evidence suggests that the registration rate of black and minority voters increased faster than whites after the state implemented the voter ID requirement for registration.

The RCI has contacted both the Brennan Center for Justice and the ACLU to give two organizations at the forefront of discussions on ballot access and voting integrity, more restrictive than elsewhere. I asked him what he thought about the voting rules. The ACLU did not respond, and a Brennan Center spokesman said, “In principle, we do not comment on voting systems in other countries, because it is not our area of ​​expertise.”

This article was written by John R. Lott Jr. RealClearInvestigations

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