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Integrity of the Vote

Voting is not a human right, it is a civil right (learn the difference)…although it is connected with the human right of self governance. But because it is a civil right, free societies have the authority to impose reasonable restrictions upon them…such as setting the qualifications and ensuring that only those so qualified can participate.

Authority Over the Vote

The states have authority over their state and local elections, but the federal government has concurrent authority with the states over congressional and presidential elections:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

Article I, Section 4, Clause 1

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors [for President and Vice President], and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 4

The federal government also has some authority under natural law and the human right to liberty to ensure that elections are done in a way that treats all equally under the law. Additionally, there are some specific authorities related to equal treatment under the law given to it by the people via various constitutional amendments:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Amendments, Article XV (excerpt)

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Amendments, Article XIX (excerpt)

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Amendment XXIV (excerpt)

The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.

Amendment XXVI (excerpt)

Eligibility

Given the above, we can say that any U.S. citizen, regardless of race or sex, who is over the age of eighteen, has the right to vote…unless that right has been limited as punishment after having been convicted of a crime.

Beyond that, it is up to the states to determine their eligibility requirements (although they cannot impose a poll tax). The Congress may, using its Article I authorities, define these requirements for House and Senate races if it so chooses, but does not have an equivalent authority in presidential elections.

The federal government has no authority beyond those present in natural law with regard to eligibility, or anything else, in state and local elections.

This means that the efforts to allow non-citizens to vote, or to lower the voting age, are not prohibited by the constitution (although they are obviously and transparently motivated by trite political concerns, not by any actual principles, and should be opposed on that basis). Congress could override these efforts in congressional elections, but could not do so in presidential, state, or local elections.

Enforcement and Voter ID

The states have the right — indeed, the responsibility — to ensure the integrity of the vote. This means ensuring that those who are eligible are able to vote, but also ensuring that those who are not eligible cannot. We are the only democratic republic in the entire world that does not uniformly require proof of identity to vote. You have to prove your identity to buy cold medicine. You have to prove your identity to buy a gun. Why not to vote?

There are three main arguments (that I am aware of) against voter identification requirements.

First, some argue that requiring identification throws up unnecessary barriers for voters. Advocates of this view seem to think that it is automatically better to have more voters, but this is not always the case. I want everybody to get educated about the issues and the candidates and cast a ballot…but if you haven’t bothered to get educated, I’d rather you stay home. If you don’t know what you’re voting for or against, how could casting a ballot anyway be virtuous? Asking people to have an ID and bring it with them doesn’t guarantee that any other preparation occurred, but it does show that at least a little bit of effort has been made.

Second, some argue that voter identification efforts are somehow racist. This is one of the dumbest arguments I have ever heard. When left-wing politicos claim that asking people to get and show an ID card to vote somehow disenfranchises “black and brown” people, think about what that means. They are literally saying that they think people of color are too dumb to get an ID card. That isn’t true, and they know it. They’re just using race politics as a bludgeon to get their way because they benefit from easy voter fraud.

Third, some argue that widespread voter fraud is not occurring, and therefore voter ID requirements are unnecessary. Even if it was true that there is little fraud, that doesn’t mean that taking prudent steps to prevent it aren’t warranted. Failing to ensure the integrity of the vote is a failure to protect the civil rights of authorized voters, since every unauthorized vote dilutes the value of legitimate votes. And while we know there is little/no voter fraud in states that already require ID. We have literally no idea how much it’s happening in states that don’t…because there’s no way to tell how many people show up voting under multiple names at multiple precincts.

I encourage the states to enact fair, robust voter ID requirements. The federal government should use its constitutional authority over House and Senate elections to require positive identification of voters in those races.