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COLUMN — Is your vote safer today than it was last year?

Free and fair voting is the basic premise of any democracy.

Remember the stories that came out of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein? People gleefully showed their purple fingers.  This was their proof that they had taken part in the electoral process.  The purple ink was the government’s way of preventing someone from voting more than once.  Maybe we should learn from them and follow their lead.  One person gets one vote.  That might not be where we are after this year.

Prior to this year, the focus of election law was how to best encourage participation in the voting process while at the same time giving comfort to all that the process was honest and properly conducted.  Several years ago we changed the law to require IDs and, later, photo IDs prior to voting.  I remember poll workers quietly thanking me because sometimes they would be embarrassed because they knew the person but couldn’t recall their name.  Having an ID made their job easier.

Some argued that we were trying to prevent people from voting.  They argued that some people didn’t have a photo ID. They mentioned seniors without driver’s licenses.  The Democrats seem to not realize that, for most medical services such as Medicare and hospitals and other providers, a photo ID is required.

This Month’s Change

If that was not bad enough, they now have decided that, because of COVID-19, they would change other things that safeguard your rights.  Currently, any voter can ask for an absentee ballot application and citizens will be allowed to vote.  You can simply mail or bring your ballot to the registrar.  That was not good enough.  Consider these new policies:

1.  They will mail an absentee ballot to every registered voter, even if you don’t want one.

2.  Because the ballots will be sent out by first class mail, if the voter has moved out of state, the ballot will be forwarded to them.  That individual will be able to vote twice, once in each state.

3.  Absentee ballots are required to have a witness sign that this is an authentic voter voting.  They have eliminated that step.

4.  By law, you can return your ballot in person or by mail.  They have a new option of using unprotected boxes placed around that will not have observers.  Those boxes could be used to drop any number of illegal ballots in them.  Once in the box, how will anyone know if they are legitimate?

5.  Current law states that you can mail or bring your ballot as well as your spouse.  They have changed the law to allow and encourage some to “harvest” ballots.  That is where one person can gather up all the ballots he can find and stuff them into these unmanned boxes.

Imagine What Could Go Wrong

With millions of ballots going out in one week, word will spread rapidly.  Someone could easily follow a mail carrier and retrieve some ballots before voters could get to their mailbox. Those ballots could be fraudulently filled out and returned before a voter has any idea what had happened.  On Election Day, one could go to the polls only to be told that his ballot had been voted by mail.  The voter would have no recourse.

Gov. Ralph Northam will have overseen the greatest takeover of your right to choose your representatives than any foreign power ever dreamed. His stunt is occurring in state after state that are controlled by Democrat governors.  Apparently, they are not convinced that the polls having them winning in November are accurate, including Virginia.

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.