Safeguarding the Vote in Illinois

***Guest Column***

All of us who live in Northwest Illinois know that speeding on U.S. 20 is risky business. Why? Because Illinois State Police District 16 Headquarters is located in Pecatonica, and State Troopers patrol on that stretch of road.

Now, imagine if U.S. 20 had little to no state police patrolling the roadway. Do you suppose there would be more speeding or less speeding on U.S. 20 if this were the case? Obviously, in this hypothetical instance, if there were very few state troopers on 20, then many of us would notice and may take advantage of the situation. But how ridiculous would it be if people were to say “Because there haven’t been many tickets written along that stretch of road, then that must mean people are not speeding.”

I believe this to be the very same case with voter fraud. So many people are so quick to say “Voter fraud is virtually nonexistent because we have very few documented cases of this happening.” Well, if you leave the door open for fraud, some people will inevitably take advantage of the situation. In terms of curbing voter fraud, I believe that the state and federal governments are doing little to change this, and recent proposals actually make matters worse.

When you couple this with the fact that there is very little oversight, this becomes a major issue. If there is no real system in place to monitor legitimate votes versus illegitimate votes, then how can you say that there is no problem?

Those who know me well know that I am emphatic about one thing when it comes to elections – everyone should vote! Voting is perhaps one of the most sacred American rights, but it also happens to be the most squandered American right. I’m sure you have all heard the often said phrase “Brave men and women died for your right to vote.” It’s true, every man and woman over the age of 18 has the right to vote, but every man and woman also deserves to know that his or her vote is protected from fraud.

That is why I voted against a bill that would have automatically registered to vote those who were applying for a driver’s license in Illinois. Keep in mind, Illinois recently extended the right to obtain a driver’s license to those in the country illegally. Though this will not implicitly allow illegal immigrants the right to vote in U.S. elections, it still opens the door to yet another avenue for voter fraud.

I support the spirit of the automatic voter registration law, but not the law in its current form. For me to support such a measure, I would need to see that voters’ rights are safeguarded.

Currently, electoral rolls and the process by which we cast our votes need significant reforms. It is literally easier for an individual to commit voter fraud than it is for that same individual to buy a beer, because to purchase alcohol you have to show an I.D.

The Heritage Foundation keeps a running tally of over 300 recent voter fraud cases. These account for thousands and thousands of illegal votes, but some will still insist that this is too small a sampling to require any action. Honestly, I’m amazed that these cases were even found, because the current system does not provide any true checks, so the fact that these were even found is astonishing.

Did you know that Illinois has 17 counties in which there are more registered voters than there are people eligible to vote? Cook County may have the most deceased voters (See the article “Election Fraud Chicago Style” in a February 14 post in Salon), but the worst offender is actually Franklin County which has 190% representation of voters eligible to vote. This is according to a Reboot Illinois article that painstakingly combed through county election data to highlight chronic errors and voter fraud.

Just last week a video distributed by Project Veritas showed Hillary Clinton campaign staffers purposely defying election laws in Nevada. The same investigator, James O’Keefe, who exposes just how easy it is to commit voter fraud, was able to obtain the ballots of several high profile Michigan figures. He was told he did not need any form of identification to request the ballot of Marshall Mathers (a.k.a. Eminem), Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, as well as other high profile figures. He stopped short of actually committing fraud himself, but he did this to expose the utterly flawed system of verifying individual voter’s authenticity.

In closing, I want to reiterate that I fully support making voting more accessible. But more importantly, I support preserving the sacredness of your individual vote. Once that is achieved, then we can talk about automatic voter registration. But for now, let’s keep at least one safeguard in place, because your rights and your vote deserve to be defended.

As Thomas Paine said, “Voting is the right upon which all other rights depend.”

As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at repstewart@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com or on Facebook.