On Wednesday morning voters throughout the State of Maryland headed out to the polls for early voting. Local libraries opened up for voting- getting power just in the nick of time after damage from Hurricane Sandy. People lined up sixty deep in order to take the opportunity to cast their ballet and have their vote count. Voting is so popular that just to get to the polling station cars were lined up on the street as people attempted to find a parking spot in order to then stand in line for forty minutes – all for the important American privilege of voting.
This was the last opportunity for political advocates and proponents of ballet measures to have their voice heard. People stood outside speaking with people as they waited in line in an attempt to educate and sway people to their cause. Handing out brochures and encouraging voters to “look at all the facts” before casting their ballet – volunteers were out enforce. Political signs also lined the walkway in an attempt to make people aware of some of the local issues not capturing national attention.
Most voters had a smile on their face and seemed excited to participate. This is not too surprising considering that Hurricane Sandy was in full force in Maryland only two days before. With widespread flooding and power outages the state was hit hard as hurricane force winds and range did their best at creating damage. Many didn’t know if they would be able to vote today due to the lights still not being on in many places. Fortunately most of the libraries in Maryland were able to restore power and voting continues.
Every State is able to determine what voting systems they put in place to maintain voter accuracy. I interviewed several people standing outside of the polling station along with the Voter Security Guard, who would like to remain anonymous, to find out what the rules are in Maryland. In the State of Maryland all voters need to do in order to cast their ballot is sign their name on a sheet of paper and write down their address. They do not check photo ID or a voters registration card to confirm the signature. There is absolutely zero measures in place for voter accountability. Considering the fact that Maryland neighbors the Capital of the US – Washington DC I find this rather surprising. While I am not accusing anyone of voter fraud the margin for error is clearly obvious to everyone. As a non resident of Maryland I could literally look in the phone book pick a variety of names and go cast votes at polling stations throughout the state. In an election that is clearly contentious with stakes high on both sides it is not logical to me that states, like Maryland, have no measures in place to make sure that when people vote they are indeed who they say they are and that they do actually have a right to vote in that state.
This has been a hotly debated topic leading up to the election as some states have looked to put measures forward to implement controls and a requirement for voters to prove who they are. Unfortunately the court system overturned this measure in Pennsylvania and so the insanity continues. Attorney Brian Moskowitz, in Florida, remembers when his state was all over the news for “hanging chads” and concerns of voter fraud during the Bush/Gore election of 2000. Florida has taken measures to prevent questions over voter accuracy in their state and encourages others to follow suit. While it is too late to implement voter reform for this election hopefully states will take the ownership to put accountability measures in place now so this won’t be a lingering issue in 2016. In a few short weeks citizens in the United States and across the world will know who won the Presidential Election – or will they?