voters

Committing Voter Fraud is Actually Super Easy

I was at a polling place to vote in a local election recently; I was sure to bring all the ID I would need to prove who I was to avoid any confusion. When I was next in line, I stepped up to the table, atop which sat a thick three-ring binder with a long list of local residents. Even though I was looking at the list upside down, the names were all in large print, with a check mark and a signature next to them if that person had already voted.

Voting stations at a common polling place

Voting stations at a common polling place

The poll attendant smiled at me.

“What’s your name?” She asked.

“Cole Ellenbogen,” I replied.

The woman thumbed through a few pages of the booklet, muttering “E, e,” as her index finger quickly passed over each name on the page. “Ah, there you are. Just sign here.”

I looked at her, startled: “That’s all? You don’t need to see my license, or-”

“No,” she shook her head, smiling again, “no need.” She turned the binder around on the table, and tapped my name with a ballpoint pen, which she then handed to me. I scribbled my signature, voted, and left.

My mind was absolutely blown. I voted in an election and showed less ID than I have to when I buy a lottery ticket. All you have to do to commit voter fraud is be able to read upside down, and pick a name off the list without a signature.

We need photo IDs to vote. The Federal Election Commission recommended it years ago, but the push to require identification is shot down time and time again by opponents who claim that requiring photo IDs is an attempt to stop minorities from voting. Is it really racist to require an ID?

Let’s take a look at the list of other things that you need an ID for that aren’t racist:

Board a plane, buy alcohol, buy cigarettes, enter a casino, play the lottery, open a bank account, apply for and receive welfare, apply for and receive food stamps, file for and receive unemployment, buy an M-rated video game, see an R-rated movie, buy a cellphone, sign for a cell phone contract, donate blood, buy certain types of cold medicine, pick up a prescription, buy a gun, apply for a hunting license, apply for a fishing license, to drive or buy or rent a car, get married, check into a hotel, adopt a pet, apply for a job, or get a permit to gather and hold a protest.

What’s different about having an ID for voting?

I’ll leave you with that. Now in the words of Nelson Mandela:

Nelson Mandela sporting his "Get an ID. Register. Vote." Shirt

Nelson Mandela sporting his “Get an ID. Register. Vote.” Shirt

-By Cole Ellenbogen

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The Modern-Day Evil Mastermind

Unlike cartoons, and movies it can be a little more difficult to identify an “evil villain” or “bad guy” in real life.  They don’t wear condescending capes, live in creepy castles on hills surrounded by perpetual rain and laugh menacingly as lightning strikes (at least most of them don’t.)

So if you have suspicions someone might actually be evil, follow these easy steps to put your uncertainty to rest!

As an example I will apply the steps to Jonathan Gruber– an economist highly invested in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”

Step One- Power

We all know villains are power hungry.  In most cases the villain’s power lies in his resources; he may have a highly trained army at his command, or magical power. But in the real world you should look for one key thing: influence.

Influence is central to being a villain. PhotoCreds: Disney

Influence is central to being a villain. PhotoCreds: Disney

For example Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is an associate editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics.  

Sounds like he has a pretty decent amount of influence to me.

Step Two- Money

Whether they’re trying to get it, or already seem to have boatloads of it, villains are almost always connected to money in some way.

Gruber created a model, that was designed to statistically verify the changes in health care spending in relation to public and private health care costs, based on changes in heath insurance benefit design, public program eligibility criteria, and tax policy.

He called the model the Gruber Microsimulation Model, and in 2009 earned nearly $95,000 in the first 4 months after contracting with the Department of Health and Human Services, and another $297,600 when he renewed his contract for another 8 months.

In 1 year Gruber made nearly $400,000 dollars off the Model.

Which seems to be the running price for his model. This is just a small sample of his what he has been paid:

Wisconsin$400,000

Michigan: $481,050

Vermont: $400,000

Minnesota: $329,000

OH YEAH! Not to mention in the last 7 years Gruber has made over $ 2 million assessing the choices made by the elderly in Medicare’s prescription-drug plan.

I think its fair to say Gruber definitely has money!

Steps 1 and 2 are not enough to determine if someone is evil, though: these steps simply help you see if they have the means and resources.

Step Three- Exploitation

Villains are often egotistical (which is often their downfall). They consider themselves better in almost every way and try to use this to take advantage of the common person so they are able to carry out their ultimate plan.

In this video Gruber suggests that the “stupidity of the American voter” helped Obamacare pass:

…And here he details the exploitation of the American voter:

“It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.” – Jonathan Gruber, at the Honors Colloquium 2012 at the University of Rhode Island.

Once you’ve established a that a persons is influential, and has a great deal of money, the next step is to determine whether or not they are using their power and money to exploit a group of people.

And if the shoe fits…

Americans should be outraged by Gruber’s blatant disregard for the voter. They should be furious he feels that he has the right and ability to take advantage of the very people he is pretending to be helping… and getting paid to do so.

By Kyra Azzato