A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

But It Works One Percent of the Time

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Both parties become extremely interested in voter fraud when their candidate fails to win. After Obama’s election the Republican Party was up in arms about voter fraud. After Donald Trump won against Hillary Clinton the Democrat Party was suddenly up in arms about voter fraud. While both parties try to approach the problem slightly differently (the Republicans tend to blame illegal immigrants while the Democrats have been blaming Russia), they both tend to favor terrible solutions. Take this system that will be used in Indiana:

A database system that will now be used by Indiana to automatically purge voter registrations that have duplicates in other states is 99 percent more likely to purge legitimate voters, according to a paper published last week by researchers from Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, and Microsoft Research. Using the probability of matching birth dates for people with common first, middle, and last names and an audit of poll books from the 2012 US presidential election, the researchers concluded that the system would de-register “about 300 registrations used to cast a seemingly legitimate vote for every one registration used to cast a double vote.”

The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is a system administered by the office of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach—the vice-chair of President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Crosscheck uses voter roll data from 27 states—pulled every January by election officials and uploaded to an FTP site—to check for duplicate records across states, based on full name and date of birth, as well as the last four digits of social security numbers where that data is collected by voter registration (which is not consistent from state to state).

Somebody finally did it. They managed to have a higher failure rate than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is yet another failure on a long list of government failures. Like most entries on that list, the magnitude of the failure was only realized after the “solution” was implemented, which raises the question, who is performing the preliminary studies on these “solutions?” I honestly doubt any preliminary studies are even being performed, which is why the list of failures is so long. A system of this size should have involved a significant amount of testing, including a study like the one mentioned in the article, before it was released.

Statists often wonder why libertarians are so skeptical of government solutions. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that the government often fails to perform due diligence. When government tries to find a solution to a problem it tasks handful of bureaucrats, who usually have no expertise in fields applicable to the problem, with developing a solution. They then outsource the solution to whatever crony offered up the best campaign contributions and then blindly accept whatever product it handed to them. If the solution fails to work, the bureaucrats hold some hearings that might result in some poor schmuck at the crony company being forced to step down (oftentimes to go to work for some lobbyist organization). In the end the crony company suffers little in the way of consequences but enjoys a significant profit from doing the initial work. Needless to say, this environment of no accountability breeds poor solutions.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 1st, 2017 at 10:30 am

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