Meet John Doe: Online voter registration is a bad idea

By Paul Gorski

This week’s Meet John Doe is in response to a resident’s question, “What do you think of online, electronic voter registration?”

Voter registration is the process of confirming one’s eligibility to vote in a particular community. Online voter registration, not to be confused with online voting, is a bad, really bad idea.

First and foremost, our votes lead to all else that happens in government. Who gets elected, who doesn’t get elected, what initiatives get passed, what staff members ultimately get hired to service our customer service questions, and more.

Our vote is at the headwaters of our political “rivers,” so let’s keep those rivers clean. The least we can do is confirm, in person, that a potential voter is 1) alive and 2) who he/she says they are and live where they say they live.

In today’s age of identity theft, duplicated Social Security numbers, and stolen credit card numbers, I’m not sure the government can adequately protect against online voter registration fraud.

Secondly, there is a very practical reason for requiring in-person voter registration. When a candidate circulates petitions to get listed on the ballot, the candidate is required to get the real signatures of qualified registered voters.

The ultimate test of whether a voter’s signature on the petition is valid is to compare that signature against the original voter registration card signed by the resident. Without a truly original signature sample, none of these digital trackpad smears, there’s a greater opportunity for fraud.

I’ve been writing a series of computer safety articles under my “Tech-Friendly” headline lately; let’s be safe and avoid online voter registration.

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

From the June 26-July 2, 2013, issue

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