I’m an immigrant from Peru who came to America when I was only six months old. Despite being involved in Montgomery County and Pennsylvania politics since the summer of 2016, I make an effort to pay attention to Peruvian politics as well. I travel there frequently, maintain dual citizenship, and the Peruvian government has made it mandatory to vote.
In early April, Peru held its own primary elections. A huge pool of candidates for president, ranging from left-wing socialists to right-wing populists, battled to make it to the second and final round, which will be held on June 6. Two candidates emerged with the most votes; a left-wing school teacher, Pedro Castillo, and a right-wing populist, Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori.
As a citizen of Peru, I was naturally eager to vote in this year’s elections. I thought there were good candidates and some bad ones. I wanted to make sure my vote counted and that I could have a say in who will lead the nation on a better path. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my road trip plans to Patterson, New Jersey, where the Peruvian consulate is located, after I was informed that I could not vote in the primary or in the general election this year due to my expired Peruvian ID — even a valid Peruvian passport won’t allow me to vote because it doesn’t have a signature.
Of course, I was very disappointed. But as an advocate for honest elections and voter ID laws, I have to wonder, how can it be that a third-world country like Peru takes election integrity more seriously than the United States? The answer is simple: politics.
How can it be that a third-world country like Peru takes election integrity more seriously than the United States? The answer is simple: politics.
For years Democrats have been attempting to deride voter ID laws as racist, anti-American, and even equated them with the Jim Crow era. Their paternalistic instincts lead them to contend that such laws prevent minorities from voting, since we apparently are less capable of obtaining identification than white Americans.
Obviously, I’ve been Hispanic all my life. Yet, I have an ID just like every other person I know, whether they are Black, Hispanic, white, or Asian. Even those here illegally have an ID card of some sort because it’s necessary for many of the most basic parts of life — from buying pack of beer to renting or visit the emergency room. You can also bet that most non-white immigrants in the U.S. who maintain citizenship in their home countries need an ID to vote back home.
The truth is, most white Democrats nowadays believe that race is all-important, that their political beliefs are the only non-racist option, and that they will always maintain a political stranglehold on non-white communities and their votes. Consequently, any policy that can be construed to decrease the number of their minority beneficiaries in voting booths is, in their minds, racist.
What they don’t realize or refuse to accept is that about 75% of Americans, including minorities, support showing ID before casting a ballot, according to a recent Rasmussen poll. That’s up from 67% two years ago. And, if you don’t want to take Rasmussen’s word for it, then listen to the Associated Press, which found 72% support for voter ID rules.
Democrats fail to understand or refuse to publicly admit that it’s easy to obtain an ID for those who don’t have one. For example, Georgia, which has been subject to much unfounded media controversy due to its new election reforms, offers free ID cards at any county registrar’s office or Driver Services Center. Obviously, a government that desires to suppress minority voters wouldn’t provide those services, and that’s why such baseless claims of racism and voter suppression have no place in a conversation rooted in facts.
Like Peru, most countries around the world also require some sort of photo ID in order to vote. In 2012, a program run by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems held a conference in Washington, D.C., where officials from over 60 countries gathered to observe the U.S presidential election. According to an article published on foreignpolicy.com, those officials were astonished by the lack of a requirement to present a valid photo ID before voting in many jurisdictions. The head of Libya’s election commission at the time, Nuri K. Ellabar, said he was amazed at the trust voters put in America’s voting process and called it an incredible system.
An incredible system it is, but in some states, the world’s greatest democracy doesn’t have basic laws that would provide voters with the assurance that their votes count equally in a time when such assurance is increasingly necessary.
In some states, the world’s greatest democracy doesn’t have basic laws that would provide voters with the assurance that their votes count equally in a time when such assurance is increasingly necessary.
Today’s Democratic Party cares more about talking points for the sake of political gain than the integrity of our elections. When they bring up their voter suppression argument, smile and kindly remind them that a majority the minorities they’re taking the privilege of speaking for either want the laws they claim are racist and, if they’re an immigrant, often came from countries with stricter voter ID laws than the U.S.
I remember standing in line as a first-time voter in Peru. There were three different checkpoints to show my ID. When it came time to vote, I had to make sure my signature matched exactly as it appeared on my ID card. While I think the exacting nature of the signature match was a bit much, there’s no reason why we should lag behind Peru when it comes to casting a secure ballot.
It is essential that we come together to support policies that will protect the integrity of our votes and restore faith in our voting process.
Chris Mundiath is the Chairman the Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of PA, dedicated to engaging the Hispanic community with the Republican Party. He is an O.V. Catto Fellow, and lives in Montgomery County.
4 thoughts on “Chris Mundiath: Third-world countries take election security seriously—we should, too”
The US is far behind many other countries in ensuring that the votes are cast properly. When I worked in a maquiladora in Mexico back many years ago, I found it interesting that our Mexican employees all had to show voter ID to vote. Even today, though some U.S. states allow people to vote without IDs, Mexico makes no exceptions for individuals lacking the proper photo ID. In the most recent elections in Mexico, the Federal Electoral Institute even refused to extend the registration period or grant an amnesty for those applying late, leaving more than a million people ineligible to vote.
There are HUGE differences between the US in Peru and Mexico. In Peru and Mexico, a standardized federal ID is available and voter ID laws are set federally. These IDs are either legally required or practically required not just for voting but for virtually all interactions with the federal government so everyone has them. The problematic voter ID laws in the US are state laws which allow SOME kinds of ID (which incidentally white Republicans have) while NOT allowing other, perfectly valid forms of ID (which incidentally Democrats and people of color have more of).
If you want a blanket voter ID law then make one standardized federal ID and require that all citizens have it. Just like Mexico and Peru do.
Further more, in both Mexico and Peru, VOTING IS COMPULSORY and you can be fined for not voting. Do you still want to copy their system?
Ok, great. Then you can require this same standardized, federal ID for all gun purchases too.
In Peru, every citizen is legally MANDATED to get and renew their federal ID. Is this really the system right wingers want to get behind in the US? Fine, that’s great. If you require and provide the means for every US citizen in every state to get the same standardized federal ID then go ahead and use that for voting. And to compare a constitutionally protected civil right (voting) to buying beer really says all you need to know about how the right views this issue.
And while you’re at it, require this standardized, mandated, microchipped federal ID for ALL GUN SALES TOO (just like Peru!)
Also, voting in elections in Peru is COMPULSORY. You can be fined for not voting. So yeah, go ahead and copy Peru’s system in the US.