Poland Shows How to Run Honest Elections
It’s not hard to run honest elections, even without fancy 21st-century e-technology. I actually live in such a country now. I moved to Poland in 2007, and I can tell everybody that Poland runs honest elections. Actually, I think this is also true of France, Germany, and most countries of Western Europe, but I’ll talk here of Poland since this is the case I’m most familiar with.
Poland assures honest elections by doing two things that the United States does not do. Poland has a) national ID cards, and b) residential reporting laws.
All residents of Poland, whether they are citizens or not, are required to apply for and receive national ID cards. In my case, since I’m not a citizen of the State of Poland, I have a pobyt stały (certification of permanent legal residency, like the American green card). My pobyt stały is distinct from the national ID cards that citizens have.
I show both sides of my pobyt below. Note that I have crossed out numerical identification, and I crossed out my specific street address on the back. Note also on the back it says, “DOSTĘP DO RYNKU PRACY.” This means, “Entry to the Job Market.” The card at the same time functions as an e-verification for legal employment.
Also, note the two fields I encircled both front and back. These in fact are holograms, which actually contain my bio-scan! The final step before I received this card was that I had to allow the agency to scan the fingerprints of both my index fingers – and these were transferred into the card! My Polish national ID card is therefore actually a smart card! I regard it as a wave of the future, another foolproof means of achieving voter integrity, but I’ll venture no farther than that here...
The national ID cards all have the holder’s photo on them. And, even more importantly, the cards state the official address of record, and this is where Poland’s other law comes into play. All persons, citizens and otherwise, are required by law to report their current address of residency to their local authorities. And, each person is required to go to his/her regional administrative office to apply for the national ID card on which his/her official address will be recorded.
When all this happens, and if the cardholder is a citizen, he/she will automatically be registered to vote, at the precinct appropriate to his/her address. And therefore, the rate of voter registration of citizens in Poland is virtually 100%, and all done without any political party sending out armies to register unregistered persons to vote.
What happens if a person moves to a new address in another city? In this case, that person must register the new address with his/her new local authorities within 90 days, and must also apply for a new national ID card to replace the old one with the now-invalid address.
When this happens, the regional government center will instruct the new municipality of residence to notify the old municipality to strike that old resident’s name forthwith from its voter rolls. So unlike the case in the United States where the same person can be registered to vote in multiple places, like my friend on Staten Island, in Poland, this is virtually impossible.
Having said all this, however, I need to add that I fear it would be very difficult to impose residential registration laws and national ID on Americans. Many on both the left and the right would see this as a massive invasion of privacy. And they have a point.
Those who watched Schindler’s List will recall how efficiently the Nazis rounded up all the Jews in Kraków in one fell swoop. The reason the Nazis could do that is that they knew where almost every Jew lived because they were working off residential lists they had seized from the Poles after the 1939 invasion – lists which, by the way, stated one’s religion.
Most if not all European countries have used and lived with such laws ever since the end of World War II, and somehow the sky doesn’t fall in. No police department in any of these countries has ever abused this knowledge the way the Nazis did. People here take their safety for granted.
But the United States already is well down the road toward a national ID. All driver’s licenses have one’s current address printed thereon, and these are routinely used as ID. Nobody thinks twice about it. But these identity cards are issued by states, not the federal government, perhaps somewhat mollifying critics.
But on May 3, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security will require a “Real ID” as a condition to board all commercial flights and enter certain federal facilities. These will be photo ID cards with one’s address printed thereon – just like the Polish national ID cards.
It appears the Real ID will be based primarily on state-issued driver’s licenses. Those cards will look like this:
Note the star on the license on the right. That certifies the license is Real ID. Driver’s licenses without such a mark will not be Real ID and will not allow a person to fly. I don’t know if such licenses will bear printing on the back as the Polish national ID cards have.
Driver’s licenses will be the primary but not sole method for Real ID. Passports will be accepted, as will green cards and other forms of ID.
Real ID is a step in Poland’s direction of a full-blown national ID card. It will be a picture ID and can state one’s address. But not necessarily. While driver’s licenses do state one’s address, passports and green cards do not. And note that state-issued driver’s licenses never state one’s citizenship status. Millions of aliens, legal and otherwise, possess valid driver’s licenses in California – and all are registered to vote regardless of citizenship status, thanks to the execrable Motor Voter Bill.
More work would have to be done to enable Real ID to function as Poland’s national ID cards function – as a means to enable legal voting and to seek legal employment.