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Virginia voters don’t need Trump prying into their data

posted July 10th, 2017

Ramadan: Virginia voters don’t need Trump prying into their data

David Ramadan is a former Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates (2012-2016) from Loudoun County and is now an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University. He can be reached via email: info@davidramadan.com

If you want to work people into an immediate lather, there are few quicker ways to make suds than bringing up the issue of voter fraud and electoral shenanigans. The most obvious and recent example is the ongoing debate over Russian interference in the 2016 election –which unfortunately has turned into a partisan war.
 
But allegations of voter fraud are nothing if not a bi-partisan affair. President Trump has repeatedly maintained that more than 5 million voted illegally in 2016 without producing a shred of evidence. Still, his ardent supporters cling to this claim like a talisman of truth.

Faith in America’s voting system is far too important to be left to ideological group-think unsupported by fact. Obviously elections are not perfect, even in Virginia. As a former legislator and a former member of the House Privileges and Elections Committee, I know first-hand that incidents of voter fraud are few and far between, with most ending in prosecution.

Unfortunately, Trump is seeking to throw another log onto the flickering flame of fake voter fraud claims by issuing an Executive Order to review the voter rolls of every state. Currently 27 states are pushing back against this charade. They’re standing firm that the federal government has no place supervising how states manage their voter rolls. Virginia lawmakers should follow suit.

The Constitution in its wisdom left control of how states conduct elections to the states themselves, not to federal politicians looking to make hay when there isn’t even a barn. Elections for national office certainly have consequences beyond state lines. But even the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore limited federal oversight of state elections to the equal protection clause, a total non-factor in Trump’s Commission.

Of course concern over the integrity of our elections should be a top priority for every Virginian, indeed for every American. Voter fraud nullifies the principle of one-person-one-vote, and tarnishes the legitimacy of our elected leaders. Worse yet, it undermines faith in our democratic process.

My concern for protecting the sanctity of the ballot box led me in 2013 to author Virginia’s On-line Voter Registration Law which allowed citizens to register to vote and update their registration information on-line; that also ensured the Commonwealth maintained, updated and verified voter data.

Virginia is diligent in maintaining our voter rolls. As the Washington Post reported in 2013, we purged nearly 40,000 invalid voter records prior to the gubernatorial election. Future purges, in cooperation with neighboring states, and proof of citizenship and residency for paper-voter-registration, is what is needed to maintain Virginia’s election integrity.

Advocates for states’ rights should be very concerned with any new precedent of even voluntary federal oversight over our voter data. Opening this door could encourage activist courts or a future Justice Department to become creative in finding ways to expand upon federal authority over exclusive state prerogatives. Our credibility in fighting such a federal mandate tomorrow could be neutered by an indifferent response to Trump’s Commission today.

In the full light of day, Trump’s Commission amounts to little more than a fishing expedition to score political points. Trump knows that lack of compliance with his Commission will elicit cries of a cover-up, while cooperation will only further instigate a self-perpetuating enterprise hunting for proof of a conclusion it has already drawn.

The president knows full well that nothing positive will come of his commission. The only rationale for its creation is to serve as a soapbox to demagogue the issue of voter fraud even further. The result won’t be to give Americans more faith in our elections, but less. Lawmakers must recognize this as a nonsensical federal overreach into the lives of Virginia voters. This is one fishing expedition where Virginia shouldn’t take the bait.

http://www.roanoke.com/opinion/commentary/ramadan-virginia-voters-don-t-need-trump-prying-into-their/article_36bd3613-bd6d-5cdd-b858-a2a1046dd7ad.html

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Happy Independence Day America!!

posted July 4th, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day!

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RAMADAN Kareem!!

posted May 26th, 2017

RAMADAN Kareem!!

RAMADAN Kareem

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David Ramadan column: Trump has a fresh opportunity to enhance U.S. relationship with the Arab and Islamic world

posted May 18th, 2017

RTD

TRUMP’S TRIP

David Ramadan column: Trump has a fresh opportunity to enhance U.S. relationship with the Arab and Islamic world

Maintaining a strong relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the other four Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is more important now than ever before — and these relationships are decades old.

President Trump’s upcoming historic visit to Saudi Arabia to participate in a GCC summit — which is unprecedented — offers our nation the opportunity to send a clear and powerful message that the United States values its allies in the Arab world.

It also offers the president the opportunity to work with the leaders of the Arab nations to promote peace in the Middle East, fight terrorism, and counter Iran’s expanding political influence in the area.

The GCC for more than 35 years has promoted regional cooperation, and has the resources and the will to do whatever is necessary; thus the GCC is the right partner for the USA.

As with all our allies, there is a need for frank discussions among the United States and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the GCC countries.

This summit provides the opportunity for such discussions. Trump can address the mutual need to improve deterrents to terrorism and gain consensus on how to do so. It is in everyone’s interest to send a clear message that the U.S. and the Arab world stand united against extremism. Further, this trip could — if Trump plays his cards correctly — signal a fresh start between Trump and American Muslims.

Our partnership with the Arab world is most critical today given the threats facing our nation, posed by Iran, ISIS and political upheavals in the Middle East.

This is a strategic partnership based on common vital interests and cooperation.

For example, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates strongly backed Western interests against the former Soviet Union and fought as part of a coalition against Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait.

Both countries continue to cooperate with the USA on national security issues.

After repeated failures in Syria, the Obama administration in the last few years practically withdrew from direct and active involvement in the Middle East — which opened the door for Russia and Iran to exert their influence and expand their dominance in the region. What’s more, as Obama moved forward with a nuclear treaty with Iran — a treaty that has short-term gains but could be devastating in the long term — he basically legitimized Iran’s nuclear program.

Our partners in the Arab world were left with the promise of a nuclear Iran threatening their existence. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the other GCC countries were forced into a nuclear race that they clearly did not want.

It is important for Trump to make clear to our Arab allies that the United States is back and fully engaged in the Middle East. Visiting Saudi Arabia and attending the GCC summit is an excellent start. The president must also make clear that the U.S. is willing to stand up to Iran and protect our Arab allies against any threat, including a nuclear one.

This visit offers the opportunity to show America’s allies and the rest of the world our desire to maintain and advance our vital partnerships with the Arab and Islamic countries.

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David Ramadan is a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates (2012-2016) and an adjunct professor at George Mason University. He can be reached via email at info@davidramadan.com.

 

http://www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/guest-columnists/david-ramadan-column-trump-has-a-fresh-opportunity-to-enhance/article_75084f77-aef4-5cd9-94d5-d3bdacbec4ac.html

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