Thanks for your thoughtful response.
when I go in I show my ID and they look at their list to make sure I'm at the right place. You can't just walk in and cast a ballot.
Not all states require ID. Some require a photo ID, most do not. Many do not require ID. I found a source that shows the different requirements by state. Here in Virginia, where I work as an Election Officer, you must show a photo ID to vote. It's a good system, in spite of the many criticisms. It has survived all court challenges, primarily because we provide many various ways for a vote to obtain a photo ID without cost or onerous requirements. The registrar's office can even issue their own "for voting purposes only" photo ID, and voters are sometimes issued ID with very little documentation. The registrar has enough information from various state agencies to ensure that the person requesting the ID is legitimate just by asking a few questions and cross-referencing a few state databases. It's a really good system, and there have been folks that came into my polling station to vote that clearly should not be there. They never press the issue or cause problems, probably because they know they are not supposed to be there.
We do need to strengthen the entire process.
Yes, I totally agree with this. It was kind of my original point. Not that there are millions of non-citizens voting, but because it's so difficult to find out how many non-citizens are voting.
I find it hard to believe that the government wouldn't know who its citizens are, at some level in some department.
There have been efforts. eVerify is the primary one. It's not too bad, but there have been legitimate criticisms of it, because there is about a 10% false negative (that is, about 10% of eligible workers are reported as non-eligible to work in the US). The system was designed to verify workers are eligible for employment. That's WAY too high. So the planned mandates for employers never happened. We need to be better at this.
I get what you're saying about the local police and access to federal information. Personal encounters with law enforcement at any level can be fraught with complexities, and I don't want to see any increase in police action at that level. Just the opposite, as far as LEO access to data is concerned. I think this is where we have a fundamental disagreement in principle. I want a weaker Federal government that defers to states on many more issues. Cultures and values of people living in Vermont diverge significantly from the cultures and values of people living in Oklahoma. We should acknowledge that and reduce the role of the Federal government in those diverse issues. It would cause a lot less angst when a president is elected that wins most of the states but loses the popular vote in the densely populated coastal states.