This is really important, since the Republican-majority legislature in Arkansas just joined the “vote fraud” brigade with Voter ID legislation designed to depress turnout among traditional Democratic constituencies.
At the link, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo reports on a deep and systematic study of whether vote fraud exists in Ohio — by a Republican officeholder, the secretary of state of Ohio. The Republican directed all counties to investigate all cases of potential fraud and came up with 625 cases of irregularities in 2012 voting. Bottom line, in addition to the Republican secretary of state himself now using the word “hyperbole” about claims of fraud:
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… even with an especial emphasis on finding every instance of potential fraud, they appear to have come up with 135 – and most of those were apparently caught by the simple non-voter ID methods all good canvassers use. So guilt notwithstanding, those instances had no actual effect on the race in question.
As Husted put it, “Voter fraud does exist, but it is not an epidemic. To put this into context, … that’s 135 referrals out of more than 5.6 million votes cast.”
The numbers speak for themselves. If anything I would say Husted still somewhat exaggerates the scale of the problem. But the guy deserves credit for putting this all out there.
Two points I’d make.
The first is that what really turns elections is organized vote fraud and organized voting fraud almost always requires the involvement of election administrators. This is why voter ID is itself such a fraud in my mind because it provides zero protection against the kinds of fraud that are real dangers to elections.
Second, there are clearly people who will vote in two states or try to vote absentee and then vote on election day. No sane person has ever denied this. But there are very, very, very few of them. The issue with election policy is always balancing the costs with the benefits. There’s no free lunch.
It has never been about fraud. It has always been about suppression. That’s why a Koch-funded outfit invented it.