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Voter Fraud Exposed!

The Daily Caller has a “bombshell” for us:  NH poll workers shown handing out ballots in dead peoples’ names [VIDEO]

The bombshell video is the work of conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe and his organization, Project Veritas.

Voters in the Granite State are not required to present identification to vote. O’Keefe’s investigators were able to obtain ballots under the names of dead voters at polling locations Tuesday by simply asking for them, he said.

[...]

The investigation worked this way: O’Keefe and his team obtained names of recently deceased New Hampshirites through published obituaries, and used publicly available voter roll information to find dead people still on the voting rolls.

With that information, O’Keefe’s investigators went to the polls on Tuesday and requested ballots in the names of the deceased.

“Some of them died a few months ago, some of them died a few weeks ago,” he said.

In many cases, ballots were handed over by the poll workers without any skepticism.

So there you go:  we need voter ID laws, right?  We must stop the attack of zombie voters!

But, of course, the issue at hand is not one of potentiality.  I will readily allow that in a state without a voter ID requirement that persons pretending to be the recently deceased might be able to vote for said dead persons since it is likely impossible that the voter registration rolls could be purged of the recently dead.  Of course, as one story from NH underscores, even without an ID (and, in fairness, was noted in the Daily Caller piece), it might not always be easy to vote for a dead person:  Would-be dead man voter stopped at polls.

This all proves that all those calls for voter ID laws are on target, right?

However, the policy question is this:  what is the likelihood that this will happen in a given election, and at what rate?  That is:  is it especially likely that one, let alone a large number, of such ballots might be cast?  From there, one has to assess the cost of preventing such an action.

This is how rational policy ought to be made:  assessing costs and benefits.

The evidence suggests that voter fraud is quite rare (i.e., the benefit of voter ID laws is such that it could prevent an near-nonexistent problem).  So, the benefits are small.

Some numbers:

Existing studies are incomplete but provide some insight. For example, a statewide survey of each of Ohio’s eighty-eight county Boards of Elections found only four instances of ineligible persons attempting to vote out of a total of 9,078,728 votes cast in the state’s 2002 and 2004 general elections. This is a fraud rate of 0.000044%.’ The Carter-Baker Commission’s Report noted that since October 2002, federal officials had charged eighty-nine individuals with casting multiple votes, providing false information about their felon status, buying votes, submitting false voter registration information, or voting improperly as a noncitizen. Examined in the context of the 196,139,871 ballots cast between October 2002 and August 2005, this represents a fraud rate of 0.000045% (and note also that not all of the activities charged would have been prevented by a photo- identification requirement) (Overton, 654).

Some more from Indiana:

Even including suspected but unproven reports of fraud, the State and its allies have uncovered remarkably little evidence of any misconduct that Indiana’s law could prevent. Out of almost 400 million votes cast in general elections alone since 2000, the briefs cite one attempt at impersonation that was thwarted without a photo ID requirement, and nine unresolved cases where impersonation fraud at the polls was suspected but not proven. Nine possible examples out of hundreds of millions — and these nine cases might just as well have been due to clerical error (Levitt, 1).

These are fairly typical examples of what we find when we look empirically at voter fraud allegations.  There are a host more in the Brennan’ Center’s report, The Truth about Voter Fraud.

Ok, so what about the cost?  Voter ID laws increase bureaucracy and they increase the time needed to vote.  Worse, and more importantly, we know that a substantial number of poor and/or elderly persons do not have adequate IDs.  This means that to stop an essentially non-existent problem we must increase the costs of the running the election and set up situations in which otherwise eligible voters might be denied the right to vote.

To add some numbers to this notion, there are more people without IDs than is likely assumed by most readers.   To wit:

The 2005 Carter-Baker Commission estimated that 12% of voting- age Americans lack a driver’s license, and an analysis of 2003 Census and Federal Highway Administration data estimates that twenty-two million voting-age citizens lack a driver’s license. Some 3-4% of voting-age Americans carry a nondriver’s photo-identification card issued by a state motor vehicle agency in lieu of a driver’s license. Thus, according to the 2001 Carter-Ford Commission, an estimated 6-10% of voting-age Americans (approximately eleven million to twenty million potential voters) do not possess a driver’s license or a state-issued nondriver’s photo- identification card (Overton 658).

That’s a lot of voters who could be disenfranchised—and to stop less than a rounding error’s worth of likely voter fraud.  This does not strike me as prudent, or efficacious, public policy.  (It is worth noting that some voter ID rules require something less official than a state-issued ID).

And, not only are there a lot of persons sans ID, they are clustered in particular groups.  For example:

Other studies on demographic disparities in photo identification focus largely on particular areas and localities. According to the Georgia chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons, for example, 36% of Georgians over age seventy-five lack a driver’s license. In 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice found that African- Americans in Louisiana were four to five times less likely than white residents to have government-sanctioned photo identification. Of the forty million Americans with disabilities, nearly 10% lack identification issued by the government (Overton 659).

So, as is often noted, voter ID laws will more have the effect of making it difficult for poor, elderly, African-American, and/or disabled persons from voting whilst curbing a non-existent problem.

In short:  voter ID legislation is a solution to a nonexistent problem which ultimately causes new problems.

Philosophically, I have sympathy to the notion of a voter ID requirements.  As a practical matter, however, I am opposed as they are currently constituted (i.e., because we have an ad hoc system of identification in this country that can result in some voters being denied the right to vote).

I have hit a point where I think that what we need is a systematically distributed, free ID card that includes automatic voter registration.  That would both be fair and make the kind of voter fraud that is supposedly a problem impossible to commit.

Of course, there is a cost/benefit analysis needed for such a proposal as well.

Works Cited

Levitt, Justin. “Analysis of Alleged Fraud in Briefs Supporting Crawford Respondents.” Published December 31, 2007. http://www.truthaboutfraud.org/pdf/CrawfordAllegations.pdf

Overton, Spencer.  “Voter Identification.” Michigan Law Review, Vol. 105, No. 4 (Feb., 2007), pp. 631-681.

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Vast Variety says:

    I have hit a point where I think that what we need is a systematically distributed, free ID card that includes automatic voter registration. That would both be fair and make the kind of voter fraud that is supposedly a problem impossible to commit.

    Of course, there is a cost/benefit analysis needed for such a proposal as well.

    Not only is there a cost but you would have the Anti-National ID card nuts from both the left and the right in a tizzy.

    Side Point… doesn’t this video implicate James O’keefe and his group in Federal Election Fraud Crime? Isn’t it possible that maybe he should be investigated and brought up on charges? Or did his group not actually turn in the “Dead-man” ballots?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. @Vast Variety:

    Not only is there a cost but you would have the Anti-National ID card nuts from both the left and the right in a tizzy.

    Indeed.

    Side Point… doesn’t this video implicate James O’keefe and his group in Federal Election Fraud Crime? Isn’t it possible that maybe he should be investigated and brought up on charges? Or did his group not actually turn in the “Dead-man” ballots?

    As I understand it, they didn’t actually vote. However, I think that they broke the law just requesting the ballots (as they represented themselves are persons other than themselves). I think there is also a question of the legality of secretly filming the action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. Hey Norm says:

    All I can say is that I hope O’Keefe and his cronies go to jail over one of the extremely rare incidences of voter fraud…which they perpetrated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  4. Commonist says:

    It’s a zero-sum situation. Reducing voter fraud will cause impediments that will strike disproportionately against certain groups who are statistically not more prone to fraud.

    Of course, fraud is negligible today, and those who are pushing Voter ID laws consider the impediments being more of a problem for the poor, certain ethnic minorities and young voters to be a bonus and the true rationale for the laws in the first place. Because they are bad people who act in bad faith, and if you think they are concerned about voter fraud primarily and would happily pursue a solution to this minor problem that wouldn’t prevent people they hate from voting, you are dumb enough to be considered mentally handicapped in some countries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. @Commonist:

    It’s a zero-sum situation.

    I would say that it is, in fact, a negative-sum situation in which the negative effects rather substantially outweigh any positive benefits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    Here in Oregon we have had 100% vote by mail for nearly 20 years. You receive your ballot by mail. You vote, put the ballot in the envelope then sign the outside of the envelope. The signature is checked before the envelope is opened. I have not heard of one case of voter fraud in all that time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. mattb says:

    I also find it noteworthy that many of the “we need ID-Check to prevent the possibility of voter fraud” are the same people who, for example, quickly get up in arms about state action to ban the use of mobile devices in cars (which there is arguably far more data to rationalize) on the basis that it’s an undue invasion of personal rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. rodney dill says:

    @Ron Beasley: I guess that means you never typed ‘Oregon voter fraud’ into Google.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  9. Jay Dubbs says:

    I think that this is merely the open salvo for the 2016 GOP nomination (assuming Mitt loses in the fall.)

    If the dead can vote, why can’t they run for office?

    Zombie Reagan in 2016!

    I for one welcome our new zombie overlords.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. ed says:

    @Ron Beasley:
    One assumes you can check if you actually voted (i.e., wasn’t lost in the mail or what have you).

    Automatic paper trail is a wicked-nice perk in this case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Rick Almeida says:
  12. Ron Beasley says:

    @ed: Yes, you can check on line to see if your ballot was received. Most of the ballots are not actually mailed back – there are numerous drop boxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. MM says:

    @rodney dill: Why, it’s a bunch of editorials about how it mail ballots either are or possibly are not a conduit for voter fraud. You sure showed him!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    @Rick Almeida: Nine prosecutions out of 15,000,000 ballots cast over 10+ years. That doesn’t sound like a problem to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  15. Rick DeMent says:

    not to mention the fact that absentee ballots are also loaded with the potential for voter fraud but never seem to be the target of these initiatives. Why7 is that? I mean people could be intercepting these ballots … filling them out … who would know? I remember during the Florida recount battle there was a controversy over absentee ballots. The state law required post marks, many military absentee ballots didn’t have them. The very same people who wanted to follow the letter of the law regarding the time frame to do recounts were also screaming that the state law should be overlooked in the case of the military ballots.

    It would be a lot easier if O’Keefe would just come clean that he wants to make it harder for Democrats to vote rather then trying to vale the whole thing as some kind of legal\moral imperative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. Drew says:

    So, as is often noted, voter ID laws will more have the effect of making it difficult for poor, elderly, African-American, and/or disabled persons from voting whilst curbing a non-existent problem.

    Heh. No such argument ever made wrt disability parking space permits, food stamps, paperwork associated with govt transfer payments, business regulation”……………….

    That’s “different” I’m sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  17. rodney dill says:

    @Rick Almeida: Now you’re perpetrating the fraud. You just performed selective googling and skipped down to the sixth entry, missing the first which was a guilty plea on voter fraud and several entries indicating how easy they think voter fraud can be done in Oregon. It just may be there aren’t many prosecutions because its that hard to get caught and to prove it under Oregon’s system.

    Ron’s claim wasn’t that Oregon had few, it was that he was unaware of ANY cases of voter fraud over 20 years. It may well be that HE was unaware, but only by choosing not to look for any, sort of like you just did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  18. Hey Norm says:

    Even those behind the blatant effort at voter suppresion admit that fraud is not a problem…but is a “potential problem”. So are asteroids.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  19. rodney dill says:

    @MM: I showed him that all he had to do was type ‘oregon voter fraud’ and check the first entry. He was unaware of any, but he also chose not to do even a rudimentary check.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  20. @rodney dill: But the question isn’t (or shouldn’t be) is voter fraud possible? It should be be how big a problem is voter fraud? Followed by is it worth the cost of fixing it?

    So yes, you are right to note that there have been cases of voter fraud in Oregon.

    But there is probably more cockroach pieces in your lunch, by percentage, than there are fraudulent votes cast in any given election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  21. MM says:

    @Drew: Yes Drew they are different. Voting is a right enumerated in the constitution. Handicapped placards, food stamps and streamlined application processes are not.

    @rodney dill: Whereas you did quite literally the most rudimentary check possible and proved nothing other than that Google can return results to a query.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. Ron Beasley says:

    @rodney dill: I have lived in Oregon all that time. If voter fraud were a problem I would have heard about it. I did see many editorials claiming it would be a problem but if any made the news I missed them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  23. rodney dill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: That would well be. (my slice of pizza was a little bit crunchy). I haven’t made any claim or done any research that Oregon is better or worse than anywhere else, but I’m also not putting forth an opinion on voter fraud based on doing absolutely no research.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  24. cbtrce says:

    I guess nobody here has heard of Chicago, where not only do the dead vote but vote early and often.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  25. rodney dill says:

    @MM: All I had to do was a rudimentary search to show information that on actual voter fraud (i.e. a guilty plea existed), and I have no intention of going through all the 381,000 results to see how many are actual cases of documented fraud versus accusuations or are just editorials on the subject.

    proved nothing other than that Google can return results to a query,

    supporting an argument. FTFY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  26. @cbtrce: You write as if this is an ongoing condition.

    Beyond that, and if you are really interested, I would highly recommend the Brennan Center report I linked in the piece.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  27. Davebo says:

    I haven’t made any claim or done any research that Oregon is better or worse than anywhere else

    No, you just said Google Oregon voter fraud and then crab walked back. It’s a time honored tradition. Make an inference, as you did, without supporting it, and then claim “Hey, I never said….”

    In other words, cowardice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  28. rodney dill says:

    @Davebo: I don’t believe I made any inference. I said that a quick search of google was all that was required to find evidence of voter fraud in Oregon. I said this in response to a 20 year Oregon resident that said he was unaware of any voter fraud in Oregon. I haven’t had to back away from anything that I have stated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  29. mattb says:

    @rodney dill:
    The “google it” argument you just put forth is exactly why I brought up distracted driving.

    Google it — stats and anecdotal data show a far greater link between mobile phones/txting and auto accidents that linkages between lack of voter ID and voter fraud.

    Applying your argument, if one accepts the need for regulating a constitutionally enshrined right, I see no reason to take umbrage with banning the use of mobile devices while driving (there is no constitutional right to drive).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. Wayne says:

    If one took a survey of all the counties Boards of Elections in the counties which O’Keefe’s group fooled before the release of the scheme, and you would have found zero instances that it happen. Does that mean it didn’t happen? Of course not. It obviously did happen.

    If you don’t have the means and the tools to identify voter fraud, the chances of catching voting fraud is very slim to none. Claiming something isn’t happening when there is little ability or will to detect it is foolish. Does anyone know what putting on blinders means?

    FYI O’Keefe’s group probably didn’t violate any laws by simply obtaining the ballets unless they use them to vote which I doubt they did. It does demonstrate how easy it would be to commit voter fraud and it is by no means the only method to commit voter fraud. Many of the methods would never be detected by the current system. I shake my head at those who try to claim that we shouldn’t be worry about voter fraud.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  31. Dave Schuler says:

    @MM:

    Really? Where?

    There are prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of race, age, and sex but I don’t believe there’s an explicit expression of a right to vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  32. @Dave Schuler: More than just prohibition on discrimination, I would say the follow area ll pretty explicit. They all note the right to vote.

    13th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude–”

    19th: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

    Even better, the 26th: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. rodney dill says:

    @mattb: I don’t think I would have too much of a problem with the banning of mobile devices while driving.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Dave Schuler says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Re-read them. They prohibit denying the right of citizens to vote on the basis of race, color, sex, or age. It’s in the language. They do not prohibit denying the right to vote for other reasons. Those may be prohibited by statute, in state constitutions, or by judicial decisions but that’s not in the Constitution.

    We prohibit voting for any number of reasons: mental infirmity, age below 18, conviction of a felony, etc. That would not be possible if there were a generalized right to vote explicitly declared in the Constitution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. @Dave Schuler: I have read them a rather large number of times, to be honest. I used to have your position, btw, i.e., that there was no explicit declaration in the document on this subject. But the very litany of the 16th, 19th and 26th strike me as a pretty clear identication, in black and white, of a right to vote.

    I understand your point, but by your definition there is no right to free speech or to assembly because they can be curtailed in some circumstances by statute or judicial order. (Indeed, all rights are like that, yes? There are no absolute rights).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  36. TheColurfield says:

    @Wayne:

    “FYI O’Keefe’s group probably didn’t violate any laws by simply obtaining the ballets unless they use them to vote which I doubt they did”

    Wrong

    659:34 Wrongful Voting; Penalties for Voter Fraud. –
    I. A person is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 if such person:
    (a) When registering to vote; when obtaining an official ballot; or when casting a vote by official ballot, makes a false material statement regarding his or her qualifications as a voter to an election officer or submits a voter registration form, an election day registration affidavit, a qualified voter affidavit, a domicile affidavit, or an absentee registration affidavit containing false material information regarding his or her qualifications as a voter;
    (b) Votes more than once for any office or measure;
    (c) Applies for a ballot in a name other than his or her own;
    (d) Applies for a ballot in his or her own name after he or she has voted once;
    (e) Votes for any office or measure at an election if such person is not qualified to vote as provided in RSA 654; or
    (f) Gives a false name or answer if under examination as to his or her qualifications as a voter before the supervisors of the checklist or moderator.

    That took 3 seconds to google.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  37. David M says:

    It’s pretty simple really, there is always going to be some level of voter fraud. The question isn’t whether it exists, but whether it’s at a level worth worrying about. Overwhelmingly, the answer is no, the incidences of voter fraud are not worth our time, and the real negative impact of these laws is likely to far outweigh the imaginary benefits.

    Which is worse, a couple people voting when they shouldn’t, or a couple hundred or thousand people not being allowed to vote when they should have? The GOP is making a cynical bet that the people not being allowed to vote will break Democratic, which is why they care about this issue and support the laws to make it more difficult for voters they don’t care about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  38. Wayne says:

    @Mattb
    How does banning the use of mobile devices have to do with showing ID to vote? One is a safety concern the other is about fraud. A more fair comparison would be producing id in order to get a driver license, purchase alcohol, receiving a boarding pass, acquiring ones medical record, receiving a loan, applying for social security benefits, picking up your winnings at a radio stations, etc.

    Banning the use of mobile devices is comparable to banning the running of stop signs, speeding, driving while intoxicated, etc,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. @Wayne: He’s making a point about the known relative harm of an action (e.g., voter fraud, using cell phones in cars) v. the cost of dealing with problem alongside the commensurate public outrage.

    In other words: using mobile devices is a demonstrably bigger problem than voter fraud, and is cheaper to fix (and causes far fewer spin-off problems), yet there is more outcry about banning the usage of mobile devices than there is about the negative impacts of voter ID laws.

    Further, he is suggesting that the people most likely to complain about the government messing with their liberty (via banning mobile devices) are unlikely to care about the loss of real liberty caused by voter ID laws (i.e., the fact that it does effectively disenfranchise real voters).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  40. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Further, he is suggesting that the people most likely to complain about the government messing with their liberty (via banning mobile devices) are unlikely to care about the loss of real liberty caused by voter ID laws (i.e., the fact that it does effectively disenfranchise real voters).

    Thanks for saying it better than I can.

    To go one step further and tie this back to the discussion of why many members of minority groups don’t vote republican, I submit the subject of this post as another example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  41. Septimius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: When the vote margin is 537 out of over 6 million votes cast (as was the case in Florida in 2000), election fraud could potentially be a significant problem.

    I’m not arguing that voter fraud was an issue in Florida in 2000. I’m just saying that voter fraud, however small, absolutely could impact an election, even for the Presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  42. @Septimius:

    When the vote margin is 537 out of over 6 million votes cast (as was the case in Florida in 2000), election fraud could potentially be a significant problem.

    A couple of quick responses:

    1. I am not sure that in the modern era there is any example of known fraud that even comes close to 537 votes.

    2. As the cliche goes, hard cases make bad law.

    3. The ultimate issue, however, as I note, is cost/benefit. I agree that perfect elections would be best, I am just saying that the cost to achieve said perfection (assuming that it is even attainable) is not worth cost.

    4. Those who are truly concerned about fraud ought to follow my proposal: a free, universal ID with automatic registration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  43. Nikki says:

    @Septimius: In your hypothetical election situation, what are the odds that, out of more than 6 million voters, 538 people would/could find a way to commit enough voter fraud to swing an election?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  44. Septimius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I really hate having to spell it out. But, here goes. Your argument about a cost/benefit analysis is wrong. The lesson that Florida teaches is that an election, even for the highest office in the land, can be decided by extremely small margins. The cost and benefits are really a determinate of the vote margin. If the vote difference is in the millions or even hundreds of thousands, as most elections are, then the cost significantly outweighs the benefits. If the election is extremely close, the benefit of knowing that the election results are fair goes up dramatically. When it’s an election for President of the United States, the benefit of knowing that the right guy won the election is enormous.

    The Seattle-Times identified 129 convicted felons who voted illegally in the 2004 election. And, that was in just 2 counties. The Governor’s race that year was decided by 129 votes. Now, requiring ID does not automatically prevent felons from illegally voting, but it does show that fraud can be a huge problem.

    By the way, I agree with you that states should offer free, photo I.D. cards to registered voters. I’m so tired of the lame argument that you are disenfranchising poor people. I would happily pay more in taxes for that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  45. @Septimius: I would submit that you are missing the point of cost/benefit if your primary example is Florida 2000.

    The felon issue, as you note, is not fixed via voter id. (Of course, I think once you have served your time, you should be allowed to vote).

    By the way, I agree with you that states should offer free, photo I.D. cards to registered voters. I’m so tired of the lame argument that you are disenfranchising poor people. I would happily pay more in taxes for that.

    The point is, however, that current attempts at voter ID laws do have that effect. My suggestion is a hypothetical that does not exist and nor is it being pushed by those who are up in arms about potential fraud.

    What I am tired of, to be honest, is the lame argument that real disenfranchisement doesn’t matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  46. Rick Almeida says:

    @rodney dill:

    If there have been 9 prosecutions for voter fraud since 2000, one guilty plea does not seem unusual.

    You are correct that I skipped over the first 5 links, as they all appeared clearly biased. What I used instead was an Oregon newspaper editorial.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. David M says:

    @Septimius: Felons voting before their rights have been restored is pretty much the opposite of what’s normally understood as voter fraud, as it’s more likely due to ignorance than anything else. Also, it’s the type of problem that requiring ID does nothing to solve and can be easily fixed without impacting legal voters.

    We’re left with the question of why the laws that have been passed don’t address real problems and will result in disenfranchisement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  48. Septimius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: In Pennsylvania, the bill to require I.D. at the polls provides that the state will provide a free photo I.D. to anyone who doesn’t have a driver’s license. The Democrats still oppose it. I wonder why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  49. mattb says:

    @Septimius:
    From your link:

    Under the bill, a free photo ID would be available through the state Department of Transportation. The bill would allow people without sufficient identification to cast provisional ballots, and then return to the county courthouse within six days to prove who they are.

    I’m guessing that means that to get the photo ID, someone must travel to the DMV and apply for it there.

    At least in my city (albeit not in Penn) the DMV branches are located inside the suburbs and require someone — without a car — to take multiple buses to reach them (the ride taking over an hour from many parts of the city).

    Again, as Steven points out, this creates (or one might even suggest perpetuates) a real sort of disenfranchisement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  50. Rob in CT says:

    Septimius:

    Because they fear that this will supress voting from people who tend to vote for them. Duh.

    I take it that you’re fine with paying whatever additional taxes are required for those free IDs, right?

    Of course, people still have to get down to the DMV and deal with it. I think it’s a minor hurdle, but it’s a hurdle nontheless (hence the Dems opposition: they have turnout problems as it is). My basic response is “meh.” I don’t think the problem is big, but neither do I think that this solution is unduly burdensome. I’m ok with voter ID laws so long as care is taken to make it easy to get such ID.

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  51. David M says:

    @Septimius: Also from the story:

    Then, as now, Democrats challenged Republicans to find proof that the “one person, one vote” rule is being violated, and Republicans were unable to come up with any.

    So they are trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and will result in disenfranchising citizens that should be legally allowed to vote.

    A hotly debated bill that would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID before they could cast a ballot will undergo changes to lengthen the list of acceptable IDs, a key Pennsylvania state senator said Friday.

    That list in an amendment being written could include work IDs, college student IDs and, for elderly voters, expired drivers’ licenses

    Looks like some of the disagreement is over which forms of ID should be valid, so I’m not sure how that supports your position at all.

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  52. MSS says:

    “what we need is a systematically distributed, free ID card that includes automatic voter registration.”

    Exactly. Like virtually all other countries, no? (I actually do not know, but national IDs and/or automatic registration are certainly common.)

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  53. mattb says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Of course, people still have to get down to the DMV and deal with it. I think it’s a minor hurdle, but it’s a hurdle nontheless (hence the Dems opposition: they have turnout problems as it is).

    One key point is that this requires people WITHOUT cars (as typically these states allow Driver’s License as legal id) to travel to the DMV (which, as I pointed out, is pretty darn inconvenient without the car) in order to be able to vote.

    If the laws allowed for — say — remote registration stations, then as with registering to vote, I suspect that many of the concerns would go away. Honestly, in most places in the US, a post office would be far more convenient an equitable.

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  54. @MSS:

    Like virtually all other countries, no? (I actually do not know, but national IDs and/or automatic registration are certainly common.)

    I don’t know for certain (at least not enough to make the claim), but I heavily guess that this is the norm.

    I figure if the Colombians can manage it, to choose an example that I do know for certain about, I am guessing the US can as well.

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  55. @Septimius: This is just more of the ad hoc system I mention in the post. It is not “a systematically distributed, free ID card that includes automatic voter registration.”

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  56. Septimius says:

    @mattb: You know, you’re absolutely correct. Since voting requires traveling to a polling location to cast your vote, why bother having elections. Elections place an undue burden on people too lazy to get out of bed on election day. Of course, those people could vote absentee, but then they would have to fill out the absentee ballot. What if they didn’t have a pen? That’s unfair to those people too poor to afford writing utensils.

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  57. Septimius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m not opposed to a systematically distributed free I.D. at all. As it is now, most counties already provide a voter registration card when someone registers to vote. It wouldn’t be too difficult to make that a state-issued photo I.D. However, I guarantee that there will be still be critics who use the same, tired argument about disenfranchising poor, elderly, minority voters.

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  58. mattb says:

    @Septimius:
    Of course, you fail to mention that in most areas, the “local” polling station will be far closer to an individual than their “local” DMV. For example, there are probably close to 20 polling stations, as the crow flies, between myself and either of the two “local” DMVs.

    In fact, I’d support a system of getting IDs that used local polling locations as the stations for signing up for the photo IDs during extended drive periods.

    I’m starting to pick up a certain pattern here where people have no issues with possible disenfranchisement or discrimination unless, of course, it effects *them.* And when there seems to be even a hint of something that might effect them, then, of course, no price is too high to protect the system (provided it doesn’t require the shedding of their own blood).

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  59. mattb says:

    @Septimius:

    However, I guarantee that there will be still be critics who use the same, tired argument about disenfranchising poor, elderly, minority voters.

    And I’m sure that there would still be others who would complain that the other side is stealing elections and finding ways to cheat.

    Frankly worrying about those people on either side, for whom nothing will ever be fair and their side is always victimized, isn’t the best approach for crafting policy.

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  60. MM says:

    [DELETED IN VIOLATION OF COMMENT POLICY]

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  61. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Wayne:

    If you don’t have the means and the tools to identify voter fraud, the chances of catching voting fraud is very slim to none. Claiming something isn’t happening when there is little ability or will to detect it is foolish. Does anyone know what putting on blinders means?

    So, I have to ask, Wayne, if the means and tools to identify fraud are not being utilized, how is it that YOU know there is the kind of voter fraud going on you righties claim? After all, apparently no one is using the tools or has the will. So how do you know? Do you have access to special tools that the Bush Administration for 8 years did not have when even they couldn’t find any evidence of widespread voter fraud?

    Answer: you don’t. Your claim begs the question. That is, you assume widespread voter fraud as part of your proof that there is widespread voter fraud.

    I hear your kind of claim from my righty friends and (regrettably) righty members of my family all the time. They link to one article about some guy who voted fraudulently somewhere, and then use that and maybe one more unrelated example as proof that there is a problem with voter fraud. Of course, I link back with specific evidence contradicting them, or studies, official statements, reports, and investigations that show otherwise, and they say, well, you won’t find voter fraud if you’re not looking for it. Perfectly illogical and irrational.

    Of course, last year, when a bunch of votes suddenly turned up here in Wisconsin for conservative Justice Prosser, why, not a word out of my righty friends (crickets chirped, sagebrush blew by). In fact, they were the epitome of cool reason and rationality, patiently insisting that we shouldn’t make any hasty assumptions, but rather just let the process work itself out, and, lo and behold, Justice Prosser got the votes. But, boy, a dumb felon with an IQ of 50 votes, why, that there is proof positive of widespread, outrageous Democratic fraud.

    The bottom line is that righties simply do not view liberalism as a legitimate political philosophy, and consequently can never accept the notion of a legitimately elected Democratic politician. So there must be a conspiracy. That’s it.

    Like I like to say to my righty friends and family: Let’s not restrict too much the right carry guns, because that’s in the Constitution, unlike voting, which apparently isn’t.

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  62. An Interested Party says:

    When there is little to no proof of any significant voter fraud, who do those on the right calling for I.D. laws think they are fooling? It is so obvious what the point of these laws are…those pushing them might achieve some small measure of respect if they were just honest about that…

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  63. Ron Beasley says:

    What no one has talked about here is the very real threat of election fraud because of easily hacked electronic voting machines. This is a problem!

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  64. MarkedMan says:

    Missing from all of this discussion is the fact that in trying to cast about a dozen votes, they were found out at least once.

    Someone did, in fact, catch on to the scheme when a man dressed in a suit and tie tried to vote as a dead man known to the poll watcher. The man left before police arrived and said the poll watcher would “soon find out” why he tried to vote under a fake name, the Boston Herald reported Tuesday night.

    Yes, he got away before the police arrived, but it just shows the absurdity of trying to do this enough times to sway an election.

    Now, here’s something I’m concerned about: Absentee ballots can lead to a violation of a very important part of American democracy – the concept of the secret ballot. It is possible that people will be intimidate into getting an absentee ballot and then filling it out while being watched. The intimidators could be a head of family, a church leader or a political leader. I don’t have any evidence that this is actually happening in anything like significant numbers, but it is possible and I am concerned about it. If those proposing voter ID laws are truly concerned about fraud then I encourage you to also campaign against the indiscriminate use of absentee ballots. It would certainly lend credibility and garner allies, showing you are not simply interested in scoring points against the opposing team

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  65. anjin-san says:

    This just in from Fox. 14 million negroes voted in the NH primary. All for liberals. Voter fraud is suspected.

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  66. rodney dill says:

    @MM: @MM: I’ll fix what needs fixing whenever I feel like it.

    …and you can keep your personal attacks, in violation of the OTB site policies, to yourself.

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  67. @MM: Please refrain from personal attacks, not only does it violate the site’s commenting policies, but it doesn’t accomplish anything.

    I do understand that being told to Google something as an argument can be annoying, but there is not need to call name, let alone type highly inflammatory things.

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  68. @MarkedMan: Actually, I did note that they caught one guy and linked to the Boston Herald story about it in the post.

    But yes: it does show that pulling this off on a small scale, let alone a mass scale, may not be so easy.

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  69. mantis says:

    If the laws allowed for — say — remote registration stations, then as with registering to vote, I suspect that many of the concerns would go away. Honestly, in most places in the US, a post office would be far more convenient an equitable.

    Indeed. Here in Illinois, I was recently required to get a new automatic highway toll charging device (I-Pass). I received a letter in the mail telling me to visit any location of the most common grocery store in the area (Jewel-Osco). When I went in, I was required to turn in my old device, provide my photo ID and the letter I received. The device itself is tied both to me and to my car.

    If this can be done at my local grocery story, why can’t voter registration & distribution of any (free) required identification occur at similar ubiquitous local establishments (Post Office is a good candidate)? The reason is simple. Voter ID laws are designed to restrict voting and put barriers in place to reduce the number of votes from certain groups. They are not fraud-prevention laws. They are pro-disenfranchisement laws designed for the purpose of winning elections. The real fraud is that we even discuss them as anything else.

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  70. mantis says:

    Let’s hope that O’Keefe’s pals get harsh sentences for their crimes, which will deter any would-be dead vote fraudsters out there from attempting such a foolish and unproductive act. Their actions, ironically, could do more to prevent voter fraud (which isn’t actually a problem) than any ID law would.

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  71. andrew says:

    The phrase “epistemic closure” comes to mind here reading this post and most of the comments.

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