Voter Fraud Still Fairly Rare
Despite the quadrennial investigations into voter registration fraud which I and others have documented here, one thing that’s important to keep in mind that actual, bona fide voter fraud–where people are either buying votes or showing up to vote under somebody else’s name–is still pretty rare.
But McCain’s voter fraud worries about Acorn or anyone else are unsupported by the facts, said experts on election fraud, who recall similar concerns being raised in several previous elections, despite a near-total absence of cases.
“There’s no evidence that any of these invalid registrations lead to any invalid votes,” said David Becker, project director of the “Make Voting Work” initiative for the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Becker should know: he was a lawyer for the Bush administration until 2005, in the Justice Department’s voting rights section, which was part of the administration’s aggressive anti-vote-fraud effort.
“The Justice Department really made prosecution of voter fraud of this sort a big priority in the first half of this decade, and they really didn’t come up with anything,” he said.
“We’re chasing these ghosts of voter fraud, like chickens without a head,” said Lorraine Minnite, a political science professor at Barnard College in New York who has researched voter fraud and fraud claims for most of the past decade. “I think it’s completely overblown, I think it’s meant to be a distraction.”
“This stuff does not threaten the outcome of the election,” said Minnite. “How many illegal ballots have been cast by people who are fraudulently registered to vote? By my count, it’s zero. I just don’t know of any, I’ve been looking for years for this stuff.”
I think that this is important to keep in mind. Frankly, I’m far more worried about mistakes, bugs, and other issues involved in electronic voting than I am about out and out fraud.