The real fraud is the Voter ID law; impersonation almost never happens | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The real fraud is the Voter ID law; impersonation almost never happens

Posted By on Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 11:09 AM

If facts mattered, this Wonkblog post by a person who's deeply researched voter fraud, would put an end once and for all to the bogus claim of Republicans that Voter ID laws are necessary to root out fraud.

In 14 years, with a billion ballots cast, the researcher has found 31 credible cases in which somebody presented themselves to vote in an improper way that a voter ID law could have prevented. And some of those 31 may not prove out.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have been denied the ballot for lack of ID — 1,000 absentee voters in a lightly contested recent primary election in Arkansas alone. And we know for a certainty that many of those were legitimate voters who simply lacked the required ID, not an impersonator.

This, of course, was the point. Republicans want fewer people voting — particularly old, poor, minorities. Enough of them have inadvertently told the truth in public places to verify the intent of laws dreamed up by a Koch-funded think tank. 

The laws won't increase public confidence. Facts don't matter to those who don't trust government and see only negatives in its practice. As the writer notes, people think elections are fair only when their candidates win. Otherwise, the fix must have been in. But here's the key fallacy in a Republican-dominated Wisconsin court that upheld a Voter ID law there:

.. the court said that ID laws can help stop fraud. It then cited an example of recent fraud … that ID laws aren’t designed to stop. Specifically, it mentioned a case in which a supporter of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was charged with 13 counts of election fraud, including "registering to vote in more than one place, voting where he didn't live, voting more than once in the same election, and providing false information to election officials," according to an account by Talking Points Memo. Wisconsin's ID law would not likely have prevented any of the alleged violations.

Justin Levitt continues:

This sort of misdirection is pretty common, actually. Election fraud happens. But ID laws are not aimed at the fraud you’ll actually hear about. Most current ID laws (Wisconsin is a rare exception) aren’t designed to stop fraud with absentee ballots (indeed, laws requiring ID at the polls push more people into the absentee system, where there are plenty of real dangers). Or vote buying. Or coercion. Or fake registration forms. Or voting from the wrong address. Or ballot box stuffing by officials in on the scam. In the 243-page document that Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel filed on Monday with evidence of allegedly illegal votes in the Mississippi Republican primary, there were no allegations of the kind of fraud that ID can stop.

Instead, requirements to show ID at the polls are designed for pretty much one thing: people showing up at the polls pretending to be somebody else in order to each cast one incremental fake ballot. This is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens.

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