A nationwide analysis of over 2,000 alleged cases of
election fraud over the past 12 years indicates that voter impersonation at the
polls on Election Day - the uncivil behavior that tough voter ID laws enacted
in 37 states is primarily aimed at stamping out - is a rarity. The study of
2,068 reported cases of fraud by the Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting
project News21 turned up just 10 cases of alleged Election Day voter
impersonation since 2000. Given the 146 million people registered to vote in
the United States, that number represents about one case of fraud for every 15
News21 also found that many of the reported cases were simply mistakes. In one
instance, for example, a Haitian immigrant in Ohio who had changed addresses in
2006 and consequently received two registration cards in the mail, thought he
had to vote in both locations in order for his vote to count.
The analysis revealed that allegations of fraud in absentee ballots and voter
registration were considerably more prevalent. Nearly 500 cases of alleged
absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases of registration fraud were reported for the
same 12-year period. But requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls would
not have prevented any of them.
Mississippi Rep. Bill Denny (R), who sponsored his state's voter ID bill (HB
921), which is awaiting pre-clearance by the Justice Department under the Voting
Rights Act, wasn't swayed by News21's findings.
"Whether you have proof of it or not, what in the heavens is wrong with
showing an ID at polls?" he said.
But civil rights and voting rights activists are quick to point out the problem
they have with it.
"It's simply a new big burden on the backs of people who just want to have
their voices heard during elections," said Eddie Hailes, managing director
and general counsel of the Advancement Project, which is challenging voter ID
laws in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. (WASHINGTON POST)
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