The American voter registration system is a shambles, and easily facilitates voter fraud. Is it a big enough problem to affect the outcome of the 2016 election?
Note that Democrats get hysterical whenever a state tries to enact tighter voter registration procedures. Hmm, why is that?
We ought to look at Mexico’s superior voter registration system as an example, as I’ve written several times before. (See here).
Over at the Federalist website, a black American writer by the name of John Gibbs has an informative article on the voter ID problem and what could be done about it. It’s entitled Voter Fraud is Real. Here’s the Proof, by John Gibbs, The Federalist, October 13, 2016.
It’s subtitled “Data suggests millions of voter registrations are fraudulent or invalid. That’s enough to tip an election, easily.”
This week, liberals have been repeating their frequent claim that voter fraud doesn’t exist. A recent Salon article argues that “voter fraud just isn’t a problem in Pennsylvania,” despite evidence to the contrary. Another article argues that voter fraud is entirely in the imagination of those who use voter ID laws to deny minorities the right to vote.
That’s the basic argument, that voter ID “disenfranchises” people. That’s a ridiculous argument, and Gibbs provides some examples of voter fraud.
Yet as the election approaches, more and more cases of voter fraud are beginning to surface. In Colorado, multiple instances were found of dead people attempting to vote. Stunningly, “a woman named Sara Sosa who died in 2009 cast ballots in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.” In Virginia, it was found that nearly 20 voter applications were turned in under the names of dead people.
In Texas, authorities are investigating criminals who are using the technique of “vote harvesting” to illegally procure votes for their candidates. “Harvesting” is the practice of illegally obtaining the signatures of valid voters in order to vote in their name without their consent for the candidate(s) the criminal supports.
These are just some instances of voter fraud we know about. It would be silly to assume cases that have been discovered are the only cases of fraud. Indeed according to a Pew Research report from February 2012, one in eight voter registrations are “significantly inaccurate or no longer valid.” Since there are 146 million Americans registered to vote, this translates to a stunning 18 million invalid voter registrations on the books. Further, “More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters, and approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” Numbers of this scale obviously provide ripe opportunity for fraud.
There is evidence of real problems, and potentially of greater problems.
Yet in spite of all this [the previous examples in Gibbs’ article], a report by the Brennan Center at New York University claims voter fraud is a myth. It argues that North Carolina, which passed comprehensive measures to prevent voter fraud, “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.” However, this faulty reasoning does not point to the lack of in-person voter fraud, but rather to lack of enforcement mechanisms to identify and prosecute in-person voter fraud. The science of criminal justice tells us that many crimes go unreported, and the more “victimless” the crime, the more this happens. The fact is, a person attempting to commit voter fraud is very unlikely to be caught, which increases the incentive to commit the crime.
Good point. As Gibbs points out later in the article
…We have no reason to believe that the low number of prosecutions means only that exact amount of voter fraud is happening. Rather, it could mean a lack of enforcement is failing to reveal the bulk of the violations that are occurring. Thus, as with many types of crimes, especially victimless crimes, the real number of cases is likely significantly higher than the number reported.
A “lack of enforcement”, that is, there’s not much effort to stop voter fraud, so they aren’t finding much.
So now that we know voter fraud is a serious issue, what are some solutions to this problem? States like Michigan have Poll Challenger programs, where observers from both parties may be present at voter check-in tables at precincts. They check each voter’s ID against a database of registered voters for that precinct to ensure the person attempting to vote is actually legally qualified to vote in that precinct. If there’s a discrepancy, the poll challenger may officially challenge the ballot. Other states should implement similar programs.
I have watched voting in Mexico (but haven’t voted there, I hasten to add). Each voter has government-supplied voter ID with his photograph on the ID card. The poll workers have a book with the photo of each voter in the precinct, so they can check it on the spot.
States should sponsor initiatives to remove dead voters and correct the registrations of people registered in multiple states (make them choose just one state). Since many local jurisdictions are reluctant to clean their voter rolls, federal or state oversight with teeth may be necessary.Further, voter ID laws, such as the one implemented by North Carolina, but (wrongly) struck down by three liberal judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit— one appointed by Bill Clinton and the other two appointed by President Obama—are needed to ensure there’s no cheating with votes. States should continue to press the issue regardless of recent setbacks by liberal activist judges.
Yes, “States should continue to press the issue” because it keeps it in the public arena and helps educate the voters.
Finally, some have claimed that strong voter ID laws are racist, because they disproportionately impact minorities and would prevent minorities from voting. As a black person, I’m naturally interested in this claim. Thankfully, it turns out to be false. The Heritage Foundation has shown that black voter turnout actually increased after North Carolina passed its voter ID law.
That’s a good talking point to remember.
Not only was the claimed negative outcome false, but the reasoning was faulty as well. The fact that the law disproportionately impacts minorities does not mean that it is discriminatory. It means, unfortunately, that fewer minorities are in compliance with common-sense safeguards to protect the integrity of our elections (i.e., having a driver’s license or photo ID).
That’s a distinction that a lot of people don’t or won’t make – the difference between disproportionate impact and discrimination.
To mitigate this concern, states can offer a service that will take people without valid ID to their local government office to apply for proper ID, free of charge. Users could schedule the pickup with their smartphone or a phone call. That way there will be as few barriers as possible to those who want to vote and are capable of obtaining a valid ID, but cannot due to transportation concerns (a reason often given by those who claim voter ID laws hurt minorities).
Or do what Mexico does, and have the government distribute free voter ID cards to all the electorate.