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The Vote Fraud Fraud: Still Fraudulent

[ 106 ] May 13, 2014 |

Iowa Republicans conducted a study trying to show voter fraud, and found essentially no voter fraud of any kind and literally no fraud that would be prevented by Voter ID laws:

Nearly two years and $250,000 later, Schultz said that 238 total cases of suspected election misconduct were investigated. Investigators “found evidence of election misconduct in 117 cases that cancelled out the votes of legitimate Iowa voters,” he notes, and 17 more cases are still being investigated. One of those cases resulted in a not-guilty verdict and four cases were dismissed. Combined, that means at most 134 instances of fraudulent voting were found in Iowa over several elections, compared with 1,589,951 votes cast in the 2012 general elections alone. That means, at most, the investigation found a 0.008427933% rate of voter fraud.

But notably, that total includes more than just non-citizen voting. Sixty eight of the 238 investigated cases involved convicted felons who allegedly were registered to vote and/or voted despite not having had their voting rights restored. And of the 147 registered voters suspected of being non-citizens even after thorough review of the 3,582 people initially flagged, 70 of those turned out to also be citizens (more than 47 percent).

The report also notes that 23 cases examined “potential election misconduct” by people other than non-citizens and felons without restored voting rights. According to the AP, these cases involved people who had cast votes in more than one state — possibly by absentee in one and in person in the other. There was not a single identified case of impersonation fraud at the polls — people showing up and pretending to be another voter — meaning that Schultz’s own investigation found no cases at all that would have been prevented with his proposed voter identification law.

In conclusion, here are the reasons why Republicans want to enact Voter ID laws:

  • Vote suppression
  • That’s it.

Comments (106)

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  1. actor212 says:

    That means, at most, the investigation found a 0.008427933% rate of voter fraud.

    Scott, this is from a party that thinks 3% of scientists who think global warming might not be real or if it is, not anthropogenic somehow trumps 97% of people who live reality-based lives.

    • Oscar Goldman says:

      Or, as John Oliver astutely observed, from a party that generally believes that a higher rate of wrongful capital executions does not call into question the legitimacy of capital punishment.

      By what factor would you have to multiply the rate of voting fraud for it to have an impact on even a local election? 1,000? 10,000? Just curious.

      • Alex says:

        The 2008 Minnesota election was around 0.01% of the vote.

        Of course, in that election the Democratic candidate slowly gained votes over the course of the recount due to Democratic leaning precincts more likely to have votes thrown out. Which resulted in a gain of 0.015% of the vote for Franken.

        Oh, and according to conservative watchdogs, felons stole the election for Franken because they thought they found more felons that voted than the final margin and we all know how those people vote.

        • Alex says:

          And the 400+ cases of felons voting turned out to be 3-8.

          Who could have guessed that maybe people could get their voting rights restored! Better to challenge everyone that shares the same name.

      • actor212 says:

        Let’s take a random Congressional district: NY’s 1st, out in the Hamptons.

        Population is 650,000. In the 2010 election (remember Tea Party uprising?) the incumbent Democrat won by 400 votes.

        So yes, there a fraud tally of 250 votes would have had an impact. That would be about 0.2% of the votes cast, tho.

        In 2012, same district, the incumbent won by 11000 votes. The same 0.2%, the same 250 votes, would have been woefully inadequate. 2012 was a Presidential election, tho.

        Looking a bit further back, there’s only one other election over the past ten contests or so where the margin of victory was less than 10,000 votes.

        • J R in WV says:

          You’re assuming all the fraudulent votes would be for the same candidate, with no evidence to show that’s the case.

          Or are you giving the Republicans the high ground and admitting that no conservatives ever commit voter or election fraud? Because more of them get arrested for dirty tricks than Democrats do…

          • actor212 says:

            Well, doesn’t successful vote fraud sort of imply one side figured out something the other didn’t?

            Like, I don’t know, being in charge of the butterfly ballot readers in Palm Beach County or some such?

        • junker says:

          Sorry, but if you showed that 250 votes were fraudulent and thrown out wouldn’t the Democrat still win? Why would the fraudulent votes flip?

  2. Shakezula says:

    The only tax the GOP likes is a poll tax.

  3. Julia Grey says:

    the investigation found a 0.008427933% rate of voter fraud.

    Hey, wait, the people who want to believe this stuff tend to also be less knowledgeable than the average bear when it comes to abstruse mathematical concepts like decimal points. They might take that REALLY BIG NUMBER they see there and think it means there’s a LOT of fraud.

    You have to put this in words they can understand, not digital figures that might make their eyes cross. So instead you say something like: “At most, fewer than one in ten thousand votes MIGHT have been unlawfully cast, and of those, NONE would have been prevented by this so-called voter-fraud law.”

    My question is, what did the Republicans who conducted this study have to say about it? Anything?

  4. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    glad to see Schultz’s failure to find fraud got picked up, have been beating my gums in comments here about it for a while now

    the other cute thing about our little voter watchdog is how he had no qualms at all about paying seven months of salary- something like $80 grand- to a political appointee whose job had been eliminated, and not only did he let the guy work from home the last month or two, nobody seems to be able to say what the guy did *at all* while remaining on state payroll

  5. “In conclusion, here are the reasons why Republicans want to enact Voter ID laws:
    -Vote suppression
    -That’s it.”

    You forgot, “Pissing-off the Libtards!”

  6. Bitter Scribe says:

    “I have to show a photo ID before I can board an airplane. Why shouldn’t I have to show one to vote?”

    Because one person can hijack an airplane, but one person can’t hijack an election?

    • Warren Terra says:

      Also: the only time your photo ID is checked at the airport is at the screening portal, and the ID is cross-checked against your boarding pass, which in turn is not checked for validity. So you could have John McNiceperson book a flight and print out a boarding pass, Jim McEvilperson goes through the security checkpoint with their own valid ID and a fake boarding pass with the matching name, and then boards the plane using John’s valid boarding pass.

      A boarding pass can flag the bearer for extra scrutiny – but, obviously, a good fake one can’t.

    • KmCO says:

      Also, because not everything’s a fucking terrorist situation or BENGHAZI!11!

    • cpinva says:

      “I have to show a photo ID before I can board an airplane. Why shouldn’t I have to show one to vote?”

      because voting is a right enshrined in the constitution, boarding an airplane isn’t.

      • There actually isn’t a constitutional right to vote, which is part of why it’s so difficult to directly challenge these vote suppression schemes. There’s language forbidding restricting the franchise for particular reasons (race, sex, age over 18, natural citizenship status), but otherwise the states are given a great deal of latitude on who can vote, where, and when.

        The franchise was expanded beyond landowners by statute, not constitutional requirement, and the widespread disenfranchisement of felons is evidence enough that there is no recognized right to vote.

        I think there’s a compelling argument for a “penumbras and emanations”-style derived right to vote, based on the 14th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, and 26th amendments. As far as I can tell the Supreme Court has never really gone for it.

        • Breadbaker says:

          Don’t forget that the 24th Amendment says you can’t abridge the right to vote via a poll tax. This has actually helped strike down voter ID laws where no reasonable accommodation for providing a free ID is made available (travelling to the other side of a wide state to the only office open, open of course only on Tuesdays when lunar eclipses occur in months with no R, is not a reasonable accommodation.

    • junker says:

      Tell Katherine Harris that.

    • dr. fancypants says:

      Also, you can in fact board an airplane without a photo ID. You just have to be willing to submit to extra security procedures.

  7. Gwen says:

    Arrgh. Why aren’t felons voting rights being restored automatically?

  8. Learner says:

    Essentially, there are two types of voter fraud:
    1 Votes cast and counted that were cast illegally
    2 Votes NOT cast due to legitimate voters being turned away or if not turned away made very difficult (long lines, out of the way polling stations, limited hours, etc)

    Almost none of the proposed laws do anything to prevent the MINISCULE cases of fraud the first instance while GREATLY increasing the second. I mean even if you want to say that there is nothing wrong with photo ID, what fraud is being prevented by limited voting times and places to make it as difficult as possible to vote?

    It needs to be said that all these laws are perpetuating voting fraud far more than preventing it. I just don’t see how the US has any moral standing to lecture others about vote rigging and such when it is being done right here in this country.

  9. UserGoogol says:

    Voter suppression is obviously a big part of it, but I think you can see them having other perspectives. On an emotional level, a big part of conservatism is a fixation on purity. If a few non-citizens manage to vote, then that defiles the rest of the vote with the sheen of fraud, even if it’s not anywhere near enough to swing anything but the closest elections. Related to that, another big aspect to conservatism is the feeling that you have to actively resist even the possibility of evil.

    Of course, there are many “impurities” in American society, and the fact that they single out the very marginal issue of voter fraud implies that they likely have ulterior motives for picking that issue. (And lots of other things imply that too.) But acting like conservatives are perfectly rational players and therefore when what they’re trying to accomplish isn’t working that means they must be seeking something else, well that’s just misunderstanding the situation.

    • BoredJD says:

      Various state politicos have been caught on tape a bunch of times saying that the whole point of these laws is suppressing Democratic voters – minorities and college students. The simplest explanation is usually the right one.

      • BoredJD says:

        Although your observation is a good reason why more voters aren’t up in arms about these programs, and thus why they think that can pull this shit in the first place.

      • UserGoogol says:

        Yes, but it can be two things. Scott’s post was, after all, a “list” of the reasons why Republicans want to fight “voter fraud.” A person can shamelessly want to suppress Democratic votes and also think that they’re doing it through a method which is justifiable. There are a lot of ways to suppress the vote, the process of deciding which ways to suppress the vote is a choice in itself. (Of course, fighting voter fraud isn’t the only way Republicans try to suppress Democratic votes.) The decision to choose to tighten restrictions on voting and shorten hours instead of other methods is, at least to some extent, motivated by ideological concerns.

        And more generally, I’m highly skeptical of any theory which supposes that Republican politicians and Republican voters have fundamentally different motives. People are people. Politicians are in the opportunity to be a bit more clear-eyed about sausage-making and thus can be more flagrantly cynical in their usage of power, but if they didn’t believe the shit they were selling they don’t have to be Republicans. There’s plenty of corrupt assholes who are Democrats.

        • BoredJD says:

          I think that’s complicating the matter a bit. To me, it’s like “states rights.” There are Republicans who know voter fraud is coded language for too many poor blacks and entitled college kids voting and there are people who take the claims of rampant voter fraud at face value. But the person sending the coded message is definitely in on it.

          The third category are the voters who have absolutely no idea that many people in this country don’t get a driver’s license at 16.5 along with their brand new Corolla. They think that even if the fear of voter fraud is overblown, it’s really no big deal to have someone show her ID just like when they get on a plane/drive a car/get a mortgage/do other stuff that middle class suburbanites do. If pushed, some of them might admit that they truly believe that people who don’t share their lifestyle don’t really deserve the franchise anyway, but I think most would probably readjust their perspective. I do not know if I can say the same for their state reps.

        • cpinva says:

          “A person can shamelessly want to suppress Democratic votes and also think that they’re doing it through a method which is justifiable.”

          since poll taxes and literacy tests were thrown out by the USSC, they’ve had to become just a little bit more creative, but the goal is the same.

      • KmCO says:

        It’s not either/or. Googol makes a valid point.

    • Barry says:

      “On an emotional level, a big part of conservatism is a fixation on purity. If a few non-citizens manage to vote, then that defiles the rest of the vote with the sheen of fraud, even if it’s not anywhere near enough to swing anything but the closest elections. Related to that, another big aspect to conservatism is the feeling that you have to actively resist even the possibility of evil.”

      Aside from Bored JD mentioning that we have confessions, the right wants to keep two huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge barn doors open – black box voting machines and absentee ballots.

      That falsifies any theory other than voter suppression.

    • Toberdog says:

      Precious bodily fluids.

  10. Ns says:

    Voting in this country is messed up. Even reliably blue states don’t have early voting or weekend voting. See ny for example. Why is that? I didn’t even know it was a thing until I moved out to Colorado for a brief time.

    • Manny Kant says:

      I guess Democratic politicians in reliably blue states don’t care about it as much, because they don’t need it to win.

    • Shakezula says:

      Maryland does.

    • Chet Manly says:

      Iowa has wonderful early voting rules. The wife and I voted in September in 2012. Which paired with this study just goes to show the GOP “concerns” about early voting are also nothing but a vote suppression dodge.

    • wengler says:

      The two institutional political parties have very little incentive to improve the voting process when they are in power.

      Just look at how they responded to Bush stealing the election in 2000. Billions of dollars to their rich friends for less transparent voting.

    • Glenn says:

      Unfortunately, NY is not a “reliably blue state” where it counts for these purposes. The State Senate is currently controlled by Republicans (well, Republicans and a small cadre of turncoat nominal Dems, same thing). I would guess any significant attempt to make voting easier would be fought tooth and nail.

  11. Jordan says:

    Weigel has a somewhat amusing update at the end of his post on this re: Rand Paul.

    Basically, Weigel saw Paul jumping off the “Voter ID Fraud” train because of some negative comments of Paul’s, and because Paul appears to actually tangibly support restoring voting rights to ex-felons.

    But!

    UPDATE: And yet … this statement comes from Paul’s former chief of staff and current PAC director.

    Senator Paul was having a larger discussion about criminal justice reform and restoration of voting rights, two issues he has been speaking about around the country and pushing for in state and federal legislation.

    In the course of that discussion, he reiterated a point he has made before that while there may be some instances of voter fraud, it should not be a defining issue of the Republican Party, as it is an issue that is perhaps perceived in a way it is not intended. At no point did Senator Paul come out against voter ID laws. In terms of the specifics of voter ID laws, Senator Paul believes it’s up to each state to decide that type of issue.

    • Jordan says:

      Welp. That was supposed to include the link.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Certainly an interesting context in which to invoke States’ Rights.

      • Shakezula says:

        Not really. The Republicans support the rights of entities (states, corporations) and abstract concepts (family, life).

        The only time they are interested in individual rights is when they misinterpret the 1st and 2d Amendments.

        • Gregor Sansa says:

          I think Warren was commenting on the interesting relationship it puts them in with certain historical policies which were justified on the same basis.

          • Jordan says:

            Right.

            I *don’t* think Rand Paul is just another conservative Republican with good sound bites, which is sometimes how he gets portrayed here. He is actually on the side of the good (ok, well, no: the side of the not-quite-as-evil) sometimes.

            But that is because he is a neo-confederate paleoconservative. Not because he is a “libertarian” or someone, sigh, True Progressives, should look towards.

          • Warren Terra says:

            Indeed. Literacy tests and poll taxes in particular.

    • Alex says:

      PAUL: No I agree, there’s nothing wrong with it. To see Eric Holder you’ve got to show your drivers license to get in the building. So I don’t really object to having some rules for how we vote. I show my drivers license every time I vote in Kentucky…and I don’t feel like it is a great burden. So it’s funny that it got reported that way.

      But I do mean what I said, that Republicans need to be aware that there is a group of voters that I’m trying to court and that we should be trying to court who do see it as something directed towards them. So that’s why what I’ve been trying to emphasize is not voter-ID, but trying to emphasize that I would like to give people back the right to vote if they committed a youthful non-violent crime and have served their time. I think you do get a second chance in life. I believe in redemption as a Christian. And I think also the law should allow people who committed youthful crimes to get their voting rights back.

      HANNITY: Why are people so offended by this? Anybody offended by the idea that they have to present an identification to show that they are who they say they are… Why is that so offensive to people?

      PAUL: Like I say, I think both sides have made mistakes in…this issue. But it’s mainly in presentation and perception, not in reality. In the sense that, if Republicans are going to go around the country and this becomes a central theme and issue, you have to realize, rightly or wrongly, it is being perceived by some — and this is the point I was making and I think it’s still a valid point, that I’m trying to go out and say to African Americans ‘I want your vote and the Republican Party wants your vote’. If they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that showing their ID is an attempt to get them not to vote because they perceive it in the lineage of a time when it truly did happen through poll taxes and questioning to try and prevent people, if they perceive it that way, we have to be aware that the perception is out there and be careful about not so overdoing something that we further alienate a block of people we need to attract.

      http://therightscoop.com/rand-paul-to-hannity-there-is-nothing-wrong-with-voter-id-lets-just-not-emphasize-it-as-much/

      I’m sure that just repeating over and over again that voter ID laws aren’t meant to suppress the voting ability of African Americans is a winning game plan.

      I mean, it hasn’t worked yet. But maybe civil rights leader Rand Paul can figure out the right way to say it. Or not say it and pretend that the voter ID laws mysteriously appeared somehow.

      • Cheap Wino says:

        Hannity’s question is almost a non sequitur in response to Paul’s statement (which is probably why Paul feels the need to repeat himself in response). Hannity’s role in the GOP is to throw red meat to the proles. He’s very good at his job in the way that Hodor is very good at his job.

    • Tom Servo says:

      State’s rights is the ultimate cop out. It’s pretty brilliant hedging. Lip service to liberal ideas but say it’s up to the states to appease conservatives.

    • Cody says:

      I saw an article trumpeting Paul Ryan’s desire to reform our broken prison system.

      But I don’t think they really understand. He wants to fix it by making it completely private, that way it can just imprison more people, cost the government more money, and make his rich friends richer. I guess this is a type of “reform”.

  12. Mike Clinch says:

    Leave this as a comment, or, if you’d like, promote it up to one of your posts.

    I had cancer, diagnosed in 2011. The standard treatment was chemotherapy, followed by surgery. I’m just pat two years after surgery and there’s no evidence of the return of the disease, thank God.

    As my oncologist explains it, the chemotherapy drugs are poisons, which selectively attact ANY rapidly-dividing cell in the body. That includes cancer, which is why we use these drugs. it also goes after hair, which is why you go bald. It attacks fingernails. Between chemo and surgery, a clinician pointed out four bands on my fingenails and suggested I had four cycles of chemo, which was right. It attacks bone marrow, leading to anemi. It also attacks stomach linings and taste buds, leading to loss of appetite and nausea.

    A cancer patient will put up with all of the side effects, so long as the cancer is being killed off too. If the tumor won’t shrink, because of a genetic mutation, an oncologist will switch drugs or even stop chemo if it does more harm to the patient than it does to the patient.

    Any voter ID law will help prevent in-person voter fraud. It will also help keep legitimate voters from being able to vote. Let’s try a “chemotherapy law” of voter ID. A voter ID law is legitimate if it prevents more illegal votes from being cast than the number of legitimate voters it keeps from voting.

    Whatever umber from the Iowa study you want to use for voter fraud – 238 cases overall, or zero cases of identity fraud, the number of voters disenfranchised is far less than the number of people disenfranchised. Therefore, from a common-sense law used by oncologists in treating cancer, not a single voter ID law yet proposed is justified.

    • Warren Terra says:

      1) Congratulations on surviving your ordeal, and best wishes for the future.

      2) Obviously, I’m with you in opposing these laws that harm real voters and lack any legitimate purpose.

      3) Your analogy doesn’t quite work, because if your chemotherapy killed 100 healthy cells for every cancer cell, but still got rid of the cancer without killing you, that would be an acceptable or even desirable outcome of the chemotherapy – but it would be a disaster if applied to voting law. When considering voters you have to have a concern for and a respect for the individual that you don’t have to have with normal and cancer cells.

      • Snarki, child of Loki says:

        Need a Voter Rights Stand Your Ground Law.

      • Mike Clinch says:

        Actually, my analogy still holds true, if you consider the size of tumors and targeted organs. My bladder cancer occupied about a pint size, the capacity of my bladder. If chemo killed a pint of my bone marrow, I’d be dead of terminal anemia. If it killed apint of my stomach lining, I’d get no nutrition, and I’d die of starvation. I don’t have a pint of hair follicles, so I’d be bald. The point of chemo is that it is selective, killing only certain kinds of cells (the fast-growing ones). That’s like voter ID – it targets fraudulent voters (if they exist) but also targets minorities, students and the elderly – all reliable Democratic voters. I’ll stand by my 1:1 ratio, because if chemo killed 1:1 of fast-growing cells in my body, I’d be dead before the cancer could kill me.

  13. wengler says:

    I like how Republican operatives behind these laws knew that the corporate media would never tell the truth about them. In-person voter fraud simply doesn’t exist because it would make no fucking sense to ever do it. It’s an exercise in high risk, low reward. Yet media reports will stay say ‘Republicans think it will secure the vote, Dems say that it is straight up vote suppression, and I’m just a stupid reporter that is not allowed to say who’s right.’

    Not once have I heard any reference to restricting absentee ballots, a loophole not only through which you can commit tons of voter fraud, but also where you can verify and pay for votes as well as peer pressure people into voting your way. All because absentee balloting is used by Republican constituencies.

    • BoredJD says:

      I never understood the logistics. You get a bunch of people to show up at the polls the minute they open and claim to be someone else, hope those people aren’t going to show up later, and then drive across town and do it at another precinct?

      You’d have to get enough people to sway the election. You might be able to do that in a close election in a small town, but everybody knows everybody, you’d be busted immediately trying to claim you’re John Smith who owns the local donut shop. And to sway a local election in a large city you’d need a huge organization that would get compromised in a minute.

      Is anybody here a “Chicago-style politician that can tell us?

      • Royko says:

        A Chicago-style politician would have the ballot box stuffed at the polling place by election officials. That’s how you rig an election.

        Getting individuals to vote illegally is as hard as getting them to vote legally, with much more risk, and if done with numbers large enough to throw an election, almost guaranteed to be found out. That’s why no one rigs an election this way.

        • Shakezula says:

          Getting individuals to vote illegally is as hard as getting them to vote legally, with much more risk, and if done with numbers large enough to throw an election, almost guaranteed to be found out. That’s why no one rigs an election this way even the Republicans haven’t tried to rig an election this way.

          Anyway, the GOP response to this would be Something, something, something Obamaphones, since the only way Obama got elected is because every single African-American (including the kiddies) traveled the country on election night, fraudulently voting from town to town, in exchange for a cell phone.

          They were escorted by armed Black Panthers so no one would question them. Really, I read it on Drudge.

        • Njorl says:

          Exactly. And you sign the voter roll books after the polls close with the names of people who did not show up to vote so that the signature numbers tally with the ballot numbers.

      • rea says:

        Are you forgetting the reports of busloads of blacks showing up to vote in rural precincts in Maine?

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/citing-high-number-of-rural-black-voters-maine-gop-chair-suspects-improprieties-at-the-polls/

      • Glen Tomkins says:

        As Royko points out, successful election fraud, stealing enough votes to change the outcome of an election, is something done by election officials, not something done to them by outsiders. And since all the election officials at each polling place where votes are stolen have to be in on the conspiracy, we can only have fraud by election officials if we have a political machine capable of stacking at least some polling places with only election officials who are in in the conspiracy.

        The problem with outsiders trying to steal an election via ID fraud, is that it would take too many co-conspirators, some of whom are bound to be caught by election officials, and will then rat out the whole conspiracy to get lighter sentences. But if its the election officials doing it, you inherently need fewer people, because your conspirators just have to cook the books and register votes wholesale, not go through a whole process of showing up at the polling place to cast votes retail, one at a time. And in a political machine, you already have an ongoing conspiracy, and one powerful enough to control or intimidate the law, the media, and members of other political parties. Such a conspiracy doesn’t put its participants at risk for getting caught, because it controls all the potential catchers.

  14. Glen Tomkins says:

    We didn’t need to wait on this study to know that voter ID fraud never happens at a level anywhere close to large enough to steal elections.

    This is because:
    1) Who voted in any given election is a matter of public record, easily accessible as a digitized database
    2) At some point after the election, who was dead on election day is a matter of public record, easily accessible as a digitized database
    3) Digitized databases can be compared to each other with a few keystrokes to reveal what dead people voted in any given election.

    The relevance of dead people being that impersonating any voters on the rolls who are not dead would put your impersonators at risk of arrest when they presented at the polling place to vote as people who had already voted. Try to steal even a few dozen votes in a given election without a list of dead voters, and several of your operatives are going to be caught, and your plot will be discovered,on election day.

    No such incompetent ID fraud plots — ones that didn’t use lists of dead voters — have been discovered on election day. No competent such plots — ones that did use lists of the dead — have been discovered after the fact by Rs eager to prove that voter ID fraud is a thing. They could have done the research with a few keystrokes, as lists of who voted last election are basic tools of modern campaigning, and R committees at every level have such lists. We didn’t need a fancy study to tell us that voter ID fraud is not a thing.

    • cpinva says:

      sure they did, got to keep your consultant buddies happy.

      “We didn’t need a fancy study to tell us that voter ID fraud is not a thing.”

      you are correct. absentee voting is the only (sort of) realistic way to commit voter fraud, without almost immediately being caught. in my small city, there are three polling stations, which one you get assigned to is strictly a matter of your home address. each of those polling stations has a list of that polling station’s eligible voters, and you’re name is checked off, when you come in to vote. I suspect this is probably similar throughout the rest of the country.

      the idea that one could just stroll into any polling station, and be allowed to vote, by impersonating someone else is pretty damn ludicrous on its face. conceivably, there could be some (very) recently deceased voter, who’s place you could take, assuming you knew for a fact that they were actually registered. however, even that would be a very small number.

      • Breadbaker says:

        There exists a pretty decent way to prevent absentee voter fraud; at least in Washington, any party can challenge the signature of any voter on the ballot, causing the ballot not to be counted. In 2008, when the Republicans were still smarting from the photo finish 2004 gubernatorial election here, they challenged my ballot (I think we still actually had voting booths then, instead of all mail ballots, but once you signed up for an absentee for any reason, you could no longer vote in person). I had to go down to the courthouse, with identification, and prove I was me, after which my vote was counted, weeks after the election was over.

        • Warren Terra says:

          I wonder what the rules are about those sorts of challenges. I’d bet that a fair proportion of voters (and perhaps especially mail-in voters) would be unwilling or not readily able to make it to the courthouse and prove their identity. It’s quite an imposition, after all. Why not just challenge half the ballots in your opponent’s best precincts?

    • BigHank53 says:

      Not to mention that if you were really worried about this kind of in-person voting fraud, there’s already a cheap solution for it: that pot of purple ink. Works in Iraq, but maybe we’re not smart enough to figure it out here.

      • Warren Terra says:

        My understanding is that it is not incredibly difficult to remove the inks that are used. So: if you’re sufficiently motivated to commit in-person voter fraud, despite the absurd risk/reward ratio, and despite that it’s the dumbest possible way to cheat and distort an election, the ink likely won’t prevent it.

  15. Unsympathetic says:

    He really needed to spend Iowa tax dollars to learn that voter fraud exists only as the outward evidence of cognitive dissonance?

    Republicans can’t admit even to themselves – inside their head while Rachel Maddow isn’t speaking – that they’re purely pawns of the Kochs.. so they have to blame someone else for their own problems.

  16. jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    Here in Kentucky, a photo ID has been required for many years, so they always use that. “I have had to show an ID everytime I vote, so why is it racist to make people show an ID.”

    I also got this one. “The 110% voting in Philadelphia has been well documented., and that is just the tip of the iceberg.”
    Sometimes it is like swimming in molasses to discus an issue with “conservatives”. No matter how much data you show that voting fraud is a non-factor, they believe in their hearts that it is widespread, and is the primary reason that Democrats/liberals ever
    win elections. They believe that just like they believe in God and that climate change is almost entirely a political scam by the left.

    • Warren Terra says:

      If they were to couple voter-ID with a really solid outreach program to make sure everyone had an ID, not only not charging for the ID (or underlying documentation) but sending out mobile ID clinics to get IDs to the people who can’t easily get to the DMV or can’t spend time waiting in line there – if they’d spend the money to do all that then their protestations might seem remotely sincere. So long as it’s clear there’s a significant number of people who lack IDs, and who will continue to lack IDs, and who are obviously not a random subset of the population, voter ID will continue to be discriminatory.

  17. Matt says:

    Pretty sure the internal GOP definition of “voter fraud” is “anybody whatsoever voting for anyone who isn’t GOP”.

  18. Jen-Bob says:

    Sedition is also rare.

    Why do we need laws against sedition?

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