When it comes to the fight about voter fraud and voter suppression, how do you prove a negative? One key question in the battle over the legality of voter identification laws is whether such laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud and whether they suppress a lot of votes from eligible voters. Though the answer to the second question remains in considerable dispute, after Tuesday’s federal court decision striking down Wisconsin’s voter ID law, it is time for voter ID supporters to throw in the towel and admit state voter ID laws don’t prevent the kind of fraud they are supposedly targeted for. Federal Judge Lynn Adelman looked at the evidence from Wisconsin and reached a conclusion unsurprising to those of us who study how elections are run. “Virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin,” Adelman wrote, “and it is exceedingly unlikely that voter impersonation will become a problem in Wisconsin in the foreseeable future.” Wisconsin is not alone in lacking such evidence. When the United States Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of Indiana’s voter ID law in 2008, the state conceded there was no evidence, ever, of impersonation fraud in the entire state.
This is not surprising. Voter impersonation fraud is an exceedingly dumb way to try to steal an election. Someone would have to send people into polling places claiming to be others — either dead voters who have not been removed from the rolls, or people who have not yet shown up to vote, or fictitious people pre-registered and getting by any identification requirements when registering. Then the fraudster would have to hope that these imposters vote the way they were paid to. The fraudster would have to do this in large enough numbers to affect the outcome of an election, while avoiding detection of this conspiracy.
A far smarter way to steal an election is through the sale of absentee ballots. That transaction can be done in private. The person buying the ballots can buy blank ones from cheating voters, then cast the votes herself. These ballots can be cast simply by mailing them. In researching my book The Voting Wars, I could not find one case in which voter impersonation fraud was used to arguably steal an election.
True, Hans von Spakovsky made allegations about such events happening in the 1970s in Brooklyn. But his claims this is emblematic of a current problem have been debunked. Nor have other members of the “fraudulent fraud squad” produced credible evidence of any recent problem with such fraud tricking election officials.
In contrast, it is easy to find cases throughout the country every year of fraud or attempted fraud with absentee ballots. Voter ID laws do nothing to prevent absentee ballot fraud.
Full Article: Exorcising the voter fraud ghost | The Great Debate.