Tens of thousands of voters were registered to cast ballots in both Virginia and Maryland during the 2012 presidential election — and more than 150 appear to have voted twice, an advocacy group claims. Seventeen of those alleged instances were in Fairfax County, where election officials found the evidence so compelling that they have turned the information over to law enforcement. The situation sparked a strong reaction among some political leaders in Virginia, coming in the midst of a heated national debate over whether voter fraud is rampant or mere rhetoric.
Many Republican-dominated state legislatures, including Virginia’s, have passed strict new voter identification laws in recent years that their supporters say are intended to reduce voter fraud. But Democrats claim that actual fraud is rare, and they say the real purpose of ID laws is to restrict ballot access for such groups of voters as the elderly, college students and immigrants who are less likely to hold a government ID — and more likely to vote for Democrats. But an ID wouldn’t have made a difference in this case.
“These are alarming allegations that, if true, could undermine the integrity of our electoral processes,” read one statement issued by Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and other Republican leaders of the Virginia House of Delegates. Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, called for a full investigation and prosecution of offenders “to the fullest extent of the law” if it is determined that any voters cast multiple ballots in the same election.