Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is making a serious mistake by agreeing to participate in a sham “voter integrity” commission established by President Trump to validate his ludicrous claims about voter fraud. But it is not too late for Dunlap to withdraw, and it’s the right thing to do. Arguments about the extent of voter fraud and voter suppression are not new, with Republicans tending to claim that voter fraud is a major problem that requires laws making it harder to register and vote, such as strict voter identification laws. Democrats see these laws as aimed at suppressing the votes of those likely to vote for Democratic candidates.
While there is no question that there is a small amount of voter fraud, there is virtually no proven impersonation voter fraud (where one person goes to the polling place claiming to be another) – the only kind of fraud that voter ID laws prevent. For my 2012 book “The Voting Wars,” I tried to find a single instance anywhere in the United States of an election being called into question by impersonation fraud, and I could not find one. Whether or not voter ID laws actually suppress a lot of votes, it is clear that they don’t prevent any measurable fraud or do anything to promote voter confidence.
President Trump raised the voter fraud rhetoric to an unprecedented extent by claiming before the election that there was massive voter fraud taking place in “urban” (read: minority) areas of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. After the election, he made a totally debunked claim that 3 million or more noncitizens voted in 2016. So far, the most credible count of such votes, by the Brennan Center for Justice, is 30 possible noncitizen votes across the entire country. That’s right: not millions, not thousands, not even hundreds.