Vice President Pence has yet to begin a promised investigation into allegations by President Trump that millions of people voted illegally in November. But that hasn’t stopped state lawmakers from taking action they say would limit voter fraud, even though the president’s claims have been widely discredited. Legislation to tighten voter ID and other requirements has already been introduced in about half the states this year. And in statehouse after statehouse, the debate has had a familiar ring. “We do not have a voter fraud problem in North Dakota,” Democratic Rep. Mary Schneider argued last month during a state House floor debate of a measure that would tighten that state’s voter ID requirements and increase penalties for voter fraud. “To say that there’s not a voter fraud problem in North Dakota, I think that’s another inaccurate statement. Maybe there have been no convicted cases but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have an issue,” countered Republican Christopher Olson, shortly before the measure was approved by a vote of 74-16.
In late January, Virginia Republican Bob Marshall argued in favor of a bill that would require voters in that state to provide proof of citizenship before casting ballots in state and local races. “I’ve identified individuals who tell me they’re not citizens, but they’re on the voter database,” he argued.
But Democrat Rip Sullivan said such measures will hurt legitimate voters who don’t have the required documents.
“We know it to be true, that there will be Virginians disenfranchised by this piece of legislation all because of some concern about voter fraud for which there is no proof,” he said. That bill passed the Republican-controlled House, but has stalled in the state Senate, also controlled by Republicans.