President Donald Trump, who has big and expensive plans to build a wall with Mexico and to make huge federal investments in the nation’s roads, bridges and airports, could save a little taxpayer money by forgoing a federal investigation into voter fraud. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would launch a federal investigation of voter fraud, “including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!” Instead, he could review the reports already produced by and for people looking for voter fraud. Their conclusions: voter fraud is “extraordinarily rare.”
A commission empaneled by former Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, a staunch supporter of voter ID, found no evidence of voter fraud and recommended against stricter voter ID laws in 2013. “A voter ID law is unnecessary as there is little or no history in Maine of voter impersonation or identification fraud,” the panel wrote in its report. It said such a law would make it more difficult for homeless, African-American, elderly, poor and rural voters to access the polls.
Trump shouldn’t just rely on Maine’s experience. Jason Leavitt, a Loyola Law School professor, did a comprehensive analysis of voter fraud allegations between 2000 and 2014 and found 31 instances nationwide with credible evidence of potential fraud that may have been addressed through voter ID laws and another 13 cases of potential voter impersonation that such laws would not have stopped. That’s out of over 1 billion ballots cast.