8 Myths About Voter Fraud

Back in 2005, the Bush White House and the Justice Department marshaled their forces to investigate, prosecute, and stamp out once and for all the perennial political boogieman known as voter fraud. In spite of the best efforts of U.S. Attorneys, evidence of election voter fraud proved to be a bit elusive (see item one below). Many politicians would have you believe that without photo identification at the polls our most precious right, the right to vote, will be hopelessly compromised by people bent on casting illegal votes and skewing the upcoming November elections. So what are some of the biggest myths about voter fraud? Take a look below.

  1. Voter fraud is rampant:

    Between 1996 and 2005, the number of voter fraud cases brought to the Justice Department increased from a whopping six defendants per year to 60. And a 2007 New York Times investigation showed that only 86 people were convicted of voter fraud in the previous five years and found almost no evidence of fraud in federal level elections. Compare those numbers with 2011’s U.S. Census Bureau data which shows that 90,732,693 out of 271,342,419 eligible voters voted in the 2010 general election.

  2. Double voting is rampant:

    Documented cases of double voting are extremely rare. The vast majority of double votes are the result of clerical errors, such as two different voters with the same name and birthday. Not only is double voting difficult to do, it will get you a five-year prison sentence if you get caught, which seems like a lot to risk for a single extra vote.

  3. Voter impersonation fraud is rampant:

    For years people have arrived to their polling station with their voter registration card, had their name checked off, and then cast their vote. Strangely, many believe that this process has allowed untold numbers of people over the years to impersonate other people and vote twice! But study after study shows that this hasn’t happened. Among 2,068 reported voter fraud cases gathered by a Carnegie-Knight investigative report, there were 10 cases since 2000 of alleged in-person voter impersonation. That data translates to one person for every 15 million prospective voters.

  4. Dead people are voting:

    This myth might be more accurately described as living people are voting using the names of deceased people. However, the vast majority of cases of ballots cast by deceased individuals result from mismatched death records and voter rolls. In some instances, a living voter was mistaken for a dead one with the same name. Again, the risk of casting one extra vote, either as your doppelganger or a corpse, is such that this sort of fraud is extremely rare.

  5. Ex-cons are voting:

    If you have been convicted of a felony, once you have served your parole you can, in most states, register to vote (you have to go through the process of registering, even if you were registered at the time of your conviction). Most cases of illegal voting by ex-cons are the result of confusion on the part of the ex-con. Think about it. Why would you knowingly risk going back to jail just so you can vote for your favorite Republican, Democrat, or Green Party candidate?

  6. Illegal immigrants are voting:

    Undocumented workers do indeed work and even pay taxes. But they can’t vote. And not surprisingly, not a single case has been found where an individual non-citizen knowingly and intentionally registered or otherwise attempted to cast a vote. None. Why? Because casting a vote as a non-citizen brings with it the likelihood of deportation.

  7. Your dog can vote:

    Yes, according to some politicians, it’s easy to register your dog to vote. And it is easy, except that if you get caught, you may end up in jail for 30 years on federal charges. Which, at the risk of repeating ourselves and once again stating the obvious, is probably why dogs casting a ballot almost never happens! Did we say “almost”? Yep. The Brennan Center For Justice did find two cases of ballots being submitted in the names of dogs. Duncan MacDonald cast a vote in 2006 and 2007 but with the word “VOID” and a paw print instead of a signature, and Raku Bowman of Venice, Calif., (no breed indicated) cast a vote in 2003.

  8. Fraud by election officials is voter fraud:

    Other forms of illegal conduct during elections and at the polls are sometimes mistakenly described as “voter fraud.” Letters and flyers with misleading information about how and where to vote, missing ballot boxes, and meatheads hired to intimidate voters at the polls are not examples of voter fraud. Voter ID laws, besides doing very little if anything to prevent the rare examples of actual voter fraud we describe above, do nothing to prevent these criminal acts.

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