The Fraud About Voter Fraud

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I recently subscribed to the Sunday print edition of the New York Times. It now lands with a whomp in the front yard. At least it must, though I haven’t beaten the carrier to the driveway to witness this event. The circulation department offered the print edition for less than I was paying for digital-only access, the fodder of which is required for my modest freelance sideline writing editorials.

It takes the entire week to read the paper. Despite the calamity that has struck my former profession, the Gray Lady is still thick enough to kill a squirrel if it lands upon one in the pre-dawn darkness. One can only hope. We have a surfeit of squirrels, so one fewer would not be a tragedy.

It gives me great pleasure to read The Times, still the best newspaper in the world. I just can’t delve into the nooks and crannies of the Sunday issue deeply enough online as I can in print. Nobody does, I suspect. That is one of the challenges newspapers have not been able to overcome.

Last week, I came across an article in The Times about various groups that have been formed to stop voter fraud in the upcoming election, such as True the Vote and Code Red USA. I learned True the Vote evolved out of a Texas Tea Party group, which was in large part funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, who are engaged in their quadrennial quest to buy a Republican presidency.

I have no problem with the Koch brothers spending their money in this manner. George Soros, after all, spent a chunk of money helping get a Democrat elected to the White House. But Koch Industries is one of the biggest polluters in America, and I do have issues with that, being a tree hugger and all. George Soros made his billions the old-fashioned way — betting on whether world currencies would soar or collapse. Or something like that. (I Googled it.)

Anyway, with an apparently close presidential election ahead, True the Vote, Code Red USA and others plan to send watchers to polling places in anticipation of hordes of fraudulent voters packing the polls. I was shocked — shocked! — to discover that these groups are targeting minority and immigrant neighborhoods in swing states. Can you guess whom the folks in those neighborhood are more likely to vote for at the top of the ticket?

This whole voter fraud bogeyman is a fantasy cooked up by folks who only want voters going to the polls that they’re relatively sure will vote “right” in at least two senses of the word. The number of documented cases of voter fraud is so miniscule as to be laughable. I looked at eight case studies done by the law school at New York University over the past decade, studying close elections in Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and New York. In every instance, the number of actual cases of voter fraud was fewer than a dozen. Some were unintended — folks who just didn’t know what they were doing. In almost every case, requiring a voter ID wouldn’t have caught the fraud. In none of these elections would the result have been different.

Here’s the deal. Voter fraud is a crime that simply doesn’t pay. Kris Kobach is the Kansas secretary of state. He has made a political career out of hounding illegal immigrants. He essentially wrote the Arizona immigration law that was largely thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kobach was elected on a platform of claiming that illegal immigrants are voting in droves in Kansas and thus a voter ID law was needed (and one was passed, as happened here in Texas, now under court challenge.) Trouble is, Kobach has yet to come up with a single, solid example of an illegal immigrant actually voting.

Surely the last thing an illegal immigrant wants to do is call attention to himself by voting for Mitt Romney in the upcoming November election. (Romney’s father was born in Mexico, after all.) The whole idea is just laughable. The hard-working folks who mow our yards, work construction, clean hotel rooms and work as migrant farm workers — in short do the work the rest of us won’t do — and live in the shadows of American society, are going to risk getting arrested and being deported to vote? I don’t think so.

Voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election reached 57 percent, the highest it has been in four decades. But that only counts registered voters, leaving out the people who never bother to register. This country still elects presidents with roughly 35 percent of those who are eligible to vote actually casting ballots. And when it comes to electing governors, members of Congress, and races even further down the ballot, the percentage plunges precipitously. So why are we making it harder for people to vote, instead of easier? It makes no sense to me.

OK, I’ll step down off the soapbox now. I still have several more sections of the Times to read before the next issue arrives on Sunday.

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  • Kent Hutchison


    I agree. There are so many much more important issues our legislators should be addressing vs voter fraud (fictional voter fraud,).

    • admin


      Thanks, Kent. At least so far the courts agree.

  • Randall Beeman


    Another good one, Gary

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