Voter Fraud for the Complete Idiot

A Doonesbury cartoon on a recent Sunday contained a distillation of a current talking point among progressives: "Question: What fraud? Voter fraud is close to non-existent!"

Progressives think that if they make the above claim as though it were an indisputable fact, it will become a fact.  All they have to do is repeat the claim over and over again until it sticks.  To wit:

An editorialist for The New York Times asserts: "There is almost no voting fraud in America."

At the Center for American Progress, Eric Alterman writes: "Members of the mainstream media often give too much credence to empty claims of 'voter fraud.'"

At the Brennan Center for Justice, we read: "Allegations of widespread fraud by malevolent voters are easy to make, but often prove to be inflated or inaccurate."

In The Nation, left-wing firebrand Katrina Vanden Heuvel alleges: "Voter fraud -- the impersonation of a voter by another person -- is extremely rare in the United States."

An uncouth gal for Daily Kos writes: "Some [Republicans] acknowledge that voter fraud is essentially non-existent."  (Who are these Republicans?)

At Mother Jones, we read: "While Republicans have argued such rules are necessary to combat 'voter fraud,' examples of the kind of in-person voter fraud that might be curbed by such requirements are miniscule."

At Slate we read: "Large-scale, coordinated vote stealing doesn't happen."

A lady at Think Progress writes: "Like conservative state legislatures across the country, Maine Republicans have been pushing a Voter ID law, ostensibly to prevent non-existent voter fraud."  (Italics added.)

A blogger at Media Matters writes: "Instances of actual voter fraud are very rare."

(There may be a subliminal message in there somewhere.)

The above claims are as absurd as a big-city mayor claiming that last night, no cases of wife-beating occurred in his fair city because, well, no one reported any to the police.

Question: how is a poll worker manning a voting station supposed to know that a voter checking in to vote is about to commit voter fraud -- if that voter is registered?

If the voter's name is on the signature roster, the poll worker must assume that the registrar has thoroughly vetted him and that he is properly registered.  What's a poll worker supposed to do if a "suspicious-looking" voter shows his ID (if even required in the state) and is on the list?  The poll worker hasn't the means to challenge a voter's registration, nor the time.  Besides, that's not his job.  To perform his job, the poll worker must depend on the voter registration system.

One way in which voter fraud (illegal voting) is made possible is by the registration of people who aren't eligible to vote.  Such registrations are due to fraud (or to error) committed by registrants and even by registrars.  But the most important factor contributing to corrupted voter registries is the voter registration system itself.

Voter registration in America is backward and not worthy of a great nation.  And despite the fact that registration involves very little information, registrars do not verify the most important requirement for voting in America -- citizenship.  The Brennan Center reports:

At least 10 states ... introduced legislation that would require proof of citizenship to register or vote. ... Previously, the only state to attempt to require proof of citizenship was Arizona.  That law has been enjoined by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which has recently heard that appeal en banc.

So the nation's most progressive circuit court will decide whether Arizonans must share their birthright with foreigners.  Immigration Reform Law Institute concludes:

IRLI believes the final outcome of this case will likely define the extent to which states are allowed to prevent non-citizens from being added to their voter rolls.  A final decision could affect other states that have enacted laws which require proof of eligibility to vote at registration.  Those states have determined that preventing unauthorized voting is in their respective state's interest.

Question: if the final outcome of this case does go in Arizona's favor, will the state's method for verifying the citizenship of voter registrants be sufficient?  That is, will Arizona voter registries contain citizens only?

Given the mechanisms of our election systems, voter fraud can be impossible to detect.  And if it can't be detected, it can't be quantified.  Hence: no voter fraud.

Part of the controversy over "voter fraud," which progressives downplay as voter impersonation, is the term itself.  Folks concerned about the integrity of our elections should start using the more inclusive term "election fraud," which includes voter fraud, registration fraud, and other types of fraud, such as fraud committed by election officials.

Republicans don't know precisely how much voter fraud actually occurs -- but then, neither does anyone else.  However, voter fraud occurs more frequently than progressives would have us believe, as was ably demonstrated by Hans A. von Spakovsky in an August National Review article:

The claim that there is no voter fraud in the U.S. is patently ridiculous, given our rich and unfortunate history of it. As the U.S. Supreme Court said when it upheld Indiana's photo-ID law in 2008, "Flagrant examples of such fraud . . . have been documented throughout this Nation's history by respected historians and journalists." The liberal groups that fought Indiana's law didn't have much luck with liberal justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the 6-3 decision. Before being named to the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens practiced law in Chicago, a hotbed of electoral malfeasance.

Requiring photo IDs to vote is better than nothing and may help at the margins, but it isn't going to stop voter fraud.  Would poll workers have photos of all registrants on hand to match against the photos presented by voters?  (A better solution lies elsewhere.)

The left-wing quotes above don't even rise to the level of speculation; they're part of a deliberate concerted effort to deceive -- a propaganda campaign.  Alleging that voter fraud doesn't exist is a straw man designed to divert attention away from other more pressing election problems. Alleging that an undetectable fraud doesn't exist draws attention away from the frauds that can be detected, but aren't.  Alleging that voter fraud doesn't exist whitewashes America's voter registration mess.

Progressives allege that new voter ID requirements are meant to suppress turnout, especially of "the wrong kind of people," as the Doonesbury cartoon puts it.  But the progressives' resistance to even the most basic safeguards is an attempt to keep elections open to theft.  Progressives don't care about the integrity of elections; they just want to win, by whatever means necessary.

America is fast approaching what some think is the most important election in our lives, an election that will determine what kind of nation we are going to be.  And yet we come to this critical decision with election systems that can be gamed.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

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