Only 31 cases of voter fraud since 2000

Am I glad we don't have a problem with voter fraud.

To be clear, I’m not just talking about prosecutions. I track any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix.

So far, I’ve found about 31 different incidents (some of which involve multiple ballots) since 2000, anywhere in the country. If you want to check my work, you can read a comprehensive list of the incidents below.

To put this in perspective, the 31 incidents below come in the context of general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 through 2014. In general and primary elections alone, more than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period.

Some of these 31 incidents have been thoroughly investigated (including some prosecutions). But many have not. Based on how other claims have turned out, I’d bet that some of the 31 will end up debunked: a problem with matching people from one big computer list to another, or a data entry error, or confusion between two different people with the same name, or someone signing in on the wrong line of a pollbook.

In just four states that have held just a few elections under the harshest ID laws, more than 3,000 votes (in general elections alone) have reportedly been affirmatively rejected for lack of ID. (That doesn’t include voters without ID who didn’t show up, or recordkeeping mistakes by officials.)  Some of those 3,000 may have been fraudulent ballots.  But how many legitimate voters have already been turned away?

Reading the list of voter fraud cases, I note that there was no mention of the thousands of Illinois voters bussed in for the Iowa Caucuses in 2008 by Barack Obama. Nor is there any mention of the thousands of illegal aliens who have voted over the past 14 years. Nor any mention of felons illegally voting, or of instances involving tens of thousands of bogus registrations gathered by ACORN and other groups.

In cities like Philadelphia and Chicago, GOP poll watchers - with a perfect right to oversee the vote - were kicked out of precincts. Many of them threatened with bodily harm. Just what is it that big city Democrats don't want Republicans to see?

The fact is, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Politicians are quite adept at avoiding fraud detection. Unions are masters of dark electoral arts and local political machines have been gaming the system for decades.

It may be that voter ID laws will not stop all the fraud. But they are a statement of affirmation that people demand their elections be as fair as we can make them.