Opinion

Voter fraud is a serious problem

Photo of Ford O'Connell and Steve Pearson
Ford O'Connell and Steve Pearson
Contributor

It is no secret that Americans are less than 100 percent confident that government is working for them. Allegations of electoral fraud, whether true or not, taint the entire political process by further undermining our collective faith in democracy. A 2005 bipartisan commission spearheaded by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker came to a similar conclusion. Underscoring the point, the commission noted that “[p]hoto IDs currently are needed to board a plane, enter federal buildings, and cash a check. Voting is equally important.”

E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post is the latest to cross the line from debate into name-calling by equating a slew of recently passed state laws aimed at curbing voter fraud with the odious underpinnings of Jim Crow.

Dionne’s outrageous analogy comes on the heels of a similar claim put forth by DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz earlier this month — a statement that was thoroughly debunked by watchdog PolitiFact.com. As for Dionne’s other claims that studies have shown that voter fraud “is not a major problem” and that voter ID laws and other measures, such as “limiting the number of days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling [voter] fraud,” they miss the mark as well.

Whether it’s agents of ACORN pleading guilty to voter fraud, electronic voting machines with extra votes, or absentee ballots cast without a voter’s knowledge, anything that undermines the legitimacy of an election ultimately undermines the legitimacy of the government.

Our nation is divided on a host of issues, and we are about to enter a presidential election that could be extremely close. Earlier this year, a study conducted by the Colorado secretary of state’s office found that as many as 5,000 non-citizen votes were cast in the Centennial State last year in an election where Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet defeated Republican challenger Ken Buck by a razor-thin margin. Given the likelihood of close contests in Colorado, Nevada and other battleground states, we should be doing everything we can to ensure the integrity of the voting process to avoid another situation like what we witnessed in Florida in 2000.

It’s true that these new voter identification laws have the potential to suppress turnout and possibly even favor Republicans. But as long as these laws pass the proper legal scrutiny, the remedy to address partisan bias is for the political parties to assist voters in securing the requisite identification, much as they promote voter registration. We can argue between now and Election Day about provisional ballots and other accommodations to allow for exigent circumstances. But at the end of the day, the bigger threat to participatory democracy is a cynical electorate filled with voters who don’t even turn out to vote because they don’t trust the system.

Ford O’Connell and Steve Pearson are co-founders of CivicForumPAC and advisors to conservative candidates on Internet outreach, communications and campaign strategy.

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  • alpha_male

    Why don’t we just hold the elections at the airport, so then every voter will not only have to show an ID, but can also have the opportunity to be fondeled by the TSA before they vote!

  • Pingback: Voter fraud is a serious problem « Voter Fraud « Verify The Vote AZ

  • riseabove

    In Nevada during last November’s elections there were allegations of voting machines defaulting to Harry Reid’s name and that these same machines were serviced by SEIU employees. Even though elected officials denied those allegations, it still eroded public trust. If proper measures aren’t taken to ensure these kinds of things do not happen then we’ll have more to worry about than low voter turnout. This isn’t going to make the masses apathetic. It’s going to make them furious.

    Mr. TJTaygee – In keeping with your argument then banks, department stores and credit card companies should allow SOME hackers to steal personal information, right? Or, does fraud only work differently when it comes to voting?

    • TJTaygee

      @riseabove
      - the rampant known insecurity of electronic voting machines is an wholly valid and incredibly important issue that needs to be addressed.

      However, it has nothing whatsover to do with voter ID laws and voter registration.

      electronic vote flipping can and does occur completely independently of any voter registration – fraudulent or otherwise.

      the issue of electronic voting revolves around flipping VALID VOTES by VALID VOTERS. fraudulent voter registration and fraudulent voting are COMPLETELY separate issues.

      in short, what you have proferred is a totally false equivalence that has nothing to do with the voter ID laws.

      • TJTaygee

        @RiseAbove – I must admit, however, the false equivalency was not started by you, but the original article.

        The main purpose of the article above was to invalidly combine the issues of election fraud and voter fraud – all in the name of supporting the immoral voter ID laws of current note.

        but, you have the ability on your own to come to that conclusion – and you now have the correct information.

        • BigRmv

          Talk about false equivalency: What’s immoral about asking for an ID to prove that someone has that all important RIGHT you’re sticking up for? Not everyone standing in California on election day is eligible to vote, you understand. The ones who are supposedly had to prove their citizenship once already. Was that ‘immoral’ too?

          • TJTaygee

            BigRmv,

            I see nothing wrong with verifying registrations, voters and votes.

            But, the immorality lies in the fact that the voter ID laws, rather than merely ensure valid voters, is also – by design (as admitted by the authors of this article) – going to disenfranschise valid voters by the thousands, even tens of thousands.

            IF equal effort was put into _ensuring_ already validly registered voters were provided proper IDs and could continue to vote, I would not call such efforts immoral.

            However, they don’t, and therefore, they are.

          • minicapt

            TJTg
            Wrong. “… to disenfranschise valid voters by the thousands …” Is patently not possible, not provable, and is the product of a fevered mind intent on its nefarious perfidy. Aside from being really wrong!

            Cheers

  • rickyrayinga

    I guess TJ is a Progressive with a either incorrect facts or no facts to basis that opinion on. There was a large case of Voter Fraud in Texas about to hit the courts when the computer evidence disappeared. Or the Democrat that is doing time for Voter Fraud in Chicago, You best be damn right if you want to stop voter fraud, then the fact is you must Identify the voters, nationally, nor juar certain states it should be with proper ID, if you can’t get on an Airplane without ID, buy beer without ID, then you should not be allowed to vote without it, if you don’t want to be identified then you must have something to hide..stop the crime, get an ID and vote your heart out! If you can’t do that your simply can’t vote.

    • TJTaygee

      I’ll play nice and try to repeat this in the simplest terms possible for you, rickwhatever.

      The number of fraudulent votes (meaning – the # of false votes cast) is tiny in comparison to the number of valid voters these new laws will eliminate from being able to vote.

      By eliminiting the valid voters from the process, the possibility of affecting the vote with invalid votes increases.

      If, for example, you have 1900 fraudulently-cast votes – but you purged 80,000 voters before the voting took place, you dramatically increase the ability of those 1900 votes to affect the vote.

      Have I put this in simple terms you can understand yet?

      there are many other ways to corrupt the voting process that have NOTHING TO DO WITH voter ID laws – and those need to be stopped.

      So – again – these voter ID laws actually increase the ability for vote fraud to negatively impact the voting process.

      It’s simple math that shouldn’t be ignored – but is being ignored.

      • clw

        Well Mr.TJArrogantwhatever, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Numbers so small as to be insignificant? As in the Bush v. Gore election?

        Close races happen, and there are no “gray areas” the left so loves to embrace.

        Right is right, wrong is wrong, and voter fraud is facilitated by people who have an agenda and fear that their voter base will not be able to vote if they have to prove who they are! You’re being completely disingenuous, and you are WRONG. Clear thinking individuals will never buy that liberal crap that you spout.

  • blowsmymind

    This blog is terrible…..boarding a plane is not a right, but VOTING IS….why are they compared?
    Exercising a right should NEVER be impeded…yet that is exactly what these laws do. Make not mistake…fewer will exercise their right.

    I have researched this issue and find NO evidence that these laws are needed….No cases of voters voting under as someone else ….In 1984 the only case found was about election officials… How about some honesty here?

    • BigRmv

      Exactly. Boarding a plane is not a right so you can be stopped from boarding a plane if you don’t follow the rules. Voting is a right, but that doesn’t mean everyone showing is automatically a registered voter. There are rules to follow there to.

      And, just because you and TJ say, “I looked it up,” doesn’t mean you have any evidence whatsoever or are an expert re: voting irregularities. How about some citation or facts or names of actual organizations or experts?

    • Rac80

      I have worked polls as a pollworker numerous times over the 25 years I have lived in Indiana and have seen many attempts at voter fraud. I am lucky enough to live in the precinct I work and know many of my neighbors by name. In the early 2000′s (before Indiana had passed a voter ID law in 2005) I had several people come into the polling place claiming to be former neighbors who had moved since the previous election. When you look the liars straight in the eye and say- Oh But Mr. Smith moved to Seattle two months ago, they get a very scared look on their faces and flee the polling center. I regret now that I confronted these cheats and did not have them arrested. This is the usual situation here, there are no frauds “on the books” because the liars have been challenged and decided to flee. I have more confidence in Indiana’s election process because I have seen the cheats and know the new system keeps the cheats out of the polling places. If only they required voter ID to absentee ballot.

  • CrazyHungarian

    TJTaygee: Every voter machine over-count, votes by felons, dead persons, illegal aliens and fake absentee ballots disenfranchises the votes of honest, legal and responsible voters. In your quest to be fair and non-contrary to to our democracy, what would you suggest so that we do not rob the value of these legal votes? Are they not worthy?

    • TJTaygee

      CrazyHungarian – you’re distinctly missing the point. making it more difficult to register and/or vote INCREASES the opportunity for vote &/or election fraud to actually impact an election.

      So – your questions, while seemingly based upon protecting the rights of voters aren’t actually valid.

      • BigRmv

        Well, with the preponderance of evidence you offered in YOUR ONE LINE OPINION I guess the debate is settled, huh? Where is your proof?

        I live in California where anyone who knows a valid name and address can walk in, say, “I’m Bill Smith and my address is…” and cast a ballot, leaving the real Bill Smith out in the cold. And then there are the illegals who are being courted by the Democrats in every district. Why do that if their voices aren’t counted?

      • clw

        Your comment makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! None! Incredible! You’re a nutcase!

    • blowsmymind

      How about do nothing….and why can felons not vote? Are they not citizens? They should be able to vote as well….

      • BigRmv

        Way to pay attention in Civics class. Felons lose that right by choosing to violate the law.

  • TJTaygee

    you must know, but deliberately avoid, the simple fact that these laws that you state “have the potential to suppress turnout and possibly even favor Republicans” will in fact disenfranchise exponentially more voters than the count of voter fraud incidents that could be avoided.

    it is shameful that you give such a counter-intuitive argument a voice, even while knowing it’s simply wrong and contrary to our democracy.

    but, you obviously have no shame and will gleefully lie about it more, eh?