Vote fraud disenfranchises Americans and poses a serious threat to both the integrity of and confidence in our electoral system. Opponents of measures to prevent vote fraud contend that its occurrence is either nonexistent or so rare as to be insignificant.
Vote fraud is insidious, committed quietly. And once it’s committed, it cannot be undone. Vote fraud contaminates the pool of votes, and if sufficiently extensive, will affect the outcome of an election. As elections determine who exercises political power, there is a motivation among some bad actors to cheat.
Vote fraud is rarely prosecuted for two main reasons. First, it is virtually impossible to identify the fraud before the damage is done as it is primarily committed through absentee and mail-in balloting; second, prosecuting the crime is expensive and is usually a low priority of prosecutors and local law enforcement more concerned with public safety. However, vote fraud is a crime that strikes at the center of our republic.
The principal weakness in our electoral system that fosters vote fraud is inaccurate voter registration rolls. The federal requirement that counties maintain clean, accurate voter rolls has been ignored over the years and actively resisted under the Obama Department of Justice.
Voter rolls should contain only the names of eligible residents of a jurisdiction, but in far too many counties, voter rolls bulge with the names of the dead, those who have moved away, non-citizens, fictional names and voters registered in more than one place.
A Pew Center on the States study in 2012 revealed that:
- Approximately 24 million—one of every eight—voter registrations in the United States were no longer valid or were significantly inaccurate.
- More than 1.8 million deceased individuals were listed as voters.
- Approximately 2.75 million people had registrations in more than one state.
In nearly 200 counties around the nation, more people are registered to vote than the counties’ population of eligible citizens. Examples abound of non-citizens and convicted felons registered to vote. In Philadelphia, an ACRU lawsuit in 2016 revealed thousands of ineligible people on the voter rolls. A sampling of counties in Virginia also found hundreds of illegal registrations, according to a 2016 study by the Public Interest Legal Foundation.
In-person vote fraud, while far more rare than absentee voting, does happen, as shown by the video sting operations of Project Veritas, in which an impersonator at a polling place in the District of Columbia claimed to be then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and easily obtained a ballot. In other Project Veritas videos political operatives openly discussed how to commit vote fraud in Wisconsin and other states.
The institutional Left has focused on preventing common-sense laws to require voters to prove they are who they claim they are, making the ridiculous and unprovable claim that photo ID laws discriminate against racial minorities and the poor. But, vote fraud is accommodated by other means such as extended voting periods and relaxed standards for acquiring absentee or mail-in ballots and not requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Several reasonable actions should be adopted to guard against vote fraud:
- enforce federal voter roll maintenance laws;
- require photo ID to vote in person;
- require voter ID and signature verification for absentee ballots;
- limit early voting to no more than a week prior to an election;
- require proof of U.S. citizenship;
- encourage more states to participate in cooperative efforts to identify voters registered in more than one state.
Voting is a privilege of citizenship and only legal votes should be counted. The only way to stop vote fraud is to prevent it!