Voter fraud: The GOP’s search for evidence
When President Trump vowed after his inauguration to investigate voter fraud, said Paul Waldman in CNN.com, many people laughed. The issue had only arisen because of Trump’s “delusional” clai m that he’d been denied a majority in the popular vote by “millions” of illegal voters. “But now it’s not so funny.” Last week Trump created a commission on “election integrity,” headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. In his home state, Kobach has spent years trying, and failing, to prove that “every election brings a wave of illegal votes.” You can be sure he and Trump will use this commission to recommend strict restrictions on voting that “by some inexplicable coincidence” will depress votes by blacks, Hispanics, and others likely to vote for Democrats. Countless studies have shown voter fraud to be almost nonexistent in U.S. elections, said Ari Berman in TheNation.com. In 2016, there were just four documented cases out of 135 million votes cast, “equal to 0.000002 percent.” The sole purpose of this commission is to “perpetuate the myth of fraud,” to justify more voter ID laws.
If voter fraud really is nonexistent, said John Fund in NationalReview.com, why are Democrats so worried about this commission? The truth is, America’s voter registration lists are “breeding grounds for potential fraud.” A 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that 1 in 8 registrations is “inaccurate, out of date, or a duplicate”; that some 2.8 million people are registered to vote in multiple states; and that another 1.8 million registered voters are dead. All Kobach wants to know is how many of these folks are wrongly casting a ballot, thus nullifying a legitimate citizen’s vote. Trump’s commission—which, it should be noted, includes two Democratic secretaries of state—will be the “first serious national look” into exactly that.
Nice try, said Philip Bump in WashingtonPost.com, but Kobach knows firsthand just how rare voter fraud is. His dogged attempts to uncover fraudulent voters in Kansas has produced a sum total of just nine convictions out of 1.8 million registered Kansans—and only one of those convictions involved an illegal immigrant. Democrats should fight this “sham” commission, and make voting rights a “first-order priority,” said Jamelle Bouie in Slate.com. It would be “a statement of belief in a democracy” that, under this president, “needs all the help it can get.”