Voter fraud is commonplace in elections in America today. It has always been around to varying degrees because completely eliminating this kind of crime is impossible. The most policymakers can do is create laws and policies that attempt to minimize it.
But this is where people on the Right and Left differ. Conservatives think fighting voter fraud is important; liberals and progressives don’t care — and many of them go further, arguing that voter fraud is an imaginary problem.
“It’s better to have a little bit of fraud than to leave people off the rolls who belong there.”
The Left promotes voter fraud by fighting electoral integrity laws in the courts, often enjoying great success. On Sept. 9, a federal appeals court blocked a proof-of-citizenship requirement on a federal mail voter registration form in Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas.
Compounding the problem is the fact that election officials can be lax, allowing people of questionable eligibility to vote without proving who they are or where they live. And some officials are hostile to election observers from nonpartisan good government groups like True the Vote monitoring their polling precincts. The Left labels such attempts to keep elections honest “voter intimidation.” It’s just one of the tricks in their bag.
Before we go further, let’s define voter fraud: It is unlawful interference with the electoral process in an effort to bring about a desired result. Voter fraud is also called vote fraud, election fraud, and electoral fraud. It refers to fraudulent voting, impersonation, intimidation, perjury, voter registration fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, bribery, destroying already cast ballots, and a multitude of crimes related to the electoral process.
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While some claim voter fraud is a myth “as common as unicorns and Sasquatch,” and others insist fraud routinely affects election outcomes, “the truth lies somewhere in between,” according to election law expert J. Christian Adams. “The truth is that voter fraud occurs frequently, and it determines who wins elections infrequently.”
But the “integrity of the electoral process is perhaps more important than who wins and loses an election,” he said. “Lawlessness in elections corrodes the entire democratic process.”
Reasonable people can disagree over how serious a problem voter fraud is in today’s America, but the evidence it actually exists cannot be ignored.
Take the case of Pasco Parker, a Tennessee man who voted in the 2012 presidential election three times in three different states — Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
“It’s too easy to vote twice; it comes down to your honor,” Jay DeLancy of the North Carolina-based Voting Integrity Project, which caught Parker in the act, said in a Fox News Channel report this week.
Double-voting and triple-voting are “a lot more widespread than what people think,” he said. DeLancy’s group found another 148 cases of suspected double-voting and turned its files over to authorities.
Earlier this year, Robert Monroe was sent to jail in Wisconsin after being charged with 13 counts of fraud, including multiple voting and voting twice in the 2012 presidential contest.
In California’s presidential primary this year, “in just three counties, Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara, 194 people voted twice, suggesting the abuse statewide might run into the thousands,” the East Bay Times reported.
Wendy Rosen, a 2012 Democrat congressional candidate in Maryland, dropped out of her race after she was caught voting twice in Maryland and Florida in two different elections.
As I reported in my 2011 book, “Subversion Inc.,” left-wing activist group ACORN and at least 54 individuals connected to it have been convicted of voter fraud and related offenses. And that’s only ACORN.
In 2013, Democrat operative Anthony DeFiglio was sentenced for election-related forgery in Troy, New York. He said he didn’t think voter fraud was a big deal. “What appears as a huge conspiracy to nonpolitical persons is really a normal political tactic,” he told investigators.
In 2013, Cincinnati community organizer Melowese Richardson was jailed for illegally voting five times in different elections. Upon her early release, Al Sharpton and his National Action Network threw a party for her.
In 2011, Mississippi NAACP executive Lessadolla Sowers was imprisoned for 10 counts of fraudulently casting absentee ballots.
Obviously, fraudulent and inaccurate voter registrations open the door to fraudulent voting.
That’s why the findings of a 2012 Pew Center on the States study are so troubling. The study revealed that around 24 million — one out of every eight — U.S. voter registrations are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate. About 2.75 million people are registered to vote in more than one state and more than 1.8 million dead people are still on voter rolls.
To make matters worse, left-wing advocacy groups that don’t care about voter fraud register millions of voters every election, sometimes with potentially disastrous results.
For example, in 2008, ACORN collected more than 1 million voter registrations and 400,000 of those applications “were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms, and fraudulent submissions,” The New York Times reported.
Often these leftist groups are shameless and reckless in their pursuit of voter registrations. They have been known to provide gifts like cigarettes to maximize the quantity of registrations.
Sometimes they don’t stop at tobacco products.
Chad Staton of Defiance, Ohio, was sentenced to 54 months imprisonment for filing false voter registrations. Prosecutors said he filed forms in the names of Mary Poppins, Michael Jackson, Dick Tracy, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Working on behalf of the NAACP National Voter Fund, Georgianne Pitts admitted she paid Staton in crack cocaine in lieu of cash, according to the Toledo Blade.
Meanwhile, it is only in recent years that a voter fraud denial industry has sprung up, fed and watered by radical billionaires like George Soros and the leftist groups he funds such as Center for American Progress, Demos, Media Matters for America, and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU. These left-wing, self-appointed election experts misrepresent the facts and spread propaganda.
Professional agitator Zach Polett, who ran ACORN-affiliated Project Vote, mocks efforts to guarantee fair elections. “Efforts to curb so-called ‘voter fraud’ are in reality attempts to disenfranchise and silence our least powerful citizens,” he said.
Polett is channeling the Marxist academic-activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who designed the terrible 1993 Motor-Voter law that opened up new frontiers for voter fraud. Polett’s statement can be translated as, “all efforts to ensure electoral integrity and the rule of law are illegitimate and aimed at bolstering the oppressive capitalist system.”
Cloward didn’t care about voter fraud, either. “It’s better to have a little bit of fraud than to leave people off the rolls who belong there,” he said.
Matthew Vadum is senior vice president at Capital Research Center.