Voter Fraud

VOTE FRAUD….Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt comment today on the apparent obsession the Justice Department had with U.S. Attorneys who failed to prosecute voter fraud cases. The problem, they say, is that despite the GOP’s insistence that such cases must be widespread, in fact they’re almost nonexistent:

Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch….Proven voter fraud, statistically, happens about as often as death by lightning strike.

….Alarmingly, the Supreme Court suggested in a ruling last year (Purcell v. Gonzalez) that fear of fraud might in some circumstances justify laws that have the consequence of disenfranchising voters….Identification requirements often sound simple. But some types of paperwork simply aren’t available to many Americans. We saw this with the new Medicaid proof-of-citizenship requirement, which led to benefits being cut off for many longtime citizens. Some states insist that voters provide photo IDs such as driver’s licenses. But at least 11 percent of voting-age Americans, disproportionately elderly and minority voters, lack the necessary papers. Required documentation such as naturalization paperwork can cost as much as $200.

As everyone knows — but no one will say in public — GOP strategists like voter ID laws not because they’re truly afraid of fraud, but because experience tells them exactly which groups of people are most likely to vote less in places where such laws exist: the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and minorities. And guess what? Those groups are all disproportionately Democratic. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.