Thursday, March 29, 2007

WaPo's Voter Fraud Myth Needs Some Facts

But the notion of widespread voter fraud, as these prosecutors found out, is itself a fraud. Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch. Where fraud exists, of course, it should be prosecuted and punished. (And politicians have been stuffing ballot boxes and buying votes since senators wore togas; Lyndon Johnson won a 1948 Senate race after his partisans famously "found" a box of votes well after the election.) Yet evidence of actual fraud by individual voters is painfully skimpy.

Before and after every close election, politicians and pundits proclaim: The dead are voting, foreigners are voting, people are voting twice. On closer examination, though, most such allegations don't pan out. Consider a list of supposedly dead voters in Upstate New York that was much touted last October. Where reporters looked into names on the list, it turned out that the voters were, to quote Monty Python, "not dead yet."

Or consider Washington state, where McKay closely watched the photo-finish gubernatorial election of 2004. A challenge to ostensibly noncitizen voters was lodged in April 2005 on the questionable basis of "foreign-sounding names." After an election there last year in which more than 2 million votes were cast, following much controversy, only one ballot ended up under suspicion for double-voting. That makes sense. A person casting two votes risks jail time and a fine for minimal gain. Proven voter fraud, statistically, happens about as often as death by lightning strike.
Sorry, but this is just flat out wrong. The facts actually do support instances of voter fraud discovered. Waldman and Levitt need to go back and do more research.

They should try in their own backyard of the New York City metro region. They can look at the New York Times. The Record. The fact that voter rolls contained thousands of folks who died, and yet voted in elections after their deaths do not count?

How about the fact that thousands of people voted in New Jersey but also happened to vote in other jurisdictions on election day, whether by write-in vote or by going between the two jurisdictions? Those instances occurred in New Jersey's Hudson County. Do they not count?

This Washington Post story minimizes the risks and danger of voter fraud, which when extrapolated to the entire voting population can mean significant numbers of people involved. Recall that the Florida election in 2000 came down to several hundred votes. The incident in Hudson county involved thousands of votes.

Local elections often have very narrow margins, and yet Waldman and Levitt discounts the threat posed by election fraud? What purpose is served by this except to support those who think that no one should be denied a vote regardless of whether the person is actually eligible to vote. Illegal aliens? No problem. Registered in a different jurisdiction? No problem. No identification or proof of eligibility? No problem.

Something's fishy here, and it isn't just the story. It's Waldman and Levitt's agenda.

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