Despite lack of evidence, voter fraud allegations persist

The claims of voter fraud across the nation have been debunked by authorities, but that has never come close to stopping the assertions, nor the attempts to make voting more difficult under the assumption that it exists.

So today’s New York Times story that its survey of 49 states — Kansas didn’t respond to queries — showing that claims that “millions” of votes were cast illegally last month is incorrect is unlikely to change a thing.

In the age of “fake news”, this fact has a hard time taking root.

No one doubts that election fraud has occurred and needs to be monitored. Election outcomes have been changed by officials who altered vote tallies, and in theory hackers could pick winners by playing havoc with voter rolls, voting machines or electronic reporting networks. But voter fraud, in which someone deliberately casts an invalid ballot or a ballot under someone else’s name, is exceedingly rare.

Its prevalence is at the heart of the debate on restrictions like voter ID. Critics say that cracking down on abuses that barely exist can cost hundreds of thousands of people or more — often the poor and minorities — their ability to vote.

For example, a federal court in 2014 found that in Wisconsin an estimated 300,000 voters who had already registered did not have any of the required IDs.

Federal courts have altered or nullified the strictest voter-ID laws, saying they suppress turnout among minorities, who are most likely to lack a required ID.

In North Dakota, one “irregularity” involved a Minnesotan.

“One of our county auditors was called the day after the election by a voter who said: ‘Hey, my name is so-and-so. I’m from Minnesota but I voted in the election and to do that I filled out an affidavit. Can you make me a Minnesotan again?’” Jim Silrum, the state’s secretary of state, told the Times.

Related: ‘Serious Voter Fraud’? Um, No (The Upshot)

  • Gary F
    • Leans toward broken down voting machines more than fraud.

      • BJ

        And most of the miscounts are 1-2 votes off out of 500-1000. All explained by defective machine and CAUGHT by the poll workers.

        Maybe someone wanting an ID check can explain how that will fix a broken ballot machine.

      • Gary F

        And its probably been broken for years. Its not a problem in Democratic controlled Detroit.

        • Angry Jonny

          I think Michigan figures it has bigger problems right now.

        • Rob

          ask the Republicans behind Flint’s water clusterf!%k how things are going.

          • Veronica

            Oh, and don’t forget– Gov. Snyder asked courts to allow the state to stop getting Flint Residents safe water. He had the nerve to ask a court to poison his residents some more.

        • Veronica

          So tired of everything being partisan. ALL of Detroit’s infrastructure is a freaking mess. Don’t point fingers, but yes, historically, the infrastructure issues are more likely to happen in poor, minority communities. Water, electrical, bridges, roads, levees, internet….

          Nuance and history are way more complicated that red versus blue, but oh well.

  • >>I’m from Minnesota but I voted in the election and to do that I filled out an affidavit. Can you make me a Minnesotan again?’”<<

    Sounds like this clown needs to find out the consequences of "voter fraud."

    • BJ

      Here’s the thing. What if he does live in North Dakota, but thinks that because he now lives there and voted there is lost his fictional ‘Minnesotan’ status.

      Don’t confuse stupidity with actual malice.

      • I hadn’t thought of that. There I go, underestimating the possibility of utter stupidity again…


  • MikeB

    It’s motivated reasoning. Using the false claim of voter fraud as a cover for voter suppression. When people in power are in danger of losing that power they get more desperate and radical. We’ll see more of this.

  • Robert Moffitt

    As regular followers of this blog know, I have strong feelings on this subject. Many of us who serve as election judges can’t help but take this sort of BS a little personally. People from both parties (and no parties) work side by side to ensure our elections are fair and well-managed. We don’t like being called crooks and liars.

  • Mike Worcester

    Asking an earnest question — Can someone explain why we have, in essence, fifty separate state elections with fifty (okay, let’s included DC and the territories) different sets of rules and procedures? It seems that once you get past the “you have to be 18 to vote”, the rest is up to the states. Why don’t we have a uniform set of national standards to guide how we chose leaders?

    As for why the whole voter fraud myth persists — it seems that no matter how much factual evidence is presented, folks will believe what they want to.

    • wjc

      The answer to your question is historical. Many programs and processes that have a federal aspect to them are administered by the states. The states want as much control as they can have. They are often reluctant to have to do things the way that the feds tell them to. Just see how MN has reacted to the federal Real ID mandate. Because of the constant tug-of-war between states and the feds and because the feds don’t normally dictate every aspect of how a state must comply with some federal law, you get the variety of implementations that you see with how elections are run.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        I agree that the answer is historical, but I believe it is a bit more associated with the fear of mob rule, and a hoped for moderating influence of indirect election than pure states rights. In 1787 the Electoral College, like the Senate, was a way to moderate the power of the large states over the small states. In the north it was NY and Massachusetts, in the south it was Virginia. As a result all elections are state elections and handled as such.

        • wjc

          You are giving a history of the electoral congress, but not so much concerning why election laws and procedures vary by state. That has nothing to do with mob rule.

          • Jack Ungerleider

            I’ll try to clarify my thoughts (which can be difficult :-).
            The fear of mob rule is what pushed the founders to keep direct election to the smallest representative area. (House of Representative elections.) The other elected offices mentioned in the Constitution: President, Vice President, members of the Senate are elected indirectly by either state legislatures (the Senate, changed by the 17th Amendment in 1913) or the electoral college which is a function of the states not the federal government.

            As a result the Constitution defines no election that takes place at the national level. From the beginning of the republic voting was a activity that took place on the state level and was administered by the states. We have made no change to the Constitution that changes this. Senators are now elected directly by the people, but that is still a state level function. Until some group is successful in getting a constitutional amendment passed that dissolves the Electoral College and replaces it with the direct election of the President we will not have a true national election and the primacy of states running elections will continue.

  • Will

    I think you could make a serious case of illegal voter fraud handing the win to Franken in the 2008 election. The margin of victory was small and there was clear evidence that hundreds of felons voted illegally, Minnesota Majority found 1,099 potential illegal votes by felons; although the number was smaller for prosecution since the felons have to “knowingly” vote illegally, which is hard to prove in court.

    • Minnesota Majority?


      “The Minnesota Majority presented us with 1,500 cases that they felt there were problems with voting. Our own election bureau gave us 100. At the end of the day, we charged 38 cases. And all but one of them are felons voting who were still under the penalty [of not legally applying to regain individual voting rights]. There was no fraud.” — Mike Freeman

      • Will

        The numbers are off, because a prosecutor needs to prove a felon “knowingly” voted illegally. 1,099 holds true.

        • The Washington Examiner


          • Will

            Yeah, maybe you’re right, I could contact Minnesota Majority and look at the numbers and evidence myself…I find very interesting things when I personally dig into things. I shouldn’t just trust any media outlet or political group, I should look at the evidence myself.

        • RBHolb

          So you get the number you want by changing the definition of criminal voter fraud?

          Incidentally, just as with murder, there already are laws against voter fraud. I don’t think your analogy holds up very well.

          • Will

            But you have to show an ID to buy a gun, to prevent murder…why not ask for an ID when voting to prevent voter fraud?

          • RBHolb

            You’re talking about creating a new requirement to stop something that isn’t a problem. It makes no sense.

          • Will

            Voter fraud is as much of a problem as murder, just because something has been done a certain way in the past doesn’t validate it as the best way to do it.

      • Will

        38 cases of fraud in a single state election, thanks for admitting that truth. Some states have fewer murders than that in a year, so what we shouldn’t try to prevent or make laws against murder?

    • KTN

      Do you have any idea what the legal penalty is for voter fraud? I’m guessing you haven’t a clue. It’s a felony. Why anyone would risk a felony to vote for a Republican is beyond me, but whatever.

      Since you brought up released felons voting, some have their rights returned to them after completing their sentence, and any probation, some have not. Our state has a byzantine system for released felons and voting. Your stat of 1099 is I’m afraid a little overstated – but keep on believin if that helps you sleep at night.

      When you cite clear evidence does that mean that evidence was introduced into a court of law, or just in your mind (or maybe Faux News).