The Voter Fraud Myth

InjusticesThough allegations of voter fraud at the polls are common, they almost always deflate upon further investigation. In 1995, for example, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey claimed that her opponent, Democrat Parris Glendening, defeated her through a sophisticated voter-fraud campaign. As evidence of a conspiracy, her supporters cited eighty-nine votes that were supposedly cast by dead voters. Yet, an FBI investigation found no evidence whatsoever of votes being cast in the names of dead Marylanders. The closest they came was “one person who had voted then died a week after the election.”

A similar investigation in Georgia began with the accusation that over five thousand votes were cast in the name of dead voters over a twenty-year period. Yet the investigation only substantiated one instance of voter fraud, and this single case was later deemed to be an error as well. As it turns out, a man named “Alan J Mandel” got confused with a man named “Alan J Mandell.” In Michigan, an investigation into 132 votes that were supposedly cast in the names of dead voters revealed that most of those votes were never actually cast in the first place, and most of the remainder involved lawful ballots cast shortly before the voter passwed away. And in New York, journalists dug into allegations of widespread voter fraud in 2002 and 2004, but were unable to uncover anything other than clerical errors and mistakes.

A study of Wisconsin ballots cast in the 2004 election revealed only “7 substantiated cases of individuals knowingly casting invalid votes,” or 0.0002 percent of the ballots cast in that election. Moreover, all seven of those votes were cast by people with felony convictions who were ineligible to vote — not by someone impersonating another voter at the polls. Accordingly, a voter ID law would have done absolutely nothing to prevent these few, rare cases of illegal voting.

Similarly, a two-year voter fraud investigation led by Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz uncovered exactly zero cases in which a voter showed up at the polls and pretended to be another person. Thus, Schultz was unable to find a single instance of voter fraud that would have been prevented by a voter ID law.

—Ian Millhiser

2 thoughts on “The Voter Fraud Myth

  1. Way back in the day, about 2007, we had an insane elected county attorney who was later disbarred. His big thing was to go after people here in the US without documentation. He also thought that there was an immense amount of voter fraud going on.

    So he ordered his minions to search and search for voter registration fraud. They found 110 cases out of then roughly 3 million registered voters. 0.0036% of people where illegally registered and most of them were accidents.

    Weirdly, the only people to this day who keep getting convicted for voter shenanigans are Republicans like Charles P. White.

    • I think there is a lot of projection that goes on. It isn’t just on the voter fraud issue. In general, Republicans think that Obama must be hiding all kinds of things because they would be.

      The voter fraud issue really does come down to what conservatives are. People in urban areas are far less conservative. People in rural areas are far more conservative. And they can imagine that everyone is like them. So many of them know that no Democrat would ever get elected president if it weren’t for voter fraud, because they don’t know a single person who voted for Obama. It’s like my math teacher used to say, “All Indians walk in single file. At least the only one I ever saw did!”

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