Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Voter fraud practically non-existent in 2016

"After all the allegations of rampant voter fraud and claims that millions had voted illegally, the people who supervised the general election last month in states around the nation have been adding up how many credible reports of fraud they actually received. The overwhelming consensus: next to none."  (Michael Wines, New York Times).

In a total of 34 states surveyed, officials said they knew of only one credible allegation of fraudulent voting.    A few other states had some claims that are under review.   Tennessee and Georgia each had, under review, only 1 credible claim per 100,000 votes.

Inquiries in 50 states (only Kansas failed to respond) found none where there was anything like widespread fraud.    Thus, there is no evidence to back up Donald Trump's claim that "millions and millions of illegal votes" account for Hillary Clinton's popular majority.

The Times article backs up "what researchers and scholars have said for years: Fraud by voters casting ballots illegally is a minuscule problem, but a potent political weapon" used by politicians to impose increased restrictions on voting.

And then there are the Republicans who just don't accept facts, claiming that voter fraud exists but it just goes undetected.    Voting rights advocates counter that the current system caught those few, which average about one per state in an election cycle out of multi-millions cast.

Even some of those that are actual cases of improper voting often have understandable explanations.   Examples are:  people who had absentee ballots but are not sure they actually mailed it in, so they go to the polls on election day and cast another vote;   felons who didn't realize that they had lost their right to vote and were still on the voter rolls;  or non-citizens who were misinformed and thought they could vote.

A case in Georgia, reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. occurred at the precinct where I cast my early vote.   It seems that a poll-worker, on a slow day, decided to check the records to see if her two children had voted.   Not finding their names on the list of voters, and after double-checking with the main records office, she called her kids and told them that somehow their votes hadn't been recorded.  She encouraged them to go and vote again.   Which they did.   But it turned out to be a problem in delay of updating records.  By the time the votes were counted, it showed that they had voted twice.   Which they actually did, but not from an ulterior motive.

So-called voter fraud is just not a problem, folks.   The number of improper votes is miniscule;   the number of people improperly excluded or intimidated from voting is huge.


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