Despite a nationwide effort by the right-wing to perpetuate the myth that voter impersonation is a serious problem, a new study by News21 once again confirms that it remains virtually non-existent in the United States.
The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.
The News21 report is based on a national public-records search in which reporters sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of alleged fraudulent activity — including registration fraud; absentee-ballot fraud; vote buying; false election counts; campaign fraud; the casting of ballots by ineligible voters, such as felons and non-citizens; double voting; and voter impersonation.
The analysis found that there is more alleged fraud in absentee ballots and voter registration than in any of the other categories. The analysis shows 491 cases of alleged absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases involving registration fraud. Requiring voters to show identification at the polls — the crux of most of the new legislation — would not have prevented those cases.
The analysis also found that more than 46 percent of the reported election fraud allegations resulted in acquittals, dropped charges or decisions not to bring charges.
Requiring voters to present government-issued photo IDs would do next-to-nothing to stop voter fraud, could cost the states millions, and could disenfranchise millions of legitimate citizen voters. But, as more and more Republicans are admitting, they could accomplish their real aim: disenfranchising enough Democrats to win elections for Republicans.