Why Republicans Caught Committing Voter Fraud Show Photo ID Laws Are Unnecessary

Over the past two years, state legislators affiliated with the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council mounted a furious push to enact strict vote-suppressing voter ID laws. But while advocates claimed these laws are necessary to prevent voter impersonation fraud, two arrests Tuesday demonstrate that the opposite is true.

Talking Points Memo reports two Republican voters attempted to “test” whether they could commit voter fraud in New Mexico and Nevada. Neither state requires identification to vote, but both discovered that that does not equate to voter fraud being legal — or easily committed.

In Nevada, 56-year-old Roxanne Rubin, a Republican, was arrested on Nov. 2 for allegedly trying to vote twice, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The newspaper quoted a report by an investigator with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office that said Rubin “was unhappy with the process; specifically in that her identification was not checked.” … She was arrested at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and charged with a category “D” felony.

On Tuesday in New Mexico, a Republican poll watcher was taken into police custody after also apparently trying to test the system. According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the man voted, then obtained a second provisional ballot and announced he was simply “testing the system to see if people could get away with voting twice.”

There are many reasons why in person voter fraud — the “problem” these voter ID laws purport to solve — is virtually non-existent. Most people accept the principle of “one person, one vote” and don’t try to cheat the system because doing so is morally wrong. Others recognize that doing so is illegal and do not want to risk being charged with a category “D” felony. And with more than 121 million votes cast in Tuesday’s presidential election, voting twice would be a hugely inefficient way to influence the election.

While polls initially showed statewide support a voter ID measure in Minnesota, once voters learned that such a measure was unnecessary (no one has ever been convicted of voter impersonation in the state’s history), would create hurdles that could keep citizens from voting, and would potentially cost the state millions, it failed with nearly 54 percent of voters refusing to back the effort.