In a National Review article Friday, voter fraud conspiracy theorist John Fund again attempted to mislead readers into thinking strict photo ID laws are necessary to prevent election stealing. But, in so doing, he inadvertently shows why these voter suppression laws are not needed.
Fund mocks voting rights advocates for correctly noting that Americans are more likely to be struck by lighting than to commit voter fraud:
Well, lightning is suddenly all over Cincinnati, Ohio. The Hamilton County Board of Elections is investigating 19 possible cases of alleged voter fraud that occurred when Ohio was a focal point of the 2012 presidential election. A total of 19 voters and nine witnesses are part of the probe.
Democrat Melowese Richardson has been an official poll worker for the last quarter century and registered thousands of people to vote last year. She candidly admitted to Cincinnati’s Channel 9 this week that she voted twice in the last election.
According to the Hamilton County Board of Elections, 564,429 voters are registered in jurisdiction. Even if every single one of those 19 alleged cases proved true, that would represent less than 0.0034 percent of the county’s voters.
In Richardson’s case, she told the television station that she had not intended to commit vote fraud and merely showed up to vote in-person as she was unsure her absentee ballot would arrive in time to be counted. The story notes that the elections board’s report “states poll workers should have updated the signature poll book by flagging ‘absentee voter’ next to the names of those who appeared on the list.”
Regardless of Richardson’s intent, however, the National Review’s bait and switch is obvious. Requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls would do absolutely nothing to prevent double voting like this — intentional or inadvertent. Richardson truthfully identified herself at the polls and voted in her own name. Fund attempts to lump all types of voter fraud in together, but does not identify a single one of the 19 alleged cases in which a voter committed in-person impersonation of another voter.
Furthermore, these cases show that the existing laws successfully catch those who vote twice. While she could not comment on the ongoing investigation, Hamilton County Deputy Director of Elections Sally J. Krisel told ThinkProgress that “Ohio has very clear laws about checking,” so if a voter is found to have cast an absentee ballot and attempts to vote in person, only one vote is counted. And, based on the Channel 9 report, the 19 questioned voters have been subpoenaed — meaning they will be prosecuted if they indeed committed voter fraud.
Fund snidely concludes: “But, of course, as you know there is no voter fraud. Pay no attention to that lightning coming out of Ohio.” While voter fraud does rarely exist, fighting these sorts of “lightning” with strict photo ID laws that disenfranchise legitimate voters is like banning orange juice to prevent jaywalking.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the number of actual voters in Hamilton County in the November elections.