The voter fraud myth, destroyed in 99 seconds

Americans’ unfounded fear of voter fraud has fueled laws that are disenfranchising citizens across the country.


KATELYN MARMON, ThinkProgress: More and more Americans are losing confidence that the 2016 election will be fair.

According to Politico, over 40% of registered voters think the election could be “stolen” due to voter fraud, and 70% of polled Republican voters believe the results should be questioned.

But how common is voter fraud really?

Between 2000 and 2014, only 31 incidents were found among more than 1 billion ballots cast, meaning winning an Olympic gold medal is actually more likely than 1 incident of voter fraud. Or hitting the same color on the roulette wheel 20 times in a row. Yep, that’s even more likely than voter fraud. In fact, being becoming a saint is more likely.


Yet, in a continuing effort to combat voter fraud, 14 states have passed new laws, in place for the first time in a presidential election. These restrictions make it harder for citizens, specifically people of color, to cast a ballot.

Take Voter ID laws — In 11 states, voters can’t participate without identification

Wisconsin is one of those states. Its ID requirements have been tied up in legal battles and potential voters have struggled to get the necessary identification before election day. An estimated 300,000 people could be disenfranchised.

Or look at Texas. A federal court eased its ID law back in July, but elections officials are still providing misleading information about the rules.

Nationally, as many as 25% of eligible black voters don’t have the necessary ID — more than 3 times the rate for potential white voters.

So, what’s the real problem here?