With the midterm election attention now focused on Louisiana, the only state that is still waiting to elect its senator in a runoff, state Republicans have launched a program to prevent voter fraud — an issue Louisiana’s Republican secretary of state said is non-existent.
Attorney General candidate and former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) will chair the Voter Integrity Program, created to prevent voter ID fraud in the upcoming Senate election between U.S. Rep Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
“This program has been put together in an effort to prevent voter fraud and guarantee a fair and impartial election on December 6th,” Landry said in a statement. “We must protect the integrity of the election by making sure every legally cast vote is counted and not diluted by fraud and negligence.”
Landry also encouraged state Republicans to sign up to serve as poll watchers to monitor the runoff and added that “from impersonation fraud to duplicate voting to illegal ‘assistance’ at the polls, there are many types of voter fraud.”
But when asked by The Advocate about the number of actual cases of voter fraud the state has prosecuted, Republican Secretary of State Tom Schedler said the Louisiana Attorney General’s Voting Compliance Unit, the group tasked with investigating any voter fraud allegations, has not received any complaints of voter fraud. Nevertheless, Schedler maintained his support for the state’s voter ID law.
“Given that many activities today require a photo ID, including getting on a plane, purchasing certain items at a pharmacy, cashing a check, etc., the Secretary of State’s Office believes our law protects the integrity of our election system and gives the public confidence that every vote counts,” Schedler told The Advocate.
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) also joined the politicians buying into the undocumented instances of voter fraud. He told The Hill in April that it’s critical to address voter fraud issues, despite the disenfranchisement of voters that occurs by requiring IDs to vote.
“The biggest problem we’ve run into is people double- and triple-voting, and that’s happening everywhere, and that’s the reason why we need to have photo ID [laws],” Fleming said. “That’s the problem. In terms of discrimination, someone being coerced not to vote or show up, I’m not aware of any evidence that’s a problem. I think photo ID is a much more pressing issue than these kind of questions.”
Louisiana has one of the oldest voter ID laws, passed in 1997, which requires voters to present photo identification when casting ballots. However, voters without an ID do not have to vote provisionally — they are permitted to fill out an affidavit when they arrive to vote which is then audited after the polls close to verify the voter’s information.