Voter fraud, ID, intimidation, and suppression

Well, it looks like James O’Keefe committed voter fraud again. His techniques are really breathtaking: there is no problem, so O’Keefe creates the problem, then whines that it was too easy for him to be a problem. I get it, O’Keefe. You’re a felon. You just conspired to commit 100 counts of voter fraud and have never heard of the concept of entrapment. Can we all move on with our lives now?

Let’s just get some facts out:

Voter fraud is not a problem. It happens 0.00004-0.0009% of the time.

Voter fraud is a crime punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. (See the same link.)

Voter fraud is ineffective. How many times can one person go to different polls to vote for fake people? Not enough to sway an election. (Again, see the link.) By the way, that’s five years/$10,000 per instance of voter fraud. So if you want to commit voter fraud enough times to sway an election, well, do the math.

Voter ID will not solve any hypothetical voter fraud problem. You don’t need an ID to fill out an absentee ballot. And if someone is going to go through the trouble of forging utility bills and driving all over the state to commit felonies, they’d probably also go through the trouble of forging ID. What, is using photoshop a line felons won’t cross?

It might not be so easy to obtain voter ID.

Now that we’re all on the same page, I’ve got some questions:

Does every vote count? Either we need to protect the sanctity of the vote or we don’t, and protecting the sanctity of the vote also includes making sure everyone eligible is allowed to vote and can vote free from intimidation.

Is it worth disenfranchising valid voters because people are only able to commit voter fraud? If you think so, let me tell you a joke:

A woman and her husband go on vacation to a fishing resort/lake town. The husband gets up at the crack of dawn to go fishing, the wife sleeps in or reads her book. In the afternoon, after the husband gets back, he naps while the wife decides to take the boat out for fun. She goes out, cuts the motor, drops anchor, then pulls out her book. A few chapters go by before she is approached by the game warden.

“Good afternoon, ma’am. What are you doing out here?”

“Reading,” she replies.

“Well, fishing is prohibited in this area,” he informs her.

“Officer, I’m not fishing,” she protests.

“Yes, but you have all the equipment,” he said, noticing the husband’s fishing gear that he had left in the boat. “I have to take you in and write you a ticket.”

“Well, if you do that, I’ll charge you with rape,” the wife responds.

“But I haven’t touched you,” the officer protests.

“Yes,” the wife says. “But you have all the equipment.”

Just because people are able to do something, doesn’t mean they will. The proof of this is the low rate of voter fraud.

Edit: one more little factoid. Republicans have admitted all this voter ID bullshit is to try to change the outcome of the election. How’s that for protecting the sanctity of the vote?

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About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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4 Responses to Voter fraud, ID, intimidation, and suppression

  1. Heather says:

    Some random person confronted me on Twitter after I tweeted about the temporary win against the new voter ID law in Pennsylvania. I’m paraphrasing (and shortening a rather long exchange), but it went something like this:

    Random: Aren’t you worried about voter fraud?!

    Me: No. It’s non-existent.

    Random: But, but…VOTER FRAUD.

    Me: I’m much more worried about millions of voters being disenfranchised. Again, the fraud is non-existent. I’m not concerned.

    Random: Do you want the figures?!

    Me: I know how to do research, and I’ve done it. I have the numbers. Thank you, though.

    Random: I knew you wouldn’t want the figures. There’s more to life than Rachel Maddow, you know.

    Me: *scratching my head* Yeah. Have a nice day.

    Sigh.

    • emmawolf says:

      Ugh. I had a similar conversation on a blog on freshly pressed (though she did tell me about issues overseas military persons faced voting). I would have told the tweeter that I would have *loved* to see the figures! Please, show them!

  2. Ryan says:

    I think that we (liberals) should be clear with conservatives that we would be willing to address voter fraud as long as we could make sure that we wouldn’t end up losing legitimate votes because people couldn’t get ID. Conservatives seem to take our opposition and denial of “the numbers” (even if they don’t exist) to mean that we want illegal immigrants and dead people to “vote often and early.”

    On the other hand, one has to wonder why conservatives are suddenly making this such a big issue and, much more importantly, why they aren’t focusing on higher-level forms of electoral fraud that can affect elections much more significantly.

  3. Raunak says:

    I so admire and appreciate your efforts to spread the right message around. Wish more people took on this responsibility. Democracy would be so much more relevant then.

    Low taxes, small government, pro-choice.

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