Stop lying about voter fraud!

It’s truly appalling that Republicans in North Carolina seem to think a key to winning elections is making it harder for people to vote in anyway possible.  Who cares about democracy when you’ve got the values of the Republican party to worry about.  From the N&O:

The N.C. Republican Party encouraged GOP appointees to county elections boards to “make party line changes to early voting” by limiting the number of hours and keeping polling sites closed on Sundays.

NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse emailed the request to Republican county board members and other party members on Sunday. The News & Observer obtained copies of the emails through a public records request.

County elections boards are developing new early voting schedules in response to a federal court ruling that threw out the state’s voter ID law. In addition to revoking North Carolina’s photo ID requirement, the ruling requires counties to offer 17 days of early voting…

Early voting schedules must be approved by the three-member Board of Elections in each county. Because the state has a Republican governor, two of three members on each board are Republicans, while one is a Democrat – generally appointees recommended by their party’s leadership.

“Our Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans,” Woodhouse wrote in his email to board members. “Republicans can and should make party line changes to early voting.”

Just lovely.  And the fictionalized justification for this blatantly anti-democratic (small “d” of course) approach?  Voter fraud!

Woodhouse suggests limiting early voting hours because the sites allow voters to use same-day registration – a practice the voter ID law sought to eliminate.

“We believe same-day registration is ripe with voter fraud, or the opportunity to commit it,” he wrote. “Same-day registration is only available during early voting. We are under no obligation to offer more opportunities for voter fraud.”

Damn this makes me mad.  Okay, I’m not going to curse in my blog, but I really want to when I read stuff like this.  Same day registration is simply the best way to get more citizens participating in our democracy.  Period.  And there’s zero evidence that it is more prone to in-person voter fraud (in fact, it is almost assuredly going to lead to less of this already vanishingly rare type of fraud).

I don’t like to use the term “evil” too much in politics, but this sure as hell comes close.  Woodhouse is working directly to undermine confidence in our elections and thereby our democracy based on a complete fiction and by supporting a policy which is, at it’s hear, anti-democratic.

Oh, and actual in-person voter fraud?  Philip Bump:


…we turn to the much-cited 2014 analysis of voter fraud reported by The Post. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt looked at 14 years of voting and found 31 possible incidents of in-person voter fraud, comprised of approximately 241 fraudulent ballots.

A lot of those incidents were far from proven, mind you. Here’s his description of one questionable incident:

Nov. 2012: A vote was apparently cast at the polls in the name of Evan Dixon in the general election in San Diego, CA; there is an Evan Dixon listed as dying 11 years earlier. It is not clear whether the two are the same person, or whether the death reports are accurate, and poll book records do not appear to have been investigated to determine whether the record of voting represented an impersonated signature or a clerical error.

The most significant chunk of those 241 are from 145 ballots that were cast between 2008 and 2011 in Michigan, where names, dates of birth and addresses of people who cast ballots matched those of people who’d died. Again, it’s not clear if that’s because someone had been signed in incorrectly at the polling place or if there had been some other clerical error. But for Levitt’s expansive tally, it counts.

So that’s 241 ballots — out of 1 billion cast.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to Stop lying about voter fraud!

  1. Jon K says:

    I’m not sure why all the extra participation is so great. When voters are informed and engaged it is a good thing. I don’t like the idea of people, groups, community organizers, rounding up people who really don’t understand much about the issues and wouldn’t otherwise participate throw them some “walking around money” or other small favor and bank their vote. I think things like same day registration and extended early voting simply encourage more of that. I want people to have to make a small effort like getting registered in advance and showing up on election day because I think it encourages people to take voting more seriously. I think too many people put the same amount of thought into voting for president as they do for who should win America’s got Talent, and I would rather people like that not participate. I don’t believe that we are actually best served with everyone participating in our system.

    I find myself more often than not not lately thinking more barriers to participation are a good thing. For example I think we are better served with strong party organizations picking candidates for office rather than having primary elections subject to public whim.

    Maybe that makes me a jerk, but it is how I feel.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Your average Fox News junkie is engaged and votes, but would you call them an “informed” voter?

    • rgbact says:

      I second the idea of ending primaries. The Democrats already have basically. Hopefully my side wises up about the “wisdom” of voters after this year’s debacle..

      We’ll stop “lying” about voter fraud if Democrats stop lying about voter suppression.

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