An analysis of 2,068 reports of alleged election fraud over the past 12 years by News21 shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent.
News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.
Yet those who seek to restrict voting rights have done so in the name of ending voter fraud. As a result, 16 states have passed restrictive voting laws.
At least 180 bills restricting voting have been introduced in 41 state legislatures since the beginning of 2011, after the 2010 elections shifted control of 20 state legislative houses from Democrat to Republican. Thirty-four states introduced voter ID requirements that would effectively disenfranchise more than 21 million eligible voters who don’t have the required IDs—mostly people of color, low-income voters, students, seniors and people with disabilities.
In short, the real fraud being perpetrated is by those who want to take away one of most fundamental democratic rights.
Voting restriction supporters say the laws are needed because of “voter fraud”—but that’s “smoke without a fire,” says Brennan Center for Justice’s Wendy Weiser.
Between 2002 and 2005, the Justice Department made the investigation and prosecution of voter fraud a top priority. Out of the hundreds of millions of votes cast during that period, the department brought only 38 cases, only one of which involved impersonation fraud.As Clarissa Martinez De Castro, National Council of La Raza director of civic engagement, puts it: The real problem is not that too many Americans are participating in the electoral process. Rather, “there are not enough.”
The AFL-CIO My Vote, My Right website offers hands-on information on voter registration, voter ID laws and steps to take to protect your right to vote on Election Day. Find out what you need to know to make sure your vote counts this year. Get information on voter registration, your voting rights by state and more at the AFL-CIO’s MyVoteMyRight.org.
(This is a crosspost from AFL-CIO Now blog.)