Vote Fraud Never Happens … Except When It Does

Conn Carroll /

Earlier this week Election Law Blog noticed a new Heritage paper by former counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Hans von Spakovsky called “Stolen Identities, Stolen Votes: A Case Study in Voter Impersonation.” The ELB did not bother addressing any of the substance in von Spakovsky’s paper, resorting instead to partisan name calling. ELB does promise to “hope to have time to write about the merits of von Spakovksy’s paper in the next few days.” But there is nothing yet. ELB also suggests, “In the meantime, I expect that the Brennan Center will craft a response in short order.” Alas, the Brennan Center has no comment either.

The professional vote fraud deniers at Talking Points Memo also invested some effort responding to the paper, but their most substantive argument against von Spakovsky is that the main case he documents happened 24 years ago. They completely ignore the other more recent cases of vote fraud that von Spakovsky documents, including incidents from Hoboken, N.J., and Noxubee, Miss., in 2007. Just this month in Utah, 51 people were charged with “fraudulent registration” in an effort to to swing a close race for sheriff in Daggett County.

But the best story out of von Spakovsky’s paper concerns one of the named plaintiffs in the challenge to Indiana’s voter ID law:

One of the Indiana voters highlighted by the League of Women Voters who supposedly could not vote due to the voter ID law turned out to be registered to vote not just in Indiana, but also in Florida, where she owns a home and claimed a homestead exemp­tion (which requires an individual to assert resi­dency). She was not allowed to vote in Indiana because she tried to use a Florida driver’s license as her ID—clear evidence that the law worked as intended to prevent a fraudulent vote by an indi­vidual who not only had claimed to be a resident of a state other than Indiana, but also had actually registered to vote there as well.

Oops. Considering that analysis shows voter identification laws do not reduce turnout, these laws are clearly a reasonable step to help prevent the vote fraud that does, unfortunately, occur in this country.