by Dan Calabrese
March 11, 2014
Once they finish insisting they're racist, the leading objection Democrats offer to voter ID laws is the simple claim that voter fraud doesn't really exist - that it's a figment of Republican imaginations or just an out-and-out lie designed to justify ID laws that can then be used to oppress minority votes.
I will even admit that at times I've found this claim mildly persuasive, since I have a hard time imagining a fraud effort big and sophisticated enough to make a difference without someone messing up and getting the whole thing busted. But data tells another story, at least in Nassau County, New York, where Long Island Newsday reports the dead are quite active in local politics, and have been for some time. The writer of the story doubts that what's happening is really fraud, but it seems to me that the possibility is dismissed a bit lightly:
Burwell is one of about 6,100 deceased people still registered to vote in Nassau County, a Newsday computer analysis shows. The former Wantagh resident, who died at age 74, is also among roughly 270 people that records show voted in Nassau County after dying, a group that includes a man who voted 14 times since his death.
Newsday's analysis of voter registration and U.S. Social Security Administration death records found more deceased registered voters in Nassau County than any other New York county, accounting for nearly a quarter of the 26,500 on the rolls statewide. Suffolk County has about 2,490 deceased people registered to vote, with roughly 50 listed as voting after their death.
The votes attributed to the dead are too few, and spread over 20 elections since 2000, to consider them a coordinated fraud attempt. More likely is what investigators in other states have found when examining dead voter records: Clerical errors are to blame, such as a person's vote being assigned to a dead person with a similar name.
But the sloppy condition of the local voter rolls does suggest that election officials are not utilizing all available methods to maintain a clean list. Besides the dead voters, Newsday's analysis also found more than 842,000 registered New York voters who records show haven't cast a ballot in 10 years. Harvard University professor of government Stephen Ansolabehere, an expert on voter list issues, said those registrations are likely not current.
I have no doubt that some of these are indeed clerical errors. But what of the guy who is recorded as having voted 14 times since his death? That's some coincidence - that many clerical errors attributed to one dead voter? What are the chances of that?
Also, if it's common for election volunteers to make mistakes and mark down the wrong person as having voted, wouldn't we also be hearing a lot of stories about live people showing up and being told that they had already voted? Have you ever heard any such stories? I'm not saying they've never happened but if they have they have definitely not gotten very much attention.
Since it's extremely difficult for local clerk's offices to keep tabs on people who have died and need to be removed from voter rolls, why isn't a voter ID requirement a reasonable solution? It might even help with the clerical errors, since election volunteers would presumably be less likely to get a name wrong if they're looking at it written out on an ID card.
The usual objection to this is that poor people are less likely to have ID, and thus voter ID laws contain an inherent bias against them. The simple solution would be to issue voter registration cards, with photos, at the time people register to vote. Then you simply require them to bring the card when they vote. Why is it fine to require people to carry a license with them with they drive, but not to carry a voter registration card when they vote?
Unless you want to make it easier to engage in voter fraud. It's getting harder and harder for the left to offer up plausible-sounding objections to this idea.