Voter fraud

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Articles on illegal behaviour
The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
—Joseph Stalin[1]

Voter fraud is a moral panic weirdly popular in the United States. As genuine cases of voter fraud are almost non-existent, it is almost always a dog whistle term for people of color voting.

We must have tamper-proof biometric ID cards, otherwise illegal aliens and felons will intimidate your pure bodily fluids white daughters at the polling station!

A widespread belief persists of hordes of illegal immigrants and homeless people being bused around from polling place to polling place on election day. This claim has been used as an excuse to pass voter ID laws, abolish same-day voter registration, require birth certificates when registering to vote, and conduct frequent purges of the voter rolls. Even if voter fraud actually were a significant problem, few if any of these measures would actually be effective in preventing it.


Other allegations to "panic" about include:

  • ACORN — despite any evidence sorely lacking, the "ACORN engaged in voter fraud" allegation has been repeated so many times that people now make an automatic mental connection between ACORN and voter fraud. (For one example, Ballotpedia, a supposedly neutral wiki about elections and candidates which is actually funded with Koch Industries money, has an entire section devoted to "voter fraud" with the infobox previously illustrated with the ACORN logo.) What those making these allegations really don't like is that ACORN was registering black people to vote.
  • "Felons voting" — felons can legally vote in most states, and in most of them restoration of voting rights is automatic upon completion of their sentence. There are still a few lone holdouts still imposing lifelong voting bans on some or all felons or requiring a cumbersome petition instead of making restoration automatic. The trend in the last two decades has been to repeal those disenfranchisement laws. What those raising this claim really don't like is that black people are voting.
  • "Dead people voting" — this was a common joke half a century ago in cities with notoriously corrupt local governments such as Chicago and New York. Those who believe it's still widespread today probably also think the Mafia still controls Las Vegas.
  • Intimidation of voters at the polls by the New Black Panther Party. This stems from one lone incident in Philadelphia, which has been mentioned so many times in the reactionary media, way out of proportion to its actual newsworthiness, that people believe it is widespread.
  • Illegal immigration in general. The "illegal immigrants voting" claim has been used by the John Tanton network of immigration-restriction groups as a pretext to support voter ID laws, as part of their broader agenda of promoting tamper proof ID cards through the REAL ID Act and eventually a national ID card, which they view as key to stopping illegal immigration. One of the first of the current rash of voter ID laws (Arizona Proposition 200 in 2004) was promoted almost entirely as an anti-illegal immigration measure.

An Unanswered Question[edit]

Republicans who allege that Democrats benefit from voter fraud have never answered a simple question: if voter fraud is so easy, why wouldn't Republicans do it just as often as Democrats? Put another way, if Democrats could really get away with busing voters from Massachusetts into New Hampshire, why wouldn't Republicans bus voters from Alabama into Florida, from Utah into Nevada and Arizona, or from Indiana into Michigan? If millions of undocumented immigrants are registering and voting in the Southwest, why don't millions of conservatives register under false names and vote twice?

See also[edit]

External Links[edit]