The political Left steadfastly opposes the enactment of Voter ID laws designed to guard against voter fraud in federal elections. To justify this stance, leftists typically argue that the incidence of such fraud is exceedingly rare, and that initiatives like Voter ID requirements are therefore not only unnecessary, but actually serve as a de facto form of vote suppression. Following are some examples of individuals and organizations that hold this view:
Attorney General Eric Holder, who contends that "instances of in-person voting fraud are extremely rare," told a Texas audience in December 2011: "This notion that there is widespread in-person voter fraud is simply belied by the facts." Holder portrays Voter ID laws as nothing more than "political efforts" designed to make it "more difficult" for "groups that are not supportive of those in power" -- i.e., nonwhite minorities "who ... aren't necessarily supportive of the Republican Party" -- to "have access to the ballot."
In an April 2014 address to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, President Barack Obama declared: "[L]et's be clear, the real voter fraud is the people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud."
Hillary Clinton dismisses voter fraud as a "phantom epidemic" that exists chiefly in the imagination of conservatves.
According to Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, voter fraud is so rare that "you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than find a case of prosecutorial voter fraud."
In an April 2014 decision regarding the implementation of a Wisconsin Voter ID law, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote that "virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin."
And in a June 2014 New York Times opinion piece, Dartmouth College assistant professor Brendan Nyhan asserted that "voter fraud is exceptionally rare across the country." He classified such fraud as "a misperception ... that is far more prevalent than the practice itself."
This section of Discover The Networks is intended to refute, with hard evidence, the foregoing assertions of the Left. The section consists of excerpts from hundreds of news stories reporting on fraud and improprieties in the voter-registration process as well as at the ballot box. These excerpts are arranged in chronological order according to when they were first published.
Part 1 consists of excerpts dealing with large-scale voter fraud cases involving hundreds, thousands, and in some cases millions of individuals or transgressions.
Part 2 consists of excerpts dealing with voter fraud cases involving dozens, or scores, of individuals or transgressions.
Part 3 consists of excerpts dealing with voter fraud cases involving smaller -- or, in some instances, indeterminate -- numbers of individuals or transgressions.
Taken together, the news items that comprise Parts 1 through 3 demonstrate that election-related fraud in the U.S. is in fact a problem of significant magnitude. That said, the full extent of the problem cannot be known for certain, simply because, as blogger John Hinderaker explains: "By definition, those who perpetrate [voter fraud] seek to go undetected, and it is a circular argument to say that there is no need for better law enforcement because our current lax enforcement hasn’t caught many violators."
In a similar vein, in May 2012 author John Fund wrote: "Just this week in Fort Worth, Texas, a Democratic precinct chairwoman was indicted on charges of arranging an illegal vote. Hazel Woodard James has been charged with conspiring with her non-registered son to have him vote in place of his father. The only reason the crime was detected was that the father showed up later in the day to vote at the same precinct. Most fraudsters are smart enough to have their accomplices cast votes in the names of dead people on the voter rolls, who are highly unlikely to appear and complain that someone else voted in their place."
While we may not know with absolute assuredness the precise extent of voter fraud, we most certainly do know that any instance of such fraud inflicts tremendous damage on the American body politic -- eroding public trust in government and undermining people's acceptance of the very legitimacy of their elected leaders. Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens addressed these concerns in 2008, when he wrote: "[C]onfidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised."
Finally, it is worth noting that Attorney General Holder's contention that Voter ID laws are unnecessary was dealt an embarrassing blow in early 2012, when James O'Keefe -- a 28-year-old, white investigative journalist -- posted online a video of himself walking into the polling place in Holder’s District of Columbia precinct, falsely identifying himself as Eric Holder -- a highly prominent 61-year-old African American -- and asking for a ballot so he could vote in the Democratic primary which was being held that day. The video shows a poll worker responding to O'Keefe's request by willingly offering him Holder's ballot and making no effort to verify the young man's identity.