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Mar 29 2012

Texas: Virtually No Voter Fraud

While Rick Perry and Texas Republicans defend voter suppression laws with the excuse that they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, the San Antonio Express-News reports that voter impersonation is virtually unheard of in that state, as it is in every other state.

Allegations of voter fraud fueled the successful push for a controversial voter ID law in Texas last year, making a picture ID necessary to vote despite scant evidence of actual cheating at the polls.

Fewer than five “illegal voting” complaints involving voter impersonations were filed with the Texas Attorney General’s Office from the 2008 and 2010 general elections in which more than 13 million voters participated.

No one disputes some level of voting abuse, said Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.

“However, what every investigation has proven is that the kind of fraud voter ID laws would address — voter impersonation — doesn’t really exist,” Ellis said. “In fact, there are more UFO and Bigfoot sightings than documented cases of voter impersonation.”

Five cases out of 13 million votes — and those aren’t even convictions, they’re just complaints. Boy, that’s worth worrying about and preventing people from voting to stop.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    jamessweet

    I recently wrote about this, trying to clarify as simply as possible exactly why this type of voter fraud is a non-issue. I admit it seems counter-intuitive that you need ID to open a bank account but not to vote, but if you dive deeper into the analogy (as I did in the link) you find that the situations are actually vastly different. The facts that a) everybody votes on the same day, and b) you only get one measly vote for every instance of voter identity theft, between the two it makes it basically impossible to get anywhere using that method.

    If you actually want to rig an election, I know a guy called Pierre Poutine who can tell you how…

  2. 2
    lordshipmayhem

    And even that didn’t work. The Liberal candidate got in at that riding.

  3. 3
    Didaktylos

    The way you rig an election is to find out a way to either (a) disqualify large number of voters likely to vote for your opponent, (b) exclude from the count tranches of votes where your opponent is likely to predominate or (c) deliberately mistally cast votes or otherwise interfere with the count

  4. 4
    unbound

    Individual voter fraud is a faith-based initiative…

  5. 5
    erichoug

    Here in Houston, during the 2008 Election I ended up voting at a different precinct from my significant other due to a minor problem with the zip code. The precinct she voted at accomodated an older, more conservative part of town whereas the precinct I voted in turned out to be younger, more working class and less conservative. Her Precinct had 8 voting booths and 6 poll workers. She was in and out in less than 10 minutes. The precinct I was sent to had 4 polling booths and 3 poll workers. I was in line for more and hour to vote. To their credit, I didn’t see one person take a look at the line and then leave.

    Voter supressions is total bullshit and it out to piss everyone off. Including Republicans. One man one vote is the only just way to continue a democracy. And these sort of games are a direct assault on the sovereignty of we the people. I sincerely hope that anyone turned away from the polls for anything other than a legitimate reason sues the state election board and the county clerk as well.

    Also, if you have a Social Security card, you should be registered to vote.

  6. 6
    wholething

    I recently saw that shark attacks are more common than voter fraud in Florida for the past 5 years.

  7. 7
    wholething

    Here it is on TYT.

  8. 8
    wholething

    Here it is on TYT. They just don’t make HTML they way they used to.

  9. 9
    sailor1031

    It ain’t the odd fraudulent voter – which may occur by mistake and misunderstanding anyway – that bothers me. It’s fraud by republican election officials as we saw in Florida in 2000 (compounded by a flagrantly dishonest supreme court majority) and Ohio in 2004, both resulting in a stolen election. It’s not who does the voting, it’s who does the counting; and we have seen that republicans can’t be trusted to do that honestly.

  10. 10
    timberwoof

    Permanent resident immigrants have Social Security cards but are not citizens and thus do not vote.

    I have pressed Republicans on this issue. They tell me that the tiny number of false votes is worse for democracy than large-scale voter suppression.

  11. 11
    erichoug

    Here’s a chance for positive action. Why don’t we all make an effort towards easier voter registration, easier voting, and elminating voter suppression.

    at the very least we can make an effort towards voter registration and let our legislators know that voter suppression will not be tolerated.

    Also, as far as P.R.s, if they are paying taxes at a substantial level and living in the US or it’s territories they should be allowed to vote. No taxation without representation and all that.

  12. 12
    KathyO

    From the article:

    As many as 795,955 registered voters in Texas do not have a Texas driver’s license, and insistence that they obtain a DPS ID card to vote could be problematic in some 70 Texas counties and inner cities that lack a DPS driver’s license office.

    “We do not have enough resources so that the average person who wants to get their voter ID can do so in a reasonable period of time,” Travillion said.

    So this is the response to people who ask, ‘what’s the big deal with making people get ID cards?’

    Many of those people, mostly Latinos, will be disenfranchised if the Republicans get their way. The voter ID law has to go through the courts, hopefully they’ll throw it out.

  13. 13
    erichoug

    Actually this makes a little more sense. The Texas DPS has cut back substantially on their drivers license offices. Last time I had to go in the place was packed and the facility was in BAD shape. I only waited about 20 minutes as all I needed was a new picture and a renewal(new picture every 10 years). But a lot of people waited several hours to get a new state license. The woman behind the counter told me they had closed two outlying offices and shut down a program in Katy that opened every Wednesday for folks out there. And now Republicans want to require an ID to vote. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  14. 14
    Jordan Genso

    @11

    Absolutely. And as a show of compromise with those concerned about voter fraud, we can combine the advocacy with harsher punishments for actual voter fraud.

    Preventing voter fraud is a combination of affecting the risk, reward, and opportunity. All the conservatives seem to want to do is decrease the opportunity, even though that will result in legit voters being disenfranchised.

    But opportunity is not what keeps would-be-fraudlent-voters from going through with voter fraud. It’s the risk and reward factors, with the risk far outweighing the reward. But if conservatives really are that afraid about voter fraud, then let’s toss them a bone and make the risk a little more harsh.

    For example, let’s propose that in conjunction with our proposals that increase voter turnout*, anyone that intentionally and knowingly casts a ballot as someone else automatically get four-years in prison, no exceptions. (I have no idea what the current punishment is, but I would expect this is more harsh)

    If the conservatives are being honest about their position, that they want to stop voter fraud, that should be a fair compromise. I think it’s clear they’ll turn down that proposal, but that will reveal that their efforts are motivated not by a desire to stop voter fraud, but instead the desire to disenfranchise those voters who would be affected by the lesser opportunity.

    *which would also work to decrease the reward factor of potential voter fraud.

  15. 15
    peicurmudgeon

    “In fact, there are more UFO and Bigfoot sightings than documented cases of voter impersonation.”

    Perhaps that’s the basis for the new rules: they want to prevent non-humans from voting. They likely expect extra-terrestrials and reclusive Sasquatch to be Democrats.

  16. 16
    Chiroptera

    timberwoof, #10 Permanent resident immigrants have Social Security cards but are not citizens and thus do not vote.

    Not that I would have a problem with resident aliens voting in our elections. They are living here, they are affected by the laws that pass; I think they should have a say in the laws.

    I realize what your point was; this is just a tangent.

  17. 17
    gingerbaker

    Sorry, but voter ID is still needed.

    Most of the blacks and Latinos aren’t in jail yet, and therefore they still have the right to vote.

    Voter ID is a better deal for the American taxpayer than building more expensive prisons.

  18. 18
    Michael Heath

    I think conservatives have an advantage on this issue. Not because they’re right, they’re not; but instead because requiring voter ID to vote is an appealing ‘common sense’ solution to uninformed voters. It’s difficult for most people to imagine the negative implications for most other people, where we’re talking about some of the least empathetic humans in existence – the uninformed American voter.

    I’m huge on process and I’m attracted to voter ID. Only by doing some research do I realize the negative impact far outweighs the positive benefits I find appealing.

  19. 19
    Rick Pikul

    lordshipmayhem:
    And even that didn’t work. The Liberal candidate got in at that riding.

    Actually, there are estimates that the robocalls did manage to flip 12-16 ridings to the Reformatories.

    erichoug :
    Here’s a chance for positive action. Why don’t we all make an effort towards easier voter registration, easier voting, and elminating voter suppression.

    Here is a simple thing to do that, on it’s own, would improve registration levels by about 35%: Register people when they file their income tax.

    It’s the main way we do it here in Canada and it not only works, it’s cheap! (CRA already needs all the data Elections Canada needs.)

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