How can voting fraud be better detected and prevented without putting an undue burden on certain voting blocs?
There’s no question: We must do more to ensure free and fair elections in North Carolina.
It starts by not cutting corners on democracy. Today, local and state election officials are often forced to work on shoe-string budgets, crippling their efforts to train poll workers, maintain voting machines, investigate voting irregularities and make sure polls run smoothly on Election Day.
Unfortunately, over the last two years North Carolina lawmakers have slashed more than $700,000 from the state election board’s budget – which in turn caused N.C. to lose yet another $4 million in federal funds that could have helped keep our democracy in working order.
Short-changing our elections could affect thousands of voters – and undermines our ability to address real voting problems.
Out of all the election issues we face, voter impersonation is clearly at the bottom of the list. Every credible study has shown that somebody lying about who they are at the polls – a crime which, unlike speeding, is a felony – is about as likely to happen as getting hit by lightning or witnessing an alien abduction.
Just last month, an investigation by Carnegie-Knight reporters into 2,068 cases found only 10 where voter impersonation *might* have happened. The conclusion: Such fraud is "virtually nonexistent."
So here’s the question for North Carolina lawmakers: Why would you entertain spending millions to implement a photo ID law – up to $20 million over three years, according to one estimate – to address a mythical issue, while slashing funds that could lead to real, practical improvements in our state’s elections?
Is it because those who don’t have ID tend to be Democrats – the elderly, the poor, students and African-Americans? Or because the endlessly debunked voter fraud myth excites the Republican base?
We can only speculate. But it’s clear there are better investments we can make to protect our democracy.
This response to a question about voting fraud by Everything Questioned was submitted by Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and publisher of Facing South. Find the entire question and more views at EQ's homepage, and share your thoughts here and through comments or by submitting a response to Austin Baird.