How can voting fraud be better detected and prevented without putting an undue burden on certain voting blocs?
Of course, we must combat fraud, but what if this approach creates unequal restrictions on the most fundamental way we demonstrate that we are all equals, through our vote at the ballot box?
Rather than inspire confidence in elections, the photo ID requirement generates emotional fights and elevates fear over fact. Some facts:
- Current safeguards work. It’s a felony to vote illegally or lie when you sign in to vote. Observers can challenge voters. And an ID and verified address are required to register in the first place. Less than 5 votes per 1,000,000 in NC elections from 2004 to 2010 involved fraud that a photo ID would prevent.
- A match of registration rolls to DMV records shows that about 450,000 active registered voters don’t have a current NC drivers’ license or identity card. They’re disproportionately people of color, the elderly and low-income citizens. While African Americans are 22% of NC’s registered voters, they’re 32% of the voters who lack a state ID.
- Creating “free” IDs, training poll workers, checking voters and processing provisional ballots will cost millions, cause longer lines and create bureaucratic hassles.
- People who vote using mail-in absentee ballots won’t have to show an ID under the Republican’s proposal. But the rate of fraud with NC absentee ballots is 7 times higher than for in-person ballots. Are they exempt because more Republican voters use absentee ballots than Democrats?
- Figures reveal that Georgia’s ID law blunted the gain in turnout among African Americans which NC and similar states experienced in 2008. If an ID discourages 1.5% of NC voters, that’s 100,000 people harmed – for what real purpose?
This response to a question about voting fraud by Everything Questioned was submitted by Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina. 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.