How can voting fraud be better detected and prevented without putting an undue burden on certain voting blocs?
In order to have a discussion on the issue of “in-person voter fraud” and a “photo ID requirement,” it is necessary to agree on the scope of the problem – and that is where the debate gets tricky.
Our current election system makes no attempt to track election irregularities at the county or state level. Counties are responsible for administering local elections and the NC State Board of Elections (SBOE) is responsible for voter files, rule-making and administering the state aspects of elections and campaign finance. But if you ask the SBOE for a record of election-related problems, you will be told to contact all 100 counties, as the SBOE doesn’t track those.
The SBOE refuses to collect and track problems. Any major corporation or organization will tell you, however, that tracking, analyzing and correcting problems is an integral part of systematic improvement.
If an issue should rise to the level that requires state attention, such as dead people voting in Washington County in 2010, the likely verdict will be “administrative error.” After an exhaustive investigation by the challenger, the SBOE cancelled further investigations when a new election was granted. If you check, state officials will tell you that this case of “dead people” voting was simply “administrative error” on the part of election workers.
Fraud can’t be proven or disproven when the SBOE refuses to collect or analyze county-level election problems.
If the state board won’t even collect and report problems – then it appears that there are no problems. But that tells us little or nothing about whether there really are problems.
Proponents of Voter ID first need an honest SBOE that understands data collection is vital not only for the discussion of “voter fraud,” but for improvement of the voting system as a whole.
This response to a question about voting fraud by Everything Questioned was submitted by Susan Myrick, elections analyst for Civitas Insitute. 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.