Report: Voter ID Laws Have Caused Thousands of Legal Votes to Get Tossed

Categories: Politics

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They see fraudulent, sometimes dead people.
What timing. Just as the trial of Texas' voter ID law kicks off in D.C., a new analysis by the Associated Press has found that such laws in other states have led to hundreds of ballots being rejected, both in 2008's general election and in the primaries this year.

The Associated Press looked at the fate of temporary ballots cast in 2008 by voters in Indiana and Georgia, the first states to enact strict voter ID laws. Voters who came to the polls in those states without a government-issued ID were given temporary ballots, which the voters would need to verify later in a meeting with election officials.

But the AP found that often didn't happen, and that more than 1,200 of those temporary ballots were blocked.

The same issues arose again in primaries this year in Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee, where the AP says "hundreds more" ballots were tossed out. In reality, the total numbers this year in those states is rather small: Georgia tossed 64 temporary ballots, while Indiana blocked 100 and Tennessee blocked 154. But given the abysmal voter turnout rate, especially for primaries (and especially here in Texas), even small numbers of votes can make a difference.

Supporters of voter ID laws would argue that's exactly why they're needed -- because even a few fraudulent votes could swing an election. But the AP doesn't believe that's what's happening, pointing out that substantiated cases of ID fraud at the polls seem to be few and far between. The Republican National Lawyers association published a study last year detailing voter fraud prosecutions over the last decade across the country, but found only about 400 total, less than one per state per year.

In addition, many of those prosecutions dealt with "vote-buying schemes" or falsified voter registration, things an ID law would do very little to prevent. The executive director of the RLNA, though, told the AP that the numbers are deceptively low, and that a great deal of fraud goes "unreported and unprosecuted."

"The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent," writes reporter Mike Baker. "Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place."

NYU Law School's Brennan Center For Justice has reached a similar conclusion after years of analysis, arguing that some five million potential voters will have difficulty casting their votes in 2012. They say the restrictions will hit young, low-income, minority and disabled voters the hardest.

But Texas attorney general Greg Abott disagrees, writing in an Austin-American Statesman editorial yesterday that Texas's law isn't meant to be racially discriminatory, and that his office has investigated multiple allegations of voter fraud in recent years.

Abott doesn't add how many of those were actually substantiated, though, and fails to mention that his office has pushed especially hard to prosecute mail ballot fraud, which, again, an ID law wouldn't do much to prevent. The South Texas case Abbott once touted far and wide as an example of an "epidemic of voter fraud" actually resulted in nearly all charges being dismissed after five years of court wrangling.

But Abbott and voter ID opponents can both agree that recent elections here have been decided by perilously slim margins. "In 2012, alone, five local elections in Texas reportedly resulted in a tie and were ultimately resolved by a coin toss, a dice game or a second runoff election," the attorney general writes. (Yes, the dice thing actually happened.)

Suggestion: voter turnout being what it is, how about we do away with the elections altogether? Somebody grab a coin and let's just settle this thing right now.

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15 comments
Dave Antley
Dave Antley

Does a person have to have photo ID to set up their Unemployment, Welfare or SNAP (Food Stamps) account? If so, why can't the same rule apply to voting?

Phelps
Phelps

That slander is really fucking funny when you consider that the segregationists were Democrats to a man. Where do you think the term Dixiecrat came from? It's not the republicans who still had a klan grand kleagle in congress two years ago.

Jared Heath
Jared Heath

A big chunk of Republicans are (or are decedents of) of old-school southern Segregationists/Racists. Why does it surprise you that they would try to suppress voting?  I grew up in the deep south...trust me, there is serious racism...especially in the smaller communities (often times driven by religion). Their day is coming though.  Eventually, as their numbers dwindle, their power will wane.  This is their latest attempt at slowing down everyone else's movement into power, at their expense (take for instance, Mississippi, where 50+% of the pop is black/hispanc, yet 90% of the reps are white....yeah, that makes sense).

Dukakis_in_tank
Dukakis_in_tank

Hmmm. Think I would rather be on the team that wins by bringing voters to the polls than the one that wins by turning them away.

Zizi JeanMer
Zizi JeanMer

Republicans can only win if they act to suppress votes.

watchingsouthdetroit
watchingsouthdetroit

If you have no ID, how does one function in society today?  How does one drive a car, buy a car, rent an apartment, have a bank account, fill out any government form, buy a house, - any of the many things that need an ID?  How can someone get a voter's registration card but not have any type of ID? People that say its too hard to get an ID - the law waives fees for the elderly.  I took my late mother to a DPS license place - took 20 minutes to get her a state ID.  It is easy to do IF YOU ARE A LEGAL US CITIZEN. If anyone really wants to use the "too hard" arguement, then why don't we do away with the requirement to get a license to legally drive?  It is hard to learn and get a license so just make it easy on everyone.  See how that works out when the roads are in chaos.. Voting is a right that should be protected.  I don't want my vote to be cancelled out by a dead person's vote, by someone's vote that doesn't exist, or by an illegal alien.  The excuses for no voter ID are just that - excuses.

Jared Heath
Jared Heath

ooooo...a die hard believer. So how exactly does an illegal alien vote?  How did they get on the voting register (hint, they are not on it, and aren't voting) Dead people voting is a thing of the past...the electronic age has SERIOUSLY eliminated that issue of the 60s/70s.  Its only old school FUDDERS (like you) who trudge that proven FUD back up.

Drunk Penguin
Drunk Penguin

How tired is the argument against underhanded and backdoor tactics to decrease the African American and Hispanic voters in the US?  Obviously not ery tired when we are having the same damn discussion of 40 years later.  Get with it douche-shits, whites are a minority the US, official as of the 2010 census.    

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh

"Requiring identification is a reasonable safeguard to ensure the integrity of the voting process." Pure speculation

Daniel
Daniel

William S. Burroughs, we thought you were dead!

Facebook User
Facebook User

How tired is this argument? Requiring identification is a reasonable safeguard to ensure the integrity of the voting process. To argue that requiring ID disfranchises African American voters is itself a racist argument. The year is 2012 and to be part of our society everyone MUST have photo identification. Without ID you can't access our banking system, our transportation system, our legal system or our welfare system just to name a few. If you want to vote - bring your ID and quit bitching.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall

I think we should have voter ID but maybe if more just got off their lazy ass and voted in the first place the percentage of fraudulent votes wouldn't matter?

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