Saturday, July 21, 2012

There is No Voter Fraud Problem in America

Former Florida Governor Charlie Christ has written a powerful op-ed against Republican efforts to keep people from voting:
The right to choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American. Our history books are full of examples to the contrary. When we send independent observers to monitor for voter fraud in banana republics, we derive authority from our self-regard as the ideal. When we hear of corrupt voting practices in foreign countries, where the ideal of democracy is nothing more than lip service, we feel good about ourselves. It’s time to look right under our noses. It’s happening here at home. And it’s our responsibility to honestly assess the root of the problem — which requires doing so with as little partisan bias as we believe belongs in the administration of our elections.

We can’t be surprised every time it turns out that politics are involved in our politics. But neither can we be silent when our democracy is threatened in its name. There are lines that should not be crossed; meddling with voting rights is one of them. It is un-American and it is beneath us.
There is no voter fraud problem in America. Every study that has ever been done of the question shows tiny rates of fraud, not enough to change any election result. I think what drives Republican fears about voter fraud is a sense that "real Americans" are somehow being robbed of their country. They think that they -- conservative, white, native-born Christians -- are the real majority, or at least the moral heart of the country. When they see someone for whom they have no respect elected President, like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, they can only think that the proper course of things has been distorted or perverted. Since their friends all voted for the Republican, they think that all real Americans did, and therefore that something must have gone awry. The election must have been stolen. Whom to blame, now that there are no big-city machines? Why, it must be illegal immigrants.

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