The GOP’s Allegation That Voter Fraud Is Pervasive Is A Hoax
One of the most pernicious and partisan of the many hoaxes perpetrated by the GOP is that there is an epidemic of voter fraud in the U.S. Based upon this false narrative, the GOP has passed a wave of voter identification and suppression laws in 31 states.
The reality is that voter fraud is virtually non-existent. A recent commission set up by the Trump Administration to investigate alleged voter fraud and to validate Trump’s false claim that he lost the popular vote due to alleged voter fraud was recently disbanded. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a member of the commission, recently blasted the now defunct commission.
After Dunlap reviewed the documents supplied by the commission, he said that: “They do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud.” Dunlap was puzzled why the GOP members of the commission continued to make claims that voter fraud was widespread. “Where are the indictments, where are the prosecutions?” Dunlap asked.
Dunlap’s findings on the lack of voter fraud have been evident for years. The Bush Administration conducted a five year investigation of alleged voter fraud and found virtually no evidence of any efforts to influence elections. A 2014 study by Loyola Law School found only 31 incidents of in-person voter fraud since 2000 out of 1 billion ballots cast. In the 2016 election cycle, there were only four reported cases of in-person voter fraud out of 135 million ballots cast.
The Republicans who have supported these laws have openly admitted that they were passed to depress Democratic turnout and help Republicans win elections. In 2015, Wisconsin passed a voter identification/suppression law that was intended to discourage potential Democratic voters. A former Republican staffer for the Wisconsin legislature said: “ A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters. Think about that for a minute. Elected officials planning and happy to help deny a fellow American’s constitutional right to vote in order to increase their own chances to hang onto power.”
The Wisconsin voter suppression law worked as intended in 2016 and made it possible for Trump to be the first Republican to carry that state since 1984. Approximately 45,000 voters in Wisconsin were unable to vote due to that state’s voter ID law and Trump carried the state by 23,000 votes.
Four years earlier in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, the state GOP Party chairman boasted in an interview that the Keystone State’s voter ID law “had helped a bit” in reducing President Obama’s margin of victory over Mitt Romney in the state.
What this means is that the real hoax here is the lie from the radical right that voter fraud is rampant. It simply isn’t happening. The GOP realizes that its agenda is unpopular and it must prevent Democrats from voting in order to win elections.
The five GOP appointees on the U.S. Supreme Court have further opened the door to these voter ID laws when they voted to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Since that decision, several more states have passed strict voter ID laws.
In order to reverse this tide of partisan discrimination at the polls and to level the playing field, the Congress must pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA.) This bill would reverse the 2013 Supreme Court decision and restore the right to vote guaranteed by the 15th Amendment.
We must also vigorously oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Undoubtedly, Kavanaugh will vote with Roberts, Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch to further gut the 15th Amendment.
Many progressives were probably of the belief that the issue of voting rights was settled back in the 1960s. Unfortunately, no victory over the radical right is ever final in nature. As Coretta Scott King said: “Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it in every generation.” Now let’s get to work!