Let’s discuss voting facts
This responds to an Aug. 27 letter, “Trying to make voting legal.” The writer implied that voter fraud is a significant national problem: “With the many fraudulent votes we have had in the past ...” and “It is time to put a giant foot upon this illegal activity.”
However, the writer provided no facts to substantiate the claim of “many fraudulent votes.” I looked for data.
TruetheVote.org contains many allegations of fraud, but little about proven fraud. For example, a link to voter fraud prosecutions and convictions in Oregon since 2000 brought up only a single report of a single conviction.
A New York Times article, “In 5-year effort, scant evidence of voter fraud,” (4-12-2007) reported the fraud crackdown by the Bush administration produced only 86 convictions — 0.0007 percent of the 122 million voters in the 2004 presidential election.
The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York School of Law (www.brennancenter.org) investigates allegations of voter fraud. Its 2007 publication, “The truth about voter fraud,” concluded, “Voter fraud is extraordinarily rare.”
Its investigations of fraud allegations usually found these causes:
1. Clerical or typographical errors;
2. Drawing inaccurate conclusions, such as about people registered in two places because they moved, but who voted only once;
3. Mistakes by ineligible voters who thought or were told they were eligible; and, most often,
4. Errors when matching voter rolls against another roll or source, such as Social Security death lists.
Focusing on “phantom” fraud ignores real electoral problems and leads to proposals that disenfranchise legitimate voters.
It’s important that citizens discuss issues essential to democracy, including the integrity of the voting process. But for productive discussions, for our country’s good, let’s refrain from blanket insults about “liberals” or “conservatives” and respectfully base our discussions on facts.