How Widespread is Voter Fraud? | 2012 Facts & Figures

Here are the facts:

How popular is Voter ID?


How did our voting records get so bad?

Various groups threaten local election authorities to not maintain their rolls according to federal law:

Just the Vote_NVRA


How can so many dead people remain on the rolls?

Certain groups work to prevent citizen challenges:

ACLU Maryland Dead Records Request


Why do states have difficulty keeping citizens from registering twice?

Groups like Project Vote (ACORN) and the ACLU harass election officials in court:

ACORN Brief Against Duplicate Voter Purges


How is the RNC Prevented from Fighting Voter Fraud?

3rd Cir New Jersey Consent Decree Ruling

Summary of the 1982 New Jersey Consent Decree     

In the aftermath of the 2012 Election there has been some concern bubbling up around the web about a 1982 consent decree entered into by the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, effectively barring the RNC from "engag[ing] and assist(ing) in voter fraud prevention unless the RNC obtains the court's approval in advance." No, you are not dreaming.      

After the initial agreement, the RNC tried multiple attempts to get out of the deal, amid new evidence of fraudulent voting activities and new law. Each time, however, the federal courts denied the request and ceded little room for adjusting the agreement. Though this agreement only applies to the national parties, it effectively squashes any attempt at a coordinated effort for election integrity. Today the decree roughly states that:

  • The RNC may only be sued by the DNC for enforcement issues;
  • Any activity to fight voter fraud must be submitted to the courts for a 10-day preclearance process (think Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act);
  • Voter fraud prevention or "Ballot Security" is defined as "any program aimed at combating voter fraud by preventing potential voters from registering to vote or casting a ballot;"
  • Poll watching is defined as "stationing individuals at polling stations to observe the voting process and report irregularities unrelated to voter fraud to duly-appointed state officials" (Emphasis ours);
  • The Decree expires December 1, 2017 - with detailed caveats.

There are two glaring issues here. First, the decree effectively robs poll watchers (and the ballot stakeholders that put them there) of their most important function: spotting and neutralizing attempted voter fraud. Indeed, poll watchers will mostly make note of procedural errors that could have negative impacts on voters. However, poll watchers also improve overall faith in the system when electors know that ALL of the rules are being enforced. Second, the definition of "Ballot Security" sets an unreasonably high, yet undefined bar for what are acceptable anti-voter fraud operations. If the RNC wanted to execute a plan that prevented non-citizens from registering and voting, the courts would basically tell them to not press their luck. The RNC is effectively jammed: choosing between developing a system that the federal court and the DNC agree would be flawless or spending time and energy on developing issue ideas or get out the vote efforts. Time and money being finite, the RNC picks GOTV over "Ballot Security."       

This whole issue is despicable. The definition and practice of "Ballot Security" should never be the plaything of political parties. Fueled by partisan emotion, one side will always feel cheated after an election with this agreement in effect. However, in this Decree comes opportunity. The RNC, DNC and federal courts have basically created a void where true, disinterested election integrity and ballot security can be created. The answer is in YOU. Should citizens fight to have the Decree overturned? No - such action only legitimizes the agreement. Federal law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 in particular, empowers you to fight for clean registrations and fair elections in your own communities.    

Take this whole episode for what it is: an example of how the established political parties and governing interests jockey to consolidate power. Follow the facts and history - not the hype - and then do something about it.