The Real Voter Fraud

Afghan Voter with purple finger. CC-BY-NC by U.S. Army Garrison - Miami

If you ask people about voter fraud, most will admit it’s a serious issue, and it IS. People casting votes they’re not entitled to is a serious problem around the country, and something needs to be done about it. What’s currently being done is NOT the solution though. Current Voter Fraud proposals don’t address the issue, they just disenfranchise people, and that’s not only bad, that’s utterly unacceptable.

In states across the US, an attack on the ability to vote is ongoing. New laws requiring certain types of photo ID in order to vote are being proposed and passed all over the country to prevent voter fraud, but there’s a major problem. A lot of people, particularly the poor, don’t have suitable photo ID (or the documentation to get one), so these laws could potentially disenfranchise people (take away their vote)

So what’s the up side? Well, you won’t be able to turn up and claim you’re someone to vote. Great, you’ve stopped voter fraud then? No. Because that kind of fraud just doesn’t happen.

In a op-ed piece earlier this month, Congressman Charles Gonzalez (D-Tx20) pointed out all these reasons in detail. To recap it, upto 11% of Americans don’t have suitable ID and could be disenfranchised, in order to prevent a fraud rate of… 0.00002% So let’s put toms figures to that, shall we?

The voting eligible population (that’s the number of people who could vote) in 2010 was, apparently, around 217Million. By Gonzalez’s figures, 11% don’t have ID, which is 23,870,000 people. Let’s assume that 99% of those have the ABILITY to get a suitable ID, which leaves 238,700 disenfranchised.
Now, what’s the fraud rate work out to? 43.4 people.

Voter ID laws are being passed because of the POTENTIAL for UPTO 44 invalid ballots being cast, and to prevent those 44 fraudulent ballots, they’re going to disenfranchise over a quarter-million people. In Wisconsin, for instance, there have been ten cases of voter fraud since between 2004 and 2011, none of which would be prevented by these laws (mostly they’re cases of felons voting, which isn’t allowed)

However, there’s another issue. The cases of voter fraud are only on those that vote, it’s not 0.00002% of the voting population, that’s just the worst case. It’s 0.00002% of the votes cast, which has been between 40-50% typically. So it’s actually 22 fraudulent votes.

There are cases of voter fraud, don’t get me wrong, but the majority is NOT dealt with via voterID laws, because they are conducted with absentee ballots. And despite the gleeful videos of propaganda maker James O’Keefe (a completely different James O’Keefe to the head of the Massachusetts Pirate Party, and HIS thoughtsrack on ballot access laws.) and his heavily edited videos, attempting to show how easy it is to file an absentee ballot, the fact is it’s already illegal, and wouldn’t have worked anyway, as this analysis shows. What’s more, on at least one occasion, he was thwarted entirely and had to flee before police arrived.

So, what about the other side of the coin? Well, Newt Gingrich, who last year was pushing hard for criminal sanctions against the ACORN organisation, with only the odd case actually having enough evidence to bring to trial (mainly for compensating people for registering legitimate voters), and two independent investigations, one by former Mass. AG Scott Harshbarger, and another by the Congressional Research Service, found NO instances of voter fraud by ACORN.

The same couldn’t be said for vocal ACORN critic, and Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich who is potentially looking at 1500 cases of the same kind of voter fraud he accused ACORN of not that long ago. Of course, in ACORN’s case, the 1.5% of registrations believed to be fraudulent were flagged by ACORN prior to being submitted (by law they have to submit them, even if they are fraudulent) which most of those being duplicates; meanwhile Gingrich’s campaign did not flag or vet the names, and had a potential fraud rate of 13%.

Of course, it’s just ‘a mistake’ in Gingrich’s case, right? He’s like you to think so.

The reality is that voter fraud such as this is an INCREDIBLY rare thing. There is, however, a much grater potentially for election fraud when it comes to the types of machines now in use in a lot of places around the world have significant security and integrity problems.

The biggest voting fraud, though, comes AFTER the elections. It has been caught on at least three separate occasions over the last few years, and involves fraudulent casting of votes on bills by state houses.
This video was released in 2008, showing the Texas Legislature having a free-for-all, with representatives casting not only their votes, but other representatives votes as well.

[youtube eG6X-xtVask 620 460]

Not good, but earlier this month, Wisconsin, already in the midst of a huge partisan political battle, emerged as another state that practices voter fraud as part of their standard business practice.

As this video (taken illegally on Feb 21st 2012, since video recording is not permitted in the chamber, for reasons that are now clear) shows, is that while representatives in the state legislature are so concerned with voter fraud, that they had to pass a special law to deal with the non-existent problem, they have themselves committed voter fraud, and were caught on tape doing so.

[youtube xDiQgcVUZ3Q 620 340]
When confronted by a local reporter over the topic, the representative claimed ‘everyone does it’ and that ‘he was targeted’, while adamant that it was NOT fraud. Nor was it the first time this has come up; it was an issue 16 years ago, and Governor Walker, then a State Rep wanted the practice dealt with, as detailed in this video report by WTMJ.

[youtube Rl5rDhBaRgM 620 340]

So while there is voter fraud, it needs to be dealt with, by addressing the real problem, and source of the fraud; career politicians (including those starting out). This is why we need transparency and accountability of our elected representatives, because it’s through these kinds of criminal, undemocratic actions, that the laws which erode and destroy our freedoms are passed.

Yet, just as James O’Keefe-the-fraudster wasn’t punished severely for breaking into the office of a US senator (getting two years probation, 75 hours of community service and $1,500 fines for attempting to tamper with a Senator’s office phone is a very light sentence) the Wisconsin lawmakers will probably not face any significant punishment, if any.

So what hope for the US then, when voting ability is taken away for a crime that rarely occurs outside the chambers of those passing the laws. None at all, unless people start waking up quickly, and demanding accountability in their lawmakers. Else it’s a case of “He who has the gold, makes the rules”, and that’s NOT democracy, not at all.


  1. Putte

    Add a smart card reader for each politician in the chamber. And ensure you have public voting records for all votes cast (not yet in the European Parliament).

    1. zumba

      So then the absentees just lend their smartcards to their voting colleagues.

      1. Klas

        Well, then they are at least aware of someone voting for them, right?

        1. Anonymous

          I know: a sign or a tattoo on their right hand or forehead. A Number !

    2. Anonymous

      This would be good idea if the politicians can only enter and leave the room with using the same card…

  2. Erik Levin

    238,700 isn’t “over a quarter-million”, and you have different numbers of zeroes in your 0.0…02 figure. You also mention “43.4 people” and then “UPTO 44” and then “those 45”.

    1. Andrew Norton

      You’re right. I did miss a 0 out at one point, putting 0.0002 when I meant 0.00002% – I’ll correct that now.

      Likewise the 45 was a typo, ans should have been 44, (which is rounded up from 43.4)

      Finally, the ‘quarter million’ comes from the 238,700. That number was derived from the 99% being able to get an ID. That’s woefully optimistic, so the real number would be over a quarter-million. Perhaps I should have made that clearer (and for the other two, maybe I shouldn’t write at 2am)

      Thanks for reading though Erik.

  3. That "Ball" Guy

    Voting in a statist system

    Go to 4chan and tell me centralized policy voting is a good idea

  4. Rick Falkvinge

    Test comment to verify database integrity after server reinstall. Ignore.

  5. piratgurra

    First thanks for a very interesting piece.

    We’ve had “manual” voting scandals in Sweden too, such as people displacing voter partie’s notes to confuse/mislead voters.

    And a small correction “He’s like you to think so.” guess it shoud be “He’d” ? I guess everyone in practice understands what you mean, but well. It looks more professional 🙂

  6. Kotiya

    Voter fraud is a problem here in the States… and though the GOP is introducing many laws that will effectively restrict the poor from voting–I would be one of them, as I cannot afford the expense of renewing my ID, that is like a week’s worth of gas and bus money to get to school and to work–it is only the GOP politicians who have been committing voting crimes. From the politician who voted multiple times (Indiana I think), to Wisconsin, where their legislature was caught voting for absent members, to say, Bush Jr. getting elected for president either time. It is just very wrong when elected officials cannot abide by these very BASIC rules.

  7. Ano Nymous

    There’s another fraud too. Vote flipping in favor of Mitt Romney, stealing from others including Ron paul and leaves yet others alone:

    This is BIG!

  8. […] that the US has any problem with democracy and elections. As we’ve seen, this isn’t true. As previously discussed, there are longstanding misconceptions about the type and frequency of voter-fraud in the […]

  9. […] that the US has any problem with democracy and elections. As we’ve seen, this isn’t true. As previously discussed, there are longstanding misconceptions about the type and frequency of voter-fraud in the […]

  10. The REAL Voter Fraud | Pirate Party of Georgia

    […] piece was originally published at and is released under a CC0 […]

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