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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/23/19

The Myth of Voter Fraud -- And the Truth About What's Threatening Our Elections

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From Robert Reich Blog

Donald Trump and his enablers have been making claims of widespread voter fraud, alleging millions of people are voting illegally in order to rig our elections.

Baloney. Let's look at the facts and debunk their myths once and for all.

They claim millions of Americans are voting twice, using multiple registrations in different districts.

So how often does double voting really occur? An analysis of the 2012 presidential election found that out of 129 million votes cast, 0.02% that's two one hundredths of one percent were double votes which were likely the result of measurement error. This is a far cry from Donald Trump's claims that millions of people were registered in two different states in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump and his enablers claim non-citizens are voting in droves. Trump himself said that thousands of undocumented immigrants voted in 2016.

Another lie. According to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice, of 23.5 million votes cast in districts with high populations of non-citizens only 30 -- I repeat, thirty possible incidents of improper non-citizen voting were referred for further investigation.

They claim voter impersonation is rampant at the polls.

False. A 12-year study of election data found only 10 cases of voter impersonation out of 146 million registered voters. Ten.

So if voter fraud really isn't a problem, why do Trump, Republicans in Congress, and their allies at Fox News keep perpetuating this myth? For one simple reason: To enact restrictive voting laws intended to keep voters from the polls.

Policies established in the name of election security including voter ID laws, needless registration deadlines, limited access to polling places, and purges of the voter rolls make it harder for Americans to vote. It is the same tactic that has been used throughout our history to disenfranchise low-income Americans and people of color.

Luckily, many of these laws have been struck down in the courts. In 2016, a district judge in Wisconsin found "utterly no evidence" of widespread voter fraud justifying its voter ID law. In Texas, another judge found their voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act, making it harder for African-Americans and Latinos to vote.

But many of these laws are still on the books because in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted crucial aspects of the Voting Rights Act.

Congress needs to update the Act to prevent states from suppressing votes.

Meanwhile, Trump and Republicans in Congress are turning a blind eye to the real threats facing our democracy: election fraud, and foreign interference.

In 2018, a Republican operative stole votes from Democrats in a North Carolina congressional race with a quote, "coordinated, unlawful, and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme." After the ballots were counted, the Republican candidate appeared to have won by about 900 votes. But the fraud was so glaring that the state board of elections refused to certify the results and called for a special election.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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