With news of possible fraud claims coming out of Hamilton County, Ohio, it is worth remembering that vast majority of the relatively small number of cases involve either election officials committing fraud, or voters, candidates, and others committing absentee ballot fraud.
The problem is that the supposed cure—voter id—does not stop these main types of fraud.
If John Fund and others started a serious push to eliminate the use of absentee ballots, then I would take their concerns about voter fraud much more seriously. But it is not a part of the antifraud measures proposed and adopted by those who claim this is a major problem.
UPDATE: John Fund sent an email response to the election law listserv, which I am posting here with his permission:
Rick (whose book I read and found much to agree with in) says he would take my concerns about voter fraud more seriously if I and others ”started a serious push to eliminate the use of absentee ballots.”That is strange. No one serious calls for ELIMINATING absentee ballots. They are needed by old people, bedridden people, military voters, expats and people who travel a great deal. In “Who’s Counting: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk,” my co-author an I call for absentee ballot REFORM and vigorously. The chapter is entitled “Absentee Ballots: the Tool of Choice for Vote Thieves.”Indeed, I have gotten into hot water with some Republicans for criticizing some state legislatures that have not passed comprehensive anti-fraud efforts that include Photo ID, absentee ballot reform and cleaning up voter rolls despite the federal strictures on that activity.As the liberal Talking Points Memo wrote last August:
Fund said that many voter ID laws “take some provisions to curb absentee ballot fraud,” with a few exceptions. But he confessed that Democrats had a point when they say that Republicans focus on voter ID because of a potential electoral advantage.
“I think it is a fair argument of some liberals that there are some people who emphasize the voter ID part more than the absentee ballot part because supposedly Republicans like absentee ballots more and they don’t want to restrict that,” Fund said. “But the bottom line is, on good government grounds, we have to have both voter ID laws and absentee ballot laws.”
Just last Wednesday, my co-author and I were in Raleigh, North Carolina on a panel with two liberal opponents of Photo ID laws. We all agreed that absentee ballot fraud was a real problem, however the two opposing panelists declined to endorse any specific legislation to combat it despite a clear invitation to do so.
I thank John for the correction about his views. Good to know there is some common ground. It is notable that in the Republican/ALEC push to take anti-fraud measures, limiting the use of absentee ballots was never part of any serious discussion. And it remains so to this day. Instead we have a heavy push for state voter id laws, which do very little, if anything, to address election official fraud and absentee ballot fraud. The mismatch makes me question the motives of those pushing these laws.