An Open Letter to Jonathan Tobin on Voter Fraud Allegations

Mr Tobin,

Is it possible for you to stop the bait and switch? No one I know who has studied this issue says there’s no voter fraud (hence, the misleading title of your piece: Are You Sure There’s No Voter Fraud?). It happens, especially with absentee ballots.

Instead, the claim is that there’s almost no voter impersonation fraud—the main type of fraud a voter id law would be designed to prevent.  For my book The Voting Wars I tried to find a single instance where an election was thrown into question since 1980 by such fraud. I could not find a single example. I found lots of examples of absentee ballot fraud, and election officials committing fraud. But because impersonation fraud is such a dumb and inefficient way to steal an election, it is unsurprising that it doesn’t happen.  You offer no such examples in your writing; just innuendo.

And please don’t tell me that this fraud is both widespread and impossible to detect (to paraphrase Colin Powell’s recent remarks). There’s not a single credible academic who would agree. We have some comparative numbers from News21 on prosecutions for these kinds of crimes. Absentee ballot fraud is a real problem. Impersonation fraud is negligible. There’s no reason to believe that impersonation fraud would be harder to catch. In fact, because it would involve a lot of people going to polling places claiming to be someone else, it would be easier to catch.

So spare me the unsubstantiated allegations. And if you are really serious that voter fraud is a major problem, let’s see you get behind and advocate for the elimination of no excuse absentee balloting before you attack phantom targets.


Rick Hasen


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