Kris Kobach and the Seven Dwarfs

During yesterday’s “To the Point” show, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and I went over the question whether voter identification laws actually can prevent fraud.  I pointed out that impersonation fraud rarely if ever happens, and Kobach confirmed he’s got no cases of impersonation fraud he can point to in Kansas.  But Kobach also said that a state id requirement would be necessary to prevent a different type of crime: the use of false registrations (of fictitious people) to cast votes in elections.  He gave the example of someone registering and voting ballots for the fictitious seven dwarfs.  I pointed out that I was not aware of a single case of fraudulent registrations (such as from ACORN) leading to actual fraudulent votes (the reason the ACORN-type fraud occurred was because poor people who worked to register voters made up fake names to keep their jobs, not to rig elections.)  But a reader sends along another great point about why a state i.d. is unnecessary to stop voter fraud in this instance:

I was struck by the “perfect crime” tale — the  hypothetical attempt to register the seven dwarves. He seems to have ignored that HAVA’s voter id requirements for any voter who registers to vote by mail and has not previously voted in a Federal election. (See HAVA Section 303)  That is of course, presuming that Sleepy and Grumpy are not long time registered voters. If those “voters” want to vote absentee (I doubt the fraudster would be able to produce Sleepy and Grumpy to cast an in person vote without arousing some suspicion), they are required to provide a valid photo ID or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

This “perfect crime” meme is a recent theme of the fraudulent fraud squad.  As I pointed out on yesterday’s show, we see prosecutions, or at least credible reports, of other types of voter fraud—absentee vote buying, double voting, etc., but not of impersonation fraud.  Why not?  As I argue in The Voting Wars, it is an exceedingly dumb way to try to steal an election.  And it is the kind of fraud which would be the hardest to try to hide, because it involves a conspiracy to find many voters to go into the polling place as impersonators. The reason we don’t see it is because it rarely, if ever, happens, and not on any kind of scale to change election outcomes.

Nonetheless, former Indana SOS (and now Member of Congress) Todd Rokita made the same perfect crime point testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  This, even though his lawyers stipulated in court during the Crawford challenge to Indiana’s photo ID law that there has never been a single case of voter impersonation fraud in Indiana’s history.

The perfect crime indeed.

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