Increasing the Security of Elections: The Effect of Identification Requirements on Turnout of Minority Voters

September 13, 2006

Hans A. von Spakovsky

Voter fraud is a well-documented and existing problem in the United States. While it is safe to say that many elections are conducted without voter fraud affecting the outcome or representing a significant factor in the race, there are sufficient cases of proven fraud and convictions by both state and federal prosecutors to warrant taking the steps necessary to improve the security and integrity of elections. There were many cases reported in the press in 2004 of thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms submitted to election officials in a dozen states across the country. Obviously, when such fraudulent registrations are not caught by registration clerks, these registrations become a possible source of fraudulent votes as do frauds caused by impersonations of registered voters. For example, a New Mexico voter was not allowed to vote in 2004 because when he appeared at his polling place, he was told that someone else had already voted in his place. In addition, someone could vote under the name of voters still on the roles but who have moved or died. In 2000, a review by two news organizations of Georgia’s voter registration rolls for the previous 20 years found 5,412 votes had been cast by deceased voters – some on multiple occasions - and at least 15,000 dead people were still registered on the active voting rolls.

Increasing the Security of Elections: The Effect of Identification Requirements on Turnout of Minority Voters