Voter fraud commission commentary: Let the commission do its work

In the late 1990’s I was hired to work on the campaign of a Chicago Republican (no, that’s not a typo). Riding from O’Hare to the office for the first time, we passed several cemeteries with razor wire across the tops of their stone walls. I nudged the Chicago native behind the wheel and said “Is this an election-year thing? Trying to slow down the dead people on their way to the polls?”

He was not amused.

It’s a reminder that “vote early and vote often!” was the slogan of Chicago Democrats long before President Trump convened the Commission on Election Integrity, which met in New Hampshire on Tuesday.  America has a long and storied history of voter fraud, and a long-standing concern over the issue.

Many pundits were shocked by post-election polls showing 25 percent of Americans believed President Trump’s complaint that millions of illegal votes were cast in November (an extremely unlikely claim, by the way). But a Gallup poll back in 2004 found the same percentage of Americans—25 percent—feared illegal voting “would be a major problem in the election.”  In 2008, that number reached 44 percent, due in part to the scandal surrounding a self-styled “community activist” group called ACORN that was committing widespread voter registration fraud.

Which is why commission supporters point out that Donald Trump didn’t invent this problem. And critics reply, “What problem?”

“The Bogus Voter-Fraud Commission” is the headline on a New York Times editorial that calls voter fraud “extremely rare,” “virtually non-existent” and a “paranoid fantasy.” MSNBC says the voter fraud problem “plainly doesn’t exist,” while the solidly-liberal Mother Jones concludes: “UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud.”

So the truth isn’t out there? Voter fraud is just a myth?

“Non-citizens are registered. Non-citizens are voting. Period.” So says J. Christian Adams of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. Adams, a former DOJ attorney under President George W. Bush, insists that votes cast by ineligible voters are a serious problem with meaningful consequences:

In 2008, comedian Al Franken became a US senator by a margin of just 312 votes. In the same Minnesota election, more than a thousand felons illegally voted. On top of that, peer-reviewed research by academics at Old Dominion University found that about 14 percent of legal non-citizens across the country are registered to vote, and about 6 percent of them do. Add the felons and the non-citizens to the fact that these…

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