The 'Myth' of Voter Fraud

April 25, 2012 | U.S. News & World Report |
A democracy hinges on fair elections, which is why voter fraud could pose a serious threat to the American political system. But election law expert Tova Wang says instances of polling place fraud are extremely rare. Wang, a fellow at progressive think tanks Demos and the Century Foundation, is the author of a forthcoming book called The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans' Right to Vote. She recently spoke with U.S. News about election fraud and why she thinks voter ID laws are discriminatory. Excerpts:
 
Is there a problem of voter fraud?
 
If you're asking whether there's fraud in the electoral system, yes, there is some, not a lot. If you're asking me if there is fraud at the polling place, then I would say no, we do not have a serious problem with fraud in this country.
 
What about widely publicized stories of registration fraud?
 
Those cases are always very easily caught, very frequently by the very organization that's overseeing the work. And there's absolutely zero evidence that anyone who has put any false information on a voter registration form has actually voted using that information. Problems with voter registration [are] different than fraud at the polls that ends up impacting the election.
 
Are there reliable statistics on voter fraud?
 
What we can go by is the number of times that people have been prosecuted successfully for such crimes. And the number is ridiculously low. You have a better chance of being hit by lightning than discovering an incident of polling place fraud.