New York, NY — Anticipating a razor-thin election Nov. 2, many election officials and political commentators are making alarmist and inaccurate claims that "new" voter registration procedures will enable voter fraud.
However, election fraud is at most a minor problem across the 50 U.S. states, and does not affect election outcomes, according to a 2003 study being re-released today by Demos, titled "Securing the Vote: A Report on Election Fraud."
The most in-depth empirical investigation of election fraud issues to date, "Securing the Vote" finds that, "Efforts to make it easier to register and vote are compatible with the prevention of election fraud. Fears of fraud should not inhibit electoral reform efforts aimed at addressing the problem of low voter participation."
According to "Securing the Vote", the disenfranchisement of voters through antiquated voting systems, system error, and improper management of registration databases, as occurred in Florida in 2000, is a far bigger problem than traditional forms of election fraud.
Reforms aimed at making voting easier and more accessible can broaden participation without risking increased fraud, the report finds. In fact, these reforms make voter fraud much less likely in many instances.
"The report's central findings make it clear that overstated allegations of election fraud should not be used to unnecessarily restrict access and make voting more difficult," says David Callahan, Research Director of Demos, and co-author of the report.
"Our election officials should be concerned with making sure that all eligible voters, including the millions that are registered for the first time, have complete ballot access and that their votes will count," stated Miles Rapoport, President of Demos. "Cheating eligible voters out of their voice in this democracy is the real fraud, and that's where we must focus our attention."
To view "Securing the Vote: A Report on Election Fraud" or read breaking news on the Demos Election Wire, please visit www.demos.org.
Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization based in New York City.