Election law expert Justin Levitt has this must-read post today in the Washington Post about the lack of credible voter fraud incidents that a photo ID could have prevented.
Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, has been tracking such incidents since 2008 and reports that out of billions of votes cast during that period, he’s found 31 credible incidents.
Referring to claims asserted in recent cases in Mississippi and Wisconsin that voter ID can stop voter fraud, Levitt notes:
This sort of misdirection is pretty common, actually. Election fraud happens. But ID laws are not aimed at the fraud you’ll actually hear about. Most current ID laws (Wisconsin is a rare exception) aren’t designed to stop fraud with absentee ballots (indeed, laws requiring ID at the polls push more people into the absentee system, where there are plenty of real dangers). Or vote buying. Or coercion. Or fake registration forms. Or voting from the wrong address. Or ballot box stuffing by officials in on the scam. In the 243-page document that Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel filed on Monday with evidence of allegedly illegal votes in the Mississippi Republican primary, there were no allegations of the kind of fraud that ID can stop.
Instead, requirements to show ID at the polls are designed for pretty much one thing: people showing up at the polls pretending to be somebody else in order to each cast one incremental fake ballot. This is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens.