Politicians Control Who Can Vote

August 21st 2014

Adam Rotstein

Since 2006, many states have adopted voter ID laws in order to prevent voter fraud. A commonly cited reason for this policy is that such regulations “prevent cheating at the ballot and ensure integrity of the electoral system.” The problem is that voter fraud isn’t really a thing.  A recent study from Loyola University Law School calculated all the instances of voter fraud in the past fourteen years. The results were underwhelming: 31 instances out of 32,258,065 votes.

 31 Cases of Voter Fraud Since 2000, 21 Million Voters Lack ID

So what? Why not play it safe?

Obtaining a government-issued photo ID may bring logistical and monetary hurdles, which impede elderly, minority, and low-income groups from casting their ballot. Additionally, many proponents of voter ID laws are the very politicians who stand to benefit from their enactment. Veteran judge Richard Posner once supported the notion of voter ID, but he recently reversed his opinion after realizing they’re used “as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.

Simpsons DMV Wait Times

How many people do voter ID laws really affect?

An estimated 11% of U.S. citizens, or 21 million do not have government-issue photo ID. Although not all these people will ultimately vote, there is significant potential for eligible voters to be excluded from voting under the pretense of a crime that hardly ever occurs.