NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Nagging Problem of Election Fraud

October 7, 2002

Keeping elections clean and honest has always been a challenge, political scientists observe. But the so-called "motor voter" law of 1994 created a host of opportunities for mischief -- and cheating has been growing.

  • In recent years voting fraud has been noticed in placed like Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis.
  • In St. Louis, dead people and household pets cast ballots in 2000.
  • As recently as last year, that city's voter rolls included 13,000 more names than the U.S. Census lists as the total number of adults over age 18.
  • Experts say there are plenty of anti-vote-fraud laws on the books, but rarely if ever are allegations of vote fraud investigated -- much less prosecuted.

Attorney General John Ashcroft is reportedly focusing his attention on the problem. He's asking each of his U.S. Attorneys to meet with state election and law enforcement officials in the next month to find ways to "work together to deter electoral corruption and bring violators to justice."

Specialists in the electoral process applaud this effort and say the best route to fair elections is first to clean up state voter lists. New voters who register by mail will have to provide a photo ID or another document, such as a utility bill, that shows a name or address.

Source: Editorial, "Cleaning Up Elections," Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2002.


Browse more articles on Government Issues