NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

"Motor Voter" Law Has Encouraged Ballot Fraud

December 11, 2001

It's much easier to vote today if you are dead or don't exist than it was before the "Motor Voter" law of 1993 was passed, critics contend. The law was designed to make it easier for people to vote by allowing them to register when they apply for a driver's license.

But legal experts warn that it has vastly expanded the opportunities for ballot fraud.

  • Some eight million people have registered this way, but only about five percent of them usually bother to vote -- leaving a considerable pool of names available to those bent on election mischief.
  • Most states don't require photo IDs at polling booths -- making it easier to vote in someone else's name, either in person or by absentee ballot.

Experts single out San Francisco as having one of the worst voter-fraud records of any American city.

  • California Secretary of State Bill Jones recently conducted a probe after the city's acting elections director claimed that 3,600 votes cast in the 2000 election were unaccounted for -- even though his predecessor had certified the vote as accurate.
  • Jones reviewed 21 randomly selected precincts and found an average discrepancy of nine percentage points between the number of ballots that individual precincts reported in last year's election and the number the city reported.
  • In this November's election, 240 uncounted ballots were found "jammed" in voting machines -- and the Coast Guard discovered the tops of eight ballot boxes floating in San Francisco Bay.

Other cities and states have their problems as well. In St. Louis, the U.S. Postal Service says it can't locate 28 percent of all registered voters.

Source: Editorial, "Too Easy to Steal," Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2001.

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