October 23, 2000
In 1960, John F. Kennedy won by less than one vote per precinct. If this presidential race is as close, voter fraud could be a significant factor, says John H. Fund of the Wall Street Journal.
Election fraud is more sophisticated than in 1960, when the dead rose up and voted heavily for Kennedy in Texas and Illinois. But it is just as pervasive, says Fund, aided in part by the so-called Motor Voter law.
- Voter fraud has become a bigger problem since the 1993 federal Motor Voter law required states to allow people to register to vote when they get a driver's license; 47 states don't require any proof of U.S. residence for enrollment.
- Motor Voter has added some eight million people to the rolls, but the bipartisan polling team of Ed Goeas and Celinda Lake estimates that less than 5 percent of "motor voters" normally go to the polls.
Moreover, in most states you don't have to show photo identification to vote, making it quite easy for someone to vote in someone else's name. It also makes it easier to manipulate the growing number of absentee ballots.
- In 1998, more than 40 percent of ballots cast in Washington, Oregon and Nevada were absentee votes.
- Another 13 states saw between 20 percent and 40 percent of their votes cast absentee.
- This year, Virginia will require voters to show ID or sign a sworn statement of their identity.
- But four attempts to pass a photo ID requirement in California have died in the legislature.
"[Y]ou have to show photo ID to cash a check, board an airplane or even get a library card," notes Fund. And "those under age 27 now have to show ID to buy cigarettes, but not to vote."
Source: John H. Fund, "Phantom Voters May Have Real Impact at Polls," Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2000.
Browse more articles on Government Issues