Study Reveals Small Fraud Rate in Elections

Journal-isms: An exhaustive review finds only 10 scandalous in-person voting cases since 2000.

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National J-School Project Reviewed 5,000 Documents

“Despite the push for strict voter ID laws in a charged partisan and racial debate, the most exhaustive study ever of American election fraud reveals the rate is infinitesimal,” according to News21, a national investigative reporting project at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

“Since 2000, a time when 146 million Americans were registered to vote, News21 found 10 cases of in-person voter fraud, which only photo ID laws would prevent. That would be about one case for every 15 million eligible voters,” the project reported on Thursday.

Among the findings:

“In-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent. Only 10 such cases over more than a decade were reported.”

“Photo ID laws and other new voting restrictions disproportionately affect minorities, students, the disabled and the elderly.”

“More than half of the state bills proposing photo IDs originated from people affiliated with the conservative, pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council. Since the model photo ID legislation, known as ALEC’s 2009 Voter ID Act, 62 voter ID bills were introduced in state legislatures.”

“Changes to Florida’s voting laws will reduce the state’s in-person, early voting timeframe. This includes the Sunday before Election Day, when African-American churches traditionally organized caravans of parishioners to polling places, known as ‘Souls to the Polls.’ “

“Once-neutral secretary of state offices are becoming increasingly politicized as these office holders join the political debate over voting access.”

According to the project website, “The voting rights project was produced by 24 students from 11 universities across the country under the direction of journalism professionals. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation provided a grant supporting the work of six of the students, and the Hearst Foundations supported another three fellows.