By Tom Toth
The voter fraud issue has again reared its ugly head, this time in Louisiana.
Democrat mayor, and the father of Senator Mary Landrieu’s Chief of Staff, Don Cravins, Sr. gave a campaign rally speech urging the Democrat voters in attendance to “vote again” if they had early voted. He continued the speech by telling voters to support the local Democrat DA candidate, joking that, if elected, the DA wouldn’t prosecute the fraudulent voters.
Voter fraud is a serious issue, committing it is a serious crime, especially when perpetuated by an elected official — and it’s still inexplicably easy to commit.
One might consider this kind of rhetoric to be a playful joke from one enthusiastic public servant to an excited crowd on the eve of an election because voting twice is practically impossible for most voters.
But it’s not impossible.
To board an airplane, open a checking account, buy an alcoholic beverage, or get a job at most employers in the United States, you need valid, government issued form of photo identification. Yet submitting a ballot at the polls, the unquestioned integrity of which is the very cornerstone of any meaningful democratic process, is less onerous than buying a pack of cigarettes.
In a modern society, this is ridiculous — as are arguments that voter ID laws are somehow a racist voter suppression scheme.
Voter suppression theorists passionately invoke the legacy of poll taxes to oppose voter ID laws because it generally costs a nominal fee to attain an ID. But the minute states, like Texas for example, take it upon themselves to swallow the cost of issuing a photo ID to every citizen who requests one — a small price to ensure election integrity — that concern is swiftly put to bed.
With an electorate of voters with a valid ID, state voter registries can, in real time, identify which eligible voters have and have not voted in an election, rendering it extremely difficult to vote for other (or diseased, or nonexistent) people or voting multiple times.
Opponents of election integrity laws also argue that there’s “no evidence” of widespread voter fraud across the United States. Similarly, however, if the IRS never conducted widespread audits to ensure taxes were paid properly, there would be “no evidence” of widespread tax fraud either — large amounts of voter fraud data simply doesn’t exist.
But, more importantly, whether voter fraud is “widespread” or not is an irrelevant red herring — elections in the 21st century United States should be reliably, provably fraud-free. In 2014, they are not.
Telling voters to commit voter fraud, even in jest, is a serious issue because voter fraud is, simply put, relatively easy to do at present. Safeguards against voter fraud across the United States are, if existent, extremely weak. There are practical ways to ensure election reliability without placing undue burdens on any voter.
But opponents of election integrity, like Mary Landrieu and her Chief of Staff’s father, remain vehemently against any progressive plan to ensure the reliability of elections in the United States, even with concessions to make voter identification simple and cost-free to the voters. One is therefore only left to wonder what they gain from the status quo.
Tom Toth is a contributing editor and the digital content director for Americans for Limited Government.