This is an IJR Blue-reported opinion response to IJR’s original investigative piece, “Multiple States Face Voter Suppression Crises as High-Stakes Elections Loom.” To see a perspective from the other side of the aisle, you can find the IJR Red reported opinion response here.
On Monday, President Donald Trump decided to warn potential voter thieves that law enforcement will be on the lookout for those sneaky fraudsters. The promise of rampant voter fraud lurking behind ever ballot curtain has been a favorite scapegoat for the president, but all the evidence points to the conclusion that it’s really not much of a problem.
Here was his Monday morning tweet:
Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday’s Election (or Early Voting). Anyone caught will be subject to the Maximum Criminal Penalties allowed by law. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2018
After the 2016 election, Trump blamed his popular vote loss on voter fraud — you’ll recall that Hillary Clinton won by around 2.5 million votes. It was a pretty astonishing claim and turned out to be nonsense. Nearly a month later, the Washington Post was able to find only four instances of voter fraud.
Trump put together a commission to investigate voter fraud and, unsurprisingly, the commission was a bust. He quietly disbanded it last January, saying in a statement “rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission.”
But, with the midterms now at our doorstep, the president is doing what he does best: fear-mongering. His promise to crack down on illegal voting will probably produce approximately zero results and while that’s happening, voter suppression has been running rampant.
In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp is running for governor and his entire election strategy seems to be ensuring that Georgians hoping to vote for his opponent are unable to do so. His office has canceled the voting rights of over 53,000 potential voters.
On Sunday, Kemp announced that he was investigating Democrats for hacking the voter rolls, but the investigation seems to be based on almost no evidence.
Right-wing think tank, The Heritage Foundation, claimed in an extensive white paper that there have been 1,088 proven instances of voter fraud but that number stretches back nearly two decades. And a lot of those were random misdemeanors, like people registering under false addresses or people not properly mailing in ballots.
When the midterm elections are over, there will definitely be more allegations of voter fraud, but if history is any precedent, the allegations will be made with almost no evidence.