Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently asserted that Voter ID laws are “designed” to “intimidate” and “scare people away from the [political] process.” Lynch's perspective—which represents that of the Democratic Party as a whole—s founded on the premise that the incidence of voter fraud is extremely rare, and that initiatives like Voter ID requirements, which have been put in place in 34 states, are unnecessary and constitute a form of vote suppression. A related argument holds that some demographic subgroups of the U.S. population—particularly nonwhite and low-income people—are considerably less likely to hold government-issued forms of identification than are their white, more affluent counterparts. Thus, say the critics, Voter ID laws discriminate against these subgroups and function as a modern-day equivalent of “poll taxes” that have the effect of disenfranchising certain groups.
The notion that voter fraud is an uncommon occurrence can be traced most significantly to Citizens Without Proof, a November 2006 report produced by the George Soros-funded Brennan Center for Justice, which stated that “fraud by individual voters is both irrational [because perpetrators risk penalties of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine] and extremely rare.”
Citizens Without Proof is most often cited for its widely circulated claim that about 25% of all African-Americans of voting age do not own a photo ID. But an August 2011 Heritage Foundation study exposed that report as being “dubious in its methodology and results, and suspect in its sweeping conclusions.” For example, Heritage noted that the Brennan Center had: (a) used biased questioning to obtain the results it wanted vis-à-vis minority voters; (b) based its report entirely on one survey of 987 “voting age American citizens,” but made no effort to determine whether the respondents were in fact citizens; (c) neglected to ask whether the respondents were actual voters, likely voters, registered voters, or even eligible to vote at all; and (d) failed to ask the respondents whether they possessed student or tribal ID cards, even though such cards are acceptable forms of Voter ID in some states.
Further, Heritage pointed out that the Brennan Center statistics were sharply at odds with the findings of other studies on voter-identification documents. For example, a 2008 American University survey in Maryland, Indiana, and Mississippi found that fewer than one-half of 1 percent of registered voters lacked a government-issued ID. Similarly, a 2006 survey of more than 36,000 voters found that only “23 people in the entire sample—less than one-tenth of one percent of reported voters—were unable to vote because of an ID requirement.” Heritage noted, moreover, that “every state that has passed a voter ID law has also ensured that the very small percentage of individuals who do not have a photo ID can easily obtain one for free if they cannot afford one.”
Lastly, the Heritage Foundation study identified footnotes within Citizens Without Proof that not only cast serious doubt on the results of the report, but actually contradicted its major claims. For example, Footnote 1 states that “the results of this survey were weighted to account for underrepresentation of race,” but nowhere is there an explanation of how this factor was weighted, making it impossible to determine the accuracy of the footnote’s claim. Footnote 3 states that “135 respondents indicated that they had both a U.S. birth certificate and U.S. naturalization papers,” suggesting confusion on the part of the respondents. And perhaps most significantly, Footnote 4 states plainly that “[t]he survey did not yield statistically significant results for differential rates of possession of citizenship documents by race, age, or other identified demographic factors.”
Notwithstanding the methodological flaws of the Brennan Center study, a host of left-wing groups and individuals have echoed its assertions that voter fraud is exceedingly rare, and that among voting-age adults, 25% of blacks, 16% of Hispanics, and 15% of those who earn less than $35,000 annually, lack a photo ID. Noting that the corresponding figures for voting-age adults in other racial, ethnic, and income categories are significantly lower, these same critics cite the foregoing figures as evidence of selective disenfranchisement.
In a December 2011 speech condemning Voter ID laws, for instance, Loretta Lynch's predecessor as Attorney General, Eric Holder, said: “It is time to ask: What kind of nation and what kind of people do we want to be? Are we willing to allow this era—our era—to be remembered as the age when our nation’s proud tradition of expanding the franchise ended?” In a May 2012 meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus and black church leaders, Holder revisited this theme:
“Despite our nation’s long history of extending voting rights to non-property owners and to women, to people of color, to Native Americans, and to younger Americans, today a growing number of our fellow citizens are worried about the same disparities, divisions and problems that nearly five decades ago so many fought to address. In my travels across this country, I’ve heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens who for the first time in their lives now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation’s most noble ideals and some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang, again, in the balance.”
Holder's contention that Voter ID laws are unnecessary was dealt an embarrassing blow in early 2012, when James O'Keefe, a 28-year-old white investigative journalist, posted online a video of himself walking into the polling place in Holder’s District of Columbia precinct, falsely identifying himself as Eric Holder (a highly prominent 61-year-old African American), and asking for a ballot so he could vote in the Democratic primary which was being held that day. The video shows a poll worker responding to O'Keefe's request by willingly offering him Holder's ballot and making no effort to verify the young man's identity.
In February 2016, National Review Online reported that a recent study by Reuters "found almost no difference (2 versus 3 percent) in the number of white and black voters who lacked ID."
Voter fraud is much easier to carry out, of course, if the groundwork is first laid in the form of voter-registration fraud, typified by such tactics as falsifying registration forms with forged or duplicate signatures, names of dead or non-existent people, names of convicted felons who are ineligible to vote, fake Social Security numbers, incorrect birth dates, and non-existent addresses. The most infamous perpetrator of this type of voter-registration fraud was the community organization ACORN—now defunct as an national entity, but reconstituted under a variety of different names in several states. In both the 2004 and 2008 election cycles, ACORN registered at least several hundred thousand voters. As of October 2008, the group was under investigation for tens of thousands of acts of voter-registration fraud in 13 states.
In 2012, the Pew Center for the States estimated that approximately 24 million of the roughly 150 million voter registrations in the U.S. were ineligible, including “more than 1.8 million dead people listed as voters; about 2.75 million with voter registrations in more than one state; and about 12 million voter records with incorrect addresses, meaning either the voters moved or errors in the information make it unlikely any mailings can reach them.”
Like every other leading Democrat in the United States, Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder are very well aware of all the facts cited in this article. Nevertheless, they choose to portray Voter ID laws as racist measures designed to disenfranchise nonwhite minorities and the poor. The reason for this is not at all obscure: They are habitual liars whose only concern is to broaden the Democratic Party's power by absolutely any means necessary, including the propagation of voter fraud.