Voter Fraud Isn’t Real. Voter Suppression is

  • October 31, 2020
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Voter Fraud Isn’t Real. Voter Suppression is. – Democratic Article

The American right would have you believe that the United States’ voting system is so fragile and prone to voter fraud, that immediate action is necessary.

Trump claims that in 2016 there 3-5 million fraudulent votes cast against him. It is this that supposedly lost him the popular vote. There is no evidence to back this up. Nor is there any evidence to claim that there is any form of widespread voter fraud in the United States. Not that this stops any Republican; they love to claim that there is widespread in-person voter fraud.

Republicans frequently incite outrage with the idea that people are voting twice. This is only slightly ironic as Trump seemed to encourage his own supporters to do so. They also claim that there is wanton voter impersonation. Not only is that untrue, but it’s also possibly the dumbest way to commit election fraud. It is simply not worth it to alter one singular vote in an American election, as the voting populations are large even at the local level. It isn’t worth the criminal penalty: a fine and up to 5 years in prison.

Simply put, voter impersonation is not worth the effort, the punishment, nor is it even effective.

The GOP also loves to blare out accusations of dead people voting. While it is a legitimate concern that an individual can attempt to vote for a deceased person, this occurs about 0.0027% of the time. Most of the time when a deceased person votes, it is because someone sharing the same first and last name is an alive and active voter, or it is due to a clerical error. The clerical errors range from the Social Security Administration’s master files incorrectly listing someone as dead, to a poll worker checking off the wrong name on the voter rolls.

One proposed solution to this pressing problem, that occurs about 0.0027% of the time, is voter IDs. While the concept of a voter ID sounds nice in theory, it can actually be quite harmful to certain demographics and be turned into a tool of voter suppression.

Voter ID laws tend to affect minorities, low-income groups, the elderly, and the disabled. For many of these people, there is no need to get an ID, or it is too costly and burdensome. These proposed IDs would unfairly prohibit 11% of the voting-age population from exercising one of their fundamental rights as a citizen.

But this isn’t to say that voter IDs are bad or do not work. The problem is the way these laws are written and enforced currently. One way to remedy this would be to provide every registered voter with a photo ID. This would satisfy both sides as every voter would be able to vote with verified identity and the election would remain secure. While this solution does seem nice, it could lead to abuse of civil liberties, civil rights, and discrimination as the government would have a database of all registered voters with a picture.

Essentially there is no perfect fix to this crucial issue that occurs 0.0027% of the time.

The truth is that voter fraud is not an important issue in the United States. It doesn’t warrant the attention it gets. The only reason it gets that attention is because of conservative talking heads and politicians who can’t stomach the thought of losing an election.

The real issue related to voting in the United States is voter suppression. While voter fraud occurs 0.0027% of the time, voter suppression stops millions of voters from participating in the democratic process.  

Written by Democratic Writer, Ali Lahrech

Point of Information

Voter fraud is not a problem, but it could become one – A Republican Response

Voter fraud is not an issue, I couldn’t agree more. Despite this, there are shocking statistics that reveal a vast amount of Republicans and Democrats believe that fraud is a large problem. There is clear evidence displayed in this article which shows how experts have debunked this myth. In the 2016 election, for example, there were only four documented voter fraud cases, despite many claims. 

Voter suppression is undoubtedly an issue in the US. Exceptionally long waits, strict naked ballot rules, ID laws, and other inconveniences are faced by Americans every election. It seems unrealistic to expect a fair or high voter turn out. This is clearly a much bigger issue. One that both Democrats and Republicans need to be very concerned and active about. As this article points out, millions of votes can be lost due to these reoccurring issues.

However, what I would say is that the postal vote has never been used as widely as this year’s election. There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that postal voting is safe, however, there already have been some issues. There have been ballots found in ditches, and in New Jersey, a mail carrier charged after dumping 100 election ballots into a dumpster. In New York, 100,000 ballots are having to be resent to voters after misprints in names and addresses. These are all isolated incidents, and many incidents may not have gad fraudulent intentions. However, this does suggest there will be more issues with voter fraud in this election than in previous years.

Voter fraud does still need to be taken seriously, no matter how little it occurs. However, much more time and energy needs to be invested in voter suppression. This clearly has a larger and more damaging impact.

Written by Republican Writer, Eleanor Roberts

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America needs to renew itself to lead morally internationally – A Foreign Perspective

Republicans have the same relationship with their concerns about voter fraud as they do with Christianity. They talk about it, campaign on it, but in the end, they have no compunctions about using it as a tool. They don’t actually care as they know there is more chance of the Second Coming than voter fraud making any actual difference to an election. 

I am glad that both authors agree that voter suppression is by far the most important issue. Who cares about the minuscule single-digit fraud numbers when voter suppression is integrated into American politics?

We should be outraged when citizens wait hours in lines to vote, not celebrating their patience. Voting can, and should, be as easy and convenient as taking money from an ATM. If that transaction of linking a person to details can be accomplished millions of times a day, then so can voting. 

The decades of voter suppression are damaging to US politics domestically, but for the world generally, as voter suppression damages US moral authority. The US claims to be the leader of the free world, not its commander. It is not enough for the US to have weapons, it must also be an example. It must be the city on the hill that its founders envisaged. 

What right does a President have to lecture a dictator about voting practices, when he himself is President through disenfranchisement? More worryingly, is a President likely to care about global democracy when he himself has power through its suppression?  Every time certain US leaders ignore the trouble in their own house, they reduce their ability to change the world for the better more generally. 

As Hillary Clinton said – an example of a leader that won the popular vote but because of the arcane relic of the electoral college is not fighting for re-election right now – America is great because America is good. This quote from Tocqueville could not be more apt.

America faces rising authoritarianism worldwide and is handicapped because itself is creeping in that dark direction. This debate about voter fraud is a distraction from the real issue of voter suppression. This issue needs to be addressed before the US can assume its leadership role once more.

Written by Foreign Perspective Writer, Nathaniel Amos 

Ali Lahrech
Democratic Writer | Website

Hi, I’m Ali and I’m in my third year at the University of Toronto. I’m studying International Relations as my major and Spanish as my minor.

 

I was born and raised in Washington DC to Moroccan parents. This gave me a unique lens with which to observe the country I was raised in. While I am an American citizen, I often have a different perspective than my friends and peers whose families have been in the United States for much longer than mine. Growing up in around DC also gave the unique opportunity of being at the heart of American politics. Ever since President Barrack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 I was hooked.

 

I have always been left of the American center and most closely aligned myself with the Democratic party. While I vote for the Democratic party, like many Americans I’m starting to feel more and more disillusioned with them and the two-party system. The 2016 election is was the catalyst for my dissatisfaction with the American political parties. I had seen the Republican party move further and further right while the Democrats hadn’t really moved left. They had essentially implemented a policy of appeasement towards the Republicans. In summation I was disappointed that the Democrats had bent the knee to Republicans rather than proposing and implementing bold and forward-thinking policies that would help Americans.

 

This disappointment and disillusionment started to transform into optimism after the 2018 midterms. I saw that there was still hope for a bright future for America. The Democratic party had started to shift leftwards, albeit at a snail’s pace. After the 2018 midterms I became a man possessed by American politics. As I dove deeper and deeper into American politics, I realized that we don’t know enough about it. This fact is why I think it is key for all of us, no matter our perspectives, to have a conversation with each other and most importantly listen to one another; so, we better understand one another and where we’re coming from.

 

Therefore, I look forward to sharing my perspective with POI and reading others’ with great enthusiasm.

 

 

Eleanor Roberts
Head of HR & Recruitment at | Website

I’m a third year University of Manchester student, currently studying in Lyon on my Erasmus year (by sheer coincidence I’m writing this hours after parliament has voted to end British involvement in the 30 year programme, so just to be on the safe side I promise not to use the NHS/European Declaration of Human Rights/anything at all anytime soon).

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