Voter ID Laws Study: Voter Fraud Even Rarer Than The Odds of Winning Mega Millions

You are more likely to win Mega Millions that commit voter fraud in the US according to this study. The Justice Department recently blocked a Texas law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at polls on the grounds that it disproportionately disenfranchised Hispanics. The state sued the government in response, and the law is scheduled to be disputed in a federal trial in July.

Although voter fraud is a problem that should not be overlooked, I side with the Justice Department, as this law would negatively impact more people than the number of cases of voter fraud. 

There is much ambiguity surrounding the issue of voter fraud. Only a few studies have measured the prevalence of fraud, such as this study conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice which showed that voter fraud is even rarer than being struck by lightning or winning the Mega Millions. But disenfranchisement of minority groups is very real. By disregarding an important component of the state's population, Texas' law creates a predetermined electoral  outcome, prohibits an entire demographic from voicing their own opinions, and obstructs a key cornerstone of democracy in order to produce desired results. 

The study from the Brennan Center revealed that 34 states had introduced photo ID bills, seven of which had been passed by that time. Five more were passed, but vetoed by state governors. Have these actions done more harm than good? Election voting expert Justin Levitt said it best when he contended that allegations of voter fraud distract from the real issues of the electoral system and justify policies that do not solve the alleged wrongs. 

In 2005, an Indiana law that required voters to present a  valid photo identification at polling stations was upheld by the Supreme Court after much contention from the state. Despite their victory, the prosecution was never able to prove any cases cited within the legal briefs where voter impersonation existed. Levitt personally examined the 250 instances of election law fraud and also found most to be dead ends. He determined that only nine of these instances involving a person allegedly voting in someone else's name could have been made a case. That's 3.6 percent, an amount that is almost non-existant. It is true that every vote counts, but the voices of an entireracial demographic simply outweigh the interests of the few individuals.

This certainly does not mean we should not recognize the threat of vote fraud or try to fix it, but the small number of cases that do exist makes the issue of voter misrepresentation a greater priority. The U.S. Central Bureau revealed statistics that showed people of Hispanic and Latino origin made up 37.6 percent of the Texas population, which is approximately 9.6 million people. That is a large, definitive number of people that is at risk of facing the same issue fate as Indiana's minorities . 

Both parties should agree to work together to develop solutions, such as providing free picture IDs for those who can't afford them and reforming the voting process to be more fair and balanced. This attacks the problem of voter fraud at its root and contains it from spreading.

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Brian Tam

I am currently a sophomore student within NYU's school of journalism. I work with the video production team at Fox News. I have an uncontrollable desire to write, which could explain my interests in journalism. Because I'm pedantic and inquisitive, I tend to frequently critique my writing as well as others'. But I am always open to new ideas and opinions. PolicyMic gauges my curious fire.

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