Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
A decision in "Jim Crow on trial" in the state court of Pennsylvania is expected sometime this month. A decision in "Jim Crow on trial" in the D.C. Circuit Court from the state of Texas is also expected this month. The lawyers may want to supplement the trial record with this latest investigative report. Election Day impersonation, an impetus for voter ID laws, a rarity, data show:
A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent.
The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.
The News21 report is based on a national public-records search in which reporters sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of alleged fraudulent activity — including registration fraud; absentee-ballot fraud; vote buying; false election counts; campaign fraud; the casting of ballots by ineligible voters, such as felons and non-citizens; double voting; and voter impersonation.
The analysis found that there is more alleged fraud in absentee ballots and voter registration than in any of the other categories. The analysis shows 491 cases of alleged absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases involving registration fraud. Requiring voters to show identification at the polls — the crux of most of the new legislation — would not have prevented those cases.
The analysis also found that more than 46 percent of the reported election fraud allegations resulted in acquittals, dropped charges or decisions not to bring charges.
In many cases, people simply made mistakes. Felons or non-citizens sometimes registered to vote or cast votes because they were confused about their eligibility. Some voters accidentally cast their ballots twice or went to the wrong precinct. And election officials made mistakes, such as clerical errors — giving voters ballots when they have already voted — and errors due to confusion about eligibility.
Voter impersonation fraud has attracted intense attention in recent years as Republicans and others have argued that strict voter ID laws are needed to prevent widespread fraud.
The case has been made repeatedly by the Republican National Lawyers Association. Part of the group’s mission is advancing “open, fair and honest elections,” and it has compiled a list of about 375 election fraud cases, based mostly on news reports.
News21 examined those cases and found that 77 were alleged fraud by voters. Of those, News21 could verify that 33 resulted in convictions or guilty pleas. The analysis shows no cases of voter impersonation fraud.
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Civil rights and voting rights activists condemn the voter ID laws as a way of disenfranchising minorities, students, senior citizens and the disabled.
“It’s simply a new big burden on the backs of people who just want to have their voices heard during elections,” said Eddie Hailes, managing director and general counsel of the Advancement Project, a civil rights group challenging voter ID laws in Texas, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. [The state court in Wisconsin has already blocked that state's new voter ID law.]
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Since , Republican-dominated legislatures — with the exception of Rhode Island, where Democrats passed a photo ID law — have considered 62 ID bills.
Nine states — Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin — passed stricter voter ID laws, though only the Kansas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee measures are scheduled to be in effect by November. [Pennsylvania may not.]
The Pennsylvania law has drawn considerable attention, particularly after Republican Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania’s House majority leader, said in a video that has since gone viral that the state’s new law “is going to allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done.”
According to Pennsylvania state officials, as many as 759,000 people, about 9 percent of the state’s 8.2 million registered voters, do not have the identification that will be required to vote.
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In a pretrial stipulation, Pennsylvania officials said they would offer no evidence that “in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania or elsewhere” or that “in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of a Photo ID law.”
Pennsylvania officials, who responded to the News21 public-record requests, also reported no cases of Election Day voter impersonation fraud since 2000.
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Alex Remington of News 21 contributed to this report. News21 is a national investigative reporting project involving college journalism students across the country and based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. News21 is funded by the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
For more detail about the data-gathering effort, including a state-by-state list of responsiveness and links to the documents the team received, and to explore the database itself, go to the Election Fraud Database. Learn more about the methodology behind the data here.
For the complete Voting Rights in America project, visit votingrights.news21.com.
An earlier Brennan Center for Justice study found that nearly 500,000 eligible voters in 10 states with restrictive voter ID laws live in households without vehicles and reside at least 10 miles from an ID-issuing office open more than two days a week.