The stated rationale behind the Republican campaign to require voter ID at the polls is utterly baseless, evidence from a new study confirms.
Republican legislatures are increasingly imposing strict ID requirements for voters, ostensibly to deter in-person voter fraud. But voter fraud in general is rare. And that particular form of voter fraud is “virtually non-existent,” according to the extensive public-records search conducted by News21, a nonpartisan investigative news project funded by the Carnegie and Knight foundations. Researchers filed more than 2,000 public-records requests and reviewed nearly 5,000 court documents, official records and media reports to get their information.
They identified 2,068 alleged cases of voter fraud since the year 2000, a period during which there have been more than 600 million votes cast in presidential elections alone. That, the study noted, is an “infinitesimal amount.” It also showed a total of 10 cases of in-person voter fraud during that period.
With Republicans in control of so many state houses, 25 laws and two executive actions to restrict voting have passed since the beginning of 2011, in 19 states. The most common new voting law, now effective in nine states, requires voters to show certain government-issued photo identification cards.
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