The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Report downplays voter fraud, highlights systemic problems

by Shreema Mehta

Oct. 13, 2006 – A preliminary US Elections Commission report on voter fraud suggests there are few incidents of individual voter fraud in the US, or at least less than some government officials and voting groups claim, while systemic types of fraud and disenfranchisement are significant.

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The report, based on interviews with public officials and representatives of academic, advocacy and legal groups, said there was "widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling-place fraud, or at least much less than claimed." Fraud includes voter impersonation, non-citizen voting and voting in the name of dead people.

According to the report, the biggest area of concern over fraud is absentee voting.

Meanwhile, the Commission acknowledged that other important obstacles to fair elections lie in voter-intimidation and vote-suppression tactics ranging from partisans challenging voters’ registration status at the polls to insufficient voting machines and long lines. The authors also note the decrease in attention to such matters by the US Department of Justice, which has erstwhile "increased its focus on matters such as noncitizen voting, double voting and felon voting."

"There is as much evidence, and as much concern, about structural forms of disenfranchisement as about intentional abuse of the system," reads the report, first obtained by USA Today. "These include felon disenfranchisement, poor maintenance of databases and identification requirements."

In recent years, politicians have driven anti-fraud initiatives, while many activists have highlighted deeper-rooted causes of disenfranchisement and potential for groups like voting-machine manufacturers, law-enforcement officials and local party chapters to carry undue influence on elections.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.


Shreema Mehta is a staff journalist.

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