Did voter fraud make the crucial difference in the
2012 election? No one knows for sure -- and that's just the way the
Left likes it.
Pawing through the ashes of the Romney defeat, it's clear that
if the Republican Party wants to compete nationally, it has to do
several things, such as re-message timeless traditional values,
attract more young and minority voters, particularly Hispanics, and
do a better job of getting out the vote.
But this will be moot if the integrity of the voting process is
From Republican Rep. Allen West's improbable recount loss in
South Florida, to reports of voting machine irregularities, to the
hundreds of precincts in Ohio and Pennsylvania that reported
a virtual 100-percent vote for Barack Obama and zero for Mitt
Romney, something is clearly wrong.
"It's kind of a weird coincidence that, in Philadelphia, where
more than 50 precincts reported no votes for Romney, that
Democratic officials kicked GOP poll watchers out of the polls,"
Heritage Foundation scholar Hans von Spakovsky told me in a phone
interview. "They went to court, and that took a couple of hours, so
what happened while they were gone?" (
See related OneNewsNow interview with von Spakovsky)
One of the biggest problems is the increase in early voting and
mail-in ballots without a photo ID requirement. As the leftwing
Brennan Center points out, there are relatively few examples of
vote fraud reported on Election Day itself. That's partly because
the media are not interested, and because it's far easier to cheat
during extended periods of mail-in balloting.
Ohio's Wood County has a population of 126,355, with an
estimated 21 percent younger than 18 who can't vote. That means
that only about 100,000 residents can legally vote. Yet the
secretary of state reports that 104,461 people are registered to
vote. To make a long mystery short, consider that Wood County is
home to Bowling Green University, which has 20,000 students.
"When those students graduate or leave school, many don't cancel
their voter registration, which leaves the Wood County Board of
Elections facing a bit of a conundrum: How can you tell when a
voter is no longer a voter?" the Columbus Dispatch asks in
an article, "Vote Fraud in Wood County?"
The director of the Wood County Board of Elections told the
paper that the operating policy is to wait two national election
cycles and then try to contact the voter to see whether they still
live in the county. This means that students who voted in 2004 and
2008 and left campus long ago could have voted there anyway in 2012
as well as wherever they went.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires states to purge their
voter rolls, but not to remove names until two national election
cycles have passed. Moreover, the states are not required to
compare their lists against those of other states. This leaves a
lot of room for fraud.
In the next two years, expect the Left to sponsor legislation to
introduce early voting in the 18 states that don't have it.
They also will try to have more photo ID laws blocked by the
U.S. Justice Department and weaken laws that require even minimal
IDs for mail-in ballots. (Read "DOJ dragging
At the same time, conservatives will make the case for requiring
photo IDs for voting and for mail-in absentee ballots, expanding
citizenship requirements, and ending or at least reducing early
One of the main arguments for early voting is that it's supposed
to increase turnout. It doesn't. With more states allowing it, turnout was significantly down, with about 5
million fewer people voting in 2012 than in 2008. In the 10
battleground states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New
Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin --
turnout percentage decreased in all but one state, Iowa, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Early voting undermines the secret ballot, reduces the
importance of the national election day, costs taxpayers far more
than a single voting day, forces campaigns to spend more over a
longer period of time, and, finally, prevents voters from
exercising a change of heart if more information surfaces before
Election Day (Benghazi, anyone?). "We don't let jurors decide
in a trial before all the evidence is heard," says conservative
activist attorney Andy Schlafly. "Elections are just as
Help may be on the horizon. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to
hear a case in which Arizona is challenging the Ninth Circuit's
ruling overturning that state's proof of U.S. citizenship
requirement for voting. Only three states -- Arizona, Georgia
and Kansas -- have enacted proof of citizenship laws, with the
Kansas law taking effect in 2013, and Arizona's in limbo until the
In another important voting case, on Nov. 9, the Court
agreed to revisit Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by
hearing Shelby County, Ala. vs. Holder, Department of Justice,
et al. The law requires the U.S. Justice Department or a
three-judge federal panel in the District of Columbia to approve
any changes in election laws or districting in nine Southern states
and some local jurisdictions around the nation. Congress enacted
the law to prevent racially-motivated voting violations.
In 1966, in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, the Court
upheld the Act, citing the clear history of racial discrimination.
But the Court also indicated that if conditions change, the
constitutionality of the Act might be revisited.
That would be a good thing. Citing the Voting Rights Act, the
U.S. Justice Department under Eric H. Holder, Jr. blocked perfectly
good photo ID voter laws in South Carolina and Texas despite a 2008
Supreme Court decision upholding a similar law in Indiana.
There's no evidence that voter ID laws "suppress the minority
vote." There is evidence, however, that in some places where such
laws have been neutralized (Pennsylvania), vote fraud occurred.
Did vote fraud make the crucial difference in the 2012 election?
Maybe, maybe not. It's difficult to account accurately for millions
And that's just the way the Left likes it.
Robert Knight, a regular contributor to OneNewNow, is a
senior fellow for The American Civil Rights Union and a
columnist for The Washington Times.
This column is printed with permission. Opinions expressed in 'Perspectives' columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article's author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.