Report skeptical of fraud at polls
Little evidence found despite pending bills
By Richard Wolf
WASHINGTON – At a time when many states are instituting new requirements for voter registration and identification, a preliminary report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found little evidence of the type of polling-place fraud those measures seek to stop.
USA TODAY obtained the report from the commission four months after it was delivered by two consultants hired to write it. The commission has not distributed it publicly.
At least 11 states have approved new rules for independent voter-registration drives or requirements that voters produce specific forms of photo ID at polling places. Several of those laws have been blocked in court, most recently in Arizona last week. The House of Representatives last month approved a photo-ID law, now pending in the Senate.
The bipartisan report by two consultants to the election commission casts doubt on the problem those laws are intended to address. “There is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling-place fraud, or at least much less than is claimed, including voter impersonation, ‘dead’ voters, non-citizen voting and felon voters,” the report says.
The report, prepared by Tova Wang, an elections expert at the Century Foundation think tank, and Job Serebrov, an Arkansas attorney, says most fraud occurs in the absentee ballot process, such as through coercion or forgery. Wang declined to comment on the report, and Serebrov could not be reached for comment.