Election fraud through impersonation of voters hasn't been documented. Photographer: Robert King/Newsmakers via Getty Images
Election fraud through impersonation of voters hasn't been documented. Photographer: Robert King/Newsmakers via Getty Images

The Catch goes to Rick Hasen, who makes four points about voter impersonation fraud:

There is no such thing.

The handful of documented cases in recent years involve isolated, single-individual violations, not broad attempts to steal an election.

The bulk of U.S. election fraud involves misuse of absentee ballots, not voter impersonation.

And there’s a very good reason: Voter impersonation fraud is an impractical, inefficient, and downright stupid way to try to steal an election.

This reality check is a necessary response to a kitchen sink post from the Republican National Lawyers Association, which, in accusing a study of bias, attempted a little misdirection by bringing up fraud other than voter impersonation, and even trotted out the idea that all arguments against voter ID are discredited.

The truth is that academic researchers have failed to find any evidence of widespread voter impersonation fraud. And not just academic researchers. If the practice was widespread, supporters of voter ID surely would have let judges who are considering the measure know. But they haven’t.

We should err in favor of making it easy to vote, rather than in favor of preventing as much fraud as possible. Reasonable people can disagree. And, yes, the hassles involved in obtaining a valid photo ID can be overstated … but they are real hassles that affect a small subgroup of the population (which just happens to support the opposite party from the one pushing these laws).

This is well-trod ground. But as long as advocates of voter ID keep pretending there’s an epidemic of voter impersonation fraud, it’s important to keep pushing back. And so: Nice catch!

To contact the writer of this article: Jonathan Bernstein at Jbernstein62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net.