By John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky
President Trump has announced that his administration will be launching a major investigation of voter fraud, including those who are registered in more than one state, “those who are illegal” and those voters who are dead but still registered. This followed a media firestorm in which the New York Times and others called Trump’s assertion a “lie.”
But just last week, President Obama told a whopper at his last news conference that went almost completely unnoticed, much less criticized.
He promised he would continue to fight voter-ID laws and other measures designed to improve voting integrity. The U.S. is “the only country among advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote,” he claimed.
This is demonstrably false. All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting.
Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption.
The real problem in our election system is that we don’t really know to what extent President Trump’s claim is true because we have an election system that is based on the honor system.
What we do know, despite assertions to the contrary, is that voter fraud is a problem, and both sides of the political aisle should welcome a real investigation into it — especially since the Obama administration tried so hard for eight years to obfuscate the issue and prevent a real assessment.
Former Justice Department attorney Christian Adams testified under oath that he attended a November 2009 meeting at which then-deputy assistant attorney general Julie Fernandes told DOJ prosecutors that the administration would not be enforcing the federal law that requires local officials to purge illegitimate names from their voter rolls.
This refusal to enforce the law came despite a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or a duplicate. About 2.8 million people are registered in more than one state, according to the study, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead. In most places it’s easy to vote under the names of such people with little risk of detection.
The Obama administration did everything it could to avoid complying with requests from states to verify voter registration records against federal records of legal noncitizens and illegal immigrants who have been detained by law enforcement to find noncitizens who have illegally registered and voted.
The Justice Department has also opposed every effort by states—such as Kansas, Arizona, Alabama and Georgia—to implement laws that require individuals registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship. This despite evidence that noncitizens are indeed registering and casting ballots.
In 2015 one Kansas county began offering voter registration at naturalization ceremonies. Election officials soon discovered about a dozen new Americans who were already registered—and who had voted as noncitizens in multiple elections.