Opinionated @ CFE

Election fraud? Focus on the right part of the problem


It seems like there are a number of conservatives who have an unhealthy fixation on the issue of vote fraud. This fixation usually results in making it a lot more difficult to register to vote with requirements to register far in advance and produce copious identification. This focus, however, is horribly misdirected.

The reality of vote fraud is that it is rare, often uncoordinated, and unlikely to change the outcome of most elections. In cases where an election is close enough to make a difference, additional scrutiny is placed upon the ballots to ensure that they were properly cast. Any attempt to game an election from the front end would be quickly discovered and result in huge penalties for people who usually have little to gain from it.

Election fraud, however, is a real specter. Time and time again, electronic voting machines are shown to be easily gamed and changed to result in substantially different outcomes. Because the results can be modified to show a significant victory for a given party with the involvement of very few players, it becomes less likely that it will draw attention and scrutiny. As Joseph Stalin, someone well-versed in manipulating elections, has said, “He who votes does nothing. He who counts the votes decides everything.”

Most of us want elections to be fair and square, so let’s focus on the parts that can actually be gamed.

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