The raging debate about voter fraud has been hijacked by the left, says a leading expert on the issue, and the left is driving the narrative in a false direction using slick deception.
The question is: What will President-elect Donald Trump do about it?
When people think about “voter fraud,” they tend to think about the dead voting, people voting in multiple precincts or party machines paying homeless people to cast ballots.
While those are all legitimate concerns, the mass fraud happens long before the vote is cast – at the point of registration – says Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of the book, “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.”
By centering the debate on “voter ID” laws, the left has been able to divert attention away from the real source of the problem – lax voter-registration laws.
Only seven states have strict photo ID voter laws. But even these are not enough to stop non-citizen green-card holders from illegally registering to vote and providing their driver’s licenses when they show up to cast a fraudulent vote.
Only 4 states require proof of citizenship to register
The heart of the matter comes down voter registration, which is based on an “honor system,” Spakovsky said. “Nobody is checking to make sure those registering to vote are citizens.”
Right now, there are only four states that require residents to provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, when they register to vote. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Kansas – all of which backed Trump in November.
Related story: Trump may be right about winning popular legal vote
Here are some immigration numbers that have a direct impact on the integrity of the voting system:
The United States is currently bringing in a record 1.3 million legal immigrants per year, most of them on green cards and increasingly from hostile nations like Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. A green card allows a foreign national to reside legally and permanently in the United States, as well as providing the right to work, obtain a driver’s license and social security card, purchase a gun and even serve in the U.S. military. But one of the few privileges not afforded to the green-card holder is the right to vote.
Problem is, once you’ve afford all these other rights to the foreign national who’s here on a green card, what’s to stop him from registering to vote? There is no system in place to do that.
Even the strictest voter ID law would not catch that green-card holder who checks off the “U.S. citizen” box on the voter registration application. He has his driver’s license or military ID to show at the polls, so he’s good to go.
Contrast that number, 1.3 million per year getting green cards, with the estimated number of illegal aliens who sneak across the southern border or overstay their visas – an estimated 450,000 to 500,000 per year. And illegals are also more likely to come in and out of the country than those with green cards, and they are less likely, unless they reside in California, to have a valid driver’s license.
So by now, you should start to see, purely on a mathematical basis, where the greatest potential for fraud exists. It’s with the green-card holders.
Trump issued a tweet Sunday saying he would have “won the popular vote” over Hillary Clinton “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” That prompted headlines at CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times, Politico and many other media outlet that all said, “No proof exists of widespread voter fraud.”
Technically, that’s true.
The question none of these outlets is asking, however, is why is it that no proof exists?
If you ask the wrong questions, you will get the wrong answers, says Spakovsky.
“All these newspapers are going to a lot of trouble to deny the obvious, and that is the United States has a long history of voter fraud,” he said.
The Supreme Court recognized the problem in 2008 when it ruled on a case upholding a voter ID law in Louisiana.
“We have a whole file at the Heritage Foundation of convictions in courts of law, over 700 defendants convicted of voter fraud,” he added.
System designed to fail?
But let’s assume that, for the sake of argument, cases like this wouldn’t qualify as “widespread” fraud.
To crack that nut, you have to look at the bigger picture. How do you find proof in a system that is designed to hide the proof?
“I don’t know if what Donald Trump says is correct or not because our system is so bad, and it’s so easy for so many people to fraudulently vote that we will never find out about it,” Spakovsky told WND “The problem is non-citizens who are clearly registering and voting all over the country. In the convictions we’ve had, in each case it was just discovered by accident. There is no systematic oversight of the voter registration process. It’s all done on the honor system.”
And, in fact, any effort at oversight by the states has been strongly discouraged by the Obama Justice Department.
For example, Florida election officials wanted access to the Department of Homeland Security’s alien database a couple of years ago, citing major problems with non-citizens registering to vote.
The DHS database includes names of millions of non-citizens, legal and illegal, and Florida wanted access to this data so it could verify the citizenship of those on its voting rolls.
“The Obama administration did everything it could to prevent access to that database,” Spakovsky said.
A real and growing problem
In 2014, a study was conducted by two professors from Old Dominion University and one from George Mason, based on survey data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study. This study estimated 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election and 2.2 percent voted in the 2010 midterm congressional elections.
Another poll by John McLaughlin, based on a sample survey of 800 Hispanics in 2013, found that of foreign-born respondents who were registered voters, 13 percent admitted they were not U.S. citizens.
“If even just half of that 13 percent voted, that’s tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots,” Spakovsky said.
Since 80 percent of non-citizens vote for Democrats, according to the ODU/George Mason study, non-citizen participation could have “been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes [in North Carolina in 2008], and Congressional elections” such as the 2008 race in Minnesota in which Al Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate, giving “Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote” to pass Obamacare, Spakovsky concludes.
“So the point Trump is making is valid in that we have this honor system that is being taken advantage of, and we need to focus on how to fix the problem. For that, I think it’s great that Trump is bringing attention to the problem,” he said.
Related story: “Trump may be right about winning popular legal vote”
Sessions to the rescue?
With Sen. Jeff Sessions taking over as attorney general in the incoming Trump administration, all bets are off for the continuation of the status quo. That’s why progressives in the media, leftist political-science professors and an army of community-organizing groups are mobilizing against Trump before he even gets in office.
They’re terrified he will reform the system and demand proof of citizenship at the point of voter registration.
Spakovsky expects Sessions, a former federal prosecutor who has championed border security and admitting fewer refugees from hostile nations, to be a bird dog on restoring the integrity of the election system.
“I think very much so,” Spakovsky said. “There are two things Trump could do to reform the system.”
One is to give states access to the non-citizen database, and second is to start prosecuting non-citizens who are caught not only voting but registering to vote.
The current administration has basically ignored cases of non-citizens who have been discovered to have lied on their registration form by checking the box that says they are U.S. citizens.
In 2011, Spakovsky was serving on the Fairfax County Electoral Board and personally witnessed mass voter-registration fraud.
“We discovered 278 registered in just that one county, and we took them off the rolls and sent the names to the Obama Justice Department [at the time headed by Eric Holder], and they did nothing about it,” Spakovsky said. “Here was 278 cases of potential voter fraud, and they did nothing to investigate it.
“I predict Sessions will take this seriously. I think he understands what an issue this is.”
There’s much work to be done at the state level, too, if the system is to be cleaned up.
Since it’s entirely legal for non-citizens, living in the U.S. legally with green cards, to have drivers’ licenses, the voter ID laws alone are not sufficient to wipe out fraudulent voting.
A green-card holder simply has to lie on his voter registration application, check the box claiming to be a citizen, and he’s a registered voter. There is no system in place to validate that he checked the citizenship box in good faith.
“Every state needs to pass a law similar to those four states – Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Kansas – that says you have to provide proof of citizenship when you register to vote,” Spakovsky said.
“They need to be pushed to do it, and they need to have the U.S. Justice Department supporting them when they get sued by progressive groups trying to stop them from enacting these laws.”
That’s also something that hasn’t happened under Obama, he said.
“The Kansas law has been stopped in federal court. The DOJ has done everything it can to assist the leftist groups in stopping these laws at the state level,” Spakovsky said. “They don’t want the non-citizen voting stopped.”