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August 06, 2012

Why Voter ID Laws Make Little Sense

Rick Hasen, author of the must-read new book Voting Wars, calls out the Republican push for voter ID laws while noting, "I have not found a single election over the last few decades in which impersonation fraud had the slightest chance of changing an election outcome -- unlike absentee-ballot fraud, which changes election outcomes regularly. (Let's face it: impersonation fraud is an exceedingly dumb way to try to steal an election.)"

"Consider Pennsylvania's new voter ID law, now before the courts. The state conceded that it knew of no instances of impersonation fraud. A top election official did not know how the law worked and played down official estimates that more than 750,000 Pennsylvania voters lacked photo ID, and that an additional 500,000 appeared to have expired ID's. The law gives dangerous discretion to local officials to decide which ID's should be acceptable."

"Pennsylvania is a symptom of a partisan system gone wild. Republicans say they want to get rid of fraud, but they want to get rid of only some kinds -- using remedies that are likely to at least modestly depress Democratic turnout."


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