Telling the truth (the whole truth) about voter fraud

Delegate Rob Bell
In an email sent to supporters on January 25, Delegate Rob Bell (R-HD58), a candidate for Virginia Attorney General, takes issue with those who oppose laws that require a photo ID to vote and argue that there is no evidence of extensive voter fraud.

To rebut those claims, Bell links to a 2012 news article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which, as he says in the email, notes

38 charges of voter fraud from the 2008 election. Most of these have resulted in convictions. In another 194 cases, the state police found likely evidence of fraud, but the local prosecutors declined to prosecute.

(Bell links to the same article from his campaign web site.)

What Bell omits, however, is this sentence from that same Times-Dispatch article:

None of the cases appeared to involve someone who misrepresented his or her identity at the polls to vote.

In other words, the sort of legislation that Bell is advocating — requiring a photo ID as proof of identity in order to be permitted to vote — would not have prevented any of the numerous cases of voter fraud that he cites as justification for passing the bill into law.

Bell’s bill on voter ID has been designated HB 1787 and has been referred to the House Privileges & Elections Committee. Bell’s opponent for the GOP nomination for Attorney General, state Senator Mark Obenshain (R-SD26) has submitted similar legislation: SB 1256 has been referred to the Senate P&E Committee, which Obenshain chairs.

For perspective, see this Bearing Drift post of mine from August 2012 about the extent of voter fraud in Virginia over the past decade.

@rick_sincere | | Rick Sincere’s posts

  • Rick. I might be interested in this if you could learn grammar. First, get your verbs and tenses right. It is either in the present, or the past, but not both at the same time. Also learn what subjects and verbs mean. This is a really sorry piece of slop.

  • And we are left dangling with just who your “supporters” are in the first sentence. Do you mean suspenders, are you running for office, or is this people who pay you for your opinion? Really, I have no idea what you are talking about. Surely I am not the only one who was left scratching their heads after wading through this.

    • I’m interested in the “one” who has multiple heads to scratch. Please contact P.T. Barnum, he’s probably looking for more side-show freaks.

    • Craig, what the hell are you talking about? Rob Bell is running for AG. He sent his email to his supporters…the folks who signed up for his email list. What is difficult to understand about that?

  • Mike Barrett

    I firmly beleive that neither democrats nor republicans want voters to have illegal access to the polls. That said, identidy can be ascertained in many ways, and voter registrars should do all they can, consistent with the right of citizens to vote, to make sure fraud does not exist.
    That said, from a practical standpoint, knowing that fraud is virtually non existent, republicans have lost the initiative in regard to building their base due to their irrational attempts to reduce the size of the electorate. Even if they have prevented a few cases of fraud, they had lost thousands of votes because voters have decided that this is just another example of republican intrasigence.
    I think republicans do themselves continuing damage by these efforts not only to deny or make more difficult the right to vote, but to rig the election process to their partisan advantage.

    • Loudoun GOPer

      “That said, from a practical standpoint, knowing that fraud is virtually non existent…”

      Are you insane??!?!?! Do you really think that people aren’t showing up to vote claiming to be someone they are not? Do you think unions don’t bus people into Wisconsin and go from precinct to precinct, taking advantage of Wisonsin’s law that allows you to register and vote in the same day? Do you think it is just a coincidence that precincts in Philadelphia record more votes cast than registered voters?

      Did you not watch the video of Jim Moran’s son giving detailed instructions on how to create phony utility bills in order to vote? Do you think he just thought that up all by himself?

      The problem with stopping this kind of voter fraud is that it is so hard to catch. In order to prove it, you would need to go through the entire list of people who voted in an election, then contact them each one at a time, and asked them if they voted, then figure out who is listed as having voted when they say they didn’t. At that point you still only have a partial list of fraudelent votes in the precinct/county you researched. You still don’t have the people who committed the voter fraud. Oh yeah, and the election has already been certified before you can even get your hands on the voter list for that election.

      Ellen Saurbrey PROVED fradulent voting in 1994 in her race for MD Governor against Parris Glendenning, producing evidence (a list just like I described above) of thousands of fradulent votes, but a judge refused to overturn the results or call for a new election.
      For crying out loud, UN elections inspectors were SHOCKED that we did not require photo ids to vote in America. What does THAT tell you?
      You have to stop this kind of fraud before it happens. Stop them from getting the ballot in their hands at voting booth. Because if the fraudulant voter is allowed to cast that ballot, it is too late.

      • Mike Barrett

        Never mind; keep losing the electorate because you fail to acknowledge that the perception of voter suppression, and the reality of only a tiny fraction of fraud, favors those who believe republicans don’t wan’t democrats to vote.

        • Mike, you’re right that perceptions matter when it comes to politics. Right now, the perception is that election integrity is being routinely violated, and in a way that under current law that is nearly impossible to prosecute. When I saw (as I did at a heavily Dem precinct in PWC in 2008) a minibus full of non-English speakers all pile out, following the instructions of their SEIU-t-shirt-wearing guide, and proceed to vote using utility bills and other non-photo IDs, I can strongly suspect there is voter fraud happening right in front of me. But, they followed the letter of the law and there is therefore no basis to challenge them. Photo ID fixes this. This is common sense, plain and simple.

          Whether you think the problem is real is not especially relevant, as it is an issue of perception. Right now there is a HUGE portion of the electorate that does not trust our system. That is not healthy for a functioning democracy. The simplest, easiest, most elegant way to address this is to require government issued photo ID. That so many people are up in arms about something so common sensical suggests to me that perhaps they doth protest too much.

  • JustinVC

    A lot of credit to you and this article.

    • And a lot of silence from the Voter ID supporters…

  • Pam Brown


    I am trying to understand your point. How is requiring a picture ID “Voter Suppression”?

    You have to have ID to even go to the doctor and get medical care, get a job, cash a check etc. So, please explain.


    • Mike Barrett

      My simple point is that identidy can be ascertained in many ways, and voter registrars should do all they can, consistent with the right of citizens to vote, to make sure fraud does not exist. After all, our the founding fathers did not have picture IDs, and many today still don’t. However, it they have established their identidy to the voter registrar, and present that or other existing forms of ID, why require more?

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