“Voter Fraud”: A Simple Phrase Used to Disenfranchise

“Do we need to start messaging ‘widespread reports of election fraud’ so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we should.” — Steve Baas, a lobbyist for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and former Republican legislative staffer, floated an idea on the email thread.

“Yes. Anything fishy should be highlighted. Stories should be solicited by talk radio hosts.” — Scott Jensen — the former GOP Assembly Speaker turned lobbyist for American Federation for Children, a private school voucher advocacy group — quickly responded.

In another email, Jensen writes that [Judge] Prosser “needs to be on talk radio in the morning saying he is confident he won and talk radio needs to scream the Dems are trying to steal the race.”

These quotes are taken from an email exchange during an election for Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2011, and show that claims of ‘voter fraud’ are generally nothing more than attempts to manipulate the public. (1)

No widespread voter fraud was ever discovered in Wisconsin in this election or any other, although, in 2012 a Republican voter did manage to cast a ballot for Gov. Scott Walker FIVE times. (2)  

In Missouri it was alleged that a tight race was decided by the illegal voting of 50 Somali nationals. This claim was proven FALSE, but this did not stop members of the Republican Party from publishing the lie in various columns in 2011, 2012, and 2013. (3)

Republican Kris Kobach, who was Secretary of State in Kansas, had prosecutorial powers to stop thousands of illegal immigrants from voting in Kansas elections. After two years, he had nine prosecutions most of them older Republicans. One was a 20 year old who voted for Trump twice. (4,5)

Study after study after study shows that WIDSPREAD voter fraud is a MYTH, and while there are instances of occasional voter fraud, it is RARE. (6) Yet voter-fraud is the alarm bell that allows legislators to pass stringent voting laws that disenfranchise large numbers of voters, many of whom are Black, Latinax, young, Native American, and/or under the poverty line (7,8,9). These laws do nothing to actually stop the few instances of voter fraud which typically occur due to administrative error or honest mistake (which is what the young lady who voted for President Trump twice said she made). Ultimately modern day voter suppression is the continuation of a heritage of voter suppression that goes back to the end of the Civil War, and it is just another example of systemic racism.  

1 –  https://madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/in-newly-released-emails-critics-see-proof-of-political-motive/article_140c898e-2c28-5e0c-ad4e-aa8fdf61cc8c.html

2 – https://www.cbsnews.com/news/scott-walker-supporter-claims-amnesia-in-voter-fraud-case/

3 – https://www.propublica.org/article/kris-kobach-voter-fraud-kansas-trial

4 – https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/21/kris-kobach-voter-fraud-investigation-prosecution-215164

5 – https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xw73j4/kris-kobach-wanted-this-20-year-old-to-go-to-jail-for-accidentally-voting-twice

6 – https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/resources-voter-fraud-claims

7 – https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/new-voter-suppression

8 – https://www.npr.org/2020/02/14/806083852/north-dakota-and-native-american-tribes-settle-voter-id-lawsuits

9 – https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/voter-suppression-novembers-looming-election-crisis/613408/

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