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Vote fraud by impersonation just doesn’t exist

I mean, if Greg Abbott can’t find it, who possibly could?

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Since taking office in 2001, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has called voter fraud an “epidemic,” and made cracking down on it a top priority. Now, as he runs for governor, he’s touting his ongoing battle to implement the state’s strict voter ID law, arguing that the measure is crucial to combat fraud.

But over the 13 years of Abbott’s tenure, his office can only cite two fraudulent votes that might have been stopped by the ID law.

To put that another way, such votes accounted for one out of every 18.7 million votes cast in Texas during that period—and that’s counting only the general elections for statewide races. Meanwhile, 796,000 Texans, by the state’s own numbers, lack an ID.

The glaring difference between rhetoric and reality in Abbott’s treatment of the issue underscores the comically weak case for voter ID measures, and highlights the lengths that their backers have gone to—still without success—to find evidence of large-scale fraud. It also raises questions about Abbott’s basic intellectual honesty as he works to persuade Texas voters to make him one of the most important Republican office-holders in the country.


No one disputes that there’s been illegal voting in Texas lately. In the FBI investigation into vote-buying in south Texas that Abbott refers to, three women working for school board candidates in the Rio Grande Valley have been accused of paying voters in cash, drugs, beer and cigarettes. Days after they were arrested, the school board president committed suicide, and the probe is continuing.

There’s just one problem with Abbott’s use of the case: The allegations involve absentee ballots, not in-person voting. That means the voter ID law that Abbott is championing would have done nothing to stop the alleged scheme.

Indeed, election experts say absentee ballot fraud is the most common form of organized voter fraud, since, because of the secret ballot, there’s no way to ensure that an in-person voter is voting for the candidate he promised to. That’s why voter ID laws are an ineffective tool for catching the small amount of fraud that exists.

We’ve been over this many times before, so I’ll spare us both the usual trawl through my archives. The bottom line remains that in person vote fraud remains the stupidest and least efficient way possible to try to steal an election. There’s a reason no one has ever uncovered anything but an isolated vote here and there. Meanwhile, the one place where vote fraud is known to occur – absentee ballots – remains largely unexamined, while Texas’ voter ID law is ludicrously strict. There’s just no justification for it.

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  1. Brad M. says:

    Greg Abbott is simply absolutely full of shit.

    Just wanted to see what the four letter word censor parameters are on comments here.

  2. Brad M. says:

    Guess they are fairly reasonable.

  3. Robert says:

    Ignorant position. It may not exist often but we don’t know because rules relating to how an election judge processes a voter, before voter ID, made it impossible to ascertain such even when one suspected it. The only way it was ever caught was in the unlikely event that the persons being impersonated actually showed up to vote after the impersonation and the signature line was already signed. This actually happens more than you’d think but it’s always thought of as clerical error – signing the wrong line.

  4. matx says:

    Robert -I would have to ask you to cite references for your assertion. Apparently the people who enforce voter integrity in Texas found only 2 instances out of millions for in-person voting. And they are looking hard.

    If you’ve seen it personally or know people who have, why not step up and give evidence?

    Please cite away. . .

  5. Yvonne Larsen says:

    State Rep. Lon Burnam (D-TX) smeared supporters of Texas’ voter ID bill as trying to “suppress votes.”

    He may be re-thinking that stance now. Burnam lost his March 4 Democratic primary by just 111 votes, to Ramon Romero.

    Burnam alleges that he lost because of voter fraud, a phenomenon that Democrats routinely insist does not even exist, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Anna Tinsley.


  6. matx says:

    The GOP voter ID bill pushed in Texas focuses on in-person voting. Until the Republicans start looking where and how actual vote fraud that affects real electoral outcomes occurs, the Lon Burnam situation is not a “gotcha” scenario for the GOP.

    “In a lawsuit styled Lon Burnam v. Ramon Romero, Burnam noted that nearly 1,000 of the 5,078 votes cast in this race were absentee mail-in ballots — which could have been a deciding factor.”

    Read more here:

    Is it only now that absentee ballots are recognized as a method of voting ripe for fraud?

    No, Republicans and Democrats recognize that fraud occurs much more frequently by voting by other methods than in-person voting. Here’s a few links. If you think they are too cherry-picked, just google “absentee ballot voter fraud”: