In the cynical world of politics there is no agenda more cynical than the Republicans tilting at the windmill of voter fraud. After losing the popular vote by more than 3 million to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump appointed the Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Fraud. As the head of this group Trump appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach one of the leading advocates for restrictions on Voter’s rights. The voter fraud campaign seeks a solution to a non-existent problem. In person Voter fraud has been shown time and again to be largely mythical. In fact, cases of illegal voting in Michigan numbered 31 state wide, these cases were scattered throughout Michigan. These numbers are typical of the nationwide rate. In other words, statistically irrelevant to the outcome of elections.
Republicans say they're trying to assure voters that the system is secure, even if voter fraud isn't as widespread as Trump and many other Republicans claim. A typical stance is summed up by this quote from New Hampshire Republican State Senator Regina Birdsell, "I don't know if there's a lot of cheating. I just know that because of our loose laws, people feel that way." She has sponsored legislation to tighten residency requirements for voters in her state, where Trump has claimed thousands of Massachusetts voters were bused in to cast illegal ballots. That claim has been widely discredited — including by New Hampshire Republicans — but Birdsell says her constituents still worry people from out of state can game the system. So, the President of the United States tells a bald-faced lie about illegal voting in New Hampshire, which leads to Birdsell’s constituents allegedly feeling worried about the integrity of the system, and then tries to pass laws to restrict voting in her state. In the current, perception is reality world we seem to live in I guess this makes a twisted sort of sense, tell a lie, get people stirred up, use the lie to advance your agenda.
Similarly, in Iowa last year the Secretary of State Paul Pate pushed for a sweeping measure that would require voters to sent a new card with a bar code to verify their identity. When asked to justify this change, which opponents argue is much more likely to disenfranchise the underprivileged and disabled, the Secretary stated that he doesn’t think voter fraud is rampant in Iowa, but says all the talk of fraud has people worried. He went on to say, "The public is now taking that perception as a reality.” Hey, here’s an idea, why don’t you stand up as the elected official of your state in charge of elections and state that people have no need to be worried, that fraud is rare and non-determinative in elections in Iowa. So that they won’t be worried anymore.
The voter fraud narrative is entirely about restricting access to the vote. It has been shown again and again that stricter requirements and limits on absentee voting have the effect of suppressing the vote amongst the poor, the aged, and the disabled. Clearly, the whole movement is nothing more than an attempt to return to the days when many groups found it nearly impossible to exercise their most basic democratic rights.