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Voter fraud reports overstated: US elections panel

[JURIST] The US Election Assistance Commission [official website] has found little evidence to support claims of voter fraud [status report, PDF] that have been driving the recent push for more stringent voter registration and voter ID policies [JURIST report], USA Today reported Wednesday. The report, released in May but just made public Wednesday, evaluated claims of fraud and voter intimidation and concluded:

There is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud, or at least much less than is claimed, including voter impersonation, "dead" voters, noncitizen voting and felon voters. Those few who believe it occurs often enough to be a concern say that is impossible to show the extent to which it happens, but do point to instance in the press of such incidents. Most people believe that false registration forms have not resulted in polling place fraud, although it may create the perception that vote fraud is possible. ...

Abuse of challenger laws and abusive challengers seem to be the biggest intimidation/suppression concerns, and many of those interviewed assert that the new identification requirements are the modern version of voter intimidation and suppression.
The report also concluded that absentee ballot fraud is far and away the most common type of voter fraud. The report also noted frustration from both sides of the political spectrum regarding failure of the Department of Justice [official website] to pursue voting fraud complaints. USA Today has more.

Several states have enacted laws requiring voters to present photo ID [JURIST news archive] at the polls in an effort to combat voter fraud, but courts have largely struck down these laws an unconstitutional. Most recently, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an emergency injunction [JURIST report] last week blocking Arizona officials from enforcing the state's voter ID law. Similar voter ID bills have recently been blocked in Georgia and Pennsylvania [JURIST reports], and the Missouri Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge [JURIST report] on that state's ID law.

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