The Best Way to Prevent Voter Fraud

Granderson: The ‘election police’ don’t need to be right to be effective.

By David Weigel

The election campaign this year has been unusually noisy and confrontational, with candidates repeatedly accusing each other of voter fraud during and after the votes were counted. Yet when it comes to policing the election, the “election police” have been mostly quiet. If this makes them sound like the good guys on election night, that’s partly because election night is still pretty quiet.

After all, if we were worried about voter fraud — and I would think anyone who was concerned about voter fraud should be — we wouldn’t have this long, drawn-out, highly-partisan campaign in the first place.

Consider the most effective way to prevent voter fraud: a system in which voters were required to show ID.

The problem with voter ID is that it’s not very easy to get. The best a single ID could do is reliably prevent someone from voting for two candidates for a party. That’s because both candidates could be registered — but the people who want to change their vote from one candidate to the other, and from party to party, can be.

The best way to prevent voter fraud is the most basic: require people to show ID. If you have such a system in your state, you won’t have to worry about voter fraud nearly as much.

But even assuming a real system like this does exist, voter ID still wouldn’t really help much. We all know that there are people with a driver’s license, with a home address in one state and in another, and with the kind of job that requires a national ID number — those are the people who would be most likely to vote fraudulently.

So the key to keeping voter fraud low is: The people who most need to show ID are going to be the least likely to be honest about it.

That’s a problem that’s very different from

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