New Studies: Illegal Voting by Non-citizens May Have Given Obama North Carolina, Al Franken Minnesota, More

October 28, 2014

Further to last week’s discussion of voter fraud (“Four Reasons to Hold Elections on Election Day”), two related stories:

1 — America’s Watchtower, “Over 1,400 non-citizens are on North Carolina voting rolls”

This story is an update to last week’s post where we learned that 145 non-citizens were found on North Carolina’s voting rolls. . . .

The investigation is now complete and it turns out that over 1,400 people who are ineligible to vote are on the voting rolls.

My comment:  Good thing North Carolina’s government was recently taken over by reform-minded Republicans.  It sounds as though they’ll actually try to make sure these ineligible people don’t dilute the vote.

2 — Washington Post blog Monkey Cage, “Could non-citizens decide the November election?”

Politics professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest provide further evidence that voter fraud is a huge problem.

In a forthcoming article in the journal Electoral Studies, we bring real data from big social science survey datasets to bear on the question of whether, to what extent, and for whom non-citizens vote in U.S. elections. Most non-citizens do not register, let alone vote. But enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.

If it doesn’t go without saying, non-citizens are not legally eligible to vote.  To be clear, this is voter fraud we’re talking about.

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina.

This counts as a statement against interest (and thus more likely to be true), because the professors are liberal; while reporting on these non-partisan data, they find the time to get into politics:

We also find that one of the favorite policies advocated by conservatives to prevent voter fraud appears strikingly ineffective. Nearly three quarters of the non-citizens who indicated they were asked to provide photo identification at the polls claimed to have subsequently voted.

My comment:  Basic voter-ID laws are one common-sense protection we should have; there’s no reason they have to be the only one.  If they don’t totally stop all fraud by themselves (but apparently do reduce it by 25% by themselves), that’s certainly no reason not to have them.

(Imagine if we applied arguments like that to other areas.  What are three ways we limit the spread of Ebola?  Let’s say (1) telling people with symptoms to go to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment, (2) having the doctors and nurses who treat them put on the proper protective gear first, and (3) quarantining certain people who have been exposed to the virus.  If we found that one of these three steps, considered by itself, “only” reduced the spread of the virus by 25%, would we throw up our hands, call it “strikingly ineffective”, and give up on enforcing it?)

4 Responses to “New Studies: Illegal Voting by Non-citizens May Have Given Obama North Carolina, Al Franken Minnesota, More”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    I would look at whether strict voter id laws dissuade or prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots (they do). If that number is greater than the number of noncitizens they prevent from voting, then the harm is greater than the good. In other words, your analysis is incomplete.

    • Interesting idea, but I think you’ve also given the game away: You said “dissuade or prevent”, but those are two very different things. Voter-ID laws don’t prevent people from voting—on the contrary, Republican reformers have bent way over backward to make sure that everyone who is legally eligible to vote will be able to get a free ID to be able to vote. If a person chooses not to vote, on the other hand, that’s his choice.

      The National Review editors put it well:

      The truth of the situation was more accurately described by Representative G. K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat who in the course of denouncing the new voter-ID requirement told PBS: “Many people will not do that. They will choose not to vote.”

      They will choose not to vote. That is rather a different thing from what transpired under the prefectship of Jim Crow. . . .

      If there are substantial obstacles to securing state-issued photo identification for those 3 percent or so of North Carolina voters who do not have them, then the proper response is to remove those obstacles rather than to block intelligent election reform. Republican legislators in the state already have offered to use their legislative staffs to help voters who might have trouble getting photo IDs, and the state is ready to spend such money as it takes to ensure that inability to pay any related fees will not prevent those without means from getting their IDs . . . .

  2. […] on the recent topic of voter fraud, more news about how illegal voters may actually be changing outcomes and helping Democrats win […]

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