Vote, Vote, Everybody Get Up And Vote*

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With the U.S. Attorneys scandal as a starting point, the New York Times tries to debunk Republican claims that voter fraud is 1)widespread and 2)contrived to steal elections for Democrats.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

Cut to:

In Wisconsin, where prosecutors have lost almost twice as many cases as they won, charges were brought against voters who filled out more than one registration form and felons seemingly unaware that they were barred from voting.

That's intriguing, because Wisconsin—which allows voters to show up at the polls on election day and register to vote, if they're not already registered—is the state Republicans most often claim was flipped from Bush to Kerry by fraud. I can't find the transcript, but I heard former Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum say so on Fox News in 2005. (Kerry won by about 11,000 votes.) It's intriguing, too, because of this:

Kimberly Prude, 43, has been jailed in Milwaukee for more than a year after being convicted of voting while on probation, an offense that she attributes to confusion over eligibility.

The Times is too skeptical of whether or not fraud exists—it does. It doesn't much happen when parties re-register lots of the same people or get voters to use the names of dead people. More often the elections are flipped via ballot-counting—ballots get "lost" or "discovered." John Fund could tell you about that.

*Headline explanation here.