- Mar 13, 2007
- Reaction score
In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud
WASHINGTON, April 11 Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
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.
In Miami, an assistant United States attorney said many cases there involved what were apparently mistakes by immigrants, not fraud.
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.
One ex-convict was so unfamiliar with the rules that he provided his prison-issued identification card, stamped Offender, when he registered just before voting.
A handful of convictions involved people who voted twice. More than 30 were linked to small vote-buying schemes in which candidates generally in sheriffs or judges races paid voters for their support.
A federal panel, the Election Assistance Commission, reported last year that the pervasiveness of fraud was debatable. That conclusion played down findings of the consultants who said there was little evidence of it across the country, according to a review of the original report by The New York Times that was reported on Wednesday.
Mistakes and lapses in enforcing voting and registration rules routinely occur in elections, allowing thousands of ineligible voters to go to the polls. But the federal cases provide little evidence of widespread, organized fraud, prosecutors and election law experts said.
There was nothing that we uncovered that suggested some sort of concerted effort to tilt the election, Richard G. Frohling, an assistant United States attorney in Milwaukee, said............