Voter fraud is “rare” and mostly occurs by absentee ballot, concluded a report Wednesday by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.
“Fraud is rare, but when it does occur, absentee ballots are often the method of choice,” the report said, proposing expanded access to early voting as a measure to ease the sorts of long lines seen at the polls in the 2012 election.
The finding is likely to fuel an ongoing partisan debate across the country about the extent of voter fraud and the appropriate measures to deal with it. It is backed by other studies showing that fraud occurs but is extremely uncommon. A Justice Department study found that between 2002 and 2005, just 40 voters (out of 197 million votes cast for federal candidates) were indicted for voter fraud, and just 26 resulted in convictions or guilty pleas.
“That’s my conclusion too,” wrote election scholar Rick Hasen, commenting on the commission’s finding about the rarity of fraud, “but it is not the typical line of hard line Republicans like [Kansas Secretary of State] Kris Kobach.”
The 10-member bipartisan commission was set up by President Barack Obama
last year and tasked with recommending steps to streamline voting. It proposed a series of measures such as expanding online voter registration, allowing early voting in polling facilities such as schools, better management at polling places and overhauling the certification process for new voting technologies.
Read the full report below: