An analysis by News21 — a student reporting project based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism — published in the Washington Post Thursday found that there was little evidence that voter fraud was a persistent problem and in the cases that were prosecuted, the type of fraud committed would not have been prevented by voter ID laws.
News21 analyzed cases of voter fraud between 2012 and 2016 in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Kansas — states where GOP politicians have warned of potential voter fraud. The analysis found that while there were hundreds of allegations of voter fraud, only 38 were prosecuted successfully by the state’s attorney general’s office (however, other cases could have been litigated on a county level). Furthermore, none of the prosecutions involved the type of voter impersonation that would have been prevented by ID laws.
Rather, a third of the cases prosecuted had to do with non-voters, like poll workers and volunteers. Other prosecutions cited anecdotally by the News21 analysis involved fraudulent voting via absentee ballots, which is also not prevented by voter ID laws.
In a particularly amusing anecdote, the report cited a North Carolina case from the 2012 election. A woman in her 70s voted for herself in person, while sending in an absentee ballot for her deceased husband. She told prosecutors that it was his dying wish to vote for Mitt Romney.
News21’s findings are in line with a major 50-state analysis the organization did four years ago, that dated back to cases since 2000. That analysis found that of 2,068 allegations of voter fraud only 10 cases involved voter impersonation.