By now, the idea that voter fraud is a myth or not a problem should be a bit preposterous. A now-known Cincinnati poll worker, Melowese Richardson, has been indicted on eight counts of voter fraud. Several others have been indicted, or accused (without being indicted), in Hamilton County, alone.
Richardson is accused of voting in her own name twice: once via absentee ballot and once in person. The indictment claims that she did the same in previous elections, as well, including 2008 and 2011. Richardson is also accused of voting on behalf of others, including her granddaughter.
For their part, Richardson and her granddaughter see no issue with her actions. Both have said that doing is “not a big deal.” After all, Richardson said she merely wanted her vote “to count.” Hopefully this is not a widespread sentiment.
Additionally, others, including a nun and a widower, are accused of voter fraud; specifically, each is accused of voting on behalf of deceased persons. In the case of the nun, she cast an absentee ballot on behalf of a colleague who passed away before absentee ballots were mailed. The widower cast an absentee ballot on behalf of his spouse, who had passed away a few weeks before Election Day.
Of course, there is the counterpoint that such fraud is limited and would not have affected the outcome of the election. While this may be true in the case of Obama-Romney, it is nonetheless a red herring. The integrity of the electoral system is perhaps more important than who wins. And even if Obama still would have won, we have no way of knowing the full extent of voter fraud or which other elections down the ballot might have been affected.
In terms of high-profile cases, the 2002 South Dakota Senate race between Tim Johnson and John Thune illustrates the point. The race even fulfilled the two aforementioned stereotypes. Johnson beat Thune very narrowly, and later investigations turned up instances of dead people voting, multiple votes, and fraudulent voter registrations. In that case, it seemed probable that Thune very well could have won his way into the US Senate earlier (he was later elected to the Senate, anyway).
Another counterpoint to consider is the charge of voter suppression. Legislatures often try to pass laws designed to curb voter fraud, but such measures are almost invariably called “voter suppression” of some form. Everything from limiting early voting to stopping early voting sooner so voter rolls can be scrubbed to voter ID laws. All are seen as Republicans targeting Democratic voters, trying to prevent them from doing so.
Perhaps the GOP should admit they are, indeed, trying to suppress votes: that is, the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth votes.