Well, there's very little evidence of fraud even as there's plenty evidence of vote suppression. And Dems, it's as well to understand that in past elections -- in election history in the US -- Democrats have played the vote suppression game as well. But here's something we can change, something we need to change, like, yesterday. The most worrying thing about voting now is evidence of widespread incompetence, state by state. Pure, non-ideological incompetence and too much of it.
University of California professor, Richard Hasen, who wrote "Voting Wars," talked at length about this on NPR yesterday. Some excerpts, including this example of naked incompetence:
Wisconsin was already embroiled in partisan controversy because of Governor Walker's program for trying to crush the public sector unions. And everyone knew that the State Supreme Court was going to decide about the legality of that program to go after these public sector unions. The Court was closely divided between Democrats and Republicans so this was the key race and it was a very close race. And throughout the night, as the election returns came in, they came in in dribs and drabs and the margin kept going back with the lead going between the Democrat and the Republican.
In the middle of the night, it looked like the Democrat was ahead by about 200 votes and you had many conservatives, such as John Fund, formerly of the Wall Street Journal claiming that there were bizarre anomalies in the vote counting and claiming that there was a potential for voter fraud in Madison, which is a Democratic area of the state and in Milwaukee with its unions and urban population.
So it looked like in the morning, the Democrat was ready to win, but then a little bit later in the day, you had a local election official named Kathy Nicholas of Waukasha County and she holds a press conference and she explains that she had kept all of the election returns from her county on her personal laptop and she simply forgot to include the entire city of Brookfield. About 15,000 votes, she forgot to count... ... Part of the problem is that not only are elections partisan, but they are run on a local level and there are varying degrees of competence and resources available. So she announces these votes with those totals. The Republican is ahead by 7,000 votes and Democrats now call for an investigation.
The election official Kathy Nicholas used to work for the Republicans in the State Legislature so Democrats are concerned that there's foul play yet she's vouched for by a woman named Ramona Kitzinger who is her Democratic counterpart and supposed to make sure she's doing a good job and she said everything looked fine.
The next day, through the Democratic Party, she issues a statement saying [paraphrase], "I'm 80 years old. I don't know anything about computers. I think what she did was right, but I'm just not sure. I'm very, very confused." ...Hasen, Diane Rehn Show, NPR
Can't blame the Democrats for thinking the worst. Can blame the state for not making sure its officials were able to do their jobs. Should blame the state...
... The amount of litigation, how many cases go to court, has more than doubled. We haven't moved away from partisan administration of elections. We haven't moved away from local administration of elections. ...Richard Hasen, NPR
And the problems are local. But they have a huge impact on national elections.
... There's different kind of fraud. There's fraud committed by election officials, and I'll give you a recent example of that. Out where I live in California a small city named Cudahy absentee ballots would come into the Cudahy City Council, or the city offices. They would steam them open, see if they were votes for incumbents. If they were votes for incumbents, they resealed them. If they were votes for challengers, they threw them away. Okay. So that happens. It doesn't happen a lot, but election officials are the ones who count the ballots. That's the easiest place to have election fraud. ...
... It's a myth that we have a single presidential election. We actually have 13,000 separate elections. We have elections done by county or at the local level and the rules for how the votes are counted, how they're tabulated, are different. And in this particular country, even though this election official was told by the state board that she shouldn't be keeping these returns on her laptop, she did so anyway. ...Richard Hasen, NPR
Again, much of the "fraud" Republicans have been complaining about (signing up felons to vote) is really not fraud but, again, incompetence on the part of state and local officials.
... The state sent them voter registration material so they thought -- they had completed their sentences. They didn't realize while they were still on probation that they couldn't vote and they voted. ...Richard Hasen, NPR
Or non-citizens voting as well as felons:
In many cases while those votes that are cast by felons or noncitizens are certainly illegal votes in many places, that doesn't necessarily count as voter fraud. Because in some circumstances, the state has asked those people to register to vote and they don't know that they are not allowed to vote. ...Richard Hasen, NPR
The Heritage Foundation announced they had a grand jury report showing voter impersonation fraud. Hasen and others pressed Heritage for proof -- for a look at this "report" -- but were unable to get even a response. Finally the report was found by a district attorney's office and was published showing... no voter impersonation fraud. But of course, the accusation sticks, not the truth. And Heritage continues to enjoy, among some at least, a decent reputation. It is, however, funded in part by one of the Koch Family Foundations.
For more on what Robert Hasen has found and his look at the voter ID law, check out the full transcript here.