Republicans keep on telling voter-fraud fairy tales

Republicans keep on telling voter-fraud fairy tales

The Washington Post
By Editorial Board
Image courtesy of Gabriella Demczuk

Shortly before Virginia’s elections last month, we asked the three Republicans on the statewide ballot — Ed Gillespie, the gubernatorial candidate; Jill Vogel, the lieutenant gubernatorial candidate; and John Adams, the attorney general candidate — if they believed voter fraud was rampant in the state. None gave a straightforward answer; all three mentioned the isolated case of an undergraduate at James Madison University who filed 18 falsified voter registration forms last year, none of which resulted in a fraudulent vote being cast.

The JMU case is the near-exception that proves the rule: Voting officials and scholars in Virginia, as in other states, say election fraud is rare across the United States; even more seldom does it result in falsified votes at the ballot box.

Nonetheless, the robotic responses by the three Virginia Republicans, who all lost by sizable margins, reflected the party’s intellectual corruption in an age of truthlessness. In the party of President Trump, who asserted, without a scintilla of evidence, that he lost the popular vote in the presidential election because up to 5 million people voted fraudulently, veracity has gone out of fashion. Consequently, many GOP candidates, including Mr. Gillespie, Mr. Adams and Ms. Vogel, lack the spine to utter what is plainly true — namely, that there is no evidence whatsoever that voter fraud is prevalent in the United States.

The Republican project is clear. Facing disadvantageous demographic trends — specifically, an increasingly diverse electorate — GOP lawmakers across the country are using the specter of fraudulent voting to justify rules, including tougher state voter ID legislation, tailor-made to deter minority and young voters, who lean Democratic.

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