Earlier today, Mary Tuma of The Texas Independent reported on this weekend’s “True the Vote” conference hosted by the Houston-based tea party group King Street Patriots. The group announced its intention to “replicate its ‘voter fraud’-fighting efforts” in several other states, including Florida, but Sunshine State law already addresses many of the issues True the Vote says it wants to correct.
Florida law allows political parties and candidates to register one poll watcher at a time in each precinct, who “shall pose any questions regarding polling place procedures directly to the clerk for resolution” and “may not interact with voters.”
Florida law already requires voters to produce a form of identification when voting, which is one of the goals of True the Vote.
Florida also has a “no match, no vote” law, requiring new voters to submit an identifying number, usually a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number, so the state can confirm an applicant’s identity. Hispanics and African-Americans accounted disproportionately for unmatched names.
A 2007 study (.pdf) on voter fraud by the Brennan Institute at NYU found incidents of people impersonating other voters less common than being “struck by lightning,” and also found that the overwhelming majority of incidents of “voter fraud” were due to typographical errors, mismatches in voter databases (e.g. John Smith and John Smith Jr.), incorrectly filled-out registration cards and voters registering at new addresses without canceling old registrations.
The report said, “Much evidence that purports to reveal voter fraud can be traced to causes far more logical than fraud by voters.”