Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, likely the next governor of that state, has been on a crusade against the “epidemic” of voter fraud, pushing a voter ID law and other measures, to stop it. But his office can only come up with a grand total of six cases in the last 13 years, two of which might have been prevented by voter ID.
Since taking office in 2001, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has called voter fraud an “epidemic,” and made cracking down on it a top priority. Now, as he runs for governor, he’s touting his ongoing battle to implement the state’s strict voter ID law, arguing that the measure is crucial to combat fraud.
But over the 13 years of Abbott’s tenure, his office can only cite two fraudulent votes that might have been stopped by the ID law.
To put that another way, such votes accounted for one out of every 18.7 million votes cast in Texas during that period—and that’s counting only the general elections for statewide races. Meanwhile, 796,000 Texans, by the state’s own numbers, lack an ID…
Last week, msnbc asked the Abbott campaign for information to support the rest of Abbott’s litany: dead people voting, live people voting twice, and non-citizen registering to vote. In response, Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, forwarded information on five elections cases prosecuted by Abbott’s office. All five, plus one more, were also cited by Abbott’s office when the voter ID law was first challenged by the Justice Department in 2012.Two of those six cases might potentially have been stopped by a voter ID law—though even these two appear to have involved feckless individual actors, rather than the kind of coordinated and dangerous large-scale fraud conspiracies that Abbott aims to invoke.
Jack Crowder pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid a $200 fine after being charged with using the voter registration card of his dead father to vote in the 2008 Democratic primary. And Lorenzo Almanza used the voter registration certificate of his brother—who at the time was in prison—to vote twice in a 2009 school district election. Almanza pleaded guilty to illegal voting and was sentenced to two years in jail. His mother, Reyna Almanza, was convicted of lying to a poll workers on his behalf.
But in the other four cases, voter ID would have had no impact.
How many times does this have to play out before people stop believing all this nonsense about voter fraud? In state after state, a public official — always a Republican, of course — declares that something must be done to stop the scourge of voter fraud. But when asked to document that scourge, they can come up with a handful of cases out of millions of votes cast. It’s a lie. It’s always been a lie.