Not so long ago, prominent Democrats were insisting that voter fraud did not exist in the United States. Others conceded that it existed, but that it was so rare as to be irrelevant to the outcome of elections. Liberal media sources like U.S. News scoffed that looking for voter fraud was like going on a “unicorn hunt.”
Notably, in early 2017 then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi mocked President Trump’s claim that voter fraud occurred in the 2016 presidential election. She called his focus on voter fraud “really strange,” adding, “I frankly feel very sad for the president making this claim.” She asked Republicans to join her in declaring that “we have confidence in our system and that we always respect the results of the election.”
She’s singing a different tune now. As Speaker of the House, she is closely watching the election dispute in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. More than two months after the election, the outcome is still in doubt. Incumbent Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready in the unofficial vote count by 905 votes, but there are credible allegations that a contractor working for the Harris campaign harvested absentee ballots and failed to deliver ballots that were likely cast for McCready. The State Board of Elections declined to certify the election result in the wake of the November election, and a new Board will resume investigating the election later in January.
But the final decision rests with the United States House of Representatives, which can decline to seat any Member. Speaker Pelosi has suddenly developed a very keen interest in the problem of voter fraud. She recently described just how fundamental the problem of voter fraud is: “This is bigger than that one seat. This is about undermining the integrity of our elections. … What was done there was so remarkable, in that that person, those entities, got away with that.” Get ready for her coming conclusion that the alleged voter fraud is undeniable.
Pelosi is not the only prominent Democrat to suddenly change her attitude about voter fraud. In a poetic turn of events, Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland is the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which will likely conduct hearings on the matter. Cummings had this to say: “When it comes to a state’s electoral process I think we have to be very careful and try to allow that state to provide due process. But at the same time we cannot just turn our heads to alleged voter fraud.”
Not so long ago, Cummings was highly critical of those who focused on the problem of voter fraud. In March 2017 he met with President Trump. After the meeting, Cummings said, “I told him that I thought voting fraud is all but nonexistent.” Don’t expect Cummings to repeat that statement again.
The fact is that voter fraud does exist, and it is a significant problem. Election crimes must be prosecuted wherever the evidence supports a conviction. The Heritage Foundation has been compiling a list of voter fraud convictions, not mere allegations, since approximately the 2000 election. The total is up to 1,019 and growing. Of course, convictions are just the tip of the iceberg, representing a tiny fraction of the total instances of voter fraud. Indeed, as President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity found, before it was shut down by a dozen lawsuits, a 2017 study looking at just 21 states revealed that approximately 8,400 people had double-voted in the 2016 election. It is unlikely that even one percent of those double voters will ever be convicted, because most counties don’t bother to prosecute election fraud in a meaningful way.
The North Carolina election dispute has finally compelled Democrats to admit that voter fraud is a very real problem. Whether they are now willing to support efforts to solve the problem remains to be seen.
Kris W. Kobach served as the Secretary of State of Kansas during 2011-2019. He drafted and implemented Kansas’s Photo-ID and Proof-of-Citizenship election law. His office also prosecuted multiple cases of election fraud in Kansas. An expert in immigration law and policy, he coauthored the Arizona SB-1070 immigration law and represented in federal court the 10 ICE agents who sued to stop Obama’s 2012 DACA executive amnesty. During 2001-03, he served as U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration and border security at the U.S. Department of Justice. His website is kriskobach.com.