It has become an article of faith among many conservatives that voter fraud is a significant problem or at least a significant threat. “Voter fraud” is what occurs when ineligible people vote or eligible people vote in more than one jurisdiction. The conservative camp believes it skews elections in favor of liberals and Democrats.
Liberals believe just as firmly that efforts to secure voting processes more tightly, such as voter ID requirements, seek to suppress the vote of their traditional constituencies. They believe that toughened voter ID laws will skew elections in favor of Republicans and conservatives.
Modern electioneering will increasingly heat the debate. Information‐driven campaign techniques — sophisticated polling, “micro‐targeted” messaging and get‐out‐the‐vote efforts — allow the political parties to more finely tune their campaigns, seeking tighter victories so they can use resources more efficiently. This increases the chance that small irregularities could affect outcomes.
But a couple of broader policy efforts also stoke these fires. Increasing voter participation has been a policy fetish for the last decade or two — never mind whether more voting for its own sake makes for better democracy. The Motor Voter Law, passed in 1993, has pushed voter registration materials at new and re‐registering drivers with dubious results, including increased chances of voter fraud.
The growth in absentee balloting has undone some of the protections against voter impersonation and multiple voting that previously existed. People are much more reticent to commit fraud in person — it’s riskier — so in‐person voting was a natural security against impersonation fraud. Voting in multiple jurisdictions is simply too time‐consuming to do on any scale when it has to be done in person.