Monday, December 24, 2012

Vote fraud in the New Yorker

This article on vote fraud from the New Yorker got passed around a lot before the election but, having read it, I think oddly so. The main point seems not to be about whether or not there is vote fraud, but that some red team activists use vote fraud as a wedge issue and sometimes don't get the facts right. Is it really news that activists of any flavor make stuff up in pursuit of thier political objectives?

More broadly, this, like voting rights for felons, seems like an amazingly bad issue for the blue team to push on. First, it is transparently self-interested. Second, it is quite clearly not in the broader interest, as an electoral system viewed as honest and fair is a public good.

I should note that I tend to discount claims that vote fraud is empirically unimportant, as I personally knew an admitted fraudulent voter, an unlikely event if they are really, really rare. She wsa the proprietress of "Hair Ph.D." in Hyde Park when I was in gradual school and proudly admitted to me that, though she now lived in the suburbs, she still voted in her old Chicago neighborhood for the Daley team whenever the opportunity arose.

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