A new analysis of Republican-led "election integrity" prosecutions of alleged voter fraud found not only an extremely low success rate, but a common theme of prosecutions disproportionately targeting Democrats and minority voters.
This week the Washington Postpublished a report analyzing voter fraud prosecutions in six different Republican-led states — Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and Virginia — dating back to the 2020 presidential election. The Post found that out of tens of millions of ballots cast in those states since then, there were only 47 confirmed convictions out of 136 total prosecutions. Additionally, 76% of defendants in those cases were either Black or Hispanic, compared to just 24% of defendants who are white.
"At best, these 'election integrity' units are for show, designed to placate far-right election denialists in the conservative base," Heather Sawyer, executive director of the watchdog group American Oversight, told the Post. "At worst, they are used to justify new voting restrictions and to intimidate people — especially racial minorities — from exercising their right to vote."
The Post's report additionally found that all of the 47 voter fraud-related convictions occurred in Florida, Ohio and Texas with Arkansas, Georgia and Virginia's prosecutions not yielding a single guilty verdict despite spending millions of tax dollars. And out of the 115 cases resolved as of December, the Post found that 42 of those prosecutions ended in dismissal, acquittal or dropped charges.
In addition to the investigations overwhelmingly targeting racial minorities, the publication found that 58 percent of defendants were registered Democrats while only 23 percent were registered Republicans. The remaining defendants weren't registered with any political party. And contrary to former President Trump's claims that he was unfairly disadvantaged by widespread cheating, the bulk of prosecutions were over minor mistakes, like falsifying a registration form or voting despite being barred from doing so due to a felony conviction.
"They did not have a record of fraud that they needed to go and create these investigative units," Rutgers University professor Lorraine Minnite said. "The fact that they have not produced evidence of fraud is support for their lack of necessity."
The Post's findings in its most recent report are similar to another deep dive into alleged voter fraud by Loyola University-Los Angeles law professor Justin Levitt. In a 2014 analysis for the Post, Levitt found just 31 credible instances of voter fraud out of more than one billion ballots cast since 2000.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.