Abbott spent $1.4 million on voter fraud prosecutions, witness said
Tue March 10, 2009 10:59 pm

This was the testimony of a witness from the Brennan Center at NYU, moments ago (around 10:55 p.m.), who said flatly that there are virtually no cases of voter impersonation fraud. I agree with him on that point, but the oft-repeated information that Abbott spent $1.4 million on voter fraud prosecutions is wrong. I learned this during the fact-checking process on my column in the April issue concerning the fight over Voter I.D. Abbott’s office said that the $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice was for investigations of several crimes, including white collar crime and money laundering, as well as voter fraud. Only a small amount of the grant, less than $100,000, was spent on voter fraud prosecutions. Unfortunately, by the time I learned the correct facts, it was very late on deadline day and we had neither the time or the space to substitute the correct information.

I stand by my arguments in the column. I believe that voter identity fraud is extremely rare. I think that the public has been led to believe that voter fraud is rampant, in part because of actions like those of ACORN in sending in bogus registration forms during the 2008 election cycle, and, especially in Texas, because so many people think that illegal aliens are voting. I believe that Republicans are taking advantage of this public belief to take the opportunity to suppress Democratic turnout. I don’t think that Abbott should have prosecuted many of the cases that were technical violations on mail-in ballots. But he didn’t spend $1.4 million on those prosecutions. Might as well set the record straight.

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