In an appearance on the Fox News program “The Story With Martha McCallum,” Vice President Mike Pence insisted voter fraud was common.
“In my own state of Indiana in 2012, there was a Democrat super PAC that was involved in our elections, that literally, there was a group of people that were prosecuted for falsifying ballots,” he said. “This happens, Martha.”
Actually, it doesn’t. At least not in the numbers guys like Pence would have us believe. The Brennan Center in 2007 estimated the number of fraudulent ballots in this country between 0.0003% and 0.0025% of the total cast. Voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than to cast a fraudulent ballot.
The Washington Post’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, gave the vice president’s claim four Pinocchios, a rating the newspaper reserves for the most egregious whoppers.
First off, Pence was wrong about the year. Kessler observed that the most noteworthy Indiana voter fraud case in 2012 actually involved a Republican, former Secretary of State Charlie White. He was convicted of six class D felonies after voting from an address where he no longer lived.
The case Pence was talking about actually happened four years later, in 2016, when state police raided the Indianapolis office of the Indiana Voter Registration Project, a group that had registered 45,000 voters, many of them Black.
The case made quite a splash, and the office of then-Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement saying the investigation had uncovered “strong evidence of voter fraud.”
It took seven months for the Marion County prosecutor’s office to file formal charges, and in the end, no one went to jail.
One of the dozen people who faced charges had her case dismissed. Nine others entered a pre-trial diversion program. Two pleaded guilty and were sentenced to probation.
“The whole thing shows the system worked,” said Karen Celestino-Horseman, an attorney for the state Democratic Party. “Clerks discovered the discrepancies in the registrations, which is what is supposed to happen.”
A spokesman for the organization said the group itself actually flagged the problem registration forms when it turned them into the Marion County clerk’s office.
In the end, a relative handful of falsified registrations were uncovered. Not a single fraudulent ballot was cast.
What actually happened was that the investigation shut down a successful voter registration effort, probably keeping thousands of potential minority voters from becoming eligible to vote.
In other words, the case had a lot more to do with driving down voter turnout than with stuffing the ballot box.
— From the Anderson Herald-Bulletin