With the 2020 Presidential Election only about four months away and the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing in the United States, several states have passed laws to mail all registered voters state ballot request forms and vote by mail, rather than risk contracting the coronavirus by voting in person. However, there have also been claims of voter fraud and the possibility of foreign interference associated with mail-in ballots.
Voter fraud is defined as unlawfully interfering with the process of an election. Common examples include double voting, using a deceased person’s identity to vote, voting as a convicted felon, registration fraud, and voter buying (i.e. bribing for votes).
In Michigan, committing voter fraud is a misdemeanor offense. However, the state Senate passed a bill on June 25, 2020 that would increase the penalty of election fraud to a felony that is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years. The bill must be approved by the state House and then signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
So, how common is voter fraud in the United States? The general answer is quite rarely.
According to the National Vote at Home Institute and the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, there have been 143 criminal convictions associated with election fraud out of more than 250 million ballots casted over the past two decades. The Washington Post discovered 31 cases of proven fraud for a billion votes between 2000 and 2014. Two studies – one in 2012 and the other in 2016 – from Arizona State University found only 10 cases of voter fraud throughout the country.
But what about foreign interference? The truth is that ballots in each county are uniquely designed for each election. In order to create an exact duplicate of a single ballot, a person must replicate the ballot’s size, style, weight, and the envelope it is mailed in. All these factors change every election cycle and each county has different types of ballots.
If you have been accused of committing voter fraud in Michigan, contact Brandon Gardner & Associates, PLC today at (616) 303-7444 and request a free initial consultation.