Fox News touted anecdotal stories of vote-buying as evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem. But the segment deflected from actual concerns that voter ID laws could prevent millions of eligible people from voting.
On the July 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade hosted Fox News correspondent Eric Shawn to discuss videos of people admitting they had bought votes in the past. Kilmeade introduced the segment by saying, “Here's one for all the politicians who tell you there's no such thing as voter fraud.” Shawn then played clips of people admitting that they had paid eligible voters for their support:
But the debate over the existence of voter fraud has not centered on registered voters being paid to vote a certain way. Rather, it has focused on whether voter ID laws are a solution to preventing ineligible people from voting illegally, a problem that is largely non-existent. Recently, GOP-led state legislatures have been proposing and passing voter ID laws, which experts have said will disenfranchise millions for this largely non-existent problem.
The list of “politicians who tell you there's no such thing as voter fraud” is probably more extensive than Kilmeade thinks it is. Recently, the state of Pennsylvania, which does not have a voter fraud problem, passed a voter ID law that could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of eligible voters. In a lawsuit over the legislation, the state was forced to stipulate that:
1. There have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have any personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states;
2. The parties are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere;
Kilmeade and Shawn's focus on individual accounts of vote buying deflects from the real issue. The unnamed politicians Kilmeade refers to are right. Voter fraud largely doesn't exist, and the remedies to fight this largely non-existent problem are dangerous.