Is the type of voter fraud targeted by voter ID laws common?

Last updated: February 20, 2022
While the majority of studies in this list came to the conclusion that the answer is no, one study came to a contrary conclusion. We encourage you to read the study summaries below or the studies themselves if you have access.
This short answer was generated by aggregating the answers that each of the studies below gave to the question (as indicated by State of K members) and adjusting for source quality and other factors. If key studies are missing or the answers attributed to individual studies are incorrect, the above answer could be wrong. For medical questions, don't rely on the information here. Consult a medical professional.
0
YES ANSWERS
4
NO ANSWERS
1
NO DATA ON ANSWER


Chart summary of 5 studies examining this question

All answers are assigned by State of K users. The label Couldn't Identify means that State of K was not able to determine whether a study answers the question "yes" or "no". This could be due to several factors. One possibility is that a study found some evidence to indicate that the answer to the question is "yes" and some evidence to indicate that the answer is "no". This often happens when a study uses two or more proxies to study the same phenomenon (i.e. firearm sales figures and self-reported firearm ownership rates as proxies for the prevalence of firearms) and the proxies yield different results when looking for correlations with another phenomenon (i.e. firearm-related deaths). Alternatively, the label may be applied if the phenomenon under study (i.e. whether breast milk improves cognitive function) is true for one group, but not another (i.e. true for girls, but not for boys). Yet another possibility is that a study found there was insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion regarding the question. Finally, the full text or abstract of a study may not have been written clearly or was inaccessible. This would make it difficult to determine how a study answered a question.

All labels of Literature Reviews and source quality are assigned by State of K. All labels of High Quality Source are assigned based on whether the publication in which the article appeared was ranked as Q1 by Scimago Institutions Rankings. Certain well-regarded think tanks are also given this label.

Literature Reviews
Although we recommend you consider all of the studies below, we believe the following study is a literature review, which surveys and evaluates many studies on this question:

SUMMARIES OF STUDIES
Total studies in list: 5
Sorted by publication year
1
One Person, One Vote: Estimating the Prevalence of Double Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections
"There are about three million cases in a national voter file in which 2012 voterecords share a common first name, last name, and date of birth. We develop aprobabilistic birthdate model to estimate how many of these cases represent thesame person voting twice. If registration records are never erroneously marked asbeing used to vote, we estimate about 0.02% of the votes cast in 2012 were doublevotes. An audit of poll books, however, suggests that such measurement errorcould explain many of these apparent double votes. Using data returned to Iowaby the Interstate Crosscheck Program, we quantify the tradeoff between voteraccessibility and electoral integrity when purging a likely duplicate registrationfrom another state. We find that one of Crosscheck’s proposed purging strategieswould eliminate about 300 registrations used to cast a seemingly legitimate votefor every one registration used to cast a double vote."
AUTHOR
One Person, One Vote: Estimating the Prevalence of Double Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections ∗
PUBLISHED
2021 American Political Science Review
No
No
2
Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws
"Challenges exist in using available information to estimate the incidence of inperson voter fraud. For the purposes of this report, “incidence” is defined as thenumber of separate times a crime is committed during a specific time period.Estimating the incidence of crime involves using information on the number ofcrimes known to law enforcement authorities—such as crime data submitted to acentral repository based on uniform offense definitions—to generate a reliableset of crime statistics. Based on GAO’s review of studies by academics andothers and information from federal and state agencies, GAO identified variouschallenges in information available for estimating the incidence of in-person voterfraud that make it difficult to determine a complete picture of such fraud. First, thestudies GAO reviewed identified few instances of in-person voter fraud, butcontained limitations in, for example, the completeness of information sourcesused. Second, no single source or database captures the universe of allegationsor cases of in-person voter fraud across federal, state, and local levels, in partbecause responsibility for addressing election fraud is shared among federal,state, and local authorities. Third, federal and state agencies vary in the extentthey collect information on election fraud in general and in-person voter fraud inparticular, making it difficult to estimate the incidence of in-person voter fraud."
AUTHOR
US Government Accountability Office
PUBLISHED
2014 GAO Highlights
Literature Review
High Quality Source
Couldn't Identify
Couldn't Identify
3
Alien Abduction and Voter Impersonation in the 2012 U.S. General Election: Evidence from a Survey List Experiment
"State legislatures around the United States have entertained—and passed—laws requiring voters to present various forms of state-issued identification in order to cast ballots. Proponents argue that such laws protect the integrity of the electoral process, sometimes claiming that fraudulent voting is widespread. We report the results of a survey list experiment fielded immediately after the 2012 U.S. general election designed to measure the prevalence of one specific type of voter fraud most relevant to voter ID laws: voter impersonation. We find no evidence of widespread voter impersonation, even in the states most contested in the presidential or statewide campaigns. We also find that states with strict voter ID laws and states with same-day voter registration are no different from others in the (non) existence of voter impersonation. To address possible “lower bound” problems with our conclusions we run both parallel and subsequent experiments to calibrate our findings. These ancillary list experiments indicate that the proportion of the population reporting voter impersonation is indistinguishable from that reporting abduction by extraterrestrials. Based on this evidence, strict voter ID requirements address a problem that was certainly not common in the 2012 U.S. election. Effort to improve American election infrastructure and security would be better directed toward other initiatives."
AUTHOR
John S. Ahlquist
PUBLISHED
2014 Election Law Journal
High Quality Source
No
No
4
Identifying Election Fraud Using Orphan and Low Propensity Voters
"Although voter ID laws have become a hot topic of political debate, existing scholarship has failed to produce conclusive evidence concerning the existence or frequency of electoral fraud, especially the type of fraud that would be prevented by photo identification laws and signature verification protocols for voting by mail. We propose a new method of measuring election fraud, especially identity fraud, that is superior to previous measurement efforts because it measures actual instances of fraud rather than waiting for conclusive proof of fraud produced in a criminal prosecution. We test our method in multiple jurisdictions, including two known cases of electoral fraud, and we find no additional cases of fraud. We speculate that public access to voting and registration records play an important role in preventing this type of election fraud, suggesting that these practices are perhaps more important than voter ID laws in preventing election fraud."
AUTHOR
Ray Christensen
PUBLISHED
2013 American Politics Research
High Quality Source
No
No
5
They Just Do Not Vote Like They Used To: A Methodology to Empirically Assess Election Fraud
"Objectives. In contemporary U.S. elections there is no shortage of allegations concerning election fraud. These claims are, however, based in large part on anecdotal evidence, unsubstantiated assertions, or the study of reported complaints. The absence of a general methodology to actively search for evidence of election fraud has resulted in policy arguments devoid of empirical data and systematic analyses.Methods. In this article, we present a general methodology to study contemporary election fraud based on the Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) process. We then apply this approach to a case study of a particular type of fraud.Results. After examining approximately 2.1 million votes cast during the 2006 general election in Georgia, we find no evidence that election fraud was committed under the auspices of deceased registrants.Conclusion. In this article, we have introduced a general methodology for the scientific study of election fraud. We urge social scientists to make use of such a framework to investigate the prevalence of different types of fraud across varying election cycles and jurisdictions."
AUTHOR
M.V. Hood
PUBLISHED
2012 Social Science Quarterly
No
No