How important is election fraud, an issue in the controversy over firings of U.S. Attorneys? The Christian Science Monitor says that many Republicans believe it is a widespread threat to the integrity of the voting franchise, especially in swing states. Many Democrats believe it is a trivial irritant, pushed by the GOP to intimidate minority and low-income voters. At least two of the dismissed federal prosecutors whose cases are now being discussed in Congress had not pursued voting fraud cases with the vigor desired by Justice Department headquarters, according to their own testimony and newly released documents.
Traditional election-fraud cases – vote-buying, ballot-stuffing, and illegal voter registrations – are overseen by the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. From 2002 through 2006, Justice prosecuted about 120 election-fraud cases. From those cases, 86 individuals have been convicted for voter fraud-related offenses. Still, the number of election fraud cases is tiny when measured against each year’s 80,000 federal criminal cases.