Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, the New York Times reports. Some Republicans have said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process, but only about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year. Most of those charged have been Democrats. Many of those charged appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules.
A federal prosecutor in Miami said many cases there involved apparent mistakes by immigrants, not fraud. In Wisconsin, where prosecutors have lost almost twice as many cases as they won, charges were brought against voters who filled out more than one registration form and felons unaware that they were barred from voting. A few convictions involved people who voted twice. More than 30 were linked to vote-buying schemes in which candidates in sheriff's or judge's races paid voters for their support. Richard Hasen, an expert in election law at the Loyola Law School, said: “If they found a single case of a conspiracy to affect the outcome of a Congressional election or a statewide election, that would be significant. But what we see is isolated, small-scale activities that often have not shown any kind of criminal intent.”