It's real. And it can win elections for the wrong candidate when too many fraudulent voters cast ballots. Which - as has been said a number of times here - is why we need voter ID.
One of the highlights of the True the Vote conference was a speech by Artur Davis, who was a Democratic congressman from Alabama until last year. Davis has been an up-and-coming black Democratic leader, having been selected to second the nomination of Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver.
But in 2009 he decided to vote against Obamacare because he viewed it as unworkable and too expensive. When he ran the next year in the Democratic primary for governor in Alabama, he was attacked as disloyal and defeated by a coalition of liberals, teachers’ unions, and old-style black political machines.
He told me that the voter suppression he most observed in his 68 percent African-American district was rampant fraud in counties with powerful political machines. To keep themselves in power, these machines would frequently steal the votes of members of minority groups. “I know it exists, I’ve had the chance to steal votes in my favor offered to me, and the people it hurts the most are the poor and those without power,” he said.
Davis made it clear in his speech to True the Vote that much of the opposition to voter-ID and ballot-integrity laws is a sad attempt to inject racism into the discussion and intimidate supporters of anti-fraud laws. “This is not a billy club, this is not a fire hose,” he told his audience while holding up his driver’s license. “Where is this notion that if I have a right [to vote], that I don’t have to be bothered with responsibility?” He concluded with an appeal for all sides to eschew racial appeals: “We have to be one country, but the way you become one country is you stop acting like a country that’s divided into different buckets and bases of people.”