A Breakdown of Florida’s Voter Fraud Laws

Voter registration fraud has become an important topic of conversation in recent years throughout the United States. Many states have enacted legislation that seeks to curb the incidence of voter fraud. Some of these laws call for any of the following:

  • Valid ID for registration
  • Shortened early voting periods
  • Increased difficulty registering for a third party

The Epicenter of Voter Fraud Controversy

The state of Florida is one of the states that enacted legislation about 2 years ago to restrict voter fraud in their state. Obviously, Florida has long been a hotbed of controversy when it comes to voting registration and results. It was one of the key states in the 2000 presidential election that saw George W. Bush win the presidency by the slimmest of margins. It’s also been considered a key swing state in each of the three elections afterward. So, it’s clear that voter registration and potential voter fraud would be important if it were something that were happening frequently. If one of the key electoral states in the nation was experiencing voter fraud frequently, then legislation would be vital.

But many studies are starting to show that the problem of voter fraud in the state of Florida might be overblown. Between 2008 and 2011 (the year the law was enacted), the amount of voter fraud cases that occurred in Florida was at a meager 33. Of those cases, only 2 resulted in actual arrests. Since the voter registration fraud legislation was passed, the number of cases involving voter fraud has increased only slightly. In fact, many independent studies have shown that voter fraud is far from a widespread problem in the state of Florida.

A Case of “Voter Suppression”?

Many organizations still exist that attempt to provide underrepresented groups of people with adequate information about voter registration. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated one such group (Florida New Majority Education Fund) for potential voter fraud and found nothing incriminating. Many similar studies have proven to be just as fruitless at catching fraudulent registration. This lack of evidence in regard to widespread fraud has led opponents of the voter reform to refer to it simply as “voter suppression.”

Still on the Books

Obviously, voter fraud does sometimes occur. It happens, but critics of the law in Florida are suggesting that the amount of voter fraud that actually goes on is negligible at worst. For instance, if someone were to commit voter fraud in Escambia County, they would either never be noticed or their impact would be so small that it wouldn’t matter. An Escambia County criminal defense lawyer might not even be necessary because many voter fraud cases never lead to arrest.

In any event, the voter registration laws are still on the books for the time being. Despite the fact that many studies have shown them to be ineffective and unnecessary, they will still exist for the foreseeable future. Most people do not have to worry about committing voter fraud in any capacity as long as they go through the proper channels and don’t actively try to swindle the system.

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