- - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Democrats argue that voter fraud is a phantom menace. Sensible safeguards for the integrity of elections, such as requiring the presentation of valid voter identification at the polls, are racist schemes to suppress turnout.

Election officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland, found it otherwise this week, uncovering 17 voters who cast ballots in both counties in the November 2012 elections. They did so by matching the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of these voters, reported Watchdog.org.

Brian Schoeneman, secretary of the Fairfax County Electoral Board, sent letters to county Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring, U.S. Attorney Dana Boente and the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department, outlining his evidence and requesting further investigation. Given his partisan record of avoiding investigation of voter-ID fraud from North Carolina to Texas, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. isn’t likely to do anything about it. That’s why it’s important for someone else to do it.

The Fairfax board says it “takes its responsibility to ensure election integrity seriously,” and is handing the matter to law enforcement authorities. Those who argue that the numbers are minuscule, and can be ignored, that concerns about voter-ID integrity are misplaced, aren’t likely to change their tune. But irony abounds. It’s necessary to strip-search Granny and require her to show identification before she boards an airliner, but it’s OK to take the word of anyone who shows up to vote.

Even a handful of fraudulent ballots can change a result. Democrats in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia just barely retained a state Senate seat earlier this year, winning a special election by a mere 11 votes of more than 20,000 cast.

The 17 double-dipping voters were discovered by comparing the two counties’ voter logs. Checking voter rolls in other areas would likely reveal more cheaters. The Virginia Voters Alliance, an election-integrity group, found 43,896 voters with active registrations in both Virginia and Maryland.

Most of these are simple mistakes. A voter who moves from Maryland to Virginia might register to vote when he gets his new driver’s license, and he may not have been purged from Maryland’s voter rolls. The level of error makes it easy for the unscrupulous to exploit the system and steal a close election.

“Even one instance of fraud is too many,” Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, says of the 17 double-dippers. ” … The integrity of our elections is too important to allow even one case of fraud to go undiscovered — or unpunished.” Mr. Mullins demands prosecution of deliberate cheaters.

Virginia’s new voter-ID law took effect last month. It won’t prevent every sin and crime, but it will make it harder to steal the next election.