Math on Alleged “Voter Fraud” in Texas

Voter fraud does not actually exist, and in Texas Greg Abbott is one of the people who helps to prove the case.

So, let’s do the math for Texas, shall we?

According to a story in the Dallas Morning news, since 2004 Attorney General Greg Abbott has prosecuted 66 cases of voter fraud in Texas.

But let’s make the math look as favorable for Greg as possible. Let’s take ALL 66 cases, and pretend that ALL would have been prosecuted under this new law.

As the story in the Dallas Morning News indicates, that is not the case. The truth is, Greg Abbott has prosecuted exactly THREE cases that would fall under the new voter ID law.

Read the story here.

But, as we said, we’re trying to make the math look as good for Greg Abbott –and other defenders of this law– as possible. So let’s just say it’s all 66.

Now, let’s figure out how many people have voted in Texas since 2004. I’m going to only use the General election totals. 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012. In those years, either there was a presidential or a gubernatorial race. I’m using those races because, without fail, they include the largest number of state-wide ballots cast, and will give us a good sense of the totality of voters casting votes in Texas.

Here’s the totals, taken from the Secretary of State website:
2004: 7.4 million
2006: 4.3 million
2008: 8 million
2010: 5 million
2012: 8 million

(Double check me here…)

That comes to: 32.7 million votes cast in these statewide races. Then, let’s round this down to 32 million, just to make it as conservative as possible, and as clean as possible.

So, one final time, let’s remind ourselves that this method *excludes* MILLIONS of other votes casts in other statewide elections….primary elections, local municipal elections, special elections for one seat or another. It’s nowhere near the total number of votes cast in the State of Texas.

So, 32 million statewide votes cast in the general election races, since 2004.

Sixty-six cases of “voter fraud” (not really, only three, but trying to make it look as good for Greg as possible…)

That comes the whopping total of 0.0000020625 cases of voter fraud, for every vote cast.

Let that sink in.

0.0000020625

While that number’s still sinking, please know that stories are beginning to come in from across the state of actual voters being disallowed from voting in the election currently under way. For example, I’ve heard from one member of our church that she will not be able to vote.

poll_tax_sign
(picture from Mother Jones)

If you want to understand why some of us are so upset about this law –about the way it was pushed through our statehouse, stripped out of many “common sense” exceptions and exclusions– this is why.

The purpose of a state law like this should be to prevent a state-level crime. But there is no state level crime to prevent. The actual statistics on actual voter fraud in Texas show that the number of cases approaches zero.

Saying this law prevents voter fraud is like saying a law to prevent “Unicorn Procreation” is also a good idea.
(“I mean, you never know, it MIGHT be a problem some day…”)

Is a law that doesn’t even do what it’s supposed to do worth hundreds,  or potentially thousands, of actual, real-life citizens being prevented from legally casting their ballots? A Federal court in Corpus Christi suggested the number might be as many as 600,000 actual citizens actually not allowed to vote.

But, don’t miss the point, even if it’s only a few thousand….and many studies suggest it will be far more than this…it’s a few thousand ACTUAL citizens being denied a constitutional right. Denied that right-to-vote because of something that smacks many as nothing more than modern version of the “Poll Tax.”

If you’re unfamiliar with that history, you can read Texas’ shameful history of denying minorities and the poor the right vote here.

The bottom line is that this law prevents fraud 0.0000020625th of the time, but denies potentially thousands of voters a constitutional right.

That, my friends, just doesn’t add up.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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