By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2007, 3:59pm PT  

From attorneys Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law in today's WaPo...


As Congress probes the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, attention is centering on who knew what, and when. It's just as important to focus on "why," such as the reason given for the firing of at least one of the U.S. attorneys, John McKay of Washington state: failure to prosecute the phantom of individual voter fraud.

Allegations of voter fraud --- someone sneaking into the polls to cast an illicit vote --- have been pushed in recent years by partisans seeking to justify proof-of-citizenship and other restrictive ID requirements as a condition of voting. Scare stories abound on the Internet and on editorial pages, and they quickly become accepted wisdom.

But the notion of widespread voter fraud, as these prosecutors found out, is itself a fraud. Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch.

And three more notable money quotes from the piece worth running here...


Proven voter fraud, statistically, happens about as often as death by lightning strike.
...
[T]hose chasing imaginary fraud are actually taking preventive steps that would disenfranchise millions of real live Americans.
...
Pressure on prosecutors to join a witch hunt for individual voter fraud is a scandal, not just for the Justice Department but for voters seeking to exercise their most basic right.