On the Democratic side, many believe that millions of voters could be disenfranchised by voter identification laws. Or, voter watch groups will challenge legitimate voters in heavily Democratic precincts, tying up the voting process. If challenges push lines to an hour or more to vote, some voters will be unable or unwilling to wait for their chance to cast a ballot for President Obama.
Democrats also worry about widespread registration fraud on the part of Republicans. In battleground Virginia, it seems that a Republican contractor threw away Democratic registration cards. This follows reports that a firm linked to registration fraud worked for the Romney campaign and the Republican Party of North Carolina, another swing state.
On the other side, Republicans seem deeply afraid of voter fraud, from illegal immigrants or from multiple voting by the same persons.
Patrick Moran, son of Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran, resigned from his father’s campaign last week after being secretly recorded by a conservative activist. The congressman’s son seemed to advise the activist, who was pretending to be a supporter, that utility bills could be used to commit voter fraud.
These largely phantom fears about voter fraud will motivate Republicans to police the polls with unprecedented fervor. As was revealed to many voters in 2000, America, unlike most advanced democracies, does not have, in most states, a nonpartisan election administration system. Instead, elected or appointed partisans are typically in charge of elections. This is such a bad idea, that when we set up quasi-democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, we didn’t copy our own system.