The Stump

Craigslist Founder Takes On Voter ID Laws By Infographic

It's about a week after it became available on the Internet but no less interesting now than it was then is the infographic by Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, which skewers voter ID laws cropping up in various states. One of his points — the cure is far worse than the disease.

The graphic notes, for instance, that from 2000 and 2007, there were 32,299 reported UFO sightings, 352 people struck dead by lightning and nine "instances of possible voter impersonation."

The infographic is just the latest broadside in the war between those who believe the voter ID laws are aimed at suppressing the votes of people more likely to vote for Democrats and those who believe that voting fraud is a real and present threat to American democracy.

As NPR correspondent Pam Fessler reported in a March 12, 2012 story for All Things Considered, a version of which also appeared on our website:

"... Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, says there's hyperbole on both sides of this debate. He's the author of a forthcoming book, The Voting Wars.

"Hasen doubts that millions of voters will be intimidated or blocked from the polls, as some have claimed. But he also says voter fraud is almost nonexistent. He's worried about the impact of all the charges and countercharges."

"This causes people to lose confidence in the process and to fight further, and that leads to a further undermining of confidence in the process, where people tend to believe that elections are not being decided fairly under the rules that are established beforehand, and it just creates a lack of legitimacy," he says.

Instead, he says, they could pursue real efforts to reform the system, like giving election officials enough money so that they can clean up the voter rolls.

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