NC lawmakers react to study that says voter fraud ‘virtually nonexistent'

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Right now, 30 states have laws requiring some form of photo or non-photo ID at the polls.

North Carolina lawmakers also passed a photo ID law for voters in 2011, but it was vetoed by the governor.

A new study by a group of journalism students at Arizona State University claims the voter fraud many of those laws aim to prevent is virtually non-existent.

Democratic Sen. Malcolm Graham said he isn't surprised by the findings.

“You're more likely to be hit by lightning than to identify (a) credible case of voter fraud in N.C. and throughout the country,” Graham said.

The study analyzed 2,068 alleged voting fraud cases from across the country since 2000. It found only 10 cases of in-person voter fraud or impersonation, which equals about one out of every 15 million registered voters.

In North Carolina, the study found 22 cases of alleged voting fraud which involved voters using false addresses, casting multiple ballots in the same election, and felons casting ineligible votes.

Despite the numbers, Republican Sen. Bob Rucho, who co-sponsored North Carolina's voter ID law, said it is needed.

“Whether it’s 10, 100, or 10,000, the fact of the matter is there's no reason you can't show a photo ID when you vote because it doesn't disenfranchise voters,” Rucho said.

But some experts predict 5 million people will not be eligible to cast ballots because of voter ID laws. 

Graham believes the elderly and poor will be among those numbers.

“We ought to make equal access to the voting booth for everyone.  The system isn't broken, so why try to prescribe a prescription for a system that's not broken?” Graham said.

“My question is, ‘What are you hiding? Are you stealing elections and actually trying to avoid us catching you?’ Well, we're going to find out once and for all,” Rucho said.

The heated debate over the voter ID is expected to continue when the legislature reconvenes in January. 

The same study also found one case of voter fraud in South Carolina since 2000.  The Palmetto state did pass a voter ID law last year.  Right now, it's held up in court.  The federal government said the law is unfair to minorities.