Voter fraud units almost out of work

State-level police units created after the country’s 2020 presidential election to investigate possible voter fraud are looking into isolated complaints more than two weeks after the midterm elections, but have provided no indication of systemic problems.

That’s just what election experts had anticipated, and led critics to suggest that the new units’ goal was more political, rather than rooting out widespread abuses. Most vote-related fraud cases are already investigated and prosecuted at the local level.

Florida, Georgia and Virginia created special units at the state level after the 2020 elections, all led by Republican governors, legislatures or attorneys general.

“I’m not aware of any significant detection of fraud on Election Day, but that’s not surprising,” said Paul Smith, senior vice president of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group that seeks to advance democracy.

“The whole concept of voter impersonation fraud is a horribly overblown problem. It does not change the outcome of the elections, it is a serious crime, you run the risk of being imprisoned and you have a high possibility of being surprised. It’s a rare phenomenon.”

In Georgia, where Trump tried to pressure state officials to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat, a new law gives the state’s top law enforcement agency, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the authority to launch investigations. of alleged vote fraud without request by election officials.

The alleged violation would have to be significant enough to modify or unleash doubts about the outcome of an election.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced he was forming his own Election Integrity Unit (EIU) in September, saying he will “work to help restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth.” .

The unit was created in a state where Republicans won landslides for all three available statewide seats in the 2021 election, including Miyares’ defeat of an incumbent Democrat.

His spokeswoman, Victoria LaCivita, said in a written response to questions from The Associated Press that the office had received complaints related to this month’s election but could not comment on whether any investigations had been launched.