Elections 2012: Suppressing Fraud or Suppressing the Vote? : Statistics, Politics and Policy

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Statistics, Politics and Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Middleton, Joel

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Elections 2012: Suppressing Fraud or Suppressing the Vote?

1U. Massachusetts Medical School, Quantitative Health Sciences, Worcester, MA, 01655 USA

2Dartmouth College, Mathematics, Hanover, NH, 03755, USA

Corresponding author: John W. Lamperti, Dartmouth College, Mathematics, Hanover, NH, 03755, USA, Tel.: +1 603 646 2866, Fax: +1 603 646 1312

Citation Information: Statistics, Politics and Policy. Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 14–28, ISSN (Online) 2151-7509, ISSN (Print) 2194-6299, DOI: 10.1515/spp-2012-0002, January 2013

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Recent years have seen a wave of laws making it more difficult to vote in the United States. Their ostensible purpose is to prevent voting by persons not legally qualified, and thus to improve public confidence in electoral integrity. Are such laws in fact needed to address serious fraud problems? On the other hand, how many and what kinds of legitimate voters will be, or have been, disenfranchised by them? Is voter confidence positively, or negatively, affected by voter ID laws? This article surveys what is known about these issues and offers suggestions for how statisticians can contribute.

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